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Up in 60: Ability Connection helps people with disabilities volunteer in the community

Ability Connection, a nonprofit that enriches the lives of people with disabilities is committed to helping its members give back all year long.

DALLAS — North Texas Giving Day is the largest community-wide event in the nation. Anyone, regardless of skill is encouraged to get involved. Ability Connection, a nonprofit that enriches the lives of people with disabilities is committed to helping its members give back all year long with their new program, "A Meaningful Day."

"Our guys take so much pride in the fact that they’re helping homeless people and kids and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to give back and they really embrace it," Ability Connection CEO Jim Hanophy said.

Focus fills the faces of Ability Connection’s day-habilitation adults. 

"We partnered with a couple other nonprofits bagging dog food for an animal shelter, creating hygiene kits for kids in schools," Hanophy said. 

Volunteerism is part of the program’s effort to improve community integration for their members.  

Hanophy said "A Meaningful Day" also aims to boost skill development. 

"Basic skills, counting, organizing working as a team all those things are things you need to be able to do on a job and we do it here," Hanophy said.

Ability Connection serves over 700 people.  

"Unlike some organizations we will serve anybody regardless of the severity of their disability and we think a person who has a significant disability has the right to the same quality of life as someone who doesn’t have a disability," Hanophy said.

They use personal outcome measures to gauge members success. 

"A lot of organizations did not survive so, we have been inundated with requests for services; in fact, we even having a waiting list for our meaningful day program, so we really do need the community’s help," Hanophy said.

North Texas Giving Day helps Ability Connection shine a light on how inclusion can come full circle to improve the community.  

"In Texas, there’s over two-hundred thousand people on a waiting list for Medicaid services and some of these families are getting nothing and part of our long-term commitment is to reach out to these families and provide some level of service," Hanophy said.

Ability Connection has seven group homes. They provide services people need to live successfully in those homes or in the home of a foster care provider.

Money raised on North Texas Giving Day will go directly back to their programs. You can learn more about the organization at abilityconnection.org