Once upon a time, a group of people who lived in the same community gathered. Each person in the group loved someone with a disability. And each knew life with a disability was often exclusive and hard; they all yearned for life to be easier. So the group met, talked and pondered. They determined life with a disability can be easier when people around them learn, connect and share. So then they strategized, planned and formulated. By the end they gave life to ConnectWC, a non-profit that promotes inclusion in their Washington County community.
Inclusion in a community can be encountered and improved in various ways. However, to best promote inclusion, one must be educated and aware of the issues and needs. A huge purpose of the ConnectWC website is to be one central focus of resources addressing the needs throughout the lifespan of an individual living with a disability. The resources not only help an individual, but can educate the community as a whole.
ConnectWC’s Mission: To create a community of belonging.
Connect WC’s Values: To think big and be bold, create connections, grow relationships, look at the world through the eyes of others, nurture everyday leaders.
ConnectWC’s Goals: To help replace feelings of powerlessness with feelings of empowerment through knowledge; provide advocacy and support to promote change.
ConnectWC’s website was transformed in 2017 by the Twin Cities Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge.
Meet the Board
Karen Keenan, Chair
Karen recently gave a Tedx Talk about Communities of Belonging. Her effort had a big impact on a school district modifying its mission statement. Karen and her husband, Brian, have a young daughter, Chloe, who has Down syndrome.
Anne Sundberg Siess, Vice Chair
In her “former life,” Anne had the opportunity to take notes at a special education lobbying group for a professor at the University of Minnesota. She vividly remembered the severe passion of the parents in the group. Fast forward a decade, Anne found herself being one of those parents in her son’s first IEP meeting. Anne lives in Stillwater with her husband and three children.
Kristeen Anderson, Secretary
Kristeen studied developmental psychology as an undergraduate and never knew that someday her passion for understanding how people learn would be so valuable to her oldest child who has Down syndrome. Kristeen lives in Grant on her family’s budding apple orchard with her husband and two children.