What Makes We Connect Now Unique Among Organizations Serving College Students with Disabilities; Guest Blog by Gabriela McCall Delgado (the creator of We Connect Now)
We Connect Now ("WCN") is an organization created bottom up. From students and for students, as opposed to resources created by administrators, public policy wonks or people who are not college students with disabilities. The idea for the website came to me when I was looking at colleges to attend and I could not find a place online to find information about resources for students with disabilities. "We Connect Now" was launched all at once (Home, Stories, Focus of the Month, Blogs, Events, News, Links, Law and Regulations) in 2008. The section "Jobs" was added in 2009, and the section Chapters was added in 2010.
I started WCN as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to uniting college students with disabilities regarding issues related to higher education and employment. In 2008, I started the We Connect Now website as a freshman in college with a grant from Young People For (“YP4”) for less than a thousand dollars. WCN functions as a network of volunteers with minimal financial support. We Connect Now is a grassroots project that hasn’t taken any government funding and does not depend on the financial support of large corporations or government institutions. The organization reaches thousands and aims to have and remain an independent voice that is a true advocate for college students with disabilities
Presently, the website is linked to by universities, groups and government entities serving persons with disabilities in all fifty states and in eleven other countries. WCN has grown its virtual community by adding a Twitter account and a Facebook page. Almost four years after its launch, the We Connect Now website is going strong.
When I see that a campus career services office, a disability services office or a community group has posted our link or has displayed a poster of our Disability Rights Campaign that has been offered to it by a college student, I know that We Connect Now is fulfilling the mission I set out to achieve. Every day we are helping students with disabilities explore employment opportunities, connect with each other and work through the bureaucracy to assert their rights. WCN is serving its mission of empowering college students with disabilities.
visit We Connect Now at: http://weconnectnow.wordpress.com/
Amy Reinstein, M.S., CCC - SLP