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RespectAbilityUSA & DCJCC Announce New Community Service Opportunities for Middle and High Schoolers With Disabilities

Washington, D.C. – The Washington DCJCC, with more than 25 years of proven leadership in providing safe outstanding volunteer service opportunities, and RespectAbilityUSA, a non-profit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, are thrilled to announce the formation of community service opportunities for Washington area Middle and High School students with disabilities.

The non-sectarian program will be staffed by professionals who are CPR certified and work during the school year in the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) programs for children with Asperger’s, but will be open to students 11 years old and up with all disabilities. Mr. Ricky Tippett will lead the program at each community service site. Mr. Tippett has years of experience coaching a diverse group of students, both middle school and high school aged at MCPS and at Georgetown Preparatory Academy.

The program will offer two three-hour blocks of service each day during two different time sessions (9 AM – noon and 1PM-4PM). The first session will be July 14-August 1st and the second session will be August 4-15th. Each session will have two teachers/para-educators and a small group of children. There will be breaks and fun time built into the sessions. Students will have the opportunity to earn community service hours in a safe and enriching environment.

We are asking parents of interested students to fill out the survey HERE in order to best match the service projects with the applicants. Space is limited as this is a pilot program that will only be able to serve approximately 12 kids over the course of the summer. Possible projects include:

•Volunteering at an animal shelter
•Preparing food for people experiencing homelessness
•Weeding and gardening at a park or community garden
•Making and decorating a free little library
•Volunteering at the food bank
•Putting together care packages for soldiers or people experiencing homelessness

“We are thrilled to start with this pilot program and look forward to expanding service opportunities yearound year around for people with disabilities.” Said Erica Steen, Director of Community Engagement at the DCJCC who will work to coordinate the volunteer projects for the students.

“This will be the first program of its kind in the Nation’s Capital and we hope it will be a model for others around the country. For far too long people have looked at people with disabilities (PwDs) as objects of pity when the fact is that they have a tremendous amount to offer and are ready and willing to serve others.” Said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President of RespectAbility, who will support and promote this amazing opportunity to our community.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum
Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email

Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.


HQ: 11333 Woodglen Drive, #102, Rockville, MD 20852
West Coast: 350 S Bixel Street
Los Angeles CA 90017

Office Number: 202-517-6272


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