The mission of Arkansas Can Do, Inc. is to promote a positive worldview of individuals with disabilities through education and collaboration.
This mission is being accomplished through implementation of a statewide multimedia campaign and educational workshops on “People-First Language” and, Disability Etiquette.
Arkansans with disabilities determined the need for this project in May 1999 through an assessment designed to identify and prioritize issues important to people with disabilities. It was reported that negative attitudes and stereotypical images are the main problems faced by persons with disabilities, keeping them from being fully included in everyday life. Increasing the positive perceptions of the general public regarding people with disabilities was given top priority through the assessment process. It was determined that if the general public could see people with disabilities as productive, contributing members of society, focusing on what individuals “can do,” then other issues would be easier to address. “Can Do” was created in May 1999 as a sub-committee of the Consumer (Advisory) Committee of Partners for Inclusive Communities – Arkansas’ University Center on Disabilities. Additional consumers and organizational representatives were invited to participate, and membership quickly expanded to include self-advocates, their family members and representatives from various organizations with an interest in disability issues. See Membership for a list of current members and the organizations represented.
Logo: A contest was held in 2001 for a logo, and the entry of a human face within a bird in flight created by Larry Russell from East Camden, AR, was selected as the overall winner. This image is still used on all products created by Arkansas Can Do, Inc.
While still a committee, Arkansas Can Do received seed money from Partners for Inclusive Communities, Arkansas Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Council, Rainbow of Challenges School of Hope, BOST, Inc. and Drew County Developmental Disabilities Council. Additional funding was provided through collaborative efforts through a grant to H.I.R.E. Inc. from the Department of Labor and with Partners for Inclusive Communities’ National Service Inclusion Project. As we have no paid staff, these funds were all used to develop products for the campaign. Posters, brochures, bookmarks, a display and public service announcements have been developed.
In 2007, Arkansas Can Do became a 501c3 non-profit organization, Arkansas Can Do, Inc., allowing the organization to accept tax deductible contributions to continue promoting positive images of people with disabilities.
- Heather Brown
- Mike Thornton
- Mary Edwards
- Barry Vuletich
Advocates for Real Life Experience
- Dennis Carrow
- Christine Reid
- Marilyn Hampton
- Rodney Farley
- Susie Keesling
- Bryan Cozart – Family to Family Health Information Center – ADC
- Wanda Horton
- Elissa Ellis
- Fred Norman
University of Arkansas Partners for Inclusive Communities
- Judy Young
- Brenda Reynolds