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Available Expert - Queen’s PhD students provide support to ABLE2, an organization that supports people on the disability spectrum

Friday, June 10, 2022

An interdisciplinary group of Queen’s PhD students, part of the Queen’s PhD Community Initiative, have branched outside of Kingston for the first time to help a charitable organization with their volunteer retention and recruitment. Team leader Jacqueline Giesbrecht (Cultural Studies), along with Line Drapeau (Management) and Bryan Collins (Environmental Studies) began working with Ottawa-based ABLE2—an organization that supports people of all ages, and their families, across the disability spectrum—in September 2021.

The Queen’s PhD Community Initiative started in 2016 as a way to foster partnerships between Queen’s students and community organizations to address a particular issue or challenge facing a range of non-profit, charitable and local organizations. As the program continues to grow and expand its reach, this year, for the first-time students have been paired with an organization outside of Kingston.

ABLE2 supports over 5,000 people with disabilities to live life as valued members of their community. Giesbrecht’s team worked with ABLE2 on one of their greatest challenges—recruitment and retention of volunteers, particularly for the Matching Program, which pairs up volunteers (Allies) and a person with a disability (Friend) in an intentional relationship.

"What I appreciate most about the PhD-Community Initiative program is its intentionality. By partnering us with the Ottawa community, it gave us the opportunity to be a community,” said Jacqueline Giesbrecht. “Our project was especially meaningful to me because of ABLE2’s mission. With my current research related to disability studies, my past experience as a Direct Support Professional and other support worker roles, as well as my own identity as a disabled person, working with ABLE2 has allowed me to use my research skills, lived experiences, and passions to help make a difference in the Ottawa disability community.”

To learn more about this collaboration and the meaningful work the Queen’s group supported, representatives from the PhD group and ABLE2 are available to speak with media. Please contact media relations officer Victoria Klassen (343-363-1794 or victoria.klassen@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada. 

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