Civitans advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to reach their fullest potential through the classroom, job experiences, and other continued learning.


Obstacles abound for individuals with I/DD when it comes to reaching their specific education and employment goals. To fully realize the opportunities available to them in their communities, support and advocacy is needed. Civitans dedicate their time and resources to create, fund and bolster programs that result in individuals with I/DD learning and working alongside individuals of all abilities throughout the world. With the help of Civitans, everyone can achieve their dreams. 

Civitans can enter the Education & Employment space through a variety of impactful service projects and activities. Here are just a few examples: 

  • Host a book club or reading group for individuals with I/DD – meet at a local library or book store, create relationships along the way! 
  • Create, fund and maintain with volunteer work an adult literacy program for those with I/DD at a community day program or agency. Buy education resources like software programs and books, help set up a space, and volunteer as tutors. 
  • Pivot the scholarship program your club probably already carries out – scholarship opportunities abound for the typical student – but very few exist for students with I/DD who are going on to college programs or other continuted learning programs. Scholarships could also be provided for students going on to pursue special education degrees. 
  • Focus your school supply drives and teacher support on special education programs and classrooms 
  • Provide job readiness supplies for an agency or organization – job readiness software, interview clothing, practice interview sessions, etc. 
  • Use the Servant’s Heart program and/or other avenues to recognize and celebrate employers in your community who practice inclusive hiring 


Silver Spring, Maryland

The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) emphasizes literacy through reading to learn, rather than learning to read, says Ginny Colten-Bradley, one of the local club’s founders. By getting together to read aloud together weekly (virtually and previously at the Rockville, Maryland Barnes and Noble), the NCBC gets noticed.  It drew the attention of the Greater Silver Spring Civitans (GSSC) a few years ago, which now regularly supports the club as an ongoing service project.

“It’s awesome to see this group of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities reading together and enjoying the ambience at the Rockville Barnes and Noble,” says GSSC President-Elect Mirza Donegan. The GSSC gives the NCBC members gift cards whenever they finish a book. Donegan emphasizes that, “It’s our way of congratulating them for so visibly promoting community literacy, and the gift cards make sure that they can afford their next books as well.”

Pasadena, California

In late 2016 Pasadena Civitan members began discussing strategies for increasing employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the Pasadena area, while involving the City of Pasadena as well.  Pasadena Civitan created a committee of several of its members, plus several non-members to plan and coordinate a program for the fall of 2017 that would recognize local employers who hired people with developmental disabilities, and also encourage more employers to do the same.  The group that was formed called itself the Pasadena Civitan October Project, PCOC (or Peacock for short). Just a few of the events and actions that have resulted from the work of this club are: holding a reception honoring employers of the year, creating a brochure encouraging employers to hirt those with I/DD, running ads in local news media highlighting all employers who hire those with I/DD, and providing public comment at Pasadena Council on the subject of National Disability Employment and Awareness Month. To read an in-depth report on the work of this club, click here.

To view the club’s employment awareness brochure, click here.

Silver Spring, Maryland

Sunflower Bakery is dedicated to providing skilled job training and employment opportunities in the baking and hospitality industries for adults 18+ with learning differences. Their programs include Pastry Arts Training, Hospitality Employment Training Program and Teen Exposure Programs. In 2018, the Greater Silver Springs Civitan Club invited a representative from the Sunflower Bakery to speak and from there, a partnership was formed. Because of the club’s involvement with the bakery, the Foundation for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FCIDD), awarded the bakery with a $20,000 grant to provide sponsorships so that the bakery can continue to carry out their mission of providing employment opportunities to those living with I/DD.