August 1, 2014  

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TRIAD Celebration Recognizes AmeriCorps Members for Service

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AmeriCorps service volunteers were recognized for their contributions to the TRIAD program during a special ceremony held in July. (Submitted photo)

The first annual TRIAD (Training, Resources and Information for the Advancement of Disability Service) Service Celebration brought tears of joy for those receiving special recognition.

“I am so happy,” said Racheal Barnes, one of 20 AmeriCorps members recognized at the ceremony held in July.

TRIAD is an inclusive national service program at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Institute for Disability Studies. TRIAD Service AmeriCorps is inclusive because members include youth leaders with and without disabilities. TRIAD focuses on assisting students with disabilities in the transition to adulthood. This transition includes national service, employment, postsecondary education, adult healthcare services and more.

The Institute for Disability Studies has placed an emphasis on promoting inclusive service and volunteerism.

“Community inclusion for people with disabilities has been interwoven throughout IDS’ guiding principles,” said Dr. Royal Walker, executive director. “In recent years, IDS has increased its focus on inclusive service and volunteerism for youth and young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, particularly youth who plan to attend college and seek employment in their Mississippi communities.”

At the Service Celebration, TRIAD members received a recognition plaque commemorating their 450 hours of service. The members provided training on a variety of transition services, assisted with recreation events and participated in mentorship opportunities. 

As Dr. Jerry R. Alliston, coordinator for Community Inclusion and Volunteer Service, points out, “members overcame personal as well as public stereotypes. They overcame fear, doubt and negative attitudes regarding people with disabilities participating in service.  They shared their talents, made a difference and have become service ambassadors in our state.”

The TRIAD AmeriCorps program will begin its second year of service starting in September. For more information, visit the website at http://www.usm.edu/disability-studies/triad-americorps-overview or call 1.601.266.5979.