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RAMP (Regional Access & Mob. Proj.)

Rockford, Illinois

Cause Description:
1 IN 5 AMERICANS ARE LIVING WITH A DISABILITY. However, it is not only individuals with disabilities who are impacted by disability related issues. Over 29% of families in the United States have one or more members with a disability. A majority of our board and staff are individuals with disabilities, so our drive and determination to ensure all reach their full potential is more than a job, it’s personal. In 1978, a guy named Ken Kerns met Jim Hamilton and Jim was struck by the fact that Ken, this nice, bright, passionate guy who happened to use a wheelchair, was not working. Jim seized the opportunity to enlist his help and together they wrote a grant to begin RAMP and the rest is history. “It was very seat of the pants. We were doing something that was brand new and because it was people with disabilities doing it, other people with disabilities could relate to us,” explained Ken Kerns, who became the first Executive Director of RAMP in 1980. Today, RAMP serves over 1,000 people annually from four offices and provides over 25,000 hours in community action and advocacy – all because a few people took a chance on a guy using a wheelchair. Building on that, RAMP now offers a full continuum of services for individuals with disabilities, any age, any disability, so they can live, learn, work and play in our community.

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