Building Social Capital to Access Opportunities and Contribute to Our Communities
George Tilson, Michael Ward
Social capital may seem like a contemporary buzzword, but the concept has been around for centuries. It is described in history, economics, sociology, and politics. It has been described in highly esoteric ways by numerous famous intellectuals. In this webcast, we take it down to the everyday level. Social capital is a resource (something you can obtain, use, and invest), a catalyst (something that causes change), and an outcome (with potential benefits to both the individual and the community). Social capital is about the connections we have with others; connections of value to all involved. It is about linking with others in order to build a network, access opportunities and, in turn, contribute to the larger society, through our talents, creativity, energy, and care. Social capital is never depleted by use; rather it expands the more you use it! George Tilson explores social capital as viewed through the eyes of several self-advocates: the importance it plays in their lives – in their accomplishments, how they handle obstacles, and their future aspirations. We ponder how people with disabilities can build and invest in social capital to create meaningful outcomes in careers, lifelong learning, relationships, independent living, recreational pursuits, and overall community membership.
George Tilson, Ed.D., has dedicated his career to helping communities build or enhance programs that support children, youth and adults with disabilities and other life challenges in achieving their personal goals for employment, education, and full community membership. Currently an independent consultant, he provides professional and program development services to state departments of education and labor, schools, local government and community agencies, family/self-advocacy organizations, and corporations. He is frequently sought as a speaker and workshop presenter for associations representing these diverse stakeholders. Areas of Expertise: Career development and employment placement, staff development, training, program evaluation and technical assistance, universal design in educational programming, project management, and business partnerships.
Michael Ward, Ph.D., currently coordinates the Transition Special Education Distance Education Certificate Program at George Washington University. Prior to this, he was a Research Associate with the HEATH Resource Center on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities and developed several resource documents for students with intellectual disabilities. Prior to this, Dr. Ward was the Executive Director of the Arizona Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Director of the National Center for Self-Determination and 21st Century Leadership at the Oregon Health and Sciences University.