Together is Better PDF eBook

Together is Better PDF eBook

Al Condeluci, Ph.D.

This eBook explores people with disabilities in society, including challenges and rewards of tolerating differences and developing a community where there is a place for young and old, children and adults, people with and without disabilities.



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Full Description

This book is about change and about how to make things better by fostering community inclusion for persons with disabilities. Building on the simple concept of community, it explores the complexities, challenges and rewards of working to develop a community where each person belongs – young and old, children and adults, with and without disabilities. Condeluci shows how to build tolerance of differences within a community.

Topics include...

  • understanding the concepts of community and social capital
  • looking at what we all have in common
  • finding a community and understanding how it operates
  • working with the gatekeeper

As an interactive manual, it guides the reader through exercises with narratives that teach about communities and demonstrates methods for becoming a valued member. Written for persons of all abilities and ages, it can be used by parents of children with special needs, by professionals to assist participants, people with disabilities or consumers, and by individuals for personal growth.

Item TISB-eBook
ISBN# 1-931117-45-4
Pages 76 pages, 7 x 8.5, softcover perfect bound
Year 2008


Al Condeluci, Ph.D.

Al Condeluci has been an advocate and catalyst for building community capacities and understanding culture since 1970. Born and raised in the steel town of Pittsburgh, PA, still making his home there, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Youngstown State University, his Master’s in Social Work and Ph.D. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1973, he has worked as an attendant, caseworker, advocate, planner, program director and now, CEO of his organization, United Cerebral Palsy/Community Living and Support Services of Pittsburgh. UCP/CLASS has created a family of corporations and is dedicated to its mission - “working towards a community where each belongs.” UCP/CLASS, under Al’s leadership, has grown to become the 3rd largest disability specific agency in Southwestern PA with a budget of $25 million and a staff and payroll complement of 650.

Along with his work at UCP/CLASS, Dr. Condeluci is associated with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and School of Health and Rehabilitation Science and Robert Morris University Graduate School of Business. In these academic roles, he teaches, supervises students, and serves as advisor and consultant.

Since 1975, Dr. Condeluci has emerged as a national leader and consultant on human services and community issues. He speaks annually to national and international audiences reaching some 15,000 people each year. His books, Interdependence, Beyond Difference, The Essence of Interdependence and Cultural Shifting have won praises and awards for their thoughtful approach to culture and community and are now used at many colleges, universities and in-service settings. His newest book is Together Is Better.

Al has lived his entire life on the family homestead of “Condeluci Hill.” Settled in 1917 by his grandfather, Antonio and honed by his father, mother, uncles and aunts, “Condeluci Hill” is currently home to 15 families and was featured in LIFE MAGAZINE (Aug, 1996). Al still lives on the “hill” with his wife Liz, children Dante, Gianna and Santino and some 45 other members of the Condeluci family. You can reach him at:

Al Condeluci, Ph.D.
CEO - UCP of Pittsburgh
4638 Centre Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-246-2122 - 412-683-4160 fax


About the Authors

Introduction: Beginning the Journey

Chapter One: Community and Social Capital
Defining Community
The Concept of Social Capital
Creating a Sociogram
The Theory of 150
Building Tolerance
The Process of Cultural Shifting

Chapter Two: What Makes Us Common
Determine What Makes Us Common
Implementing the Interest Profile
Tying It All Together

Chapter Three: Finding the Community
Find the Community Where the Passion is Regularly Celebrated

Chapter Four: Understanding the Community
Understand How the Community Operates
Activity Analysis
Other Considerations

Chapter Five: Finding the Gatekeeper
Find and Engage the Gatekeeper
The Positive Gatekeeper
The Gatekeeper
Recruiting the Gatekeeper
Toward Friendships

Conclusion: Journeying Forward



Beginning the Journey

"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome."

~ Arthur Ashe

The young girl’s love of dance started at around age 3. She saw a ballerina dancing on TV and thought that she was the most beautiful princess she ever saw. Her mom was thrilled that she took such an interest in dance, and they immediately went together to buy a ballerina bedspread for her room. Over the next couple of years, the girl continued to love watching ballerinas dance on TV and often told her mother that she was going to be a ballerina when she grew up.

Her parents took her to see The Nutcracker, and she sat glued to her seat watching the story unfold. Her mom bought her a ballerina outfit and she would gleefully wear it around the house, pretending that she was dancing on stage to the delight of the cheering audience.

When she was about 6 years old, her mother saw an advertisement in the local paper for a new dance class for 6 and 7 year olds. With much anticipation, the mother called the number to talk to the dance teacher. The teacher seemed very kind and was excited to be starting this new class. She said that quite a few children had already registered. Fearing that all of the spots would quickly fill, the mother didn’t hesitate in signing her daughter up for the class, which started on the following Saturday.

Saturday morning, the little girl woke up early, filled with excitement about becoming a true ballerina. She insisted on wearing her ballerina costume and her mother told her that she looked like the most beautiful princess she ever saw. They drove to the dance class, both of them eagerly anticipating what was to come. But when they walked in the door, the dance teacher seemed to frown when she saw the little girl. She quietly pulled the mother aside and rebuked her for not indicating that her daughter had "problems." The teacher said this dance class wasn’t for children "like her" and that she would be better off at a dance class especially for "that type of child." The mother glanced over at her daughter, who still had a huge smile on her face and was already interacting with the other children. With tears welled up in her eyes, the mother wondered what was the easiest way to break her daughter’s heart. A True Story

United Cerebral Palsy of Pittsburgh (UCP of Pittsburgh) through its Community Living and Support Services (CLASS) program provides services to individuals and families. Our mission is one of inclusion — "working toward a community where each belongs." We assist adults, and support their independence and community involvement, and our Unique Community Partnership for Kids (UCP Kids) program assists children with special needs in becoming involved in typical recreational activities. We created Together is Better: Creating a Community Where Each Belongs as a how-to guide for individuals and families to integrate into recreational activities and communities themselves, so that stories like the little girl who loved to dance never have to happen to another child.

The process of discovering how best to help someone become involved in a community is unique and is, in fact, a journey of discovery that is distinct for each individual.

While we take a direct look throughout the manual at how children and adults with disabilities can be integrated into community, please note that the concepts that we explore can relate to any individual, with or without a disability.

Just as individual personalities differ, so do abilities, talents, and interests. As such, the process of discovering how best to help someone become involved in a community is unique and is, in fact, a journey of discovery that is distinct for each individual.

Together is Better is our attempt to guide you through this journey, and it is intended to be interactive. Readers will note several written "exercises" throughout the manual and may wish to have additional paper on hand for extra writing space. We will also explain how to use the various forms included in the appendix. And, along the way, the narrative will teach you more about communities, how they interact, and how to best become a valued member of one.

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