Inclusion Connections, Inc.
2073 E. Santa Fe
Olathe KS 66062
Learning job skills and matching those skills with paid, community jobs
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (913) 839-8735
Mission Statement
Our mission is to strengthen the lives of individuals with disabilities by creating inclusive opportunities for community involvement, access to meaningful employment, and options for independent living. We believe everyone has the right to live full, healthy, participatory lives, and that individuals with developmental disabilities belong in neighborhoods, jobs and communities.
CEO/Executive Director Debbie Horn
Board Chair Jonathan Twidwell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Cornerstone Wealth Management
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2013
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer There are so many ways to support Inclusion Connections, from cash to in-kind donations to giving of your time. One of the most fun ways to engage with IC is to volunteer with our PawsAbilities program, working alongside young people with disabilities making dog treats and getting to know one another. Individuals and employee groups are welcome! We also invite teens from local schools to volunteer, as well as adult volunteers to help with teaching classes and supervising activities. To learn more, please visit or call our Executive Director, Debbie Horn, at (913) 839-8735. The next time you think about giving, think of Inclusion Connections!
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement Our mission is to strengthen the lives of individuals with disabilities by creating inclusive opportunities for community involvement, access to meaningful employment, and options for independent living. We believe everyone has the right to live full, healthy, participatory lives, and that individuals with developmental disabilities belong in neighborhoods, jobs and communities.
Background Statement Youth with disabilities can face future with limited options, particularly after exiting high school. No social life outside of activities with their parents or day services. Our Executive Director has a history of school and community advocacy as a board member and community group leader. This experience, coupled with a true passion for kids leading lives filled with encouragement, hope, friendships and jobs, led to the formation of Inclusion Connections nonprofit in May 2013. Inclusion Connections wants to transform our community one person, one business at a time through advocacy, education, activities and conversation. We want to bring to light the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities, and work together to improve their lives. It's our intention to bring about real and lasting change in the hearts and minds of our community.
Impact Statement 2017 Accomplishments:
Numbers served increased to 166+ individuals with developmental disabilities ages 13-29. Sustained a truly inclusive organization by recruiting/training more than 350 local middle and high school aged students as volunteers, along with many adult volunteers. Offered 3,500+ hours of year-round programming, including Summer Camps in Olathe, KS and Liberty, MO. Held 4th annual fundraiser, Gala FashionAbility, featuring participants walking the runway and highlighting their hopes, dreams and accomplishments. Expanded EmployAbility Program with PawsAbilities hands-on jobs training and employment readiness classes. Young adults learn skills by making dog treats, bandanas, toys and other pet-related products and market them at our PawsAbilities store, online at, and in the community at various retailers, veterinary offices, and events such as Olathe Farmers Market, Holiday Boutique and Chick Events.

Goals for 2018:
Improve and expand programs (Healthy Living, CreateAbility, EmployAbility, and Summer Camps).
Continue to recruit and train middle and high school students to volunteer with us, as well as adults to volunteer with PawsAbilities job training program by helping participants make dog treats and other products, and as classroom teachers and for supervision.
Continue strengthening EmployAbility Program, including better measurement techniques for skills learned. Matching skills and desires of PawsAbilities trainees with carved out positions with local businesses; job placements in paid jobs.
Beginning process of developing an Entrepreneurship Program with trainees.Continue to form partnerships with local businesses, organizations and community members to strengthen our nonprofit, spread our mission, and better serve young people with developmental disabilities.
Needs Statement Funding for operations including help with rent and utilities, resources for paid staff and board development. Adult volunteers, particularly for PawsAbilities job training program (groups welcome!). Assistance with cost of transportation for employed participants (they can not drive and public transportation is costly and limited). A van would be a nice addition to the organization so we can transport trainees and our Mobile PawsKC Store to local events and businesses to increase sales. We would also utilize a van to help families transport individuals to jobs.
Service Categories
Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers
Youth Development Programs
Down Syndrome
Areas of Service
KS - Johnson County
MO - Clay County
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement My son Matthew, now 22, has Down syndrome. As he has grown up, he has had to watch his brother’s active social life – friends calling, participating on school teams, hanging out for fun. Too often, when watching his brother leave for work or an event, Matthew would say, “Why not me?” Those are the words that have driven me through the years to advocate for the value of all individuals, working with the schools and my community. Today, with Inclusion Connections and our job training program PawsAbilities, Matthew has obtained the skills necessary to obtain not just one, but two jobs! He continues to come to IC to work on skills his employer wants him to learn, and also to see his friends and participate in the arts, healthy living classes and activities, and summer camp offered.

Inclusion Connections is my true passion, an organization that exists to touch lives, change hearts. It’s all about possibilities and opportunities, and we are hard at work building a program which includes activities, classes and workshops which will improve the lives of young people with disabilities. Successes come day by day: welcoming a new teen to our group, forming a partnership with a local business, receiving funds from a generous benefactor.

Daily challenges keep me busy, including addressing the needs of participants, talking to the business community about our organization and the importance of hiring people with disabilities, planning and carrying out activities, classes and events – there are never enough hours in the day! Measures of our success include increasing community support, attracting more teen and adult volunteers to support our programming, and feedback from our families. We are hard at work now on PawsAbilities employment program, which meets the critical needs of job preparedness and placement. With local jobs and local support, all roads lead to independence!

Community Connections Program encompasses an impressive year-round selection (3,500+ hours) of classes, activities and events for more than 166 young people with developmental disabilities. We have recruited/trained 350+ middle and high school students as volunteers who serve as encouragers and positive role models. Our established program addresses the special needs of participants with: Healthy Living (cooking and nutrition classes, individual and team exercise opportunities, life skills classes and social opportunities), CreateAbility (access to art, theater, dance and music), EmployAbility (PawsAbilities job hands-on job training and placement program with trainees making dog treats, bandanas, toys and other pet-related products, then selling them at our Paws Store, online at and in the community with our PawsKC Mobile Store at retailers, veterinarian offices, and offsite events such as Olathe Farmers Market and holiday markets; program also includes employment readiness classes, and Summer Camps in Olathe and Liberty. 

Program Budget 296,676
Category Youth Development, General/Other Youth Development, General/Other
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  • Youth with and without disabilities will be motivated to be engaged in inclusive activities and classes.
  • Youth will obtain job skills which will prepare them for jobs in the community and/or entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • Youth will learn ways to stay healthy in order to achieve greater success in maintaining employment and living more independently.
  • Youth will have access to the arts which bring joy and balance to lives.
Long-Term Success
  • Youth with disabilities will have access to health-related classes and activities which offer tools to attain and maintain good health.
  • Youth with disabilities will obtain satisfying employment.
  • Youth with disabilities will be able to live independently with supports.
  • Community will become more inclusive.
Program Success Monitored By Program success is monitored through tracking numbers of participants in classes and activities, and also through surveys of participants and families, and instructors. Individual programs also have their own outcomes which are measured and evaluated.
Examples of Program Success

A major example of program success is that 14 young adult participants are now employed in community-based, paid jobs. This is a BIG deal to participants and families, and meets a major organizational goal. Paid employment is a factor in successful supported living, which is a goal IC is currently working towards.

Another example of success is the increase in number of adult volunteers we are attracting. Local businesses are sending groups of volunteers to work alongside PawsAbilities job trainees, getting to know young people with disabilities and helping us with production of Paws products. The goal of engaging local adults in this program also helps with building long-term, supportive partnerships with local businesses.
Our families report that before attending IC activities, their kids had no friends. One mom told us that for 10 years her son received no phone calls, but now he gets 2 calls a month from peers calling to do something together. Parents also report their kids display increased communication skills, have become more outgoing and social, and interactions with family members improve. They find their kids also get in better shape by participating with IC. Teen volunteers report becoming more aware of the needs of individuals with disabilities and enjoy learning and using leadership skills. They also tell us they have great satisfaction from volunteering at IC. Community awareness of the needs of people with disabilities has been greatly enhanced by seeing IC participants and peers together.

EmployAbility Program offers hands-on job skills training through PawsAbilities, with trainees making and selling dog treats, toys, bandanas and other products. They learn to use commercial kitchen equipment and sewing machines, and also help run the Paws store by stocking shelves, running the register, and learning customer service techniques. Marketing skills are also taught, with trainees visiting local businesses to set up new accounts and also by taking our treat wagon to business. Employment readiness classes are offered which teach the "soft skills" needed in finding a job (interviewing skills, the application process/resume building, basic computer skills, general job requirements such as manners, hygiene and promptness, transportation issues, money management and interpersonal social skills).

PawsAbilities training is offered in the community where individuals live, which is essential due to the fact that they will likely never drive, and public transportation is expensive or unavailable. As we move into job development, we are working to match each trainee's skills and preferences with local employers who are interested in hiring people with disabilities. Again, these jobs must be in the community where individuals live in order to be successful. Having a job is directly related to successful independent living.  

Program Budget 171995
Category Employment, General/Other Job Training & Employment
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  • Youth will improve employment readiness skills 

  • Youth will obtain hands-on job skills which can translate to community jobs or entrepreneurship opportunities

  • Youth will be matched with paid, community-based jobs 

Long-Term Success
  • Youth will obtain satisfying employment

  • Youth with disabilities will be able to live independently with supports

Program Success Monitored By Class participation is tracked. Surveys are given to participants/families and instructors. Employment readiness skills are evaluated using classroom tests, by teacher observation, and through a Certification process (utilizing written policies and procedures) to measure skills, which can then be presented to future employers who can be assured of individual competencies.
Examples of Program Success

EmployAbility Program participants show more confidence in daily activities, and become encouraged that obtaining a job is a real possibility! Pre-employment skills are learned at an individual pace, and trainees are encouraged to express desires of types of jobs they might enjoy. Families report that their kids are excited about learning skills that will help them find jobs – reaching greater independence is the goal. In the last 12 months, we have helped fourteen trainees find community-based, paid jobs! This is huge success for individuals who previously had few if any skills and few options. Inclusion Connections continues to help support trainees as they become employed, by continuing to train for additional skills required by employers, offering other program opportunities (Healthy Living and CreateAbility arts), and keeping open communication channels with families and employers.


Inclusion Connections believes that providing access to exercise opportunities and classes to learn about healthy nutrition are essential to the long-term health of the individuals with developmental disabilities we serve. Since day one we have offered classes and activities which focus on healthy eating, exercise, and life skills to prepare for the transition to independent living. We continue to offer year-round opportunities: cooking and nutrition classes, individual and team exercise opportunities, life skills classes, and social opportunities. Our sports teams compete regularly and have participated in local and national tournaments with great success. Healthy Living Program provides individuals with the skills needed to become (and stay) healthier, which is essential to successful employment and independent living.

Program Budget 41262
Category Youth Development, General/Other Youth Development, General/Other
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  • Youth will be motivated to be engaged in inclusive healthy lifestyle activities and classes 

Long-Term Success
  • Youth with disabilities will learn the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
  • Youth with disabilities will improve overall health and well-being.
Program Success Monitored By
Program success is monitored by tracking the number of class participants, and the number and type of each class offered. Participants/families and instructors are surveyed for program feedback and personal successes.

Examples of Program Success Statistics show that individuals with developmental disabilities are faced with a myriad of health challenges (slower metabolisms, greater incidence of overweight/obesity and diabetes, lower muscle strength, levels of motor development and cardiovascular fitness, higher risk of Alzheimer's Disease, etc.). Our Healthy Living program is addressing the problem in concrete ways. Families report that their children have gone from doing little exercise and eating unhealthy foods, to making better choices on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to exercise and be active with friends is a much more appealing option than doing things alone. We partner with a local gym, provide exercise equipment at our activity center, and offer exercise and dance classes. Overall well-being is enhanced through this program, and we continually evaluate the satisfaction of participants and work to improve program offerings.

CreateAbility offers year-round access to the arts to young people with developmental disabilities. Participants and peer volunteers explore individual creativity through various art forms including painting, mosaics, drawing, dancing, music, and our popular theater program. Communication skills improve, required teamwork improves social skills, and performing in front of live audiences is a wonderful way to receive affirmation and feel included. Visits to Starlight Theatre performances are the highlight of the summer for many of our youth. The more well-rounded and engaged young people with disabilities become, the better off our entire community will be.

Program Budget 31991
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  • Youth will be motivated to be engaged in performing arts experiences.
  • Youth will improve skills in the arts.
  • Youth will develop better social skills/teamwork.
Long-Term Success
  • Youth will find the joy and happiness experienced by experiencing and participating in the arts.
  • Youth with disabilities who have special artistic skills will have opportunities to explore and hone talents, with the option of helping support themselves through their artwork.
Program Success Monitored By Participation levels in CreateAbility Program classes and activities are tracked. Participants/families and instructors are surveyed for feedback.
Examples of Program Success

Our arts program connects individuals with disabilities to their community by offering the opportunity to interact with community members without disabilities. These are invaluable experiences, both for IC participants and for community members who become more aware of the needs of those with disabilities. Even with their communication challenges, our participants look forward to performing in front of a live audience though theater classes. Confidence is boosted by receiving the positive feedback from the audience. Participants look forward to CreateAbility classes which allow them to explore their creativity, relax, receive positive feedback, work together with others, and feel connected. Classes fill quickly and we continue to widen the variety of types of classes offered.

Programming at Inclusion Connections is year-round, offering access to classes and activities to young people with developmental disabilities and teen volunteers. In 2018 we added a "little kids" camp to our repertoire, serving ages 8-12, due to community demand. We also held teen and young adult camps in Olathe and in Liberty.  We continue our Healthy Living, CreateAbility and EmployAbility programming during this time, but also offer many more opportunities to socialize, get outdoors, create and maintain friendships, and get out into the community. Young people with and without disabilities enjoy visiting different local parks, taking trips into the community to enjoy different venues, and participating in fun and educational opportunities such as visual arts, theater and acting classes, job skills classes, karaoke, adapted exercise classes, healthy snack prep, life skills, etc. Camp is also very important to our families, who need and deserve respite time to renew and recharge. 
Program Budget 49038
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

  • Improving the emotional and physical health of young people with disabilities and connect them to their community.
Long-Term Success

  • Youth with disabilities will have access to life-enhancing opportunities to make friends, improve health, attain job skills, become employed, and be engaged in their community.
Program Success Monitored By

We monitor the success of Camp by tracking the number of hours of activities and classes offered, the numbers of participants, and through an end of Summer survey to participants/families.

Examples of Program Success

Our families continue to be very appreciative of what IC is doing for their children. Parents tell us IC has helped their kids become more physically active, and that they actually enjoy trying new foods with us. They are encouraged that their kids are learning skills that will lead to meaningful jobs - all with the end goal of greater independence. A primary goal of our organization which Summer Camp helps meet is to connect individuals with developmental disabilities to their community. By including teens without disabilities in all facets of camp, participants are able to connect with peers their own age and can form meaningful friendships which then carry on into the school year. We make several trips to local venues during camp for meals and activities, and this serves the purpose of getting our kids Out and Into the Community which builds a more inclusive community. The more community members and businesses see our youth and are involved with them, the better off our community will be!

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Debbie Horn
Term Start May 2013
Paid Full-Time Staff 4
Paid Part-Time Staff 3
Paid Contractors 5
Volunteers 350
Retention Rate 100%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
Caucasian 7
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 6
Male 1
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Accessible Community AwardCity of Olathe2014
2018 Community AwardOlathe Human Relations Commission and the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board2018
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Jonathan Twidwell
Company Affiliation Cornerstone Wealth Management
Term Jan 2017 to Dec 2020
Board Members
Mr. Craig "CJ" Boyd Polsinelli
Mrs. Sarah Clayton Welcome Home Real Estate
Mr. Rod Crawford Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits
Ms. Sara Foos Panera Bread, Self-Advocate
Mr. Chris Lengquist Ad Astra Realty
Mr. Tony Long Long Real Estate
Ms. Rachel Mast Self-Advocate
Mr. Kevin Miller First National Bank
Mr. Dalton Mott Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Mrs. Jennifer Ross Church of the Resurrection Matthew's Ministry
Mrs. Stefanie Sparks Retired Teacher
Mr. Jonathan Twidwell Cornerstone Wealth Management
Mrs. Sara Hart Weir National Down Syndrome Society
Mrs. Kelly Weyer Reece & Nichols
Mrs. Kathy Winegar Garwin Electric
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 1
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 7
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Standing Committees
Campus Planning and Development
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
CEO Comments The first time I met our founder and Executive Director, Debbie Horn, I knew I wanted to be part of this organization. Debbie was so passionate about the organization and the work they were accomplishing. While I am excited about all areas that Inclusion Connections helps its participants with, I am even more enthusiastic about our EmployAbility and PawsAbilities Programs. Our mission is to strengthen the lives of our participants through Inclusion. Work is where most of us spend the majority of our daily lives, and we create many of our relationships while at work. Additionally, our careers give us added purpose. This is why I believe our EmployAbility Program where we help trainees find, apply for, get, and keep employment is so important. We even took it a step further with our PawsAbilities Program where trainees utilize the job skills we teach in EmployAbility to make and distribute dog treats and toys in the community. You can instantly see the positive impact our EmployAbility and PawsAbilities Programs have on the young people we serve. - Jonathan Twidwell, Board of Directors President
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2018
Projected Revenue $420,615
Projected Expenses $420,363
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990. 
  • FY 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990-EZ.
  • Foundation/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$234,270$98,807$58,133
Administration Expense$39,963$19,909$21,671
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.101.101.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses85%83%73%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$93,510$60,079$41,846
Current Assets$92,510$58,784$40,486
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$15,519$10,492$3,548
Total Net Assets$77,991$49,587$38,298
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities5.965.6011.41
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountFirst National Bank $20,000First Downs for Down Syndrome $10,000First Downs for Down Syndrome $10,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFirst Downs for Down Syndrome $12,500Greater Kansas City Community Foundation $10,000Greater Kansas City Foundation for Individuals with Disabilities $10,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountRoyals Charities $11,550Individual Donor $10,000Individual Donor $5,110
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Other Documents
Newsletter Fall2018View
Annual Report2017View
Organization Name Inclusion Connections, Inc.
Address 2073 E. Santa Fe
Olathe, KS 66062
Primary Phone (913) 839-8735
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Debbie Horn
Board Chair Jonathan Twidwell
Board Chair Company Affiliation Cornerstone Wealth Management
Year of Incorporation 2013