Empower Kentuckians with disabilities this One Day for UK

One Day for UK is April 19th, 2023. One Day for UK is a 24-hour day of giving where alumni, faculty, staff, parents, friends and fans can support their favorite college, cause or area. It is a day to celebrate the University of Kentucky’s achievements and to ensure the university’s future success.

What is the Human Development Institute?

Established in 1969, the Human Development Institute (HDI) is the state’s Center on Disability and is part of a nationwide network of University Centers for Excellence. Our vision is the full participation and contribution of all people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

What will my donation do?

This One Day for UK, your generous donation will impact countless people with disabilities in Kentucky and the nation. 

Your donation could:

  1. Equip a person with a disability to find employment
  2. Empower someone to learn how to support their own mental health
  3. Support expectant parents who receive a down syndrome diagnosis
  4. Encourage the recovery of families of the opioid epidemic
  5. Teach an educator sign language to use in their elementary school classroom

To donate, visit www.onedayforuk.uky.edu

One Day for UK is a 24-hour day of giving where alumni, faculty, staff, parents, friends and fans can support their favorite college, cause or area. It is a day to celebrate the University of Kentucky’s achievements and to ensure the university’s future success. All gifts support our comprehensive campaign, Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign, which increases opportunities for student success, funds innovative research, improves health care, strengthens the alumni network and enhances athletic programs.

Visit www.onedayforuk.uky.edu to track our progress and to make your gift.

Five high school kids are gathered round a table collaborating on a robotics project. Wires and white rolled poster paper are visible on the table.

New HDI project to use Universal Design to create inclusive student environments

Over the past several years, the mental health of students has declined. According to the CDC, the pandemic saw mental health concerns reach a crisis level. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in youth aged 10–24. Mental health emergency visits increased 31% in youth aged 12–15 from 2019–2020. Anxiety and depression rates in youth continue to rise. 

Universally designed, accessible safe spaces create a sense of welcome and belonging for all students, including those with mental health conditions, physical disabilities, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and those in underserved communities. 

The Human Development Institute’s new project will fund universally designed spaces for students at Berea Community School, a high school, to allow students to build meaningful connections. Berea is a Title I school that faces persistent poverty, low educational attainment, and low attendance and graduation rates compared to the state of Kentucky. 

At Berea Community School, 11% of students have intellectual and developmental disabilities including, but not limited to, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and are members of underserved communities.

Berea Community School has a respite time each school day. This project will create universally designed spaces at school to encourage connections during the respite time. Additionally, this project will support a peer student group that will receive training on strength-based activities and how to include them in the daily respite time. 

The use of  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles will be prioritized to provide students with more options for inclusive learning. School staff and faculty will be given professional development sessions on universal design and universal design in learning. 

“Providing universally designed spaces will ultimately increase cultural responsiveness and create a healthier, more inclusive school climate,” Dahl, the Principal Investigator, says. “[That] is especially important for individuals in marginalized populations, including those with disabilities and LGBTQ+ students.”

Universal Design principles will be used to assess the space at Berea Community School. A wide range of body sizes and abilities, comfort, wellness, social integration will be prioritized for treating all groups with inclusiveness and respect and cultural appropriateness.

HDI’s mission is to advance efforts that build inclusive communities, address inequities, and improve the lives of all people who experience disability across the lifespan. We achieve our mission through leadership and community partnerships across Kentucky and the Nation. This project strives to build inclusive communities by ensuring all students feel welcome and safe.

Katie Wolf Whaley Photo. she is wearing a grey dress and speaking using a microphone in front of a black background

Kentucky Employment First welcomes Katie Wolf Whaley as new Council Chair  

On December 2nd, 2022, Kentucky welcomed Katie Wolf Whaley as the new chair of Kentucky’s Employment First Council.  

Employment First practices the idea that competitive integrated employment should be considered the first and primary option for people with disabilities who are eligible and desire to be employed. Simply put, it is the idea that everyone has the right to work!  

Competitive integrated employment refers to a workplace where people with disabilities work with people without disabilities and have the same pay, benefits, and opportunities for promotions.  

Katie Wolf Whaley, MSW, CESP, is the Director of the Kentucky Supported Employment Training Project and oversees other contracts with the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation at the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute.  

Along with serving as chair of Kentucky’s Employment First Council, Wolf Whaley also devotes time serving as the President of the Kentucky Chapter of APSE (Association of Persons Supporting Employment First).  

Congratulations Katie Wolf Whaley on becoming the new chair of Kentucky’s Employment First Council. To learn more about Employment First, visit the Employment First webpage here.  


Employment First. Kentucky Career Center. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2022, from https://kcc.ky.gov/Vocational-Rehabilitation/Employment-First/Pages/default.aspx