What is AIM?
AIM is a certification program created by EqUUal Access in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). AIM’s purpose is to guide congregations to better welcome, embrace, integrate, and support people with disabilities and their families in our communities. AIM certifies congregations as committed and engaged in becoming accessible and inclusive religious communities, and attempts to an adaptable & dynamic process create spaces where each person can bring the fullness of their lived experience.
The intent of the program is to meet each congregation where it is and move it forward at a reasonable pace based on its resources, needs, and abilities, regardless of membership size or type of building. Making a congregation accessible and inclusive is a continuing process. It is often difficult work, involving personal and cultural change.
AIM Staff & Advisors
The AIM Program is coordinated by a part-time Administrative Director and a team of dedicated consultant volunteers. They work virtually with individual congregations across North America who aspire to become AIM certified, and support each congregation’s tailored AIM process. AIM has no physical office space. (See also AIM FAQ.)
Rooted in UU Principles & Anti-Oppression Justice
The AIM program guides all to deepen their understanding of disability as an aspect of the human experience, and counteract society’s stereotypes of disability. AIM encourages Unitarian Universalists to get involved in dismantling society’s prejudices and barriers (Ableism). This ministry perceives the uniqueness of the individual as a gift to be valued and appreciated by our congregations. AIM congregations accept a responsibility to counter society’s tendency to make inclusion and accessibility the responsibility of individuals, and instead transform our congregations and our society to be welcoming and inclusive of people of all abilities.
How to Become AIM-Certified
Each AIM aspirant congregation sets its own pace for obtaining certification, though most can anticipate it taking from 2 to 3 years. AIM begins with the formation of a local AIM team, and getting the endorsement of the congregation’s leaders. Each local AIM team is assigned a program Advisory Group upon acceptance into AIM; this small group of advisors will provide ongoing support and feedback to guide the local congregation’s process right through to certification. In subsequent phases of the program, AIM assessment tools are engaged to help identify the current degree of church accessibility and inclusion, and help determine priorities to address. Then with consultation with AIM advisors, the local team develops a unique AIM Action Plan before incrementally effecting the plan and engaging a required number of AIM workshops, projects, and disability-themed worship services.
To learn more about the AIM Program prior to applying, please visit the EqUUal Access website for information, resources, and to contact for the AIM Administrative Director.