Certification Process: Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry Program
The AIM Certification process is divided into three phases. Please fully complete all components of each packet for submittal. You may also submit additional information or use other formats. If you have questions at any point in the application and certification process, please contact us at AIM [at] uua [dot] org.
AIM Phase I
The AIM Phase I Packet includes three forms:
- Your Congregation: Provide general information about your congregation and important contacts.
- Your Congregation’s AIM Team: Describe your local AIM Team, including your current membership, organization, and connections to the congregation.
- Leadership Approval: Obtain approval for participation in the certification process by your congregational leaders.
Each AIM-aspirant congregation is assigned to an Advisory Team. AIM Advisory Teams provide mentoring, guidance, and resources throughout participation in the AIM Program.
AIM Phase II
Once the congregation has been accepted into the Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Program, the congregation’s AIM Team, with the support of its Advisory Team, begins to guide the congregation through the program. The AIM Phase II Packet. contains the information and documents needed for Phase II.
Activities required during Phase II include:
- Conducting AIM Assessments: Form teams to conduct assessments of your congregation’s current level of inclusion, social justice, and accessibility.
- Setting AIM Priorities: From the results of your AIM Assessments, determine priorities for your work.
- Creating an AIM Plan: Based on these priorities, propose a plan for how your congregation will increase its level of inclusion and accessibility for people of all abilities during Phase III. The plan will consist of several required components. See the Phase II Packet for details.
- Communicating with your AIM Advisory Team: Update your AIM Advisory Team at least monthly throughout Phase II. Your Advisory Team can assist you in troubleshooting, share strategies that other congregations have used, and support your AIM Team in approaching this phase in manner that best fits your congregation’s needs and resources.
- Submitting the AIM Phase II Packet: Once you’ve completed your AIM Assessments and AIM Plan, you will be ready to submit the Phase II Packet to AIM [at] uua [dot] org.
After your AIM Phase II Packet is approved by your AIM Advisory Team, you will move to Phase III of the AIM certification process.
AIM Phase III
Your AIM Plan is the basis for most of the activity in this phase. Steps include:
- Implementing your AIM Plan: Each congregation has their own timeline for completing the activities of their AIM Plan, but it is anticipated that most congregations will be able to complete an AIM Plan within one to three years. Please note that significant deviations from your AIM Plan should be communicated to both the AIM Administrator and your AIM Advisory Team.
- Communicating with your AIM Advisory Team: Being in contact at least once a month will help to assure that your AIM Team progresses through the program smoothly and with enough support to be successful.
- Gathering documentation as you go: Document your accomplishments, including evaluations by the AIM Team and participants in each of the activities. We ask you to use the AIM Facilitator Survey and AIM Participant Survey forms following a workshop, and the AIM Worship Service Feedback Survey whenever a disability-related worship service is held to help us to improve our program materials and to provide your AIM Team with feedback on each activity.
Make audio recordings, videos, and photos of worship services, workshops, and projects to document what you’ve done – don’t worry if they’re not professional! Gathering different forms of media with your camera or smart phone is a great way to document your progress, and will also be available as a multimedia record of accomplishments to celebrate with your AIM Team and the entire.
- Make your congregation’s website welcoming to people with disabilities: See Welcoming Websites for requirements and recommendations.
- Celebrate! Take time as a team and congregation to acknowledge each milestone and your many achievements on the journey to greater inclusion and accessibility: during meetings, on the pulpit, through your congregation’s website, newsletter, and Facebook page, during annual events such as a potluck or other gathering. Celebrations keep everyone energized and provide an opportunity to acknowledge hard work and commitment.
- AIM Phase III Packet: Complete and submit the AIM Phase III Packet to AIM [at] uua [dot] org when your congregation has completed all program requirements and is ready to apply for certification.
Once the AIM Phase III Packet has been approved by your Advisory Team, the congregation’s minister and AIM Team Leader will be notified that the congregation has completed all requirements for AIM Certification.
Making a congregation inclusive and accessible is an ongoing process. The intent of Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry is to meet each congregation where it is and move it forward at a reasonable pace, based on its resources, needs, and abilities. AIM Certification provides congregations with formal recognition of their commitment and progress.
Congregations that have completed all program requirements for AIM Certification are recognized by Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM) each year at the EqUUal Access Celebration, which is held during General Assembly, the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). EqUUal Access invites as many members of the congregation to participate in this event who are able, as well as members of other AIM and AIM Aspirant Congregations, and friends of the AIM Program.
AIM Certification lasts for a period of three years. After the three-year certification period, AIM Congregations apply for recertification. Recertification is based on evidence of continued congregational commitment to the principles and purpose of the AIM Program. Congregations applying for recertification must demonstrate continuing progress toward inclusion, accessibility, and disability social justice work. Requirements during the three-year certification period can be found at: AIM Recertification Requirements.