May/June is a busy time of year for the KIT team as we help IEP teams meet the needs of kids & families, prepare camp staff for the summer season ahead, and get as much training in as we can before programs shift their focus. We are also preparing for the next school and program year, and so there are grants to write, reports to file, and many conversations to be had with leaders who need our help.
I’ve spent time dipping into the work of all of our KIT teams in one way or another and so my passion-ometer is cranked all the way up to “FULL.” Not only are our Inclusionistas talented, but they are stalwart in the face of any challenge. They meet a lot of resistance in their work, or let’s say, they meet a lot of people who are resistant to the idea of inclusion! But, they face the challenge with commitment, grace, and a supportive stance. I have lost count of the times that I’ve heard one of our Inclusionstas say, “Don’t worry, we’ll get there” or “We will make it happen.”
Recently I was having dinner with a disability rights activist and friend of KIT. She said, “I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel so drawn to KIT. I realized it’s because there was no one out there fighting to make sure I was included when I was a kid.”
So, to all of you who make up the KIT family and friends, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for fighting for every kid’s right to belong. Thank you for not giving up when it gets hard. Thank you for showing people that everyone can be inclusive, that it really isn’t that “special.”
Torrie Dunlap is CEO and “Chief Inclusionista” at Kids Included Together (KIT). In addition to overseeing the organization, she is a thought-leader who shares her vision for an inclusive world through engaging and inspiring keynote presentations. She encourages advocates, parents, professionals, medical personnel, educators, ambassadors, students and after school program staff to use the tools of creativity and innovation to affect sustainable change in their communities. Click here to watch her TEDx speech “Isn’t It A Pity: The Real Problem With Special Needs.” If you are interested in having Torrie speak at an upcoming event, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get back with you soon.