Happy New Year! I thought to close out 2017 I’d revisit some of my favorite images. Seeing the engagement of our learners in the photos submitted by our field trainers fuels my passion all year round. This year we spread our mission of inclusion in new places, to new people, and in new ways. This year we welcomed Boys & Girls Clubs of America to the KIT family. We are excited to continue this momentum in 2018, and we have a lot of exciting plans!
Jeremy and one of his many audiences this year. Jeremy also packed a year of free Community Training workshops in Washington, DC.
A highlight of my year was hosting a panel of young adults with disabilities talking about their experiences in education at SXSWedu in Austin in March. Here are two of the three panelists, Kings Floyd and Diego Mariscal, two outstanding activists and emerging leaders, just before our presentation.
Phillip sent this photo of one of his groups of learners using new lenses to view children and behavior. This year Phillip made his 17th training trip to Japan!
In the spring I had the pleasure of participating in a symposium with leaders of national disability organizations. The summit, organized by filmmaker and Friend of KIT, Dan Habib (center), focused on his new film called Intelligent Lives. I look forward to sharing the film with you when it is released publicly in 2018. Also pictured are (from left) Kevin Webb, Director, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Cara Liebowitz, Founding Member of I Am Norm, and next to me, Tia Holmes, also a Founding Member of I Am Norm.
I love this photo from our KIT Training HQ in San Diego because these learners are SO INTO IT. Our trainers are the best in the business at creating learning environments that inspire this kind of attention and participation. Their passion for inclusion unleashes something magical, affirming, and even life-changing. We call it the “Ah-ha Moment” that our learners have in a KIT training when it all begins to click for them- when they realize that serving children with disabilities is not just their responsibility, it is an opportunity, for them, for the other children, for the community as a whole.
Kat’s commitment to our clients on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket fuels my passion. When our clients there told her that they wanted to make the island inclusive for families who experience disability (rather than send them off island for services), Kat was all in. When she conducts her training visits there she finds every place that kids go- the Farm Institute (pictured), the Boys & Girls Club, the Library, the community center, etc., and makes sure they get training and consultation.
We were at so many conferences this year. So many. Here Emily and Xochitl spread the KIT love at the Inclusion Collaborative conference in Northern California. Conferences are a great way for us to meet new people and get our resources into the hands of the people who need them.
A highlight of the year for me was our KIT 20th Anniversary celebration just a few weeks ago. The highlight of the VIP Day symposium for me was learning from Patrick Foraker, a high school student, about higher education options for students with intellectual disabilities and his journey to applying for college. What Patrick shared represents a sea change. Patrick inspired so many in the room to take action to create more of these opportunities. And these opportunities are going to bring change to public education, to employment, to community living, and other areas of disability services that are in need of transformation. I can’t wait to see what happens. (Next to Patrick is his mom, Beth, Founder, National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion, KIT Board Member, and total superhero).
And, finally, a highlight for me was having our team together to celebrate the 20th Anniversary and also all the exciting work we have to do together in 2018!
I am kicking off the new year with a vacation, so Fuel Your Passion Friday will be on hiatus for the next two weeks. See you January 19th!
Best wishes for an inclusive 2018!