The last fiscal year at KIT was a big one, full of exciting new endeavors that are going to help us expand our impact and support more and more inclusive programs across the world. This week, as we wrap up our 2014 impact report, we have a collection of stories, written by various staff members here at KIT to give you an idea of what kept us busy during our phenomenal year. Enjoy!
By Janet George, KIT Education & Training Specialist
KIT trainers have the privilege of visiting youth programs around the world; meeting people, delivering training, observing best practices, making practical suggestions, offering resources, etc… There are so many aspects to the job it would take a full page to list them. One of my favorite aspects is the “aha” moments, the times when the light bulb clicks on and the learner “gets it”. I facilitated a new training module, “Responding to Aggressive Behavior” recently; one of the learning activities involves an intentionally frustrating, difficult task using M & Ms and toothpicks. As the task goes along we offer miniature marshmallows to make the task easier, more achievable. The follow-up discussion likens the marshmallows to new skills and strategies for the providers as well as strategies and supports to help children be more successful. One learner shared after the training that she plans on “Finding children’s marshmallows”. I love those connections and ahas!
The Farm Institute on Martha’s Vineyard
By Kathryn King , KIT Education & Training Specialist
Electric fences. Tractors. Bulls. These are just a few of the unique issues KIT was asked to address during a summer camp staff training this past June. KIT Trainer Kat King navigated two planes, three buses, and ferry to reach The Farm Institute on Martha’s Vineyard. She spent a packed day training the Farm-Based Educators (FBEs) on inclusive practices in a historic barn complete with a walk-in meat smoker and baby swallows in the eaves. A highlight was walking the grounds with the staff while brainstorming visual supports and other accommodations to meet the diverse needs of campers in a farm setting. KIT has already been asked back to train again this coming June.
“We’re in the last week of camp…ready for the break but it has been a really good summer. While we didn’t get to all the accommodations you suggested, it was definitely an inclusive summer. The young man that Tim had so much trouble with last summer spent two full weeks here without a meltdown or bad day. And lots of other good things too. Tim said that your training did more for the staff than three days of [their standard] orientation to child development, teaching styles etc. etc.” – Farm Institute Staff Member
KIT Expands into Los Angeles
This year KIT joined forces with All Kids Inc (AKI), in a collaboration supported by Sea Change Capital Partners. All Kids Inc. has been providing training on inclusion to Los Angeles area child and youth programs since 2007. By working together, KIT and AKI will be able to deepen impact and serve more programs. In Spring of 2014, AKI dissolved its non-profit status and transferred the remaining assets to KIT. Becky Tschirgi, previously of AKI, has joined the KIT team and is coordinating KIT services in Los Angeles. If you would like to support KIT in Los Angeles, San Diego and around the world please visit KITonline.org/donate.
KIT Headquarters Get a Refresh!
At a KIT fundraiser in late 2012, a woman approached KIT’s CEO and said, “I want to help! I am an interior designer. Is there anything I can do to help?” The answer to this simple question started as helping to select carpet and paint and turned into a complete redesign of the KIT headquarters office and training center in San Diego donated by Linda Medina of Linda Medina Design. The new office space features our Education Hub and a KIT Café for the staff and their guests. If you want to see our new digs, please come for a visit! We are all so grateful to Linda for her help in creating a space that reflects KIT’s mission and vision.
Letter from the CEO
Torrie Dunlap, Chief Executive Officer
An easy way to connect to KIT’s mission is to think about a time in your own life when you have been excluded. Most of us have had the experience of not being accepted, and we know the difference between that feeling and what it feels like to belong – to be appreciated for who you are. In 2011 the World Health Organization and the World Bank produced a report on disability. The report stated that children with disabilities are among the most marginalized and excluded children in the world. KIT sees a world where children of all abilities meaningfully participate in all aspects of community life. We strive for a world where differences are appreciated, unique talents are leveraged, and everyone’s lives are made richer by living in a diverse society. The more people we teach, the more people there are advocating for the rights of children with disabilities and creating community environments where everyone belongs. This is the KIT mission!
We believe the best way for you to understand what we do at KIT is to read our stories, but there is more information if you’d like it! To read more about the impact we had last year through our digital impact report, please click here.
–Written by KIT Staff
Kids Included Together (KIT) is a non-profit located in San Diego, CA and Washington, DC. We help make the world a more inclusive place by providing live and online training to people who work with kids. We teach strategies, accommodations and best practices to include kids with and without disabilities in before & after school programs. Inclusive environments create stronger communities. Learn more about our work at www.KITonline.org.