Happy Spring & Happy World Down Syndrome Day!
World Down Syndrome Day is a UN-sanctioned holiday that happens every March 21st. It is always a meaningful day for me as my journey to KIT began with a talented 10-year-old boy with Down syndrome. I wrote a short post about it here on the KIT blog three years ago.
Now, onto the week’s news. Many KIT trainers were on the road this week, changing attitudes, practices, and lives all over the world. Jeremy and Greg were together in Germany presenting at an annual conference for child care providers across Europe. Meanwhile, stateside Kat and Viviana were presenting sessions and spreading the word about disability inclusion at the National Afterschool Association convention, held this year in Atlanta.
Kat presented several workshops to packed houses. During this one (pictured above), where Kat was sharing techniques for after school staff to add to their bag of tricks, a woman yelled out spontaneously in the middle of the workshop, “Where have you been all my life?” This is the effect our KIT trainers have on learners.
Kat co-presented a workshop with one of our favorite Advo-KITs (pictured left), Linda Barton, Executive Director of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance (WAA). Their session, Reducing the School-to-Prison Pipeline, shared how WAA’s afterschool programs (and their partnership with KIT) are helping reverse this disturbing reality.
These conferences are a wonderful way for us to expose more people to our mission and message, as well as a good time to connect with our partners and clients. Kat and Vivi spent time with our friends from Boys & Girls Clubs all over the United States who were attending the NAA conference, and after the event was over, they headed to BGCA headquarters to do some work on our partnership activities for the rest of the year.
What a week! I love seeing our KIT trainers fill the room for disability inclusion training because I remember a time in the early days of KIT when I stood in a hallway performing a juggling act to get people’s attention and drum up interest for our session. The fact that people are voluntarily attending training on how to better serve kids with diverse abilities is a huge change in our field. And I am all for it.
Until next week!