This week, our nation’s attention has been focused on San Bernardino, California, a town that many Americans may not have even heard of. This is becoming an all-too-common trend. Few people across the country knew about Newtown, Connecticut before the devastating Sandy Hook tragedy, and many did not typically follow Aurora, Colorado in the news before the infamous movie theatre shooting. Now, these towns’ names carry so much meaning in our everyday conversations.
Within the town of San Bernardino, though, at the center of the attack, is the Inland Regional Center, the center that provides vital community-based supports to individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. The attack on this center affected us closely because we work so closely with centers like this to best support the kids we teach, train, and spend time with. While the center remains closed, about 30,000 people with disabilities, young and old, are kept away from a community where they belong, where they are supported, loved, included. There are 21 regional centers like this in California, in total serving 300,000 people with disabilities and their families. KIT has spent significant time working with these centers, learning their strategies and expertise, as we work together to best support all people with disabilities as best we can.
During this time of sadness, anger, fear, and grief, amidst continuing news stories and updates about terrorism and the backstory to the shootings in San Bernardino, please do not forget to keep those most deeply affected by this tragedy in your hearts. Let us find a way to join together as a community to show one another support, and to remind those with disabilities that they are a part of our broader community. Even though the Inland Regional Center, where they have found a community for years, is closed, we are all here for them and are happy to help them in any way they need. To the Inland Regional Center families and communities, our solidarity is with you.
— Written by Elise Hopkins, KIT Blog Writer and Editor
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.