On March 4, White Rock’s Peace Arch Elementary and St. John Paul II Academy joined White Rock RCMP Constable Chantal Sears to create a more inclusive, stronger world. They participated in the Spread the Word>>Inclusion global awareness day, and promised to always practice respect and acceptance.
With the help and guidance of Cst. Sears, White Rock students made the pledge to spread inclusion, and joined the roster of schools throughout the province and planet who have stepped up to make inclusion a part of their curriculum and beyond that, their lifestyle.
“It was really well received by everyone and definitely made a positive impact with a ripple effect,” Sears told the Peach Arch News. “The student leaders at both schools were amazing [at] teaching their peers about kindness and inclusion.”
Cst. Sears was joined by Special Olympics BC – Surrey athlete Ivy Snow, who shared with the students her experience working at a local business and being involved in the community as a volunteer and athlete.
“They were so excited to hear from Ivy and all (the) abilities she had – from working at a local Starbucks, volunteering and her athletic achievements through SOBC for swimming and bowling,” Sears told the Peace Arch News.
Students also took turns signing two Spread the Word posters while sporting their blue inclusion bracelets. Each signature solidified the pledges each student made that day, such as being a friend, giving everyone a voice, and celebrating differences.
“I’m really proud of everyone who led, participated and pledged!” Cst. Sears told the Peace Arch News.
We are so proud of every school and student that supported Spread the Word>>Inclusion on and around this year’s awareness day, including:
- Jaffray Elementary School
- Mount Baker Secondary School, Cranbrook
- Lambrick Park Secondary School, Saanich
- Peace Arch Elementary, White Rock
- St. John Paul II Academy, White Rock
A big thank you to Cst. Chantal Sears, SOBC – Surrey athlete Ivy Snow, and community leaders all over who help SOBC share the positive impact of inclusion!
Thank you everyone who participated in the #PledgetoIncludeSOBC photo contest and a big congratulations to our winner, Outi Divin! We appreciate all who shared their stories and photos of inclusion. Thank you for helping Spread the Word!
We are incredibly grateful to our supporters that have been active in sharing the message of the Spread the Word>>Inclusion awareness day via social media. Led by the Vancouver Canucks and forward Brandon Sutter, the Canucks for Kids Fund, Travis Lulay of the BC Lions, and SOBC Youth Engagement Project leaders, these champions are changing the world for the better.
The annual Spread the Word>>Inclusion awareness day helps bring attention to the Spread the Word>>Inclusion initiative created by grassroots youth leaders and supported by Special Olympics and Best Buddies. This movement recognizes the exclusion and discrimination people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities face every day, and is determined to better communities, schools, and workplaces through the simple act of inclusion.
Starting out as Spread the Word to End the Word, the movement initially focused on eliminating the use of the R-word, calling attention to the detrimental impact this language had on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The campaign has now expanded to emphasize the benefits of an inclusive community – not just eliminating the R-word, but creating empowering friendship and respect through those small acts of everyday inclusion that every individual is capable of.
Spread the Word has been changing the outlook on inclusion for more than a decade. To date, more than 800,000 people have taken the pledge.
The Spread the Word>>Inclusion campaign can be used anytime throughout the year – online or in person – to increase inclusion and respect for individuals with intellectual disabilities in your school, community, and/or workplace. Please contact SOBC Community Development Coordinator Sydney Hall at email@example.com or 250-570-1455 for resources and support.
Article authored by Mackenzie Mowat, Kwantlen Polytechnic University