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INTRODUCTION

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), a group made up of over 200 million people representing every country, belief system, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, and ethnicity, continue to be excluded and isolated from their peers in schools, workplaces, and communities around the world. By taking the Pledge to Include and by acting for meaningful inclusion, you can combat the hurtful and dehumanizing effects of exclusion. This toolkit is for Special Olympics and Best Buddies Programs around the world working to promote inclusion in their communities.

Below you will find event ideas, resources, tips for engaging with schools and organizations, communications materials, and more. Use this toolkit to support teachers, Youth Leaders, coaches, advocates, and leaders in schools and workplaces throughout your community.

To learn more about how to write and talk about Spread the Word >> Inclusion and our 2021 theme of Connection view our Core Messaging Toolkit or explore our website at www.spreadtheword.global.

PROVIDE GUIDANCE TO LOCAL SCHOOLS & ORGANIZATIONS

Respectful and inclusive words and actions are essential to the movement for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. You can support schools and organizations in your communities in their efforts to spread inclusion.

PROVIDE SUPPORT TO BEST BUDDIES AND UNIFIED CLUBS AT LOCAL SCHOOLS

Provide club advisors with resources and guidance on getting involved with Spread the Word. Point school communities to our student and educator toolkits.

ORDER SPREAD THE WORD >> INCLUSION MERCHANDISE

U.S. programs can order a pledge banner, t-shirts, and more from our online store at stwstore.global using an affiliate log-in. If you need a new affiliate log-in, follow the instructions on the website or contact us at spreadtheword@specialolympics.org. Programs outside of the U.S. can work with local vendors using the T-shirt designs in our Dropbox.

PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR INCLUSION EVENTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY

  • Provide resources for educating other about inclusion and intellectual disabilities.
  • Provide ideas for activations and events.
  • Coordinate guest speakers from Special Olympics and Best Buddies for in-person and virtual events in your community.
  • Promote partner events on social media. Tag us @PledgeToInclude and use #PledgeToInclude.

YORKTOWN HIGH SCHOOL'S 2020 INCLUSION ASSEMBLY

Students at Yorktown High School hosted an inclusion celebration on Spread the Word's global day of activation. Student-leaders from Yorktown's Best Buddies and Unified Sports clubs worked together and invited other clubs to join in promoting inclusion at their school.

Events like Yorktown's assembly can take place anytime of year, not just on Spread the Word day. These events can also be modified to take place in a virtual setting.

YEAR ROUND ACTIVATION IDEAS

Awareness days, holidays, and special times of year can be a great opportunity for activations at your school. Encourage schools in your area to use these times to focus on specific areas of inclusion and talk about intersectionality. Create social media challenges around these dates.

COMMUNICATIONS

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media is a powerful way to raise awareness for Spread the Word. It allows people to engage in conversations that help change attitudes and drive people to pledge to take their own action for inclusion at www.spreadtheword.global. Use social media to promote local events (in-person and virtual), celebrate inclusion in your community, educate your audience, and connect with schools and organizations.

FACEBOOK

  • Like and follow the Spread the Word >> Inclusion Page
  • Re-share articles, videos, and events from Spread the Word, Special Olympics, and Best Buddies.
  • Ask your audience questions and create opportunities for positive discussion in the comments.
  • Share photos and videos from local events using #pledgetoinclude.
  • Challenge schools and organizations to host a pledge event.

TWITTER

  • Follow @PledgeToInclude @SpecialOlympics and @BestBuddies
  • Retweet posts to your own page.
  • Use #PledgeToInclude when talking about the Spread the Word Campaign or how you are working to make you community more inclusive
  • Tag community and school leaders and challenge them to take the pledge.
  • Create a series of quick tips for promoting inclusion.

INSTAGRAM

  • Follow @PledgeToInclude. Share our Instagram Story Templates on your own page.
  • Challenge your community members to share their stories of inclusion using our social media templates.
  • Post photos or videos from inclusion events in your community.
  • Be sure to tag our account and use #PledgeToInclude.

SHARE OUR SOCIAL MEDIA TEMPLATES WITH YOUR COMMUNITY TO HELP THEM TELL THEIR OWN STORIES OF INCLUSION

SAMPLE TEXT FOR ANY PLATFORM

  • “Be a Fan of Inclusion. Help create opportunities for inclusive activities in your school and take the #PledgetoInclude [@tag local schools]”
  • “We pledge #friendship through our words and actions. Will you [@tag local organizations]? Pledge now at www.spreadtheword.global to create communities of respect for people with intellectual disabilities and #PledgetoInclude”
  • "This March, we are challenging you to celebrate an entire week of inclusion around Spread the Word >> Inclusion day. Share photos from your inclusion week using #pledgetoinclude. [@tag schools and organizations in your area]."

BLOGS & NEWSLETTERS

  • These channels can be powerful storytelling tools. Start conversations about inclusion, intellectual disabilities, sports, and friendship.
  • Use blogs to tell in-depth stories of inclusion in your communities.
  • Highlight individuals or organizations making a difference in your newsletter.

MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

Use our resources including the template press release and letter to the media to connect with your local media organizations. Emphasize the importance of inclusive and representative storytelling.

SHARE STORIES FROM YOUR COMMUNITY

In addition to social media, newsletters, blogs, and local media outlets, share photos and videos from events in your community with us at spreadtheword@specialolympics.org. Do you have a story of inclusion you want to share? Let us know!

PARTNER ENGAGEMENT

REACHING OUT TO PARTNERS

Reach out to organizations in your area asking them to join you in promoting inclusion. See our Partnership Outreach Information document for email templates and examples of how partners can support Spread the Word.

  • Reach out to local talent and organizations who can help spread inclusion in your community.
  • Maintain partnerships from year to year.
  • Provide partners with resources and talking points.

IDEAS FOR PARTNER ENGAGEMENT

  • Ask partners to produce a short video for social media or write a blog post about how inclusion connects to their work.
  • Facilitate collaboration between partner organizations and leaders of the Best Buddies and Special Olympics communities.
  • Attend or host an event.
  • Provide graphics and sample copy for social media and ask partners to promote Spread the Word >> Inclusion.

2021 Resources: Connection Theme, Graphics, and More