Loading

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 students who would like to activate on inclusion in their schools. Below you will find event ideas, social media captions, and more so that you and your friends can engage every day of the year on inclusion. To learn more about how to write and talk about Spread the Word >> Inclusion, view our Core Messaging Toolkit or explore our website at www.spreadtheword.global.

ACT FOR INCLUSION

Respectful and inclusive words and actions are essential to the movement for the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. Students can take these actions to make their schools and communities inclusive for all, whether in-person or online.

GATHER A TEAM: Who can help make your community more inclusive?

  • If your school doesn't have one yet, start a Special Olympics or Best Buddies club.
  • Reach out to your Special Olympics or Best Buddies advisor, a teacher, or school administrator and ask them to support you in promoting inclusion.
  • Gather a group of students from sports teams, student government, service organizations, or other clubs focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Build a team of people dedicated to planning and carrying out ideas for inclusion at your school. Plan events and work to change social norms that exclude.
  • Discuss what inclusion means and looks like with Inclusion Tiles from Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. As you create your inclusion journey, think about the ways your journey may be different from a friend's or a classmate's.

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.

HOST AN EVENT: Bring your school community together to promote inclusion!

  • Work with your team and clubs at your school to host an assembly or pep rally for inclusion, or plan an inclusion week. You can host an event on Zoom, create a video, or use social media when in-person gatherings aren’t possible. View this guide from Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools for more ideas for virtual events.
  • Unified Sports and Best Buddies Clubs are a great place to start but consider bringing other clubs in that focus on inclusive practices such as racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, culture, mental health, and more. Check out the video from Yorktown High School to see how you can involve other clubs!
  • Promote your event using posters, flyers, and social media posts. Ask school administrators to help get the word out. Find Templates Here.
  • Share why it is important to Pledge to Include. Have students and community members sign the banner or take the pledge online at www.spreadtheword.global/pledge.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS MONTENEGRO'S SPREAD THE WORD ACTIVATION

Youth from Special Olympics Montenegro gathered for a Pledge to Include event on Spread the Word Day 2020.

TAKE ACTION EVERY DAY: Look out for those who may be excluded or left out.

  • Invite them to join you for lunch.
  • Try to get to know them.
  • Welcome them. Be a friend. Be a teammate.
  • Be a leader. Teach others why inclusion matters.

SOCIAL MEDIA

A REVOLUTION FROM YOUR PHONE

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. Here are some ideas for using social media channels to start discussions about inclusion:

FACEBOOK

  • Like and follow the Spread the Word >> Inclusion Page
  • Re-share articles, videos, and events and your own narrative on inclusion. Contribute to positive discussions in the comments.
  • Post on your own page inviting friends to take the #pledgetoinclude.
  • Share your own story of inclusion with photos from Special Olympics or Best Buddies events.

TWITTER

  • Follow @PledgeToInclude @SpecialOlympics and @BestBuddies
  • Retweet posts to your own page. Include your own words.
  • Use #PledgeToInclude when talking about the Spread the Word Campaign or how you are working to make you community more inclusive
  • Tag friends and community leaders and challenge them to take the Pledge.

INSTAGRAM

  • Follow @PledgeToInclude
  • Join discussions in the comments or share posts to your own page or story.
  • Post photos or videos from school, Best Buddies, or Special Olympics events and talk about why inclusion is important to you.
  • Be sure to tag our account and use #PledgeToInclude.

BLOGS, TIKTOK, AND MORE

  • These channels can be powerful storytelling tools. There are conversations taking place every day about inclusion, people with intellectual disabilities, sports, or friendship.
  • Find a topic you care about and share your perspective. Engage online communities and spread the word about inclusion.
  • Keep interactions respectful and moving forward by always encouraging people to join in taking the pledge to include.

USE OUR SOCIAL MEDIA TEMPLATES TO HELP SHARE YOUR STORY

SAMPLE TEXT FOR ANY PLATFORM

  • “I just took the #pledgetoinclude to make the world a more accepting and inclusive place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I hope you will pledge too! www.spreadtheword.global”
  • “Be a Fan of Inclusion. Help create opportunities for inclusive activities in our school and take the #PledgetoInclude [@tag clubs at your school]”
  • “I pledge #friendship through my words and actions. Will you [@tag your friends]? Pledge now at www.spreadtheword.global to create communities of respect for people with intellectual disabilities and #PledgetoInclude”

ONLINE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING

TIPS FOR RESPONDING TO HURTFUL COMMENTS ONLINE:

  • It is important to keep yourself safe. If you feel like you need to, hide negative accounts from your feed.
  • If you see bullying or negative comments online, respond with positivity and information. Lead with compassion and kindness. Arm yourself with your honest feelings. Try to foster understanding.
  • Use those comments as an opportunity to engage the person in conversation. Prepare a few lines of text expressing why inclusive words and actions matter to you. Have it ready to engage in positive conversation. We cannot effect change without confronting the attitudes we hope to change.
  • Most people will respond to this positively. Those who don’t, brush it off! It's likely they’ve heard your message and it sticks with them – maybe they will pledge to include next year! You know why you care about inclusion, so keep going.

RESOURCES FOR ONLINE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING

YEAR-ROUND ACTIVATION IDEAS

Awareness days, holidays, and special times of year can be a great opportunity for activations at your school. Use the times to focus on specific areas of inclusion and to work together with your whole school community.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

STUDENT TOOLKIT VIDEO GUIDE

Will and Alex, the organizers of last year's event at Yorktown High School, share their tips and tricks for getting the most out of the resources in this toolkit!