March 22, 2011

by: Tammy Gibson Willet

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5613, which established National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Additionally, the Senate passed a resolution that designates March 25, 2011 as ‘National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day.’

UCP of Greater Cleveland and all its members work together every day to empower children and adults with disabilities to advance their independence, productivity and inclusion in the community. You can celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness month by giving your time, talent and resources. Make March a special month, encouraging people with disabilities to work toward their own dreams and raise awareness and understanding within local communities.

Here are just a few ways you can help:

  • Volunteer at UCP of Greater Cleveland or another agency in your community that serves individuals with developmental disabilities. Contact Sharon at szaidenras@ucpcleveland.org for volunteer opportunities.
  • There are dynamic conversations happening at all levels of government relating to issues for people with disabilities. Read more about those issues and contact your local, state or national representative to let your voice be heard. These websites are great places to start: www.disability.gov, The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council, The Disability Network of Ohio and The Disability Policy Collaboration.
  • Consider hiring an individual with a disability at your business, or talk to your human resources department about hiring individuals with disabilities. Share research that cites how individuals with disabilities can enrich and contribute to your place of employment. A great place to start is Think Beyond the Label.
  • Talk to your children and family about inclusion and integrating individuals with developmental disabilities into their classroom, sports, church and circle of friends. Remember to focus on abilities–what individuals CAN do. Google “Talking to your kids about disability” for resources or you can start at Disability World.
  • Donate to UCP in honor of a loved one during the month of March, letting them know how important their life is and that you care about the civil rights movement for people with disabilities. To make a secure, online gift, click on the Donate Now button at the top of the webpage.

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