Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Disability Awareness Brought to Area Schools with the “Everybody Can” Contest

Pam Thompson (left) from Delta Kappa Gamma, Beta Omicron Chapter and Barb Thompson from The Arc of Delaware County hold one of the winning entries from the Everybody Can contest. This poster was created by Mrs. Bussiere's First Grade Class at Downsville Central School.

Disability awareness is brought to area schools in a fun and challenging way with the “Everybody Can” contest. This contest was created over 5 years ago through a partnership between The Arc of Delaware County (The Arc) and Delta Kappa Gamma’s local chapter, Beta Omicron.  The culmination of the contest occurs in March during Developmental Disability Awareness month when school winners are announced. This year's contest theme was "Everybody Can-Be Included.”  Delaware County students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade are challenged to illustrate how they would include people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in their lives with an essay, PowerPoint or poster entry.  The goal of the contest is to encourage kids to explore how they can help others feel included and valued.

Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is a professional organization of women educators that has over 40 local members representing several of the Delaware County schools. And The Arc of Delaware County is a nonprofit organization that provides resources, programs, and support for over 300 children and adults with disabilities. Together these two organizations have combined their skills and knowledge to offer schools an opportunity learn more about disabilities by offering this contest challenge as well as interactive experiences and presentations at schools and at The Arc’s Day Program sites in Walton and Hamden.

This year Downsville Central School invited The Arc and to make presentations in their Pre-K through 4th grade classes and at their morning assembly.  A different challenge was presented to each class so the children could learn firsthand what it is like for a person with a disability to experience the world and how they adapt and pursue their interests and dreams just as their class peers do.

Mrs. Lisa Sackett who coordinated the contest participation at Downsville Central School said, “I would encourage other schools to do this. It is great character education and teaches that we are all different and we have to accept people for who they are.  When The Arc and Delta Kappa Gamma visited our school, the children loved the activities that taught about diversity. The contest also fits in well with teaching about bullying.”

The winners from this year’s contest include:

Essay: 1st Place-Sophia Piro, 5th Grade, Walton Central School
            2nd Place- Nathan Merwin, 5th Grade, Walton Central School
            3rd Place- Josh Carr, 5th Grade, Walton Central School

Poster: 1st Place- Mrs. Bussiere’s 1st grade class, Downsville Central School
             2nd Place- Mrs. Reed’s Pre-K Class

PowerPoint: 1st Place- Lacey Eckert and Kadence Oblinkski, South Kortright Central School
                     2nd Place- Madison Leaver and Caila Thomas, South Kortright Central School
                     3rd Place- Gracie Taylor, South Kortright Central School

To view photos of winning entries or to learn more about the “Everybody Can” contest visit: www.delarc.org.
Downsville Central School-Mrs. Reed's Pre-K Class 2nd Place poster winner.