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Organize a celebration of people with disabilities in your community

You may not even know it, but the contributions of disabled people in your own community are probably huge. Host an event to celebrate and show the community’s appreciation for their achievements. Here are few tips to get started –

If you don’t directly know disabled people in your community, do some research and reaching out. Approach other area schools, recreation centers, rehab facilities, work places, and ask them if they would like to nominate anyone they know to be honored.

When and where
Pick a night to host a celebration of these achievements. Choose a weekend night or a night when you know most people will be able to come. Then, talk to someone at school about getting a room or an auditorium for the event. Can’t do it at school? Think about other community spaces that might want to host this kind of an event (synagogues, churches, YMCA, local rec centers, day camp facilities, etc.) and ask them if they would be willing to give their space for the evening.

The event will be a time to share stories of overcoming difficulty and doing great things. This could be securing a great job, running a 5k, or giving back to the community in some way.

Try to get pictures and videos of the people you are celebrating. Put together a slide show or show the video that night. Ask local disabled people to share their experiences and ask people who know them or work with them to introduce them, and talk about how a particular person has inspired them.

Get the word out
Spread the word through school, social networking sites and after-school and weekend activities. Create a flier or an animated email that will grab people’s attention. Let them know why it’s important to you and what they will get out of the night (like inspiration and appreciation)

What am I forgetting
As always, the crowd will probably come hungry and snagging a few treats is a great way to keep them in their seats. Enlist your friends to ask local caterers, vendors, and grocery stores to donate what you need and participate in the event. Write up a program and don’t forget to credit everyone who has given items or food in the program.
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