Spread The Word Program Adds “Inclusion” Avenue

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.– Special Olympics have put on a program called, “Spread the word to end the word”. This program has focused it’s efforts on ending derogatory use of the “R” word as it pertains to people with disabilities. Today, they were at Susan B. Anthony Elementary School in Sioux Falls.

Efforts with that continue, but they have added a new avenue to the program, inclusion. “We still want to end the R word, but we’ve really made a big impact. So now, we’re changing, just a little bit, and adding that inclusion piece to make sure that kids are including all people of all race, all abilities” said Jessica Kerher, who is a committee member for the “Spread the word” program.

Organizers with Special Olympics know that the little acts of kindness can go a long way.

“Sometimes it’s very simple to do, by just waving. You can really make a big impact on someone just by inviting them to your lunch table, or be kind to them”, said Kerher.

A class at Augustana University was there to help spread that message today. Their professor, Matt Johnson, even had them make a video that showcased the principle of including everyone.

When asking Freshman Michael Schaefer about his favorite part about speaking to the kids today, he said, “Seeing the kids reactions and their love for inclusion, because I mean, everybody knows that elementary school can be tough for a lot of kids, and just including kids is great”.

2nd grader at Susan B. Elementary gave her perspective as well. Even as adults, we can learn a little something from this. She said “If they’re alone you might want to play with them so they don’t feel bad”.

133 schools in South Dakota participate in “Spread the word” programs for Special Olympics. Today alone, they were anticipating that 25,000 students would take the pledge to include others.

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