Spread the Word is an annual campaign spearheaded by Best Buddies and Special Olympics to inspire respect and acceptance by advocating for inclusive words and actions so we can end discrimination of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

What started as an effort to end the use of the word “retarded” has blossomed into a movement that promotes respect and inclusion for everyone. The official day worldwide is March 3, but in the past we have made the day meaningful, inclusive and engaging for the entire school community through an entire week of activities, featuring the Special Olympics basketball assembly and the Best Buddies pledge to include.

COVID-19 has shown the effects that isolation and exclusion can have on all of us individually, as a community, as a country, and as a global community. This year, Spread the Word recognizes the need to build connections and ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. We believe that it is more important than ever to build connection through inclusion. Though the tools we use to connect may have changed, our shared need for connection does not.

Join OPRF Best Buddies and Special Olympics in our celebration of friendship and acceptance the week of March 1-5. Please follow @oprfbestbuddies and @oprfspecialolympics on Instagram for more information and to get involved. Will you take the pledge to include?

Lauren Arends, Oak Park

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