'Welcomes' people with developmental disabilities as neighbors and community members
By the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities
The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities announced a statewide multimedia community inclusion campaign Wednesday to "welcome" people of all abilities. The new campaign launches in conjunction with opening day at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, and will include an interactive online component for people all across the state to participate.
The campaign, called "Welcome," is aimed at spreading awareness and acceptance of people with developmental disabilities in communities across New York. The "Welcome"campaign encourages everyone to help "plant the seeds of community inclusion" by reaching out to people with different abilities in their neighborhoods, making them feel truly "welcome," and a part of the community, by inviting them to take part as community members, volunteers and partners.
Under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's leadership, state agencies serving people with disabilities have accomplished significant reforms, including helping people transition from institutional settings to more appropriate, community-based supports and opportunities.
"Across the state, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are spending more time in the same jobs, classes, clubs and other activities as their peers without disabilities," said OPWDD Acting Commissioner Kerry A. Delaney. "By extending a warm welcome and offering support and friendship, we can learn from one another and grow together. That's what the 'Welcome' campaign is all about, planting the seeds of community inclusion to make sure that people of all abilities feel welcome."
Visitors to the OPWDD display in the Science and Industry Building at the NYS Fair in Syracuse, which runs Thursday through Sept. 5, will receive a seed packet to help "plant the seeds of community inclusion" and be encouraged to write a welcome message on a postcard that will be shared on social media and with people living in their community. People can also participate at www.opwdd.ny.gov/welcome beginning Thursday and throughout the rest of the year by filling out a digital postcard or using one of the several toolkit items provided, such as a Facebook or Twitter banner, a window sign, by posting their own "Welcome" message on social media or by sharing the "Welcome" video featuring the band Flame performing the "Welcome" song by Phil Collins from the "Brother Bear" soundtrack. (Special thanks to Universal Studios.)