Track The Movement Summer 2019
In the St. Mary’s and area we have created an inclusion group called Include2Improve. Include2Improve is a group of youth who are looking to develop ideas in order to promote efforts of inclusion in our society. We take action by making issues surrounding inclusion in our culture, known to all communities and organizations. Currently our group has approximately 10 motivated youth from around our county that want to make a positive impact in our communities. After the last Re:Action4Inclusion Summit in 2017, we created this group and we are still going strong.
We have been busy and have accomplished a lot over the last two years. First, we organized an Easter egg hunt and partnered with the St. Mary’s youth centre. We wanted to attract youth and came up with the idea of hosting an egg hunt at our community center. We chose a few of our group’s members to go and talk to the head of the St Mary’s youth centre and to get them to join our team as a partner for the event. The group made a presentation about Include2Improve, what we stand for, and the importance of inclusion and autism awareness. People who came out collected plastic eggs that had facts about inclusion or autism inside. At the end of the hunt, they would tell us something they learned and received a little bag of chocolates. It was a very successful event and we received just over 100$ in donations to donate to the Huron-Perth Autism group.
We also received the United Way Huron-Perth youth grant. We used this grant to bring Michael Jacques, a Re:Action4Inclusion alumni and author to our community to talk about his story and ideas for change. His book, Can’t read, Can’t write, Here’s My Book was popular at the schools we visited. We are very excited to see what else we can do around the community.
Are you interested in starting a youth-led movement in your community?
When starting out as group, you will find some challenges when trying to implement ideas. Too many people are afraid of change. They are afraid that if something were to go wrong they will be held responsible. That is one of the biggest barriers there is to overcome. So our group has had to learn how to work with allies in our community to do activities or host events that include our ideas but that meet their needs too.
Another barrier we’ve faced, is overcoming what people think of you. As an advocate for change, you might feel worried about whether you will be judged for what you do, or for your ideas even if you feel that it’s the right thing to do. It is easy to make a difference once you have overcome those barriers and worry less about the opinions of others. It is amazing to stand up for something that you believe in and support.
Our group has been an amazing experience for me. I have met so many people who want to make a change. I believe that we all need to overcome the social boundaries in the community and accept everyone the same. I have made some amazing new friends and I’m so glad that I decided to make the difference. We have so much further to go and with everyone’s hard work, we are going to make a difference!
Eva Notebomer, Include2Improve and R4I Youth Advisory Committee Member