March is a special time to recognize the wonderful and unique people that we are privileged to serve at St. Coletta of Wisconsin.
Each year we partake in a variety of activities to celebrate March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, including a special awareness campaign, banner signing, a custom-designed T-shirt, and a pledge by families, staff, clients and the community at large to be more inclusive in our words and actions. Organizations such as Special Olympics and Best Buddies originated the Spread the Word campaign as a global movement to promote inclusion in the workplace, schools and community.
St. Coletta is celebrating Jim, who resides in Fort Atkinson. Jim retired in 2013 when he held jobs in the community at the Fireside Dinner Theatre and St. Coletta in Jefferson. But while he is retired, he is by no means sedentary. He enjoys making outdoor garden crafts and selling them at the Fort Farmers Market and he volunteers weekly at St. Coletta.
In addition, Jim also serves as an Adult Scout Volunteer in the Glacier’s Edge Council and is a dedicated Knight of Columbus at No. 3396 Father Alfred P. Endres Council in Fort Atkinson.
He recently was awarded Knight of the Month for all his work to promote the Knights events, sell raffle tickets and work each year at the Knights’ Tootsie Roll drive. Jim is living a truly inclusive and full life within the community and he makes the community a better place.
“Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), a group made up of over 200 million people — representing every country, belief system, gender and ethnicity — continue to be excluded and isolated from their peers in schools, workplaces and communities. You can combat the hurtful and dehumanizing effects of exclusion. These past few years, we have all seen the effects that isolation and exclusion can have on us individually and as a community.
“A pandemic, physical distancing, disruptions of social interaction, and more have both energized us and exhausted us. They have separated and divided us. They have disconnected us from each other. And when we are disconnected, we are robbed of the opportunity to learn and grow together.” — www.spreadtheword.global.resources.
Inclusion is a skill that each of us can learn and practice. It builds togetherness through difference and community through adversity. Make it a personal priority to see others, hear others and value others through inclusion.
Join St. Coletta, Special Olympics and Best Buddies to encourage all areas of community inclusion — homes, employment, education, recreation and healthy living. Let’s celebrate inclusion and the opportunity to be together. — Contributed.