Hudson -- In a world of square pegs trying to fit into a round-hole world, March is the month to learn understanding, tolerance and friendship about others who may be different.
Mayor William Currin signed a proclamation March 6 declaring Hudson's participation in March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which focuses on education and understanding.
Families, friends, neighbors and co-workers should take time to learn more about developmental disabilities and acknowledge contributions by every individual around them, according to the Hudson proclamation presented March 6 to Bonnie Binns from Summit Developmental Disabilities.
The focus is on the abilities of all people and to increase awareness through active participation in community activities, Currin read in his proclamation.
Hudson City School District has many on-going programs that provide its students with a heightened awareness, help develop understanding and teach inclusion of students with disabilities, said Sheryl Sheatzley, communications manager for the Hudson City School District. Programs include the Integrated Preschool Program, Auto Be Good, The Leader In Me, Rachel's Challenge, speakers with disabilities, Autism Awareness, bullying programs, 40 Developmental Assets of Children, Respecting Diversity and Resiliency Programs.
"The Hudson City School District believes in developing the potential of each child," Sheatzley said. "Every day we learn from our students who are confronted with learning and other physical disabilities. They are our greatest teachers. The Hudson School District is proud of the commitment of our staff and students to recognize and support the abilities of adults and children with disabilities."
During the month it is a time to look for ways citizens with developmental disabilities can function more independently and productively in the community with full access to education, housing, employment and recreational activities, according to the proclamation.
Summit DD is celebrating March by launching its "Get the Facts" campaign to raise awareness, according to Billie Jo David, director of communications and quality.
During March, get acquainted with someone who has a developmental disability, talk to a friend or neighbor about the importance of inclusion, visit Summit DD website www.sumittdd.org or its Facebook page, or attend an open house, David said.
"Get the Facts" encourages people to understand that when people with disabilities are welcomed into local neighborhoods, workplaces and schools -- communities are stronger, David said.
"There are a lot of misconceptions out there about people with developmental disabilities," said Tom Armstrong, Summit DD superintendent. "Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month allows Summit DD to provide the facts and celebrate the talents of the individuals we serve. We believe that everyone has the right to work, live and learn as equal citizens in their community."
The Hudson City School District is also cooperating with Summit County DD on their new disabilities awareness program, Sheatzley said. In addition, with generous grants from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, the Hudson High School students with special needs operate the Sweet Sensations Cafe. The Hudson City School District also has a handicap accessible playground located at Ellsworth Elementary that is used by the entire community.
The County of Summit Developmental Disabilities Board is a levy-funded agency that provides services to more than 4,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in Summit County.
It is the organization's mission to offer a lifetime of services and supports to eligible individuals and families that enable people with developmental disabilities to work, live, and learn as equal citizens in their communities. More information regarding the agency is available online at www.summitdd.org.