Walk for Inclusion aims to promote kindness, understanding

7 months 4 days 21 hours ago Saturday, August 31 2019 Aug 31, 2019 Saturday, August 31, 2019 4:00:00 PM CDT August 31, 2019 in News
By: Marcelle Peters, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA — Like most sixth graders, Julianna Basi's favorite part about going to school is hanging out with her friends. But for children with special needs, making friends can be difficult.

"Children in special education are just like children in general education. They really want to have friends, to be included and have social lives," said Amie VanMorlan, the vice president of the Columbia Special Education PTA (SEPTA). "They want to have a place in this world where they are accepted and appreciated for who they are, quirks and all."

Several organizations teamed up to host the first Walk for Inclusion at Cosmo Park on Saturday. More than 200 people attended the event, aimed at raising awareness about different disabilities, promoting inclusion within Columbia schools and in the larger community.

In addition to the walk, several education stations were set up around the park to teach people about the perspectives and experiences people with different abilities have.

Cory Jonak, a third year medical student at the MU School of Medicine, worked at a touch sensitivity booth, which was covered with different types of clothing and textures like sandpaper or bristled sponges. He explained how people with different abilities can experience touch differently.

"For some of us, wearing a sweatshirt could feel really nice and soft, but for kids who have sensitivities to different touches, it could feel like anything from a hard bristled sponge to sandpaper," he said.

To avoid that uncomfortable feeling, people with touch sensitivity sometimes have two or three outfits that they rotate everyday throughout the week.

"It may be odd to some of us who think, 'Why do they only wear two or three outfits?' but to them it's just kind of a mechanism they use to avoid that uncomfortable experience," he explained.

Jonak said understanding different abilities and experiences helps raise awareness so people can feel included, have a better time at school and in life in general because, "happiness is really the key to health."

Sarah Greenlee, a special education teacher with Columbia Public Schools, said the educational booths taught her about tools and techniques she can use to make her classroom more inclusive.

"I've learned about different ways I can include kids with different disabilities, different sensory sensitivities and assistive technology," Greenlee said. "I learned ways we can foster that environment of inclusion and create the culture of kindness that includes everyone."

Several Mizzou athletes representing softball, baseball and track and field lead the Walk for Inclusion around Cosmo Park. Cayla Kessinger, a softball player, said this experience was a "real eye opener."

"It's really cool to come and see different perspective and see how kids interact with other people," Kessinger said. "It's been an awesome experience being able to give back and hang out with them today."

The Walk for Inclusion also served as a fundraiser for SEPTA. At least a dozen prizes and gift baskets were included in a silent auction. Part of the donations will go toward mini grants for teachers to purchase sensory supplies that can make their classrooms more inclusive for children with special needs.

Donations will also go toward a Kindness Club SEPTA is hoping to start up at some Columbia Public Schools, said VanMorlan. The Kindness Club would encourage children in general education to integrate with children in the special education program.

"We hope to create an environment of warmth and acceptance to include these children and we're hoping the kindness will be contagious and spread throughout Columbia Public Schools and into the community," VanMorlan said.

SEPTA will continue to accept donations through its GoFundMe page.

More News

Grid
List
MISSOURI — Missouri will be under a “stay at home” order starting at 12 a.m. Monday. The order, signed by... More >>
28 minutes ago Sunday, April 05 2020 Apr 5, 2020 Sunday, April 05, 2020 2:12:00 PM CDT April 05, 2020 in News
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Every day, grocery workers are restocking toilet paper, eggs, produce and canned goods as fast as... More >>
3 hours ago Sunday, April 05 2020 Apr 5, 2020 Sunday, April 05, 2020 11:17:30 AM CDT April 05, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, April 05 2020 Apr 5, 2020 Sunday, April 05, 2020 9:26:00 AM CDT April 05, 2020 in News
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass without the public, since the traditional ceremony in St. Peter's... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, April 05 2020 Apr 5, 2020 Sunday, April 05, 2020 8:59:10 AM CDT April 05, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - Lucky’s Market will close Tuesday and will later reopen as a Schnucks. Schnucks does not... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 6:07:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri is asking medical professionals who are not working to join a specialized state team that... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 6:00:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The state is working on mobilizing more personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 first responders. Slow... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 3:49:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A cluster of coronavirus cases have been found at a rehabilitation center in Kansas City, Kansas.... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 3:48:23 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY (The Kansas City Star) — The search for the body of a Missouri woman presumed to have been... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 3:34:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The COVID-19 pandemic is defining for the globe what's essential and what things we really can't go without,... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 3:30:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia is acknowledging the financial hardships individuals and families may be facing during the COVID-19... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 2:56:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -Dieticians know there are challenges when buying groceries and making meals at home during a statewide "stay-at-home" order. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 11:48:00 AM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- People drove up one-by-one to drop off bread on Saturday to help local senior centers. The bread... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 10:45:00 AM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
COLLUMBIA -- Walmart will limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once and scale back... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 9:59:00 AM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, April 04 2020 Apr 4, 2020 Saturday, April 04, 2020 9:00:00 AM CDT April 04, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who was driving a boat when a handcuffed... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 9:47:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Julia Griffin is in the same situation as millions of Americans. She doesn’t know when she’ll be able... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 03 2020 Apr 3, 2020 Friday, April 03, 2020 6:33:00 PM CDT April 03, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 48°
3pm 52°
4pm 54°
5pm 54°
6pm 54°