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National Inclusion Project: Philosophies and Programs

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch • updated: 9/11/2012

The National Inclusion Project is an organization that promotes the inclusion of children with special needs in community and classroom programs throughout the United States. Learn more about the background of this organization, the inclusion programs available, and the ways to contribute services.

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    About This Organization

    The National Inclusion Project was founded in 2003 by Diane Bubel, mother of a boy with autism, and singer/entertainer Clay Aiken, who once worked as a tutor for Diane's son. The organization's primary mission is to give all children with disabilities the chance to fully participate in school, summer camp, and community living. The National Inclusion Project helps youth organizations such as the YMCA, 4H, and the Boys and Girls Club establish programs through which all children can play and learn with one another.

    This North Carolina-based organization has formed partnerships with several prominent child development centers, including Johns Hopkins University’s National Center for Summer Learning, the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.

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    Let's ALL Play

    Let's ALL Play is an inclusive recreational program that allows children with physical, emotional, intellectual, and behavioral disabilities to join typical children in summertime fun. The Let's ALL Play program provides the funding and staff training needed to implement the full inclusion of all children in activities such as arts and crafts, sports, swimming, and drama classes. This program is available to both publicly and privately-run camps and organizations.

    Since its inception in 2004, this program has helped numerous children with special needs to improve their social and gross motor skills. In turn, typical children attending these summer camps learn to accept and feel compassion for those with differences.

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    Together We Make A Difference

    Together We Make A Difference is a service learning curriculum program offered to schools through the National Inclusion Project in conjunction with the Institute on Community Integration. This seven-lesson curriculum package offers teachers, children with disabilities, and typical children the opportunity to learn and work together in providing needed services to their communities.

    The goal of the Together We Make A Difference program is to promote a sense of teamwork and inclusion among all group members participating in community projects. The curriculum provides detailed instruction on choosing a project, developing a service plan, and maximizing the potential of each individual involved.

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    Getting Involved

    People who wish to contribute to the National Inclusion Project through volunteering, raising awareness, or donating can get involved in the following ways:

    --Join a Beta Alpha network. Beta Alpha networks are volunteer groups located throughout the United States that fund-raise and increase awareness of inclusion within individual communities.

    --Purchase books and DVDs. The National Inclusion Project offers the book Our Friend Mikayla and the film Including Samuel, each of which tells the story of a child with special needs benefiting from inclusion. Share these stories with friends and loved ones as a way to promote the organization's mission.

    --Participate in Wrapping For Inclusion. This annual holiday fundraising program gives volunteers the opportunity to wrap gifts for merchants and patrons of community shopping malls.

    --Make a financial contribution. Donate a tax-deductible sum of money to the organization by submitting a contribution form online or through the mail.

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    The National Inclusion Project is a solid example of an organization that strives to promote diversity and inclusion. Their mission is one that greatly benefits not only children with disabilities, but also typical children and families as a whole.

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    National Inclusion Project homepage--