The National Inclusion Project is pleased to announce its 2010 Champions Honorees, with awards to be presented at its annual Champions Gala Benefit Celebration. The benefit and awards dinner will be held at 5 PM on Saturday, October 16, 2010, at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Champions are selected by the National Inclusion Project for their substantive efforts to ensure no child sits on the sidelines, supporting the Project’s mission of opening doors for all children to be included together and experience all that life has to offer.
This year’s honorees are:
PepsiCo EnAble champions inclusion for people with different abilities and their caregivers. In line with PepsiCo’s values and talent-sustainability goals, EnAble seeks to promote physical, technological, and cultural opportunities to “EnAble” their people to realize their fullest potential. With a global reach both inside and outside of PepsiCo, EnAble leads by positive example, engaging hearts and minds to raise awareness and connect with all people – associates, customers, and consumers alike. Through many partnerships such as those with Guiding Eyes for the Blind and Walgreens, as well as their own Accessible Technology initiative and Inclusive Advertising focus, PepsiCo EnAble is leading the way in real, measurable and practical ways to make a difference for all people they touch. Massimo d’Amore, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverage says, “EnAble’s mission is truly the ultimate expression of Performance with Purpose…it is about recognizing the full potential, not only of everyone at PepsiCo, but also our consumers and business partners.”
I Am Norm
In January 2010, twenty young people, with and without disabilities, flew from various locations across the United States to meet each other for the very first time in Washington, DC. In just one weekend, they designed a campaign in hopes of bringing about that change. Through this campaign, they hope to raise awareness about inclusion, provide opportunities for youth to share their ideas about inclusion, and promote inclusive practices in schools and communities. They want to encourage the acceptance, respect, and full inclusion of all youth, including those with disabilities, in schools and communities through an initiative designed by young people. Their work is driven by a Youth Inclusion Taskforce and supported by a coalition of youth-serving partner organizations.
Andrew Carson, Ben Smalley, Collin Shepley, Daniel Epting, Dylan Wilson, John Hadden, John Harmon, Jason Hees, Kevin Weir, Logan Smalley, and Sam Johnson
In 2005, eleven college friends decided to take their 15-year-old pal, Darius Weems, who had never left his hometown, on the adventure of a lifetime. Cameras were rolling as they left Athens, Georgia, and headed west for Los Angeles, California with three goals in mind: to raise awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the disease Darius has, to test wheelchair accessibility across the country, and to convince MTV's popular show "Pimp My Ride" to customize Darius' wheelchair. Despite the fact that this "band of brothers" had no film-making experience, their resulting documentary, Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life, has won 28 film festival awards. Its powerful message of friendship, inclusion, and how young people can make a difference has earned this film-turned-grassroots-movement a fan base of hundreds of thousands across the globe. To date, the documentary has raised nearly $2 million for DMD research. Please welcome part of the Darius Goes West crew.
The Champions Gala will feature a special performance by Clay Aiken, as well as dinner, and silent and live auctions, in support of the National Inclusion Project’s programs for all children.
A mother of a son who benefited from an inclusive camp experience this summer said, “There are no words to explain what it has meant for her son, who has never truly felt a sense of belonging to be recogonized for who he is.” She continued, “What is the saddest thing is that he never expects to be recognized, because being overlooked is a way of life for him. I have never seen him look so sure of himself and so happy.”
We invite you to join us in honoring our outstanding Champions, and in celebrating the National Inclusion Project’s impact on improving the lives of children and families across the country. Individual tickets and tables are available for purchase at www.inclusionproject.org.