INDIANAPOLIS -- People with disabilities, community organizations, schools and workplaces will join together during March for a statewide celebration.
Proclaimed as Disability Awareness Month by Gov. Mitch Daniels, March activities will include, among others, community events, educational programming and library presentations to increase awareness and promote independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities in Indiana.
Led by the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities, this year's Disability Awareness Month, themed, "Cultivate Inclusion," will encourage Hoosiers to embrace the differences of adults and children with disabilities, a group representing slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana's population.
The Council facilitates Disability Awareness Month by providing free information and activity planning packets that assist individuals in planning everything from disability focused art contests to increasing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) awareness in a business.
Additionally, the council offers free theme-specific materials, including posters, bookmarks and stickers, for Hoosiers who want to help build awareness of the contributions people with disabilities make within the communities where they live and work.
This year's campaign materials feature people of different ages, ethnicities and abilities -- working together to plant a colorful urban flower garden. The text encourages everyone to contribute to not only a beautiful community, but an inclusive community, by being open to the unique gifts of others.
All campaign materials are sponsored by Duke Energy.
"Our goal is to reach every community in the state to raise awareness of the positive contributions people with disabilities have made throughout the state of Indiana," Council Executive Director Suellen Jackson-Boner said. "We hope this year's theme, 'Cultivate Inclusion,' will encourage Hoosiers to embrace people with disabilities as valued members of our communities."
In 2010, the campaign directly reached nearly 75,000 people through grassroots efforts, special events and educational programming.
To learn more about March Disability Awareness Month, visit indianadisabilityawareness.org.
For more information about the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities, log on to www.in.gov/gpcpd.