The Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF) has launched CPF’s “Just Say Hi” campaign in public schools across the country, focused on furthering the inclusion of students with disabilities in schools.
The program uses CPF’s “Just Say Hi” campaign as an innovative starting point for creating discussions about inclusion and for developing effective approaches to creating an effective learning environment. Students not only create their own “Just Say Hi” campaigns, but also follow a curriculum and multi-faceted lesson plans developed in partnership with The Child Study Center at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital of New York at NYU Langone.
The original campaign answers the question, “How do you start a conversation with someone who has a disability?” with the simple thought of “Just Say Hi.” Spots feature dozens of well-known celebrities, from William H. Macy to Gayle King, John Oliver, Joe Girardi, Rosanna Scotto, and Tim Cook. The phrase “Just Say Hi” is now even part of Siri.
Here at LittleWins, we believe this is important across everyday scenarios. If it’s hard to imagine, try to picture yourself in someone else’s shoes. What would you hope someone would say to you? It’s that simple, just “hi”. We’ve all had a moment where maybe we felt like we were completely disregarded, did not fit in, blend in, or even worse where we felt we are not accepted. I’ve been there so many times. All I wanted was to be welcomed, even if a part of me was different. Maybe I didn’t wear the “right” thing or come with the credentials, but so what? What I recognized, well before I had a child with a disability, is that at our core, we are all the same. I could go on all day about all the many things I think get in the way of accepting each other, but I’ll save it for a rainy day. If you take anything away today, take this- no matter who you are, we all simply want to be welcomed just the way we are. We are but only, a bunch of people trying to get through our days, and all the things that it entails. When you meet someone with a disability, hell if you meet someone who doesn’t fit the mold of whatever it is you thought was “normal;” do yourself and everyone else a favor, just say, “hi”. It is so simple. You never know; you may meet your next best friend, buisness partner, lover, or even just another human seeking real connection, just like you.
In a time of what I like to call newness rather than uncertainty, we have an incredible opportunity to begin again. A chance to leave behind old ways of doing things that no longer serve us as a collective population, so that we can move forward together with humility, acceptance, grace and understanding. Most importantly, unity. LFG