A MESSAGE FROM DAISY
Welcome! I'm so glad you are interested in learning more about Including You!
I founded Including You to create a community of learners, to promote friendship and inclusivity and to help reduce disparities in education and extracurricular experiences for all people.
I was motivated to create Including You because I have witnessed inequities in the classroom and, since the COVID-19 pandemic, in remote learning.
All kids should feel safe, secure and supported in their classroom, and that’s not always the case. I have been fortunate in the past to have been in ICT classes, which mixed students with learning disabilities or who are otherwise disabled with those who do not face such challenges. For the most part, it’s a happy mix, but sometimes, the kids who are differently abled are treated poorly by their peers. I befriended one boy in 5th grade who was treated unkindly by my classmates. If he touched something, the other kids wouldn’t touch it. When he made a mistake, everyone would make fun of him. He didn’t deserve this. No one does.
At my next school, there were different disparities: In a district school of over 1000 students, there was no accessibility for my disabled classmates. I watched one boy who had injured himself and was on crutches drag himself up the stairs to the door of the school. I don’t know what he did the rest of the day—there were 4 floors! As the daughter of a mom with hip dysplasia, I have long been a disability advocate, and this just reminded me how hard it can be for students with physical challenges.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when we started remote learning, another disparity became clear to me. Kids experiencing homelessness or who came from under-resourced homes were suddenly deprived the opportunity to learn. They simply didn’t have the computers and/or the internet access needed to be educated online. They missed out on a lot.
I tried to think of a solution. How can we come together and create a supportive place where everyone can feel safe, secure and seen? A place where we are all included. Through Including You, kids who volunteer to be mentors are paired up with younger kids who experience disparities because of learning differences, developmental or physical disabilities, or economic disparities. We can laugh and learn together.