Hello, friends. As many of you know, my life’s work revolves around caring for individuals with special needs. It’s more than a job; it’s a calling that comes with immense challenges and immeasurable rewards. Today, I want to introduce you to a campaign that’s close to my heart: the “I Stand For” campaign. This initiative seeks to amplify the voices of those who often go unheard—our loved ones with special needs. More than just awareness, one of our key objectives is to catch the attention of lawmakers to make them aware of the struggles we face as caregivers. We need systemic change, and it starts with your stories.
The Need for the Campaign
Challenges Faced by People with Special Needs
While society has made strides in becoming more inclusive, we’re far from where we need to be. Many people with special needs face daily challenges, ranging from lack of accessibility to difficulties in communication and social integration.
The Role of Parents, Caregivers, and Advocates
As caregivers, parents, and advocates, we’re not just witnesses to these struggles; we share in them. We are the helpers, the supporters, and often the only voice that our loved ones have.
The Importance of Advocacy
This campaign aims to be that collective voice. By getting the attention of lawmakers and the wider public, we hope to make substantive changes to policies and attitudes alike.
How the Campaign Works
How to Participate
- Using the hashtag #IStandFor: Share your stories, photos, or videos, and use the hashtag #IStandFor. This will make it easier for us to find and share your posts. Be sure to tag your local officials and state/federal representatives to bring this message to the lawmakers whose support we critically need.
- Types of Content: Feel free to be as creative or straightforward as you want. Whether it’s a heartfelt story or a day-in-the-life video, we want to hear from you.
How Stories Will Be Shared and Featured
We will regularly feature your contributions on our social media platforms and website to amplify your voices.
Deadlines and Events
Stay tuned for special events and deadlines related to the campaign. The more timely your participation, the more impact we can make.
Benefits of Participating
Your stories have the power to educate people about the challenges and victories associated with special needs care.
Together, we can foster a supportive, inclusive community that understands and advocates for the unique needs of our loved ones.
Sharing your story can be a cathartic experience that not only validates your struggles but also empowers you to continue advocating.
We’ve already received some incredible stories that have been both touching and eye-opening. With permission, we’ll be sharing these stories in upcoming posts to inspire you to join the movement.
How to Get Involved Further
Beyond sharing your story, you can help by spreading the word. Also, if you’re in the U.S., make sure to tag your local representatives in your #IStandFor posts to draw their attention to our cause.
The “I Stand For” campaign is about much more than just raising awareness. It’s a call to action—a plea for systemic change in how society treats those with special needs. Our stories can change policies, shape attitudes, and make the world a better place for our loved ones. Don’t let this opportunity pass by. Stand up and be heard.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to standing with you as we make our voices heard. Remember to use the hashtag #IStandFor and tag your local representatives. Let’s change the world, one story at a time.
CEO, Above and Beyond Caring
Executive Director, Community Inclusion Program
About Mary Jenkins
Mary Jenkins has over 25 years experience helping individuals with IDD live and thrive in their community. She founded Above and Beyond Caring in 2007 to provide Texas HCS services in the Texas Gulf Coast area. She is also the Director of the Community Inclusion Project, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all individuals have access to their community. She is passionate about her work and believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be a part of, and contribute to, the world around them. Mary is a tireless advocate who is passionate about helping individuals with IDD live fuller, more meaningful lives.