Wisconsin BPDD Awards Original Storytellers

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Campaign Gives a Voice to Those Touched by Disability

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...Alisha doesn’t separate herself from her peers by her disability, but rather by her accomplishments...

The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD), http://www.wi-bpdd.org, is collecting stories and awarding prizes. As part of their campaign, “Better Together: Sharing stories, Sharing lives,” the BPDD is encouraging people to share stories in class, at work, at home, in church or other favorite meeting place - and then submit them for a chance to win. The campaign celebrates the many ways people come together to support one another across their professional and personal lives.

Beginning in June and continuing through the end of 2013, one storyteller a month will receive a prize for a story about a life touched by disability. People living with a developmental disability - or who have a family member, friend, coworker or employee with a developmental disability - are encouraged to share their experiences. Prizes include Kindle Fires, $100 gift cards and more. Stories can be submitted through the BPDD’s Facebook page or the Better Together website, http://www.bettertogether.wi-bpdd.org. The website also hosts a story gallery where visitors can read other entries and access tools to help them share the campaign with others.

Storytellers are encouraged to be creative, but submissions must be true, accurate and personal, rather than second-hand accounts, and tell who makes you or your community better and why. Story entries to date include those by family members: “My Better Together story is about my son Nick. Nick has struggled with a cognitive disability all of his life…Nick now works a job that pays enough to support himself, and feels like a success, which he is,” and friends: “I'd jump on the arm of his wheelchair and hitch a ride,” as well as employers or co-workers: “Alisha is a part time administrative assistant for me… Alisha doesn’t separate herself from her peers by her disability, but rather by her accomplishments and overall work performance.” Others speak personally of living with a disability: “My grandfather is the one that took care of me when I was in the institution as a young boy. He was always there when I needed him. I know that he is very happy for what I am doing today.”

The BPDD is sounding the call for stories. Anyone can participate. People who live with – or have been influenced by someone with – a developmental disability can visit the BPDD on Facebook or http://www.bettertogether.wi-bpdd.org to share their story and learn more. Storytellers have until May 31 to submit a story for the first prize drawing in June. After June, there will be one winner per month for the rest of 2013.

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, Better Together: Sharing stories, Sharing lives is a cooperative, multimedia initiative launched to increase awareness of the many ways people with disabilities can – and do – contribute to our greater communities. Throughout 2013, Better Together will use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media to spotlight the importance of including people of all abilities in our communities by collecting and sharing stories from those whose lives have been touched by disability.

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Joshua Ryf

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