I Can Do It, You Can Do It! Celebrates Four Years of Expanding Disability Inclusion
May 21 marked the four year anniversary of I Can Do It, You Can Do It!, the Council’s health promotion program to ensure children and adults with a disability have access to opportunities to be active and eat healthy. Since the launch of I Can Do It, You Can Do It!, 131 sites have been established in 103 cities and 36 states, impacting more than 400,000 people with a disability and their families nationwide!
I recently had the chance to go back to where it all started, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, to witness firsthand how I Can Do It, You Can Do It! sites are transforming the culture of their schools and communities to be more inclusive of individuals with a disability.
Each year, Miami-Dade County Public Schools has hosted a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) ceremony to recognize students who participate in I Can Do It, You Can Do It! and lead healthy, active lifestyles throughout the school year. This year, more than 1,900 students with a disability participated in the program and earned PALA+ awards.
I felt the excitement before I even walked into the gymnasium for the ceremony: upbeat music was playing; Felix Varela Senior High School cheerleaders shook their pom poms; and Burnie, the Miami Heat mascot, seemed to transfer his infinite energy to every person he high-fived!
No one was left on the sideline. No student was stared at because they looked or moved differently. Everyone was proud to be included and reveled in the fact that they were. That’s the power of inclusion. And with the support of inspired champions who work tirelessly in K-12 schools, at a college or university, or out in the community, disability inclusion is happening all across the nation!
We are making significant strides to expand inclusive opportunities through I Can Do It, You Can Do It!, and we must stay committed to promoting the importance of equal access and opportunities in our schools and communities, now more than ever. With a goal of reaching all 50 states by this time next year, we need more champions to step up to ensure kids and adults of all abilities have the opportunity to be active and healthy! Sign your school or community up for I Can Do It, You Can Do It! by emailing ICDI@hhs.gov and learn more about the program at www.fitness.gov.
Dr. Jayne Greenberg, District Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy and the first ICDI Program Coordinator, Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Honorable Dr. Margaret J. Giannini, ICDI Visionary and Director of the former HHS Office on Disability (ret.); and Lauren Darensbourg, PCFSN Director of Strategic Initiatives