GREAT FALLS – For the past ten years, Spread the Word to End the Word has started a conversation on respect.
Various local organizations including Special Olympics Montana, Easter Seals-Goodwill, Quality-Life Concepts along with elementary students from Great Falls Public Schools came together for a respect rally on Wednesday.
The rally was held at the University of Providence and featured guest speakers who spoke firsthand about their experiences with inclusion.
The purpose of respect rallies are to engage schools, organizations and communities to promote inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Special Olympics Montana President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Norbie said, “If we can teach children and adults that words hurt, that words matter, and we create environments that inclusion in our schools and our workplaces and our communities, everyone wins.”
People showed their support by making signs that promoted inclusion.
Lewis and Clark Elementary student Kennadee Mora said, “I think that it’s very important that everybody feels included in the world because everybody has a place in this world and they need to embrace it.”
In addition to the rally in Great Falls, a number of other Respect Rallies are being held statewide.
This year’s Special Olympics State Games will be in Great Falls on May 15-17.
There will be nearly 1200 athletes and 10 Olympic-type sports. At least 2,000 volunteers are needed to host the games.
If you are interested in volunteering at this year’s games, you can go online to SOMT.org.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News