Organizations: Kids Included Together, National Inclusion Project, USA TODAY Charitable Foundation
Years: 2009 - 2013
In January 2010, twenty middle and high school students with and without disabilities participated in a MEAF-supported Youth Leadership Summit. They were challenged to think about how they can talk to their peers about "inclusion." In one weekend, these young leaders developed two PSA ideas, which led to I am Norm -- a national inclusion campaign -- designed by youth for youth. I am Norm challenges young people to "redefine normal" and promote inclusion by holding viewing parties of films like Including Samuel with their friends, filming their own I am Norm videos to post on www.IamNorm.org, and promoting the full inclusion of young people with disabilities in their schools and community organizations.
I am Norm is supported by a coalition of partner organizations, including: MEAF, the National Inclusion Project, the Including Samuel Project of the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire, Kids Included Together, Girl Scouts of the USA, TASH, and the New Hampshire Charitable Trust. Since 2009, MEAF has provided $50,000 in direct support for I am Norm, including: $32,500 to the National Inclusion Project to coordinate the campaign nationally, $10,000 to the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation to promote I am Norm in Chicago Public Schools, and $7,500 to hold a second youth summit at the 2012 TASH Conference. In 2013, Kids Included Together is working with youth summit participants to expand the reach of the campaign.
In 2010, the I am Norm Youth Leadership Task Force developed IamNorm.org, and a Facebook page to encourage youth to share information about "being Norm."
An I am Norm Take Action Guide was also developed for students and teachers to use to promote inclusion in the community.
In December 2011, I am Norm partnered with National Inclusive Schools week to promote the full participation of youth with disabilities in schools across the country.
MEAF partnered with the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation to create a USA TODAY e-edition of I am Norm. The project kicked-off at the USA TODAY Educational Forum March 16, 2012, held in partnership with Great City Schools and attended by school superintendants from across the country. Then, the I am Norm e-edition was brought to twenty middle school classrooms in Chicago Public Schools.