Best Buddies of Sussex County are taking the power to end the “R-word” - Retard - into their own hands.
As part of their 10th anniversary celebration of Spread the Word to End the Word Day, the BBSC mentorship program, which pairs young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and members of the community, is hosting a happy hour with live music and giveaways at the Crooked Hammock from 3 to 5 p.m, Wednesday. March 7.
‘Spread the Word to End the Word,’ explained BBSC Program Manager Deanna Blizzard, “is held on the first Wednesday in March. It is an ongoing effort to inspire respect and acceptance. Through raising the consciousness of society about the ‘R-word’, we hope people begin to understand how hurtful and disrespectful words can be toward people with Intellectual Disabilities.”
The happy-hour event at Crooked Hammock will feature live music from Clifford Keith, Blizzard said, and giveaways for tickets to the March 17 Blue-Gold all-star basketball game at the University of Delaware Bob Carpenter Center.
Each year, Best Buddies Delaware matches more than 200 students with IDD with other students in schools for one-to-one friendships. More recently the citizens community program in lower Delaware, which will hosting the Crooked Hammock happy hour, matched nearly 100 adults with and without IDD, she said.
The BBSC citizens group, Blizzard said, works to fill the gap many students with IDD face when they age out of school-based programming. Even with vocational training and jobs, many face isolation and seclusion, even in community based housing.
“Since we are out in the community with our citizen’s program, I thought if we could do more of a happy hour,” Blizzard said. “Normally the programs are held at the schools.”
People who attend the happy hour will have the opportunity to sign a banner and pledge to end their own use of the ‘R-word’ and show their support for the movement, Blizzard said. She will also be available to answer questions and offer information for anyone hoping to volunteer with her mentorship program.
After the Blue-Gold Basketball game March 17, the next event BBSC will host is a 5K in Dewey Beach August 12. For more information, go to www.bestbuddies.org/delaware.