We have all experienced the negative effects of loneliness; we understand the sharp pain that comes with feeling isolated from family and friends. While loneliness is a prevalent issue in all walks of life, it is particularly acute amongst the disability community due to the additional barriers created by social stigma and lack of community access.
The New England Inclusion Summit 2019 will be held on Nov. 10 in Brookline. The one-day conference will address social isolation and present models of inclusive social and recreational activities for people of all abilities and all ages. New England Yachad, in partnership with The Ruderman Family Foundation, is gathering community leaders, organizations, parents, individuals with disabilities, clergy, and professionals. Throughout the day, participants will collectively identify roadblocks and solutions to reducing isolation and loneliness while creating friendships through social and recreational activities.
The conference will include a diverse array of speakers and performers who will address the need to fight social isolation through various mediums of innovation and technology. The day will begin with opening remarks and a talk from clinical child psychologist Dr. Ross Greene, followed by a panel featuring notable keynote speakers, including Mary Beth McMahon, CEO and President of the Special Olympics; Josh Kraft, President and CEO of the Girls and Boys Club; Jo Ann Simons, Chief Executive Officer of Northeast Arc; and Justice Richard Bernstein, the first blind justice to sit on the Michigan Supreme Court. Topping the morning off is a presentation by Mindy Scheier, the CEO and Founder of Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit organization that works toward a future of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity in the fashion industry for people with disabilities.
In the afternoon, there will be nine breakout sessions where participants can engage in workshops, panel-led discussions, or TED-style talks on topics like bullying, workplace inclusion, aging and disability, inclusion through recreation, personal advocacy and more. The day will conclude with a concert by the ME2 Orchestra, the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them.
The summit serves as an innovative opportunity to come together as a broader community, to trade ideas, and lay the groundwork for new programs and initiatives that move towards a better and more welcoming world for people with disabilities.
The Inclusion Summit will take place on Nov. 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Yachad Community Center in Brookline. Member tickets are $10 and general admission is $65. Register before Nov. 10 at yachad.org.