Heads Up For Inclusion: Bridging the gap

Lets face it: groups are everywhere. They are created the first few days in elementary school, high school, and university.

But there is a problem with creating these groups: usually students with disabilities get left out. This is where Heads Up for Inclusion comes in.

Heads Up for Inclusion is an organization that has been bridging this gap by going into secondary schools to pair up students with disabilities with post-secondary students. In the past 13 years they have spread from one secondary school with only a few students participating to seven high schools with over 150 students participating in each school.

The founder, Lucinda Hage, started this program because her son, Paul, has a disability. Unfortunately, Paul was unintentionally being excluded from the rest of the kids at his high school.

This was happening because students didn’t know how to act around him or any of their other peers with disabilities.

Hage started Heads Up For Inclusion to help all students understand one another through relationship building activities.

As of March, Heads Up For Inclusion has expanded into universities and colleges. The first three schools are Trent University, Fleming College, and Trillium College.

This program will be a continuation of the already existing high school program. When a student with a disability graduates from high school, they don’t have many options. The opportunity to connect to people their own age disappears.

This program will bridge this gap so individuals with disabilities can continue to be involved with society at large. It will also be a great opportunity for university students to get involved in Peterborough’s community, as well as be a part of a great initiative.

There will also be events! Previously-held events in the secondary school program included gardening and cookie decorating for mothers’ day, and an outdoor day with water balloon fights and Frisbee.

In each event they usually had three to four participants.

But the last coffee house event saw an attendance of over 40 people.

And guess what? There is a coffee house coming up on November 8. Everybody is invited to come out, especially people who are interested in art and music. The coffee house will start at 3pm at The Spill and go until 5:30pm.

If all goes well in the coming months, Heads Up For Inclusion will bring back the popular one-on-one pairing (one university student and one individual with a disability).

So if you want to get involved in Peterborough’s community and have nothing going on Saturday November 8 between the hours of 3-5:30pm, come to the Amigo’s Coffee House at The Spill.