March is DD Awareness Month – Celebrate with Our NeurodiVERSED Videos
NeurodiVERSED is our annual awareness campaign. Held every year in March during National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, NeurodiVERSED gives people who think differently a platform where they can share their voices and educate the community on mental health and intellectual disabilities.
This awareness campaign began to address the misconceptions and misinformation surrounding those who identify as neurodiverse, as well as the damaging narrative that mental illness and disabilities are something to be cured. Our mission is to give neurodiverse individuals a platform to share their stories, art, experiences and celebrate the things that make them unique through our video profile series.
This year's theme is Defining Community.
Community cannot be found on a map, because it isn’t a location. According to David M. Chavis and Kien Lee, writing for Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs.”
In our NeurodiVERSED 2023 video series, we profile individuals who have found a sense of community through their relationships with co-workers, fellow churchgoers, support staff, families and sweethearts.
All people, including those who are neurodivergent, cherish the feeling of community they get from shared experiences and shared history with the people in their lives. There are as many kinds of communities as there are relationships, but they all have something in common.
As David M. Chavis and Kien Lee put it, “Members of a community have a sense of trust, belonging, safety and caring for each other. They have an individual and collective sense that they can, as part of that community, influence their environments and each other.”
Every week in March we will be sharing a different video profile spotlighting neurodiverse individuals who have found community through their relationships with others.
First up, we will be meeting Carrie, Marta and Maria who are co-workers at Search’s Planet Access store in Lincoln Square. For Carrie, Marta and Maria aren’t just her co-workers, but trusted friends.
About the relationships she’s built with her teammates, Carrie shares, “They're very supportive of the job I do and, they are always there to help when I have a question or I just need help with something. They've shown me friendship.”
In the coming weeks, other video profiles will shine a light on Vanessa and Mindy, who have been going to Uptown Baptist Church together for 40 years; Diane and James, a couple who have been together for 18 years; and Jimmy and his support staff, Ashley, amongst a few others.