Waukesha — Good Friend Inc., a local charity dedicated to autism awareness, acceptance, and empathy, is partnering with PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center (Bloomington, Minn.) to bring attention to the problem of disability harassment.
Since 2007, Good Friend has presented to staff and students at 70 schools in 36 districts from Oshkosh to Middleton to Racine. Co-founders Chelsea Budde of Waukesha and Denise Schamens of Brookfield have been champions for social support of all learners, which they believe requires the education of typically-developing students who interact with classmates with "invisible disabilities" including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The two women, who each have children with special needs including ASD, insist that, armed with the proper understanding, students can contribute to a culture of acceptance.
By wearing orange on Unity Day, Wednesday, Oct. 9, people will unite in support of students who have experienced bullying. Good Friend has designed a T-shirt through the National Bullying Prevention Center's collaboration with CustomInk with the slogan, "BE A GOOD FRIEND."
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and wearing orange of any type on Wednesday, Oct. 9 for Unity Day shows your support.
"We want students with autism who have been the victims of disability harassment to know that there are hundreds of good friends out there who've got their back," Schamens said. She's inviting student councils in particular to do something special either for the statewide Bullying Prevention Day (Wednesday, September 25) as established in 2009 Wisconsin Act 309, or for Unity Day.
For more information, contact Budde by phone at 414-510-0385, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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