More than 200 parents, children, professionals and supporters joined together for the Second Annual Smart Walk for Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. The event raised over $30,000 for Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities, a Norwalk-based nonprofit that provides educational programs, youth mentoring, parent networking and extensive resources for families.
The inspiring afternoon celebrated the strengths and talents of young people with learning disabilities and ADHD, rejected the stigma attached to these issues and empowered parents. Leading the opening ceremonies was Robert Tudisco, a nationally known disability rights attorney with Barger & Gaines, author, and motivational speaker, and also an adult diagnosed with ADHD. Tudisco spoke about the promising future for youngsters with learning disabilities and the importance of their parents, their champions, in serving as their advocates. Student speaker Tori Ingulli of Redding, a junior at the Wooster School in Danbury, spoke about how she embraced her learning disabilities which helped her work harder, learn more and discover new passions. “There’s nothing wrong with being different,” she said. “Embrace your difference…..own your disability!”
Special guests Connecticut State Senator Will Haskell and Westport Selectwoman Melissa Kane lent their support. The Weston High School Chorale performed, singing “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, and children enjoyed games, crafts, face painting, a photo booth, refreshments, an ice-cream truck and a touch-a-truck, a concrete mixer, courtesy of Devine Bros. of Norwalk. Families, individuals and teams walked the 2-mile scenic route at their own pace on the sunny first day of fall. There were 30 volunteers, including the Staples High School S.L.O.B.S. “The Walk was wonderful,” said Sari Canell of Scarsdale. “It gave everyone touched by LD or ADHD such a sense of home and community.”
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities is grateful for the support of its Walk gold sponsors: Fusion Academy of Fairfield, Fusion Academy of Greenwich and The Canell Group at J. P. Morgan Securities; silver sponsor: Winston Preparatory School; bronze sponsors: The Southport School, The Southfield Center for Development & Sensory Kids, Westport Family Dental, The Windward School, The Bridge Program at Wooster School and the O’Hare Family; and media sponsors: News 12 CT, WEBE 108, WSHU Public Radio and Macaroni Kid.
About Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities
Founded in 2000 by Norwalk resident Jane Ross, executive director, Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities has since grown to include chapters in Stamford/Greenwich, Westport/Wilton, Northern Fairfield County, and Hartford. Its mission is to educate, guide, and inspire parents of children with learning disabilities and ADHD. SKLD helps parents realize their children’s significant gifts and talents, and shows that with their love, guidance, and the right support, their children can live happy and productive lives. The organization provides an award-winning website and blog, free e-newsletter, and educational programs and support so parents can be effective advocates for their children. For more information, visit www.smartkidswithld.org