Today is Debbie’s Day – a day to dedicate time to support people with disabilities everywhere through kindness, service, volunteering, and so much more.
This day originated to honor in memoriam of Debra Ashe Potts, a Social Worker and Mental Health and Disabilities Advocate who dedicated her life to serving the community. Ms. Potts, held many roles in human services such as a Patient Advocate for Veterans for US Department of Veteran Affairs, Domestic Violence Counselor, Youth and Housing Specialist for Independence Now – an organization that serves people with disabilities, and she also served as YHELP!’s Social Work Consultant by providing blogs that addressed positive strategies for youth and parents to prioritize their mental health while pursuing her Doctorate.
Most importantly she advocated for human rights and equality for everyone, particularly for people with disabilities. She participated in protests and even advocated for policy changes that support people with disabilities. She always had compassion for people, and later in life, she developed a physical disability due to a spinal cord injury, but that did not stop her from living her life to the fullest and spreading kindness to everyone and the world.
In honor of Debbie’s Day, everyone should wear the color or a red rose. Red was her favorite color because it represents love. The main purpose of Debbie’s Day is to demonstrate kindness and support for people with disabilities.
Here are some examples of how you can show support:
- Use people-first language. This is important because people are more than their disability and they deserve respect.
- Learn to communicate and ask someone with a disability if they need help. Do not assume that they are unable to complete a task or share their thoughts or feelings.
- Use this day to give back. You can donate or volunteer at an organization that supports people with disabilities. You can use your social media to bring awareness to support people with disabilities.
On a smaller scale, be an example of kindness, by asking how you can support an individual in your community with a disability such as assisting with grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, or taking out the trash. In some cases, you can become a companion to develop a positive friendship. You can even engage in random acts of kindness, such as being a little bit more patient for someone that is taking a little longer to count their money at checkout or ask if it’s okay to help. Or educate others to be kinder and patient if you see someone being bullied about their disability.
On a larger scale, you can get involved in your community and advocate for change to policies and laws that support equality for people with disabilities. Another example is to access your environment and make sure that your community, business, and organization is accessible for all. There are many ways that you can show your support of people with disabilities on Debbie’s Day Oct. 5.
Please take a photo of you participating in Debbie’s Day and tag or @yhelpnow of all social media platforms. Even though Debbie’s Day is on Oct. 5, it does not mean you have to stop there. Expressing kindness and showing support to people with disabilities is a kind action you can engage in year round. Everyone should be mindful of their communication and actions towards people with disabilities. Remember, everyone regardless of their disability, deserves respect, love, kindness, and equal opportunities.
If you or someone you know would like to volunteer or donate to our community programs, email [email protected] for more details!