What is DIG and what is Gotta DIG It ?
"DIG," an acronym for Disability Inclusion Guild, is an organization created to break social barriers for people with disabilities.
"Gotta DIG It" is the way we feel about inclusion. It's also our motto and the name of our signature program to promote the social inclusion movement using mindfulness and experiential learning. Our Gotta DIG It Program can be adapted to teach social inclusion to any group, school, organization or community.
Gotta DIG It was intended to improve social circumstances for people with disabilities by educating mainstream society. What resulted from our first program was a domino effect of well-being, both throughout mainstream participants and those with disabilities. We like to call it the DIG effect: the outcome of greater good. Young participants (adolescents) reported experiencing an "unexpected feeling of a sense of purpose," "greater self esteem," and "a connection" with other participants. We are dedicated to promoting authentic empathy within society. We've opened minds in schools, offices, libraries, homes, and events.
Our programs are based on concepts of what truly brings change to the human mind, and in turn to whole communities: Mindfulness, Experience, and Unity. This is what it takes to create the emotional impact needed to make change happen.
MINDFULNESS: We can demystify the "M" word for you. Mindfulness is simply the state of being fully present, without judgement and with compassion and curiosity. We incorporate mindfulness practices, mind and heart openers, and intention-focused strategies in our teaching methods.
HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE: Participants get to use their hands, bodies, and senses to experience what it feels like to have certain limitations on our abilities. By using experiential learning stations to simulate various disabilities, we can expose mainstream participants to some of the obstacles those of us with disabilities overcome daily. We want to convert sympathy to empathy, and bring attention to the limitless common traits we all share. These learning stations are often lead by individuals with the specific limitations we aim to simulate. Although there is no way to truly live a day or even an hour in the life of someone with a disability, this gives us a taste of what it can feel like. When mindfully observing these limitations on abilities, we are able to create a sense of understanding.
UNITY: What unites us is much more important than what divides us. Gotta DIG It always emphasizes the universal human qualities we all share, regardless of differing abilities. Our programs require personal involvement, and are lead by members of your own community including people with all different abilities, uniting to understand each other.
We have existing program models for school-based programs which can be done in an assembly format for an hour or so, or a classroom format in which GOTTA DIG IT is worked into school curriculum over the course of a day up to a week.
Gotta DIG IT programs can stand alone or be adapted to merge with existing programs already in place. We'd love to bring our Gotta DIG It program to you. We support organizations who share a common cause. Check out our Resource Network for more info.
Take a look at our sample program model.