21 & Change is an all-volunteer Florida nonprofit organization that believes in the value of all human lives and that all should have the opportunity to discover their full potential.
The organization feels that everyone is born with the inherent right to freedom, to self-determination, to dignity and to respect.
“We believe in a day when our children will be seen as ‘differently abled’ and not disabled,” said Yani Bodor, director of advocacy and co-founder of 21 & Change. “We believe there will be a day when we end the Down syndrome ‘syndrome’ and secure the full measure of civil rights for the differently abled. We will not rest until what we believe is achieved that champions inclusion, education and human rights for the differently abled.”
The organization recently held its Champions for Change Challenge this past May. This is an annual, multidimensional event that promotes inclusion and ability for the differently abled in our community.
The event brings together differently abled children and young adults, their parents/guardians, service providers, community leaders and local businesses to witness the abilities and capabilities of those who have developmental disabilities.
The format for the event includes a series of fun, scalable, physical exercises and team-based events to demonstrate ability and build confidence in each person and team. Teams consist of both typical and differently abled participants, each with a coach/trainer. The event concludes with trophies and medals for the participants.
“The Champions for Change Challenge started as an event to promote inclusion and ability for children and young adults with developmental disabilities,” Bodor said. “We wanted to do something fun, challenging and different that would bring people of all abilities together and help to chip away at the stereotypes folks have about those with developmental disabilities. As the parents of two children who are developmentally disabled, we thought this was important and would be a good thing to do.”
Since the first event, the Champions for Change Challenge has proven to be an emotional event for people who attend or participate.
“We’ve had volunteers say they were forever changed by what they experienced during the event with these kids and young adults,” Bodor said. “Parents have experienced a full range of emotions as they watch their children complete exercises, team events and grow in confidence about their own abilities.”
The event has grown steadily over the last three years in participation, attendance and fundraising.
“We offer sponsorships for local businesses and corporations and solicit donations from individual donors to support our nonprofit mission,” Bodor said. “We want to attract more differently abled children and young adults and their families to participate in this event. An important aspect to this event is the attendance of community leaders and our state’s representatives.”
The next Champions for Change Challenge will be in the spring of 2022.
If you would like to learn more about the Riverview-based 21 & Change nonprofit, you can visit its website at www.21andchange.org or call Bodor at 910-273-7049.