Montana BPA Holds Inclusion Walk & Donates Funds

More than 1200 Montana students were in Billings, MT last week for the state leadership conference for Montana Business Professionals of America. The mission of BPA is to empower students to succeed in a world-class workforce through the development of leadership, academic and technological skills.

Approximately 300 Montana BPA students joined Billings-area athletes for an Inclusion Walk. A walk that represents connection and making all individuals feel included, deserving, and equal.

The Inclusion revolution is gaining traction according to Dalton Sand, Montana BPA State Secretary from Glasgow. “Each year we bowl with Special Olympics athletes and my first year there were maybe three or four of us, but this last year, a few years later, there were 10 of us.”

Montana BPA State President, Breanna Blain of Joliet says this walk is about showing support of and for individuals with intellectual disabilities within our communities. “One of my classmate’s brothers passed away from Batten syndrome which was a huge eye opener for our school district and our entire county. And his younger brother also has Batten syndrome. It’s amazing to see our community being so inclusive and supportive of not only the family but the kids as well.”

BPA Montana raises funds for Special Olympics Montana each year and the 2021-2022 state officer team had a goal of raising $8,000 for Special Olympics. Sand says this year’s fundraising had a visual component for students. “Each school had a special dots poster and for each dollar donated through various ways, a dot was put on the poster. Those posters are on display here at our conference.”

Each school goes about raising funds in different ways according to Blain. “Our School does a hat day once a month for Special Olympics. Students pay one dollar and you get to wear your hat all day.”

Macy Hill, Montana BPA Vice President from St. Regis says her school does 50/50 tickets for every home basketball game with proceeds going to Special Olympics. Another example is Colstrip BPA which sold cotton candy and popcorn balls raising an astounding $2,500. Montana BPA schools exceeded the original goal and presented a check to Special Olympics Montana for more than $14,000!

Hill says she and her peers will continue to promote inclusion even after high school, “I’ll strive to include people with intellectual disabilities in everyday activities whether it be in the workplace or on campus.”

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