Alli Kennedy’s love affair with the Blue-Gold program run by the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Cognitive Disabilities started as a student at Smyrna High when she was a member of the Blue-Gold band. Kennedy, a 2010 graduate of Smyrna High School, went on to become an ambassador both her junior and senior years. Now, she has been named the ambassador coordinator and works with all the students working as ambassadors throughout the state.
When Kennedy was in high school, there wasn't quite as much involvement with the Blue-Gold program other than the typical ambassadors, band members, and athletes picked to be involved. In the two years since she graduated, the support for Blue-Gold has tremendously increased. Smyrna High now has a Blue-Gold Club, which is open to more than just the students that are Blue-Gold members; the club is headed by teacher and cheerleading coach Whitney Reed-Pierson.
"It's impressive all of what's happened in the two years I haven't been here," Kennedy said.
Kennedy spoke at Smyrna High on March 7 at the “Spread the Word to End the Word” assembly, a program launched by Special Olympics Delaware to build awareness and encourage people to not use the word “retard” or as they say it, the “R-word.”
Q What do you enjoy about volunteering with DFRC?
A I think the number one thing I like to see particularly is the connection made between the student and his buddy.
Q Why is the “Spread the Word to End the Word” initiative so important?
A Initially I think “Spread the Word to End the Word” is important because it connects to us all. It’s important for people to realize what they say hurts people.
Q What are you asking people to do through this movement?
A It’s a nationwide project people take into schools where they ask the students to pledge not to say the R-word.
Q How have students responded to the project thus far?
A It’s been really well, surprising. A lot of the northern Delaware schools are already so into it. My goal is to start in Smyrna and work my way south to get more people involved.