Belle Center of Chicago Executive Director Nancy Mayo Buchanan Wins Inclusion Champion Award From Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and Kids Included Together

Oct 06, 2010, 11:38 ET from Belle Center of Chicago

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Belle Center of Chicago Executive Director Nancy Mayo Buchanan has been named the winner of the 2010 Inclusion Champion Award for her contributions to the inclusion of youth with disabilities.  The award was presented by the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) at the Kids Included Together (KIT) Journey Toward Inclusion luncheon in San Diego. Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) established the Inclusion Champion Award to honor individuals who have made a measurable and sustainable impact in promoting the inclusion of youth with disabilities.

Buchanan has been an advocate for disabilities rights for over a decade, since her oldest daughter Rachel was born with Down syndrome in 1994.  She has served on the board of the National Association of Down Syndrome (NADS) and on the fundraising committee for two years.  Buchanan was a founding board member of the Belle Center of Chicago in 1998 and has remained on the board on and off for seven years, two years of which she acted as board president.  She has established relationships with many schools on the North Side of Chicago that have since partnered with the Belle Center and worked to establish relationships with foundations, private funders and other disability advocates in the Chicagoland area to continue the important mission of Belle.

"I'm very humbled by this award because I know so many people who work every day to give children with disabilities the same opportunities as other children," said Buchanan, who lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.  "I thank MEAF and Kids Included Together for shining a spotlight on this issue that means so much to me, my family and people everywhere."

In presenting the award, MEAF Executive Director Kevin Webb highlighted Buchanan's inclusion advocacy within the Belle Center and her efforts to develop programs and spread the word about inclusion throughout her community.  "Ms. Buchanan is a shining example of the power of one individual to make a difference in the lives of many.  Ms. Buchanan has proven she is always willing to ensure that children with disabilities have every opportunity to access the same activities as children without disabilities."

The Inclusion Champion Award includes a $1,000 grant which will go to The Belle Center of Chicago towards the work they do with children with disabilities.

About The Belle Center of Chicago

The Belle Center promotes the rights and expectations of all children to be fully included in the community.  The Center provides a progressive, family-centered inclusive approach to education and community life that supports children with disabilities and their families. For more information go to

About Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) was established in 1991 by the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and its US subsidiaries, with the mission of helping young people with disabilities maximize their potential and participation in society.  Based in the Washington, DC area, MEAF has invested more than $2 million since 2003 in its Inclusion Initiative to help organizations like Nancy Buchanan fully include more youth with disabilities.

About Kids Included Together

Kids Included Together (KIT) is a San Diego-based non-profit organization specializing in providing best practices training for community-based youth organizations committed to including children with disabilities into their existing recreational, social and child care programs. Incorporated in 1997, KIT supports the inclusion of children with disabilities or other special needs in programs that occur in the non-school hours.  KIT accomplishes this by creating four-year affiliations with organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs. During this affiliation, KIT focuses on sustainability so organizations will continue to provide inclusive environments long after KIT's involvement has ceased.

SOURCE Belle Center of Chicago