The Understanding Dwarfism Program started after Jimmy and Darlene Korpai were informed that their daughter has a form of dwarfism. Being average sized parents, they knew absolutely nothing about dwarfism. Unfortunately, they knew this to be a fact with the majority of our population. It has, therefore, become their mission to figure out creative ways to help educate the general public and help raise awareness to create a brighter future for their daughter and all those that share in this difference – dwarfism.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Back in 2010, Jimmy and Darlene printed bi-fold business cards that had basic facts about dwarfism to keep in their pockets to have available when someone asked about their daughter’s size. They felt it was necessary to not leave people wondering, rather to inform them and ultimately educate them. After a few encounters with different people, they realized how the cards opened up conversation and created a change in a person’s view with just a few facts. They wanted to offer more if people were interested. This developed into a website that the cards would lead people to so that they could get a more in-depth look at the entire picture. The connection between the cards and the website became the creation of the Understanding Dwarfism Program.
The web site is now the foundation for a larger educational and awareness program. It can be used as a tool in schools, social discussions, for new parents and in many other areas as a central hub for different educational opportunities. The web site is designed to educate the general public with a simple and direct approach focusing on educating and offering people the opportunity to gain a better understanding.
Today the program does not only educate, but assist those who have interest in being educators themselves. This is done by offering assistance with printed material, photos, banners and creative solutions to catch and keep people’s attention all around the country and eventually around the world. The Korpai family believes that educating is the most effective tool to allow others to gain an understanding and a necessity to improve the lives of those who live with a form of dwarfism.
WHERE WE WERE
In 2011 the UD Program began to pick up momentum. It lent support to a few local programs, attended the 2011 Little People of America National Conference and with the help of their local community, had the UD Center built and the UD program showcased on the television show Extreme Makeover Home Edition. In 2012 the momentum continued by again supporting many local events, New York Towers Basketball Team, local Little People of America Regional Conferences, the Camenga Racing Team ( Dwarfism Awareness race car), the Mark Vogel Second Annual Bike Run, and the Ride with Pride Bike Run with all of their efforts to raise awareness. The program made an impact in supporting the mission of LPA on Dwarfism Awareness, with the help of Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, by helping to make New York recognize October as Dwarfism Awareness Month.
WHERE ARE WE GOING
Understanding Dwarfism is now incorporated as a non-profit organization and currently 501(c)(3) status PENDING. The program is searching for creative ways to get into the classrooms with an effective educational program. The program is finding clever ways to remove the mystery about dwarfism within the schools and with the students and helping to make others aware of people’s differences in general.
With a successful Facebook page, the program continues searching for ways to send their message to the general public with the aid of other social media platforms. We look to gain support from other organizations, the LP (Little Person) community, and most importantly from the surrounding communities and the general public. With this support and financial help, we hope to bring the program world-wide to raise awareness in other countries both about dwarfism and the right to celebrate one’s differences.
This new website is a result of contributions and suggestions from many different people from around the world. Without them this website would not be possible. It is a website that we hope will give others insight to the many wonderful people that make up the dwarfism community. We hope that this site allows others to see that like them, we have our differences but more so we have a lot more in common than not with each other.
As an effort to help our mission, please share this website with others and LIKE US on Facebook to be inspired and learn. Spread the word to friends and family and help us make a difference! www.facebook.com/understandingdwarfism