STORY BY JESSICA CAMPBELL
Stevie Hopkins, a serial entrepreneur and curious individual, will share his perspective on people with intellectual and development disabilities tonight in Parents Hall.
“I am a proud man with a disability, but my disability doesn’t define me,” Hopkins said. Hopkins is passionate about bringing more awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the community. He travels around giving notable speeches, and his next stop is Drake University.
The Best Buddies chapter at Drake is eager to welcome Hopkins to the university.
“We are extremely fortunate to be able to host Stevie and hear him talk about his life and shed light on the importance of respecting people with IDD,” Chapter president Conor Wells said.
The members of Best Buddies have invited people from all around, including local high school Best Buddies chapters, families and members of the community and all Drake University students.
“Stevie can really speak to everyone because he has so much experience,” Wells said. Hopkins has not only overcome the challenges of having a disability, he has also started his own business: 3E Love,
This business was started by Hopkins and his sister, Annie, and promotes the acceptance of people with disabilities and challenges the community to love and embrace them. Annie Hopkins developed the logo of a wheelchair heart that is depicted on the company’s clothing and accessories.
His success as an individual can inspire students and community members alike.
Today, Hopkins continues to expand upon 3E Love, explaining that his sister, who has now passed, would be upset that he hasn’t incorporated brighter colors in his clothing choices.
Students and community members are encouraged to attend his speech, even if they are not active participants of Best Buddies.
With Spread the Word to End the Word, a week nationally devoted to stopping the use of the word “retard” beginning on March 4, Wells thought Hopkins was the perfect way to kick start a week of awareness. Banners and bracelets will be available in Olmsted during the first week of March, continuing to promote Hopkins’ message of positive awareness for people with IDD.