By Steve Harmic, Penn State DuBois
DUBOIS – A disability Awareness Fair held this week in the gymnasium at Penn State DuBois provided a venue for people with disabilities and their families to connect with others who can help them to meet their life goals.
The single-day event hosted by Penn State DuBois’ Disability Services, in conjunction with the advocacy group, The Arc of Jefferson and Clearfield counties, was organized with the aim to educate others on the various disabilities and services available and to offer resources to those in need of disability services and supports. The event was free and open to the public.
“We want to make people more aware of the challenges faced by people of different ability levels, and what they can do for people with disabilities,” said Diana Kreydt, campus disability services coordinator.
Representatives from dozens of area service organizations and agencies were available at the fair to answer questions, or provide general information, face-to-face, about the services they offer and their roles in providing assistance to those with disabilities.
The fair also featured displays of some of today’s assistive technologies, provided by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).
Additionally, some local businesses were there for recruitment purposes, promoting the employment opportunities they offer for people of all capabilities.
“We’re looking for individuals to work in our warehouse to sort goods and to get items into our stores,” said Shane Dietz, a community resource specialist with Goodwill Industries of North Central Pennsylvania. “This event has helped us reach out to people. We’re finding people looking for work.”
Roberta Wingard, a caseworker with Skills of Central Pennsylvania, works with people who have disabilities, helping them to adjust and grow in their community. She came to the Disability Awareness Fair with a client who she’s helping to become more independent.
“By coming here, we can see what the programs are that can help us; what they offer.” Wingard said. “We’re finding resources here, and making contacts to help make the right choices.”
This program was funded, in part, with funds given to The Arc from the CMS Medicaid Infrastructure Grant.