The daily challenges faced by disabled Twin County residents are vast, but organizers of a Saturday morning event hope the first Disability Awareness and Employment Celebration will bring some of those difficulties to light.
“This celebration is important because often times the disabled community is overlooked and not quite understood,” said Jeffery Walston, Rocky Mount human relations specialist. “This is a great opportunity for them to be celebrated, to know we appreciate them.”
Members of the Mayor’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities organized the event, which is similar to the 2012 Disability Awareness Expo. Partnerships with Vocational Rehabilitation, Eastpointe and Mental Health America of the Tar River Region joined in the event planning as a way to commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“This year, the disability awareness event will be a big group effort,” Walston said. “We thought that by joining other organizations, we would get more awareness and more attendees who want to receive knowledge about disabilities.”
Twenty-three vendors are set to participate in the event with information and displays set up from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Imperial Centre. Among the topics organizers hope to highlight are jobs, community resources, services and support.
“There will be vendors on hand such as Chick-fil-A and Pizza Hut who have had great success hiring people with disabilities for employment,” Walston said.
In addition to information and handouts on disabilities, companies will provide food as well as a live performance by Chozen, a local band. A proclamation signed by Mayor David Combs will be presented at 10 a.m. declaring October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
“NDEAM is a national celebration that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.