Jewish Disabilities Awareness Day: Finding the Ability in Disability

02/12/2012 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Join the Jewish Disabilities Network (JDN) for the fourth annual Jewish Disabilities Awareness Day! The event, which is free and open to the public, promotes understanding and inclusion in community life for Jewish people with disabilities. The goals of the day are to increase awareness in both the Jewish and general community of the abilities and contributions of people with special needs, to honor those who care for people with disabilities, and to provide valuable resources for families and caregivers.

Attendees will enjoy a keynote presentation by Rachel Simon, an award-winning author and nationally known speaker. She is best known for her critically acclaimed, best-selling memoir Riding the Bus with My Sister, which was adapted for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie of the same name. Her newest book, The Story of Beautiful Girl, is an unforgettably moving love story about the improbable odds faced by a couple with disabilities and a lost child.

Through a national Jewish Disability Awareness Month project, “JDAM Reads” people from across the country are encouraged to read this book and discuss. Tattered Cover Book Store will be on-site during the event to sell both of Rachel’s books and a portion of proceeds will be donated to Jewish Family Service. In addition, The Story of Beautiful Girl is the featured book at Tattered Cover in January and February and will be sold at a discounted price.

View the Jewish Disability Awareness Month Program Guide for more information about how to use this book for discussions and other ideas for promoting inclusiveness in your synagogue, organization, or family.

Event Schedule:

Ongoing from 2:00 to 5:00: Resource Fair featuring a variety of businesses that provide services for people with special needs in the areas of employment, estate planning, disability trusts, education, advocacy, socialization, respite care, and more

2:00-2:15: Registration

2:15: Welcome by Sheryl Goodman, event chair, and introduction of keynote speaker, Rachel Simon

2:30-2:50: Keynote speech by award-winning author Rachel Simon. In her presentation “Taking the Journey Together,” Rachel Simon will talk about the Jewish values that are inherent in loving and caring for people with special needs and will provide tips for surviving the challenges and celebrating the rewards of caregiving.

2:50-3:15: Time to visit resource fair, buy Rachel Simon's books, and have Rachel sign books

3:15- 4:00: Simultaneous breakout sessions

From Darkness to Light: Helping the Beautiful Girls Lead Beautiful Lives, presenter Rachel Simon
Respite: A Gift of Time, presenter Ayesha Sharma of the Colorado Respite Coalition
Family and Beyond: How Care Coordination Can Help, presenter Pam Valvano of Colorado Alliance for Health and Independence (CAHI) Employment Panel, facilitated conversation with employers of people with disabilities and employment programs, including SHALOM Denver, Goodwill, and King Soopers
Collaborative Quilt Project for all ages and abilities, facilitated by the Voices for Inclusion Program

4:00-4:30: Musical performance by Leonard E. Barrett, a member of PHAMALY (Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League) and winner of the Colorado Theatre Guild Henry and Denver Post Ovation Awards for Best Actor in a Musical.

4:30-5:00: Dessert and art reception featuring paintings by Zachary Inkeles, a 24-year-old artist with Asperger Syndrome. He has embraced abstract painting and his approach is to listen to music and to apply the paint as though he were dancing on the canvas. Refreshments provided by La Vie Catering with kosher supervision by Vaad.

For questions or to request specific accommodations, please contact Inna Ermakov at 303.623.0251 x212.

JDN is comprised of Jewish organizations dedicated to addressing the needs of Jewish people with special needs of all kinds and their families. It is a collaborative program of Jewish Family Service of Colorado, its SHALOM Denver work center, Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado, Keshet of the Rockies, and the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center.

For questions or to request specific accommodations, please contact Inna Ermakov at 303.623.0251 x212.

Event Date: 
02/12/2012 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Event Location: 
Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center
350 South Dahlia Street
Denver, CO 80246
United States
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