First-ever Disability Resources Expo brings large crowd to Drayson Center
Those attending the expo could learn about adapted surfing, among other sports.
Well over 1,000 persons with disabilities, as well as students and others involved with the disabled, came out for the first Disability Resources Expo at Drayson Center on Thursday, October 26.
“I’ve never seen such a large gathering of people with disabilities in one place in this region,” says Willie Stewart, coordinator of the LLUMC PossAbilities program, headquartered on East Campus. Before this event was launched, those wanting to attend a fair to check out resources available to the disabled had to go to Anaheim for the annual Abilities Expo, held in June.
Teri Pantaleo, PossAbilities and Just for Seniors coordinator who was heavily involved in planning the fair, says that feedback from the 85 vendors was highly positive. “The only negative comment we got from a vendor was that they didn’t know how much material they’d need to bring!” she remarks.
Mr. Stewart says that people attending “were amazed at the variety available to them, from legal rights and Social Security to durable medical goods and recreation—therapeutic horseback riding, Special Olympics, even surfing.”
Eighteen educational classes were scheduled throughout the fair, which ran from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Topics included effective communication, people with disabilities in general education, self-advocacy, employment, sexuality and disability, and parent-child interaction therapy.
The Disability Resources Expo was planned by the Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative, which brings together more than 70 organizations in Riverside and San Bernardino counties that provide services for the disabled. Inland Empire Health Plan and the PossAbilities program were the diamond sponsors of the event, and the Loma Linda University Student Association and First Five were the platinum sponsors. Molina Healthcare Advantage was the gold sponsor. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is the major sponsor of the PossAbilities program.
Ms. Pantaleo says that next year’s fair may be even bigger. “Vendors who didn’t know about it in time are already asking to be included,” she says.
By Marilyn Thomsen
Several kinds of aids for the disabled were demonstrated at the Disability Resource Expo, held in Drayson Center on October 26.