On October 25, Chabot College held an event for Disability Awareness, with many vendors and entertainment. The focus of the event was mostly about what resources there are for those who need a little extra help, and those who help someone else.
The Disabled Students Resource Center (DSRC) offers a wide range of services and accommodations for students with a documented disability. “We get a lot of students coming to us who have accepted their disability, but a lot of people are nervous about being labeled, or, like in the deaf community, they don’t see it as a disability, but if they don’t come to us, they can’t get an interpreter or note taker. A lot of teachers come to learn more about what they can do for their students as well.” said Alise Smith, an assistant counselor at the DSRC
“Using blocks or a strap in a yoga pose isn’t cheating, it’s actually going to help you get the most out of a pose,” explained Mariella Morales, a yoga teacher at Chabot. The same can be said for many services and accommodations in disability programs. For many, getting a little help when it’s really needed, benefits you much more in the long run, and could prepare you to succeed without that help later on.
“I talked to DSRC my first day on campus, they definitely helped me, but I was nervous at first, I didn’t know what to expect. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been determined to be more independent, I’m in a wheelchair most of the time, my doctors don’t want me to put pressure on my legs right now. When I learned more about what resources they gave to students, I was more comfortable, and I have appreciated having test accommodations.” said Jorge Duarte, Radio & TV broadcasting major at Chabot.
“Back when this started, it was called ‘Dare to be Aware’ because most people aren’t aware of disabilities until something happens to them, or a family member. So you want to bring awareness to students and others campuswide, as to just what is out there, so we can create an equal playing field. That’s possible now with some of the newer technology that’s out there.” said Richard Blair-Keeney, Counselor at Chabot’s DSRC.
Blair-Keeney has worked at Chabot for over 26 years, and plans to retire soon, he was honored at this year’s event. When asked to clarify the goal of the event, Blair-Keeney agreed, “The event is about raising awareness for some of the many programs that can help with accessibility, and resources for anyone who needs a little, or a lot of help.”
A few of the organizations at the event were:
- 211 — Offering nonemergency help, in urgent situations. 211.org is the website, but you can dial 211 on your phone to connect to a free, confidential advice line on finding services to help with domestic violence, housing problems, health, financial, if you need help, they can probably point you in the right direction.
- IHSS — They work together with Medicare and Medi-Cal, if you are caring for an older person, or a disabled person, they can subsidize your time, i.e. pay you for caring for your grandparent. (510) 577-3517 gettingthemostoutoflife.org
- Beyond Emancipation — Designed to help foster kids and teens become independent, offer housing and job opportunities, and offer some support outside the system. (510) 667-7694 beyondemancipation.org
- Echo — The Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity, designed to promote fairness in housing, they offer services to provide housing assistance, tenant/landlord counseling, and other counseling related to renting and housing. (510) 581-9380 www.echofairhousing.org
- Ability Tools — Offering short-term device loans, or low-cost used devices for disabled Californians, tools to make life easier. 800-390-2699 www.abilitytools.org
- Futures Explored — A vocational program to assist individuals with developmental disabilities with learning film production, multimedia development, and supporting role skills for positions which can help lead to employment in the Film and Media Industry. (916) 416-5487
- CRIL — Community Resource for Independent Living is a peer-based organization advocating for and providing resources for people with disabilities to improve quality of life, and make communities fully accessible. (510) 881-5743 www.crilhayward.org
Easy Does It — Initially began as emergency services for Berkeley residents, for those who are disabled, who need immediate help, but not an ambulance. They now also provide casework and logistical and technical support for people with disabilities and seniors so that they can live their lives with dignity and liberty. (510) 845-5513 www.easydoesitservices.org