posted March 28, 2003

Disability Awareness Week Begins March 31

Man's best friend will take center stage during the Disability Awareness Week keynote event at Hope College on Thursday, April 3.

The working dog's role in the lives of people with disabilities will be the focus of "Dogs, Dogs, Dogs" on Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium. Therapy dogs, service dogs and guide dogs and their owners/handlers will participate in a panel event that will examine the humans' experiences with their canine companions. Puppies in training for careers as helper dogs will also be present.

The presentation will be one of several events during this year's Disability Awareness Week, which will run Monday, March 31, through Friday, April 4. The week's theme is "'Man's Best Friend': Making Life Easier for PWD's (People With Disabilities)."

The public is invited to the activities. Admission is free.

In addition, the week will begin on Monday morning with a wheelchair challenge that will have invited members of the college's student body, faculty and staff undergo a mobility impairment simulation for six, 12 or 24 hours.

On Monday, March 31, at 9 p.m., a descriptive video version of the film "Scooby-Doo" will be presented in the DeWitt Center Kletz. The video, designed for audiences with vision impairments, includes audio description of action on-screen. The Kletz will provide free popcorn and soft drinks.

On Tuesday, April 1, participants will be able to simulate a variety of disabilities, including mobility impairment, hearing impairment, vision impairment and learning disabilities, as well as have an opportunity to gather information about a number of hidden disabilities. The simulations will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the main floor lounge of the DeWitt Center.

There will be a poetry reading on Tuesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. in the Maas Room of Voorhees Hall. Members of the Hope community will read their own work as well as works by others that discuss disabilities.

On Thursday, April 3, at 9 p.m., a descriptive video version of the film "Shrek" will be shown in the DeWitt Center Kletz. As with the film on Monday, free popcorn and soft drinks will be provided.

The week will close with an ice cream social on Friday, April 4, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the DeWitt Center Kletz.

The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The Maas Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street. Voorhees Hall is located on 10th Street at College Avenue.