posted March 31, 2011

Disability Awareness Week Highlights Include Basketball Game

A unique post-season basketball game will be among the highlights of Disability Awareness Week at Hope College.

The Grand Rapids Pacers Wheelchair Basketball team will challenge a co-ed team featuring members of the Hope men's and women's basketball teams on Wednesday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse.

The public is invited to the game, and to all of the week's other events.  Admission is free.

The Hope players will be occupying wheelchairs with brief instructions on techniques and rule changes.  Although the Flying Dutch and Flying Dutchmen both advanced to the second round of NCAA Division III regional play this year and will have the home court advantage, the week's staff coordinator notes that she gives the edge to the Pacers.

"The things that they do and how well they play - it's a lot like having the Globetrotters come," said Louise Shumaker, who is director of disability services at Hope.

The Pacers will be making their third appearance at Hope in conjunction with the week.  Their last time at the college was 2008.

Shumaker is glad for the return engagement.

"We appreciate being able to bring really good people in to have an impact in a fun way," she said, "to build awareness of how much somebody who's sitting in a wheelchair can do with an athletic event - that's a really big thing."

A variety of activities are planned across Monday through Friday, April 11-15, in conjunction with the week.

° The week will begin in the morning on Monday, April 11, 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, April 11, beginning at 7 p.m., Kristen Lambrides will present a two-hour sign language workshop that consists of general sign language instruction from 7 to 8 p.m. and instruction on signing music from 8 to 9 p.m.  Lambrides has worked as an entertainment sign language interpreter for the past 20 years, and has her own business, Handmade Sounds.  The event will include refreshments.

° On Tuesday, April 12, 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.

° On Tuesday, April 12, at 9 p.m., a descriptive video version of the film "Toy Story 3" will be shown in the DeWitt Center Kletz.  The video, designed for audiences with vision impairments, includes audio description of action on screen.  Those who stay for half an hour will be entered into a drawing to win a Hope College sweatshirt blanket. The Kletz staff will provide free popcorn and soda.

° On Thursday, April 14, at 7 p.m., Dr. Bryan Bolea of the college's counseling and psychological services staff will present a workshop on Tourette's.  The event, in the DeWitt Center Herrick Room, will include a documentary film and discussion afterward.  Refreshments will be available.

° The week will close with an ice cream social on Friday, April 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the DeWitt Center Kletz.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets, and the concession booths will be open during the Wednesday evening wheelchair game.  The DeWittCenter is located at 141 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.