Multiple activities have been scheduled on Monday-Friday, April 11-15, in conjunction with the 29th annual Disability Awareness Week at Hope College, which is featuring the theme “Life without Limits”
The public is invited to attend all of the events. Admission is free.
The college will show the film “HopeBridge” on Monday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall. The 90-minute film explores the topics of suicide, depression and grief, and the evening will include representatives of area suicide-prevention and mental-health organizations to answer questions and facilitate conversation. The presentation will include visual signs to look for to help loved ones who may be experiencing symptoms of depression. The event is sponsored by the college’s Office of Counseling and Psychological Services, with additional sponsorship by ElhartCares.
On Tuesday, April 12, visitors 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 3 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.
On Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m., Hope students will share their stories about living with their disabilities. The event will take place in the first floor rotunda of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.
In the week’s keynote event, Shannon DeVido will perform on Wednesday, April 13, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.
DeVido developed the “Stare at Shannon” series on YouTube, which she launched in 2012 when, as her website notes, as an actress, writer, comedian and singer who uses a wheelchair, she thought, “Huh… If I’m going to be stared at, I might as well be doing something awesome.” She writes, produces, edits and, with the help of her team, creates bi-monthly episodes seeking to break the conventional image of disability through comedy. Anita Gates of the “New York Times” has praised her with “Ms. DeVido is a gifted comedian who can get a laugh just by taking a bite of a potato chip,” while Vesna Plazacic of Abilities Magazine has described her as “a force of nature.”
Among her multiple other credits are appearances on television shows including “The Michael J. Fox Show,” “Sesame Street” and “Law and Order” SVU”; a variety of roles in theatre; numerous live performances as a comedian; and comprising half of the singer/songwriter duo of Useful Rooster with Nora Whittaker Jones.
On Thursday, April 14, at 8 p.m., a descriptive video version of the film “Inside Out” will be shown in the main-floor lounge of the Office of Multicultural Education in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication. The film includes audio description of action on screen for those with visual impairments and closed captioning for those with hearing impairments.
The week will close with an ice cream social on Friday, April 15, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the DeWitt Center Kletz.
Disability Awareness Week is organized by the college’s Office of Disability Services, which is part of the Student Development Office at Hope. The Disability Awareness Week Committee consists of students Elena Galano, Clarissa Johnston, Leah Richter, Bridget Totsch, Colin Rensch and Caitlin DeYoung; and faculty member Susan Cherup, who is the Arnold and Esther Sonneveldt Professor of Education. Louise Shumaker, director of disability services, is absent this year due to a serious illness. Shumaker has been a staff member in Student Development since 1987 and serves as a cornerstone for students with disabilities.
The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets. The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., between 10th and 13th streets. The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication is located at 257 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 10th Street.