Celebrities with Disabilities, National Speakers & Disability.gov among Participants
(Harrisburg, Pa.) – Pennsylvania is taking center stage in the disability community, hosting the premier Living Well With A DisabilitySM Conference & Expo from August 23-26, 2013 in Lancaster, Pa. Presented by the Center for Independent Living of Central PA (CILCP), PA Statewide Independent Living Council (PA SILC) and Three Rivers Center for Independent Living (TRCIL), the first-of-its-kind event will challenge people with disabilities to pursue dreams that previously might have seemed impossible. Attendees will test new assistive technology, gain knowledge from national speakers, dive into the action of adaptive sports and have the rare opportunity to meet celebrity guests with disabilities.
“In 1993, Pennsylvania led the way with ‘Power Through Knowledge,’ the first statewide conference for people with disabilities in the nation,” said Theo Braddy, executive director of the Center for Independent Living of Central PA. “Now, we are excited to bring an even bigger opportunity to people with all types of disabilities throughout the mid-Atlantic to take living well to the next level.”
“Our mission is to help people with disabilities and their families get connected to the information, programs and services they need to live independently in their communities,” said Kevin Connors, the federal program director of Disability.gov. “We are very excited to be a participant at this unique event in Pennsylvania – working together we can make ‘living well’ a reality for everyone.”
Held at the Lancaster Marriott and Lancaster County Convention Center, the four-day conference, August 23-26, and free two-day expo, August 24 and 25, will give people with disabilities and their caregivers, educators and parents the opportunity to connect with others facing similar challenges, while discovering resources to achieve lifelong dreams. A few of the must-see presentations include:
- Tiphany Adams, a fitness and wellness advocate who uses a wheelchair and is a star of Sundance Channel’s original docu-series “Push Girls,” will lead a conference session on nutrition and creating a healthy and active lifestyle. She also will meet with expo attendees.
- Josh Blue, known as the comedian who puts the “cerebral in cerebral palsy,” and winner of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” television show, will keep attendees laughing with a premier presentation during the conference.
- Christine Ha, author and winner of “MasterChef” season 3, will lead a conference session on her cooking journey as a chef who is blind and detail the motivation behind her book. She also will do a book signing at the expo.
- 4 Wheel City, a hip-hop musical group from Bronx, New York, will share its story of pursuing music to overcome spinal cord injuries caused by gun violence. The group will perform a concert at the conference and meet guests at the expo.
- Deborah Pierce, an architect and critically acclaimed author of “The Accessible Home,” will show how to remodel a home for aging or living with a disability, autograph books and greet guests at the expo.
- The Employment Forum will focus on pressing issues that impact employment for people with disabilities. Currently, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 12.9 percent, which is almost twice the rate for people without disabilities at 6.9 percent. Facilitated by Stacy Kyle of AHEDD and the Pennsylvania Business Leadership Network, the Employment Forum will offer voices from across the industry and state including: Renee Holloman, director of workforce development & retention for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts; Stan Holbrook, president and CEO of Three Rivers Center for Independent Living in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Stevie Hopkins, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of 3E Love; John Miller, vice president of AHEDD; and Keith Williams, director of advocacy at the Center for Independent Living Northeastern Pennsylvania in Scranton, Pa.
The expo is free and open to the public, and attendees can register online. A list of exhibitors dedicated to mobility, assistive technology, home modifications, adaptive vehicles and more can be found on the Exhibitors page.
Conference registrations will be accepted until August 2, 2013, and people can find more information on the Registration page. For full details about the Living Well With A Disability Conference & Expo, visit www.livingwellwithadisabilityexpo.org. For the latest updates on presenters and activities, connect with Living Well With A Disability Conference & Expo on Facebook and follow updates on Twitter (@LivingWell2013).
About Living Well With A Disability
Living Well With A Disability is a free resource that is available to individuals with any type of disability living in certain counties of Pennsylvania. By calling the hotline, 1-877-TO-LIV-WELL, the Living Well With A Disability initiative connects people with disabilities to qualified Living Well specialists who will conduct a survey, identifying the needs and goals of the person, to then develop a plan for meeting them. It is an initiative of the Center for Independent Living of Central PA (CILCP), a consumer controlled, cross-disability, nonresidential 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency founded in 1988 and dedicated to assisting people with disabilities achieve and maintain independent lifestyles. The CILCP’s mission is to eliminate and prevent barriers that people with disabilities experience by providing ongoing advocacy and offering innovative programs and services.
About Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council
The Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council (PA SILC) is a nonprofit, cross-disability, consumer-controlled organization dedicated to securing public policies that ensure civil rights for people with disabilities by supporting the independent living philosophy. Established in 1992, PA SILC’s mission is to use their collective power and legal mandate to develop and secure public policies that ensure civil rights and expand options for all people with disabilities in all aspects of life.
About Three Rivers Center for Independent Living (TRCIL)
TRCIL is a non-residential, nonprofit, community-based human service organization. Its purpose is to assist people with disabilities to lead self-directed and productive lives within the community. The center’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to enjoy self-directed, personally meaningful lives by providing outstanding consumer-controlled services and by advocating for effective community change. They envision a world in which all physical, attitudinal, communication and systems barriers are eliminated and people with disabilities have equal opportunities and the right to full participation in society.