McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 10, 2013

Disability Awareness Day set for April 3

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — To advocate for people with disabilities in the Pittsburg County area and in the state a McAlester organization is asking  local residents to attend People with Disabilities Awareness Day on April 3 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“One in four people in Oklahoma have a disability,” according Julia Collins a representative of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services in McAlester.

The ODRS sponsors the event.

Oklahomans for Independent Living will also be participating and will help provide transportation, according to Pam Pulchney executive director. “We will have a bus available and we can come pick people up in the McAlester and Krebs area,” Pulchney said. To arrange transportation with OIL call 918-426-6220.

Meanwhile Collins said that state-wide, hundreds people are expected to gather the State Capitol on April 3 for the event.

And locally, Collins said she is hoping for about 250 local people to attend.

“Last year there were about 600 people from all over the state who came to the Capitol for Awareness Day,” Collins said.

 “This year we are hoping for 800.”

Collins said participants should wear green.

“To stand united, we encourage all to wear green on this day,” Collins said.

“We are hoping that when those who work at the capitol see a lot of people in the halls or rotunda all wearing disability-awareness green, our efforts will have even greater impact.”

She during the event people with disabilities and advocates will a have chance to talk with legislators that have the ability to preserve or expand services that can make a difference in the lives of Oklahomans with disabilities.

This year she said the plan is for 75 percent of Awareness Day participants to visit state senators and representatives or their staff, Collins said.

She said during the event, volunteers will be available to take participants on legislative visits and provide other assistance.

The event is open to the public and transportation can be provided.

For more information contact Collins at 918-302-4200 or visit www.okdrs.gov/pwdad/2013 to register.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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