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The University of West Florida’s Office of Equity, Diversity and International Affairs is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with a series of events through the month of October.

Sylvia Patterson, program manager for diversity and ADA initiatives, says the hope is to educate the community about the various types disabilities and create a sense of awareness and understanding. In honor of the anniversary, the office also created a series of videos featuring students and community members sharing their gratitude for the Act.

“There’s a wide range of disabilities that people don’t even think about,” said Patterson. “We just want to make people aware that those with disabilities are just like the rest of us. They want to be treated the same as anyone else.”

The office has planned events throughout October, culminating with a keynote speaker at the end of the month. On Oct. 5, the OEDIA held “Stomp Out the Stigma,” an awareness event focusing on mental health. On Oct. 6, UWF employees and community members served as mentors to local high school students who participate in Project SEARCH, a national program that aims to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. On Oct. 12, members of the campus community were able to “Step Into the Shoes” and experience a disability through simulation.

The following events are also a part of the ADA 25th anniversary programming. Both are free and open to the public.

WHAT:14th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Game
WHEN:Tuesday, October 20
6:00–8:00 PM
WHERE:UWF Pensacola Campus – UWF Field House (Building 54)
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
DETAILS:At the 14th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Game, UWF’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will play against the Mobile Patriots – a team of professional wheelchair basketball players. There will be quarter-time games, prizes and giveaways. Concessions will be available.

 

WHAT:People, Purpose and Passion: 25 Years of the ADA
WHEN:Thursday, October 29
8:30-11:30 AM
WHERE:UWF Pensacola Campus – UWF Conference Center (Building 22)
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
DETAILS:OEDIA will host keynote speaker, Christopher Coleman, a young man born with cerebral palsy. As part of the Pace Symposium Series, Coleman will share his story and bring a strong message of encouragement to all who attend.
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