By Kodey Toney
I've been blessed and overwhelmed with the outpouring and collaboration lately in the work we've been doing in this area, and the area of disability advocacy.
We have many irons in the fire right now, and the burden is lessened thanks to the help of other organizations and community leaders.
This is not a brag session for me, or a way to advertise our events (ok, maybe a little), but it is a way to show how important community is to helping a cause. It is also my way of saying thank you for working with us to help the families in this area living with disabilities.
I was contacted a few weeks ago by Lundy Kiger, one of the community figureheads, and asked if the Pervasive Parenting Center would be interested in a donation of a half-side of ground Angus beef to be used for a fundraiser. I accepted and we began selling chances to win the 170 pounds of meat. When I discussed this with our board of directors they decided that we should split the funds to help the local Special Olympics, a group that we have begun to work closely with because of our mutual interests.
We had been talking with Randy and Tanna Weaver with Special Olympics about some ways to collaborate our efforts anyway, but one thing we began working on last week was a formal dance for people in this area with disabilities. We are planning "A Night to Remember" which will be held April 23, in Poteau. The dance is open to anyone age 14 and up. More details are available on our website.
There were many groups joining together at the Capitol lately to help pass the Oklahoma Autism Reform bill. In fact, there are too many to mention, but their efforts helped get the bill past committee with a 6-4 vote. There is still a long way to go, but it's a good start.
Developmental Wings is a well established organization in the area that works to provide therapies to children with autism. They provide equine, music, and art therapies, as well as others. After Meeting with Michelle Qualls Long recently we have decided to combine our efforts to provide a family therapy night in Roland on March 24. This was something we felt would benefit the parents and the children at the same time. She will work with the kids while I run the parents through the basics of the Individualized Education Program (IEP).
We also are planning a walk for April 16 in Sallisaw for autism awareness/acceptance. When I started calling around for help with this Darren Garner at The Mix 105.1 and Eric Riggs at Armstrong Bank jumped on board to help out. These are just two of the businesses in the area that are committed to helping out the community, and it is greatly appreciated.
This doesn't event touch the many family members, including Pat James who helped bring the family night together, and our many board members who work tirelessly to make these things happen. It makes me so proud to belong to these communities.
If you would like more information on any of these upcoming events please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.