xyz West hills College lemoore

LEMOORE – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 48.9 million people, about 19.4 percent of the country’s population, have a disability.

With October being National Disability Awareness Month, West Hills Lemoore will hold its annual Operation Awareness disability event Wednesday and show ways it can help not only students, but others as well. 

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Pedersen-Semas Plaza, outside the West Hills Lemoore Learning Resource Center. The event will feature food, games and representatives from community groups and organizations that offer services for those with disabilities. It is open to students as well as the public.

“The event is to bring awareness to the community and staff about individuals with disabilities as well as provide education about the programs and services available to this population,” said Lataria Hall, associate dean of categorical programs at West Hills Lemoore.

Megan Shults, senior secretary in categorical programs, said the event is a good way for people to find out what programs the school offers like the Disabled Student Program and Services, which provides students access and accommodations.

One of many accommodations, Shults said, includes a transportation service for those whose mobility is impaired to help them get to and from class on the campus.

“The big thing is to help students be successful,” Shults said.

In some cases, Shults said some people may not even know they have a disability that the school can provide services for. Events like Wednesday, she said, could help point them in the right direction.

“There are a lot of people who don’t know they have a disability,” Shults said. “For example, most people don’t know that [post-traumatic stress disorder] is categorized as a disability. We have ways to help.”

A variety of activities aim to give people an understanding of what it’s like to live with a disability.

Two of the activities include a cash cube where participants are blindfolded and attempt to grab as many dollar bills flying around the area as possible giving them the experience of being blind. Another activity includes a wheelchair race through an area of campus that includes the use of handicap ramps.

Programs that are featured aren’t limited to those that help students.

In the library staff from the Kings County Office of Education will give information about disabilities in the workplace and information about workmen’s compensation.

The Depression Reduction Achieving Wellness program, a counseling service of Tulare and Kings County, will also be at the event to give information on reducing stress.

For more information, call Shults at 925-3337.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2431 or jbutters@HanfordSentinel.com. Follow him on twitter @jsbutters.

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