1998 CITY LIVABILITY AWARD WINNERS
Outstanding Achievement Award (cities under 100,000)Medford: Major Michael J. McGlynn
Comprehensive Citywide Approach for Community Acceptance of Disabilities
1. Briefly describe your program
Our program is a comprehensive citywide approach, spearheaded by the Commission for Person with Disabilities, designed to create an accepting and educated community with knowledge of disability issues aimed at all ages. The Commission produced a three-fold approach with, "The Kids on the Block Puppets", "Understanding Handicaps Program", and the "Disability Friendly Business Campaign." "The Kids on the Block Program" took life-size puppets with disabilities, representative of our school population, into Medford classrooms. These puppets, operated by high school drama students, used scripts to demonstrate that a disability does not mean that can NOT do something, rather, it means you just do things a little differently than others.
The "Understanding Handicaps Program" focused on Blindness and Vision Impairment. Fourth graders participated in two, two-hour sessions simulating what life is like as person who is visually impaired. These exercises, from writing with a brailler to performing detailed tasks while blindfolded, created true empathy for situations most students knew little about previously.
The third part of the program focused on businesses through the "Disability Friendly Business Campaign." We informed businesses how to easily and at minimal cost, assist persons with disabilities by making simple adjustments to their business and/or their employees' attitude to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
2. When and why was it created?
3. How has the program improved the quality of life in your community?
The "Disability Friendly Business Campaign" was developed because persons with disabilities are consumers. This program reached approximately 1000 businesses and created a sense of awareness and understanding through the entire community.
4. Why is your program outstanding or innovative?