What are 5 of the most common tasks that you you every day?  Take a second and think about how you managed through these daily tasks today...

  • getting dressed
  • using the restroom
  • cooking a meal
  • traveling or driving somewhere
  • listening to others

...and now go through the list as someone who is in a wheelchair, an individual with a hearing impairment, someone who is suffering with a mental illness like depression, anxiety or OCD or working in an environment where everything is not low enough to reach or the doors aren't wide enough to go through.

Two upcoming events are helping our community show support, ask questions and even do some hands-on activities that will help all of us learn more about each other; the International Day of Persons with Disabilities event on Monday and a public forum with SEMCIL on Tuesday.   The more we learn...the better our community will be for everyone who lives and visits here!

Event #1 - International Day of Persons with Disabilities

  • This is a celebration of Persons with Disabilities and offers a flexible "open house-style" schedule, including experiential learning, Diversity Council's 'Human Library", film festival, hands on stations where you can experience what a disability might be like, and a celebration with music and art created by local artists with disabilities.
  • Keynote speaker, Kate Eifrig, will be using humor and her own everyday experiences with her disability to help break down the walls of misinformation. (registration is encouraged for this part of the event)
  • When:  Monday, December 4th from 1pm until 6:30pm
  • Where:  Mayo Civic Center
  • Free event
  • View the schedule of events and learn more at their website.

Event #2 - Public Forum at Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living (SEMCIL)

  • SEMCIL is a nonprofit that is located in Rochester and oversees 11 counties in the area.  They provides services such as Independent Living, Personal Care Assistants (PCA) and the Disability Hub MN.  These programs assist people with disabilities to live as independently as possible while also empowering individuals to fully participate in their community.
  • SEMCIL is holding this public forum to learn more about what is good in our community for those with disabilities and also wants to know what might be lacking.  SEMCIL then works to identify ways to help and fill those gaps where support is needed.
  • When:  Tuesday, December 5th from 6-8pm
  • Where:  Located at SEMCIL, 2200 2nd Street SW, Rochester, MN  55902
  • Free event
  • Refreshments will be provided
  • Learn more about SEMCIL at their website and their Facebook event.

Our community is continuing to grow and greet visitors from all areas of our world, and these events will help ensure that we are listening and serving our community members with disabilities today.

The best piece of advice that I learned from my tour at SEMCIL was something everyone can take into practice, no matter what community they live in or what challenges face us each day:

"It doesn't take anything to be kind.  Just be kind.                Be a kind human and help others when they need modifications so their life can be better."                                  Kim Hicks, Independent Living Program Manager

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