Silver City, New Mexico, April 15, 2015: The Disabilities Resource Center opens its doors on Monday, April 20, 2015, from 5 to 8 p.m. at 1012 N. Silver Street, located next to the Silver City Recreation Center. The community is invited to enjoy light refreshments while viewing the new resources and equipment available at the Center.
Vicki Galindo, a parent on an individual with a disability and the community advocate of The ARC of New Mexico - Grant County Chapter, envisions the Center as a hub for the community and utilized for “parent support groups, social learning, gatherings, educational trainings, mentoring, play groups, therapy and housing resources.”
The Center is the culmination of three years of coordination and collaboration efforts by community partners and the Governor’s Commission on Disability. CEO of Life Quest, Inc., Evangeline Zamora says, “The Disabilities Resource Center will provide an environment that is quiet, private and can be used by families and other community stakeholders for therapies, conferences, educational classes, parent classes, etc. pertaining to disabilities. The Center is for public use and to my knowledge the only such open center in this part of the state available solely for this purpose! “
The Center’s structure was secured by the Town of Silver City through collaboration with Silver Consolidated School District then relocated a centralized location, adjacent to the Silver City Recreation Center. Silver City Town Manager, Alex Brown said, “Peter Peña and the Facilities Management staff went above and beyond to see the Center was settled safely into its new home.”
Meanwhile, the Grant County Disability Advisory Council (DAC) pooled resources to fill the Center with equipment for the community. Western New Mexico University was able to secure a grant for $42,000 for assistive equipment lending library from New Mexico Technology Assistance Program (NMTAP) from the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities.
WNMU Assistant Professor Patti West-Okiri, MSW, says, “Special populations, including veterans, the elderly, and the disabled have challenges that are unique…and make the cost and travel required to access some resources out of reach. The Disabilities Resource Center is one way we can come together as a community to meet those needs.”
WNMU Social Work Department intern, Mackie Thoutt conducted an assessment to stock the NMTAP resource lending library with equipment that best meets the needs of the community. NMTAP will also be partnering to offer demonstrations and trainings of the equipment at the resource lending library.
West-Okiri says, “As a former school social worker, and a parent of a child with a disability, I have seen first-hand how the absence of locally available assistive technology can create barriers for people.
Assistive technology helps people carry out their daily activities using any type of device to help them live healthy, productive, and more independent lives. These assistive devices can be aid with mobility, hearing, vision and communication for individuals with disabilities.
West-Okiri adds that assistive technology changes people’s lives for the better, “In my son’s case, his ability to communicate functionally through speech is the most important thing. Can you imagine living 12 years, as he has, without the ability to effectively communicate with the people around you? For him, augmented communication devices are absolutely essential. We have already tried some out. My favorite sentence he has produced do far has been, ‘Oh boy! That was delicious!’ He has never been able to communicate something so simple – and as a mom, it feels really good to finally begin hearing his ‘voice’!”
The Town of Silver City has entrusted and partnered with Life Quest, Inc., to make the building and lending library available to the public.
Zamora says, “The Center is an exciting resource for us, as rural communities often do not have access to this type of equipment and meeting space!”
DAC would like to thank all the agencies, organizations and individuals that have contributed their time, equipment and resources to make the Center become a reality.
The Disability Advisory Council is overseen by the Grant County Community Health Council, the Health and Wellness Authority of the Board of Grant County Commissioners and supported by Gila Regional Medical Center.
For more information about the Disabilities Resource Center call (575) 388-1976.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 13:11