COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City High School students were given an opportunity to experience a moment in time as someone with a disability last month through the 7th annual Disability Awareness Fair in honor of Disability Awareness Month.
The fair was presented by Circle of Friends, a club sponsored by Karen Koday and James Hornaday, that allows students to find opportunities during the school year to form relationships and bonds with students who aren’t in their general education classes. Club presidents Brooke Ebersole and Kennedy Arntz led the group in organizing, setting up and executing the fair.
“The fair was a hands-on way for students in the general education population to gain a better understanding and connection with students and people with disabilities,” Koday said. “We all have unique abilities and the fair gives us the opportunity to show those abilities to others.”
Booths were set up throughout the gym where the students were challenged to complete given tasks that focused on specific disabilities. Some of the activities included wheelchair races, using a cane, shooting baskets with impaired depth perception, painting your name with no hands and communicating with sign language and braille. The event also had an autism station that displayed various sensory items that related to touch and smell. Another booth challenged students to match famous people with their disabilities. A new booth this year focused on activities and information concerning occupational therapy and physical therapy.
The LIFE skills class (Learning Independence for Employment) had a table displaying items that students created in their classroom that were for sale. Some of the items shown were thank-you cards, Christmas cards, coffee mugs with sleeves, emergency supply kits and therapy heat bags.
Circle of Friends members were excited to see Passages and Easter Seals join in with booths that gave information on what services they provide and new opportunities for students. They also handed out free wristbands, phone ID holders and pens.