Welcome to the Access Press Accessible Fun listings. Readers looking for additional opportunities to enjoy the arts have these options: For information on galleries and theater performances around the state, join the Access to Performing Arts email list at firstname.lastname@example.org or call VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888 or statewide 800-801-3883 (voice/TTY). To hear a weekly listing of accessible performances, call 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883. On the web accessible performance listings are found at www.vsamn.org/calendar.html, or www.mrid.org , www.testing.accesspress.org , or http://c2net.org (c2: caption coalition, inc.), which does most of the captioned shows in Minnesota and across the country.
Connect with performances on Facebook. Sign up to connect with Audio Description Across Minnesota on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Audio-Description-Across-Minnesota/202035772468). Sign up to connect with ASL Interpreted and Captioned Performances Across Minnesota on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/ASL-Interpreted-and-Captioned-Performances-Across-Minnesota/257263087700814 )
Tuesdays at the Capitol
Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) resumes its traditional legislative session schedule once the 2013 legislative session is underway, starting Jan. 8. This includes full membership meetings on Fridays during the legislative session from noon-1 in room 500 N of the State Office Building as well as “Disability Matters Tuesdays at the Capitol” on Tuesdays during the legislative session at 10 a.m. in the basement cafeteria of the State Office Building. FFI: www.mnccd.org
Committee members sought
The State Advisory Council on Mental Health and the Subcommittee on Children’s Mental Health are accepting applications for membership. The council and subcommittee advise the governor and state departments on policies, programs and services affecting adults with mental illnesses and children with emotional disturbances. Each group consists of 30 members representing a variety of perspectives on the mental health system. The council has openings for two consumers of mental health services; i.e., recipients of public mental health services. The subcommittee has an opening for a parent of a child with mental health issues. Any Minnesotan is eligible for membership.
Appointments to the State Advisory Council are made by the Governor and appointments to the Children’s Subcommittee are made by the council. Terms are for four years. The council and subcommittee meet on the first Thursday of the month in St. Paul. They will not be meeting in December. In addition to reimbursement for travel, lodging and meal expenses, there is a stipend of $55 per meeting. FFI: Bruce Weinstock, 651-431-2249, Bruce.Weinstock@state.mn.us; or www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?recordid=41&page=19
Help with computer skills
Adults who are unsure about their basic computer skills now have a way to easily assess what they know, pinpoint what they need to learn and earn a certificate that shows employers what they know. A broad community collaboration of organizations, led by the St. Paul Public Library and the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium (SPCLC), announce the launch of the Northstar Digital Literacy Project, developed in response to the many people asking for help finding jobs in a tough economy. The Northstar Digital Literacy Project offers free, online assessments of basic computer skills in six modules: basic computer use, world-wide web, Windows 7, Mac OS X, using e-mail, and Microsoft Word. Spanish-language and close-captioned versions are available. At the end of each test, the user receives the results, listing the skills that have been mastered and the areas that need improvement. Anyone can take the tests online at www.digitalliteracyassessment.org
Help with arts calendar
VSA Minnesota is seeking a volunteer or volunteers to assist with the compilation of the monthly VSA Minnesota arts calendar. The calendar lists accessible performances, films, galleries and events throughout the region. FFI: Jon, 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883, Voice/TTY, email@example.com
Open the Door to Education
Help adults reach their educational goals and earn their GED. Tutor, teach or assist in a classroom with the Minnesota Literacy Council. Give just 2-3 hours a week and help people expand their opportunities and change their lives through education. The literacy council provides training and support. Accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-251-9110, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mnliteracy.org/volunteers/opportunities/adults.
Volunteer with RSVP
Volunteers age 55 and older are eligible to receive free supplemental insurance, mileage reimbursement and other benefits through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) sponsored by Volunteers of America of Minnesota. RSVP/Volunteers of America of Minnesota and AARP Foundation need volunteers with good budgeting and organizational skills to help manage finances of older or disabled low-income individuals. Have a few hours a month to volunteer? Money Management Program staff will train and match you with someone in the community. FFI: 612-617-7821
Holiday lights in Phalen Park
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and King of Kings Lutheran Church present a spectacular holiday display at Phalen Park in St. Paul. See beautiful interactive light displays from the comfort of a motor vehicle. All net proceeds go to local charities including Second Harvest Heartland, Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul Parks Conservancy and UnderConstruction. Time is 5:30–10 p.m. nightly including holidays through Jan. 1. The display is at 1615 Phalen Drive E, St. Paul. Cost is $10 per vehicle or $8 value nights, Sun– Thur (discount not available on holidays). The charge is $15 per limo/passenger van/mini bus and $30.00 per coach bus. FFI: www.lightsinthepark.org
Festival of Lights
The Arc Mower County is a beneficiary of donations at this year’s Festival of Lights, held 5-10 p.m. Thu-Sun through Dec. 16 and nightly Dec. 20-30 at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park outside of Austin. Take Interstate 90 exit 187 and follow signs. Costs range from $15 for a carload of 1-7 people, or $25 for a limo or mini-bus with 8-15 people. The cost is reduced $5 if you bring a donation. Donate food or new pet food and items, or a new unwrapped toy. Help many causes and see beautiful lights. www.austinfestivaloflights.com
Take the Polar Plunge
Whether it’s one toe at a time, eyes tightly closed with an uneasy step forward or a fearless cannonball, brave souls are already planning their grand entrance into the icy waters at the 2013 Polar Bear Plunge, presented by Minnesota law enforcement for the benefit of Special Olympics Minnesota. Registration is now open for the 2013 Plunge Season. With 16 Polar Bear Plunge events scattered across the state between Jan. 26 and March 16, dare-devils and do-gooders alike are sure to be “freezin’ for a reason.” Brave Plungers jump into the frigid Minnesota waters as individuals or as a member of a team to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. Although each participant must raise a minimum of $75 to Plunge, the average Plunger raised more than $200 in 2012. The total amount raised in 2012 was $2.85 million. FFI: 800-783-7732, www.plungemn.org, email@example.com
Northland 300 marks 25 years
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Northland 300 and its work to support Special Olympics Minnesota. Thousands have enjoyed this North Shore snowmobile ride and fundraiser. Organizers are preparing for the next big event Jan. 23-27 and have posted information about the event history on the event website. The event has raised more than $3.6 million over the years. Information on registration and pledges is also available. FFI: Kathy Karkula, 612-789-2081 or firstname.lastname@example.org; www.northland300.org or www.specialolympicsminnesota.org