Accessible Events - April 2018

More events information: VSA Minnesota is here. The website has a large calendar at in the upper right hand corner of its home page. For information on galleries and theater performances around the state join the Access to Performing Arts email list at 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. Another web events listing is (c2: caption coalition, inc.), which does most of the captioned shows across the country. Facebook is another way to connect with performances. Sign up to connect with Audio Description Across Minnesota. Connect with ASL Interpreted and Captioned Performances across Minnesota on Facebook.



Three of Minnesota’s leading disability advocacy organizations are conducting a hands-on workshop to equip people with disabilities, advocates, and family members with tools, guidance, and a greater understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Go to the workshop and learn ways to address building access and compliance issues.

Accessing Your Community Businesses: Understanding Your Rights and the ADA, is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat, April 28 at Eastside Neighborhood Services at 1700 NE 2nd St., Mpls. The workshop is free, and lunch is provided but participants must preregister and make accommodations requests in advance.

The workshop is sponsored by ADA Minnesota, Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) and Minnesota Council on Disability (MCD). Representatives from the three groups have information-packed sessions planned. Topics include Civic Engagement, how to get involved in your community and communicate effectively; Understanding Your Rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III and barrier removal law; and Understanding Minnesota Building Codes including technical requirements and hands-on training with measuring tools.

“We are deeply committed to ADA as this law assures rights and responsibilities for people with disabilities,” said Jesse Bethke Gomez, MCIL executive director.

“We know some members of the disability community are not fully aware of the rules, regulations, and their rights. Or they find themselves in situations when a building is non-compliant, and they are unsure of how to tactfully help the building owner understand their obligations,” said Margot Imdieke Cross, accessibility specialist with MCD.  “This hands-on workshop offers an exciting opportunity to empower participants with practical tools and
tactics, so they can address building accessibility issues with confidence.”

Workshop presenters include: Cindy Tarshish, ADAC, ADA Minnesota Program Coordinator; Tiffany Ostrom, Community Engagement Coordinator, Metropolitan Center for Independent Living; Margot Imdieke Cross, Accessibility Specialist, Minnesota Council on Disability; and David Fenley, ADA Director, Minnesota Council on Disability.

FFI: 651-646-8342,



Service and working animals can get free eye exams through an annual exam program in May, organized by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists ACVO and StokesRx. The program has been offered for 11 years and has helped almost 60,000 animals. Registration opens Sun, April 1 and ends Mon, April 30. The appointments fill up quickly. The goal for the hundreds of volunteers is to provide as many exams as possible. Guide, disability assistance, detection, military, search and rescue, and registered therapy animals are eligible. Register to determine eligibility and to see what is offered in the region. FFI:



Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Ave. S., hosts the 35th annual Art in Bloom four-day  festival, April 26-29. Enjoy fresh floral arrangements and fine art, presented by the Friends of the Institute. ASL offered 7:15 p.m. Thu, April 26 and 1:15 p.m. Sun, April 29. Tours begin in second floor rotunda. Free. FFI: 612-870-3000,



The Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s Handiham Program connects people with vision loss or physical disability with the challenging, exciting and rewarding world of ham radio. Radio Talking Book is helping to promote the program. Ham radio is a fun hobby and can connect people from all over the world. FFI: 1-866-426-3442,



PACER Center offers its 14th annual Housing Resource and Information Fair, 9 a.m.-noon Sat, April 14 at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. The free event is for parents of teens and young adults with disabilities. Learn about services and housing options. With parent voices leading off between 9-9:30 a.m. Then an open house will feature housing providers, information and advocacy organizations, and networking with other parents. State and county specialists will be available to answer questions. Representatives will be on site from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department, Ramsey County Department of Community Human Services, Dakota County Community Living Services, Washington County Community Services, and the Minnesota Disability Law Center. Registration is encouraged. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237,



PACER Center hosts the Early Childhood Family Leadership Summit 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sat, April 21 at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington. This free one-day specialized leadership training event is for parents of children ages birth to seven with developmental delays or disabilities. The training is intended for parents who currently serve or are interested in serving on interagency early intervention committees or subcommittees, special education advisory councils or other advisory boards. Funding for the workshop is made possible under a contract from the Minnesota Department of Education. Lodging may be provided for parents traveling more than 70 miles one way. Preregister by Wed, April 18 as the training will fill up quickly, FFI: Judy Swett, (952) 838-9000, (800) 537-2237 (toll free),



Registration is open for the 23rd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference, April 25-28, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis – Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd., Mpls. Autism Society of Minnesota organizes the event, offering opportunities for experts, parents, caregivers, educators, paraprofessionals, mental health professionals, service providers and individuals on the spectrum to connect, collaborate, advocate and educate. The conference features four keynote speakers: “Autism Daddy Frank Campagna; Jed Baker, PhD; Stephen Shore, PhD; and Leah Kuypers MA Ed, OTR/L. More than 30 breakout sessions are also offered. The conference begins with an exciting family celebration featuring Julia, the newest Sesame Street Muppet, a character who was created to increase awareness and understanding of autism. Costs and details are online. FFI:



Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities hosts its annual health and wellness conference, conference, Healthy Independent Living for People with Disabilities Tue, Sept. 25 at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, Mpls. Matthew Sanford is keynote speaker. This is the second year for the conference. FFI:



A Spring Gala benefit for the NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is Sat, April 28 at the Radisson Blu Mpls. Speak Easy About Mental Health is this year’s theme. Jump, jive, and shake your tail feathers to the swinging sounds of High Brow and the Shades. The event features a live and silent auction, a plated dinner, and live music and dancing – all supporting the mental health community. Proceeds support NAMI’s programs of education and support for children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. Roaring Twenties themed attire desired but not required. Ticket prices and sponsorship information online. FFI: 651-645-2948,



The Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota and North Dakota hosts its 26th Purple Gala, at 5:30 p.m. Sat, May 5 at the Depot in Mpls. The event includes a reception and silent auction followed by dinner, live auction, entertainment, and after party with live band. Tickets and donation opportunities are available online. FFI:



Celebrate the Magic Within is Autism Society of Minnesota’s fundraising gala, 6-10 p.m. Fri, April 27 at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place. Enjoy good food, drinks, games, silent and live auctions, and a celebration of those serving as true inspirations to individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder. Gala proceeds benefit programs and services for the Minnesota autism community. Tickets and sponsor opportunities available online. FFI:



Lupus Links sponsors its annual Lupus Link Minnesota Walk & 5K — Twin Cities 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat, May 5 at French Regional Park, Plymouth. Walk, run or roll to raise funding and awareness of lupus as advocates mark Lupus Awareness Month. Register online. FFI:



An estimated 4,000 people are expected to raise more than $775,000 at Walk MS: Twin Cities on Sun, May 6 at Minnehaha Park, Mpls. Walk MS is an opportunity for people to come together with friends, loved ones and coworkers to fundraise, connect and advocate for people affected by multiple sclerosis. The site opens at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 9:30 a.m. FFI, please go here.



Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson headlines PACER’s Annual Benefit on Sat, May 12 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Proceeds from the annual benefit support PACER’s programs for children with disabilities and their families, and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Tickets start at $75 and include silent and live auctions. FFI: 952-838-9000,



Avivo ArtWorks, formerly Spectrum, presents a show by artists with mental illness, at University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library, 2nd floor, Diehl Hall, 505 Essex St. SE, Mpls. The exhibition is a project curated by Jes Reyes, the coordinator of Avivo’s ArtWorks program, and co-organized by Paul Ranelli, a professor of Social Pharmacy at the U of M College of Pharmacy. Exhibiting artists include: Ashley Adams, Teresa Audet, Cecile Bellamy, Douglas Blue, Andrew Braunberger, Jennifer N. Campbell, John Casey, Kate Clark, Christi Furnas, Peter F. Hinze, KaTa, Kandace Krause, Sam Larom, Gary Melquist, Photovoice participants, Michaela Rachor, Holly Rapoport, Anne South, Julia C. Spencer, Heather Spielman, Shining Starr, Tobias, Jessica Ward and Roger Williamson. Open until April 30. Free. FFI: 612-752-8242,



Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) announces a new free resource for caregivers and parents. The Caregivers of Kids with Autism Support Group provides a space for parents and caregivers of children with autism ages 4-21 to come together, discuss challenges, share solutions and form relationships with families in similar situations. Many families report feeling alone or isolated, and support groups allow caregivers to make meaningful connections. Meeting at 10:30 a.m.-noon on the second Sat of each month at AuSM, 2380 Wycliff Street #102, St. Paul, and led by a therapist. FFI:



The St. Cloud Area Parkinson’s Disease Support Group meets 1-2:30 p.m. the third Mon of each month at ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton Drive, St. Cloud. Free. Meetings are open to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, their families, caregivers and the general public. The group provides support, education, and awareness about the disease. FFI: 320-529-9000



Vision Loss Resources provides free and low-cost activities in the Twin Cities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Life skills classes for those with low vision; card games, craft classes, book clubs, walking groups, dinners out, special outings and technology classes are among the offerings. Participants need to RVSP to participate, at least three working days prior to an event. The calendar is also available on the Vision Loss Resources website and as a printable large-print PDF document for those who wish to print their own or additional copies. FFI: RSVP hotline, 612-843-3439; activity line and audio calendar, 612-253-5155,



The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides many life skills classes as well as fun outings and events for people with disabilities. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert Street, St Paul and most activities are there or start there. Classes and events are listed on the website, Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for updated information or to print their calendar. Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. FFI: 651-603-2030



ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton Drive, St. Cloud, offers a number of classes, events and other opportunities for Minnesotans with disabilities in central Minnesota. The center offers its own programming and hosts, other groups. One group it hosts is the St. Cloud Area Parkinson’s Disease Support Group meets 1-2:30 p.m. the third Mon of each month. The center has a full schedule of its own activities including support groups, classes and more. FFI: 320-267-7717



The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides many life skills classes as well as fun outings and events for people with disabilities. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert Street, St Paul and most activities are there or start there. Classes and events are listed on the website, Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for updated information or to print their calendar. Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. FFI: 651-603-2030



AuSM offers free support groups for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Groups include those for adult family members, women with autism spectrum disorders and independent adults with autism. Check the website for upcoming groups. Groups meet at the AuSM offices at 2380 Wycliff St. FFI: 651-647-1083 ext. 10,



National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota offers more than 300 free educational classes statewide each year, along with help in navigating the mental health system. NAMI also has more than 70 free support groups for people living with a mental illness and their families. NAMI Minnesota offers more than 300 free educational classes statewide each year, along with help in navigating the mental health system. In the Twin Cities NAMI has about two dozen family support groups, more than 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, groups for veterans and other groups. Led by trained facilitators, groups provide help and support. Parent resource groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has been trained to lead support groups.  A full calendar of all events is offered online. FFI: 651-645-2948,



Volunteers are a valuable resource at Radio Talking Book, broadcasting local news and information programs to blind and print-impaired listeners from sites in Duluth, Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids, Mankato, Rochester, St. Cloud and the Communication Center in St. Paul. The goal is to provide accurate and timely information to our thousands of listeners throughout Minnesota and across the nation. Volunteers are needed to provide this important service. FFI: Roberta Kitlinski, 651-539-1423



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 Council provides training and support and accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-251-9110,, or at their website.

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