Welcome to the Access Press Accessible Fun listings, a sampling of theater, music, arts, walks, runs, dances and gala events for our community. Readers looking for additional opportunities to enjoy the arts have these options:
VSA Minnesota has a large calendar at in the upper right hand corner of the home page. VSA Minnesota would like feedback on the design, so users should weigh in on the site or at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-332-3888 ext. 2. The new website is intended to be easier for volunteers to maintain and expand. Users of the site should change their bookmarks if they haven’t already done so.
For information on galleries and theater performances around the state join the Access to Performing Arts email list at email@example.com 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 in Minnesota and 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
Honors for an advocate
Help The Arc Minnesota honor Roberta Opheim at the organization’s annual Public Policy Recognition Event. It is 5:30 p.m. Wed, May 21 at Midland Hills Country Club, Roseville. Opheim serves as Minnesota’s State Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. She was a key figure in exposing the abuses and mistreatment of residents at the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options (METO) through her office’s report, Just Plain Wrong. Cost is $50 per person. Proceeds help support The Arc Minnesota’s public policy advocacy program, To register for the event, go to www.arcmn.org; contact Dawn Lampros at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-604-8070 if you have questions or need help signing up for the event
MS walks need walkers
Walk MS is down nearly 400 participants, with three Walk MS weekends taking place in May around the state Walk MS is critical to supporting research and programs. Walks are all over the region and it’s easy to register online. FFI: www.nationalmssociety.org/Chapters/MNM
Minnesota’s Americans with Disabilities (ADA) 24th Anniversary Celebration is 10 a.m.-noon, Fri July 25 at the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Elmer L. Anderson Building, 540 Cedar St., St. Paul. Enjoy interesting speakers, entertainment and light refreshments. Green Line light rail will be up and running so why not take the train? Save the date and watch for more information in June.
Toast to Hope
A Toast to Hope, an evening to benefit the children and families served by Lifetrack Resources, is 6-8:30 p.m. Thu, May 22 at the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Enjoy a silent auction, appetizers, a cash bar, entertainment and the Faces of Hope. Tickets are $50 per person. Proceeds benefit clients of Lifetrack. FFI: 651-227-8471, www.lifetrack-mn.org/
51st International Art Show by Artists with Disabilities
Attend a gala grand opening, or stop and see the art when it is on display at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, second floor, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, 800 E. 28th St., Mpls. The show opens June 5 and continues until June 26. Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays. Grand opening, which is ASL interpreted, is 5-8 p.m. Thu, June 5. Free. Art is for sale. FFI: 612-863-4872, email@example.com, www.allinahealth.org/couragekenny or www.allinahealth.org/ahs/ski.nsf/page/artshow
Enjoy a bit of Brazilian culture
The final installment of Landmark Center’s 2013/2014 Urban Expedition series is 1-3 p.m. Sun, May 18, exploring the music, dance, animals, and language of Brazil, the largest country in South America. The program will feature a special performance by Ticket to Brasil, a bossa nova, samba and Afro-Brazilian jazz fusion group based in the Twin Cities. In addition to performing, the group will discuss the origins of Brazilian music and its role in the Brazilian culture. There will also be language lessons, live animals native to Brazil presented by Fantasy Corral, crafts, and more.
Urban Expedition provides families with an opportunity to learn about the world, highlighting authentic cultural experiences that include music, dance, crafts and traditions from its destination countries. All programs are free and open to the public. Children and adults alike receive a travel “passport” that will be stamped for the featured country. In honor of the 10th anniversary, Landmark Center will be giving away special prizes for those who come to Urban Expeditions in 2014. Urban Expedition is a part of Sundays at Landmark, an event series produced by Minnesota Landmarks, the nonprofit programming and management agency for Landmark Center. FFI: 651-292-3063, www.landmarkcenter.org
State Services for the Blind offers speakers’ bureau to make presentations on services available from its communications center. State Services for the Blind has many services available for people who are having difficulty reading the printed page. Radio Talking Book is just one service offered. Any organization, place of worship or community group looking for a speaker may contact the communications center. FFI: 1-800-652-9000
Olmstead listening sessions
Opportunities to comment on Minnesota’s draft Olmstead Plan continue. The plan, which is the state’s guide to improving services to people with disabilities, is awaiting community input. The Olmstead SubCabinet, a group with representatives from several state departments and agencies, will hear comments. The next session is 1-3 p.m. Monday, May 19 at Duluth City Hall Council Chambers, 411 West 1st St., Duluth. Two more listening sessions are planned Mon, June 9 and Mon, Aug. 11, but no locations have been determined. FFI can be found here.
Become an effective advocate
Michelle Albeck, a Farmington mother of two children with severe disabilities, recently visited with Sen. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) to speak about legislation to increase funding by 5% for those who provide community and home based services. This pay increase helps make it possible to retain qualified staff to care for her children.
Albeck is involved in Partners in Policymaking, an advocacy training program. The program recently brought individuals with disabilities and parents of young children with disabilities to the capitol to talk with their legislators. This unique free program is now taking applications for its nine-month leadership training program.
Individuals with disabilities and parents of young children with developmental disabilities will be trained to be effective advocates. Over the course of eight sessions, participants learn how to become knowledgeable, confident and effective advocates for themselves, their children, and others with disabilities.
The groundbreaking program was developed by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities more than 25 years ago. “Graduates report that they gained a greater understanding of disability law and policies and increased their self confidence in advocating for their needs. Many have become leaders in their own communities as they speak up for people with disabilities,” said Colleen Wieck, the council’s executive director. The program is now offered in almost every state and in many countries.
Sessions cover the history of the disability and self-advocacy movements, inclusive education, supported living, and avenues to influence county, state and federal legislative processes. The two-day meetings are held on weekends, from September to May.
Child care, respite allowances, and overnight accommodations are also provided for those who have to travel from outside the metro area to attend. In addition, mileage and meals are also covered by the grant.
Participation is limited to 40 people. Those selected to participate in the program must attend all meetings and complete homework assignments between the sessions. Applications are due July 11. For further information or to receive an application form, go to www.mngts.org/partnersinpolicymaking/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find activities at hub
The Youth Legacy Foundation has expanded its offerings for youth with disabilities adding an events listing for the many programs and resources available for youth with disabilities. This includes disability-specific and mainstream options where accommodations can be made to promote community inclusion..Check the forum webpage regularly for events and opportunities. FFI: www.youthleadershipfoundation.org
Vision loss group offers activities
Vision Loss Resources offers free and low-cost activities in the Twin Cities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Life skills classes for people 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. FFI: RSVP hotline 612-843-3439; activity phone 612-253-5155, www.visionlossresources.org
Share a smile
Brighten the day of a senior citizen in north or southwest Minneapolis and have fun. Visit an elder and do things together: movies, games, crafts or just friendly conversation. Hang out with an elder on a regular basis and do things that you both enjoy, like watching a movie, building stuff, playing games or friendly conversation. One-time or ongoing opportunities through the NIP Senior Program. FFI: Jeanne, 612-746-8549, email@example.com, or www.neighborhoodinvolve.org
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 and accommodations for volunteers with disabilities. FFI: Allison, 651-251-9110, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mnliteracy.org/volunteers/opportunities/adults