People and Places - January 2009

Photojournalist Dan Habib’s film, Including Samuel, had a screening Jan. 9 at the Best Buy Corporate Auditorium in Richfield. Samuel has cerebral palsy. Before his son’s diagnosis, Daniel Habib rarely thought about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Now he thinks about inclusion every day. The documentary was shot and produced over a four-year period and details the Habib family’s efforts to include Samuel in every facet of their lives. The film also features four other families with varied inclusion experiences, as well as interviews with dozens of teachers, young people, parents and disability rights experts. The Jan. 9 showing included a discussion with the producers and a networking session. The event was sponsored by Best Buy, the Institute of Community Integration at the University of Minnesota, Dakota Communities, University of St. Thomas, Arc of Greater Twin Cities, Minnesota Life College, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, and the International Dyslexia Association.

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HandiExchange, an Aurora-based business, was recently featured on the Duluth Fox television station. Edward Addy started the business after his son Jason Lindahl had trouble finding a racing wheelchair. Jason even searched online but was unable to find what he needed. That launched the idea of starting the Web site, which is dedicated to assisting person with disabilities find, buy, sell and trade equipment and essentials. The business is run by Edward and Rebecca Addy, who sold their business, Northern Visual Services, to have the time needed to launch HandiExchange.com The business now has four employees and also provides information and referrals to the disability community.

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Adaptive bicycles have helped two children from Buhl. Bryce Daby and Gust Lewis are two friends who face cerebral palsy together. The two recently obtained adapted bicycle through Miller Dwan in Duluth and Access North Center in Hibbing. The two transition from walkers to flashy red, three-wheeled bicycles that provide them with a new sense of freedom and fun. Their parents were especially pleased to find the bicycles at a price they could afford. A recent Hibbing Daily Tribune story described how the two friends have enjoyed riding bicycles with their other friends and family members. Lewis’ mothers, Amy Lewis, told the newspaper “Just because your dreams are different doesn’t mean you have to stop dreaming.”

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 Eight groups were awarded grants in December by Minneapolis’ Digital Inclusion Fund Advisory Board, which gave almost $200,000 out to groups that promote digital access and literacy. The fund was created as part of the city’s grant agreement with US Internet Wireless to create a citywide wireless network. The funds are managed by the Minneapolis Foundation. One group receiving funds is PACER Center, which was awarded $30,000 got technology access and literacy training for people with disabilities and others.

 

Material for People and Places came from the Pioneer Press, Opportunity Partners, State of MN and Associated Press. Submissions are welcome at access@testing.accesspress.org