AIM Walk & Roll July 24 Raises Awareness of ADA & Addresses Barriers for Those With Disabilities

Abilities in Motion (AIM) holds its annual ADA Walk/Roll on Friday, July 24 in downtown Reading to help celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and to raise awareness of the barriers that still exist for those with disabilities.

AIM’s ADA Walk/Roll travels the streets of downtown Reading from 10 a.m. to about 2 p.m. on July 24, starting at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel at 5th and Washington streets. The walk/roll will travel throughout the city, stopping at the County Services Center and concluding with a luncheon at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel for participants.  Those seeking to take part should call AIM at (610) 376-0010, ext. 133 by July 5.

“Each year, we celebrate the signing of this important federal legislation that requires accessibility to public places for all persons with disabilities,” explains DeLores M. DeHart, AIM supervisor.  “However, many barriers still exist, and this event not only raises awareness about the ADA, but it also serves to change community attitudes about those with disabilities and the challenges they face.”

According to DeHart, the ADA made it possible for people with disabilities to live in their own homes, work and socialize in society.  The ADA is a federal civil rights law that specifically requires that all public and private buildings and businesses, which are open to the public, must be accessible under ADA definition. This includes – but is not limited to – public buildings, restaurants, stores, transportation facilities, recreational facilities, amusement parks, hotels, motels, office buildings and federal and state parks.  The ADA also defines that reasonable accommodations must be provided to persons with disabilities who seek or want to retain employment. The law also prohibits discrimination in the workplace.

“Beyond the legal requirements, the ADA has empowered people with disabilities with the ability to use community services, such as personal care in the home, access to public transportation and use of assistive technology to avoid being placed in a nursing home,” DeHart explains.

As one of a number of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Pennsylvania, Reading-based Abilities in Motion is a not-for-profit agency that provides peer counseling, independent living skills, advocacy, information and referral along with other services to help those with disabilities live independently and gain access to the myriad services that might be available to them.  This can range from care in the home to assistive devices and technology, to information about what financial assistance might be available in the community, though AIM does not directly provide financial aid.

“Bringing awareness and inclusion to society as a whole is an important part of the ADA Walk/Roll. Celebrating the ADA and all that it means to people with disabilities, along with awareness of the barriers they still face, is our goal,” Dehart concludes.

More information about Abilities in Motion and its services can be found at abilitiesinmotion.com or by calling (610) 376-0010, ext. 133.  More information about the Americans With Disabilities Act can be found at ada.gov.

Joe Benish

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