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Release: April 11, 2002  

NOTE TO EDITORS: Media representatives are invited to cover this workshop April 17-18. The Center for Disabilities and Development is located at 100 Hawkins Drive, between the UI College of Dentistry and the UI Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Clinic. For assistance in covering this event, call Bob Bacon at (319) 356-1335.  

Center forms community strategy teams to support people with disabilities

The Center for Disabilities and Development at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has helped form teams of Iowans dedicated to making their communities more inclusive for people with disabilities.

The effort is part of "Think Competence," a two-year project coordinated by the Center for Disabilities and Development and funded by the Iowa Governor's Developmental Disabilities Council. The center provides a wide range of health care and other services for people with disabilities and their families.

The 35 teams come from 25 counties in Iowa. Team members will attend a workshop April 17-18 at the center that will provide training and tools to implement their plans.

The community teams include "people who know how to make things happen," according to Bob Bacon, director of "Think Competence." The teams include people with disabilities, city and county officials, community providers, advocates, clergy, and business people as members. The teams will be encouraged to come up with specific, short-term projects that highlight the competence and contributions of Iowans with disabilities.

"Improving the quality of life for people with disabilities improves everyone's lives," said Diane Glass, a communications specialist who is a consultant on the project. Glass, a former marketing director for the Des Moines Register, will train more than 100 conference participants in social marketing techniques. Teams can then apply for grants of up to $5,000 to plan and carry out their projects. Successful projects will give people with disabilities more opportunities to participate in the life of their communities.

Other state and national leaders will also present at the conference, which begins the morning of April 17 and concludes at noon on April 18.

For more information about the conference, call Bob Bacon at (319) 356-1335.  

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