By Kayle Lewis, CIP Bloomington Career Coordinator
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, CIP Bloomington sponsored and participated in the 2013 Celebrating Abilities Resource Fair on Saturday, April 13, 2013. The Resource Fair was held to raise awareness of disability services in Monroe County. This event was a great opportunity to learn about products and services available to persons with disabilities and for their families.
There were lots of games and fun events for the whole family including live animal entertainment, “fake” animal entertainment, face painting, and prizes. This was a great opportunity for our students and staff to learn more about other organizations in the area and network with these amazing organizations and people all while volunteering and supporting our cause. We had an amazing turn out for the “On Safari” themed event with 15 students and 15 staff helping out with everything from the planning to event coordination, and even running a CIP booth!
The planning for this event began back in January when CIP was asked to help put together this event in coordination with Down Syndrome Family Connection (DSFC). Two CIP students, Bess M. and Adria N. are currently interns with DSFC and with the help of Bridget Gladen and Niki Grzselo began assisting their supervisor, Cyndi Johnson with coordinating this phenomenal event.
Bess and Adria helped design the layout of the space, assembled volunteer and exhibitor materials, contacted businesses for donations and helped out on the day of the event with various tasks that Cyndi needed. Kelsey H., Dylan C., Douglas S., Evan C., and John D. provided needed man power the day before by helping to set up the event space so that over 40 exhibitors would be ready to go the next morning!
Tony Wiesman coordinated the CIP table for the event and students Joe Banchik and Julia Harner helped spread the “Making It REAL” message. Hailey Butchart, our Social Work Intern from IU helped design interactive activities for the CIP table at the event, which were a huge hit! She put together a fun activity sheet engaging participants on facial expression recognition in fun safari cartoon characters, and a great fidget explanation with a variety of fidget toys for participants to interact with.
Karita Musgrave, Sari Z., Jenn W., Bess M., Adria N., and Anna H. were in charge of exhibitor and volunteer check in and deserve gold stars for all being ready to go at 6:30 am on a Saturday! Eugene J., Isaac F., Thomas S., Johnny Vanore and Todd Wantz helped exhibitors carry their heavy loads, and then greeted guests with materials and smiles as they entered the fair. Jenn, Adria and Thomas even dressed up as animal characters and meandered around the fair making families smile and laugh!
Jim Walsh, Mendy Kossmann and Teresa Colby provided photography for the event and captured some amazing shots of the animals, families, exhibitors and CIP students. Karen Thomas, Jennifer Halloran, Oriane Robison, Kaitlin Chappelow, and Betsy Prange all helped tremendously behind the scenes with student coordination, meal preparation and overall CIP coordination to help make the event a success!
I would like to express my gratitude to all the students and staff that made this event an amazing success and to the CIP National Office for the way cool t-shirts!