The Disability Awareness Players had another record-breaking year in Fiscal Year 2017!
Overall 40+ Disability Awareness Trainings were provided to over 2,600 people in the most recent year. A recent grant from the Reva & David Logan Foundation was instrumental in making this success possible.
The Foundation’s partnership with the Disability Awareness Training program began in 2015, as part of the ADA25 Chicago initiative, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Over the past two years, the Foundation’s grants have made it possible to bring trainings to new audiences in organizations that would not otherwise have been able to afford training.
In FY2017 (July 2016 – June 2017), the Disability Awareness Players completed 10 Foundation funded trainings for 449 individuals at schools, museums, theaters and cultural institutions. The following organizations were trained under the grant:
- Lincoln Elementary School, Highland Park
- Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago
- The Field Museum, Chicago
- The Morton Arboretum, Lisle
- The Field Museum (2nd training for a different audience), Chicago
- The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
- The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
- The Goodman Theatre, Chicago
- Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago
- The Lyric Opera, Chicago
After each training, audiences completed an evaluation form. Following are a few overall highlights of the training evaluations:
- There was a 65% increase in knowledge of person-first language.
- There was a 67% increase in understanding of what it means to be “508 compatible.”
- There was a 26% increase in understanding of the implications of using outdated language such as “handicapped” and “confined.”
- Overall, 94% of audience members stated that they will use person-first language in their workplace.
- Overall, 78% of audience members stated that they will use the tips from the 10-Tips Poster in their workplace.
- 99% of audience members stated that they feel more disability aware as a result of the Training!
- 98% of audience members would recommend this workshop!
Our data supports the effectiveness of DATs for audiences who receive the trainings. Another important group of people who benefit from the trainings are the Disability Awareness Players themselves. Each training provides paid work (via a stipend) for participating Players, as they build their skills in advocacy, communications, and technology.
We were pleased to receive glowing feedback from many of the individuals who participated in the trainings. Here is a sample of feedback from audience members:
“I think these are essential skills and knowledge for creating an open and accepting workplace and positive experience for all visitors.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about working with and serving people with disabilities. The role-play exercises were the most helpful! Thank you for your honesty and persistence to train all of our employees.”
“This takes away some of the concerns or questions employees may have about interacting with patrons who have disabilities. I love that this gave a first-person perspective.”
Based on our experience of providing these trainings, we learned that there is still a great need for disability awareness education for a variety of audiences, including children and working professionals. Our results also indicate that the Trainings are beneficial to wide range of industries.
One challenge was that we did not anticipate the enormous demand for the DATs. We quickly filled the 10 available slots, with an additional 26 organizations asking for trainings. Wonderfully, the Foundation met the demand with funding for an additional 10 trainings for 2017/18.
We thank the Reva & David Logan Foundation for their generous support that made it possible to bring Disability Awareness Trainings to new audiences across the Chicagoland area. Thanks to support from the Foundation and other sources, the Disability Awareness Players had a record year for total number of trainings and in people reached!