The JJs List Blog

“I Wish I Had This Disability Awareness Training 20 Years Ago!”

Posted by on September 26, 2019 - 0 Comments

The Disability Awareness Players with Jeremy Gill of the Lincoln Park Zoo

By the Disability Awareness Players

It’s a new season and the Disability Awareness Players are out in full force spreading disability awareness!  We’ve had a busy few months training folks all over the Chicagoland Area, including staff at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Exelon and their business partners, and several libraries. 

 We continue to receive glowing feedback from all of the Disability Awareness Trainings. Here is what some of those trained had to say:

“This program humanizes the interaction with people with disabilities, and that helps make people comfortable with including people with disabilities in their everyday activities.”  – JP Morgan employee at Exelon

“Excellent hands on training using role playing; powerful presentation.” – Oak Lawn Public Library Staff

Players with Algonquin Public Library Staff

Since 2009, we’ve trained close to 12,000 people – including over 1,700 people last year alone – at businesses, cultural institutions, libraries and schools. The data we collect reflects the positive impact our Disability Awareness Trainings have on audiences. Just look at last year’s numbers:  

  • 96% said they felt more disability aware as a result of the Training
  • 89% said they would recommend the Training to others. 

Here’s what we have to say about the Trainings: 

Players at Exelon’s Diversity & Inclusion Forum

The best things about being a Disability Awareness Player are:

  • Spreading disability awareness all over the Chicagoland area.
  • Breaking down preconceived notions people have about people with disabilities.
  • Contributing to society in an important way.
  • Meeting new people, engaging them, and making them feel more comfortable with people with disabilities.
  • Showing people how we are like everyone else and how we can enrich the greater community for the better.

We think we have a very positive impact on audiences because:  

  • They get to hear from people with disabilities directly.

    Players at Congregation Etz Chaim

  • We put a real face to disabilities and share our real-life experiences with them. 
  • Audiences see us as people, not just the disabilities we are labeled with.
  • We help audiences think about disability in a way they haven’t before.
  • From the quotes we get from audiences, it’s obvious we inspire a lot of people.
  • They realize that people with disabilities have a lot to contribute to the community and that we are just like them. 
  • We help businesses realize that we make great employees but are also potential customers. 
  • We help organizations, libraries, and schools become more inclusive because of our Disability Awareness Trainings. 

Player, Sarah Armour, fielding questions at Pace Suburban Bus

Disability Awareness Trainings have impacted us, too:

  • The experience we have gotten as Players has helped us be more confident, better self-advocates and better public speakers. 
  • We have learned to speak more clearly and project our voices.
  • And, believe it or not, we have learned to be more disability aware with each other. We all have different disabilities and we’ve learned to be comfortable with and how to engage with people with disabilities other than our own. 
  • All of these skills help us be better employees, which is an added benefit to being a Player!

Would you like to be more disability aware?  For information and to schedule a Training, contact  Tricia Luzadder, Ventures Program Manger, at 847-869-0000 or tluzadder@search-inc.org.

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