I am honored to be a part of the Disability Awareness Players, we just completed a Disability Awareness Training at Sam’s Club in Evanston, IL and I am impressed that such a well known company understands the importance of being disability-aware. Sam’s Club wants their staff to learn how to interact with people who have disabilities. I was so excited to get in front of a big company and to show how easy it can be to interact comfortably and confidently with people with disabilities. Our mission at jjslist.com is to connect businesses with people with disabilities. Our goal is to integrate people with disabilities into the community as friends, peers, customers and co-workers. To achieve this goal we conduct Disability Awareness Trainings to teach businesses the right way of interacting with people with disabilities.
During the training I felt like the audience was engaged and was eager to participate. This made me feel comfortable right away with the staff at Sam’s Club. At the training we cover person-first language, sighted guide technique and talking directly to the person with the disability. During the first part of the training we ask the audience how to reword the sentence using person-first language. I was glad to see all of the audience members excited to offer up an alternative to each sentence. When the first person didn’t get it right the audience stepped in to offer up another alternative.
Jake Joehl, a player who is visually impaired, asked for a volunteer to help guide him through a path. Everybody wanted to volunteer to help Jake! The Sam’s Club staff were excited to learn about person-first language and how to interact properly with people with disabilities. Andrea Sepulveda, a staff member said, “This was an amazing workshop! I learned so much from each individual, [and] the way they should be treated”
Sam’s Club is owned by Walmart and one of the people from Walmart came to the presentation during her vacation. She was very impressed by the presentation and was willing to recommend at her store. If all businesses were trained in disability awareness they would have better interactions with individuals with disabilities. They would feel comfortable and confident talking with people with disabilities. My hope is that the larger business community will shift their perspective and view people with disabilities as people first and co-workers with abilities. Thank you Sam’s Club for taking a step in the right direction, this is one club we enjoy being a part of.
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About the Author:
Sarah Armour is the Business Assistant at jjslist.com. She enjoys managing the website, bookkeeping, coordinating the Disability-Awareness Trainings and organizing the Hop on the Bus to Independence Program. She graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, IA, in 2008 with a BA in Sociology. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.