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The Value of One

Promoting dignity and respect for people with developmental disabilities.

City of Riverside’s Continuing Commitment to Diversity

The Arc of Riverside County chooses to acknowledge this important anniversary of the ADA by telling our readers about the new Universal Playground at Fairmont Park in Riverside.   Several weeks ago, we were present with city officials and members of the city’s Commission on Disabilities for the grand opening of this special place where children with and without disabilities can play together.

The Arc of Riverside County Take Part in the Opening Ceremony

At the grand opening on June 21, Mayor Ron Loveridge and Ward 1 Councilman Mike Gardner spoke of the work and the mission of The Arc of Riverside County and the importance of this playground.  Even though our agency had only a small part in making this a reality, it was an affirmation of our core values and in step with our The Value of One project on dignity and respect for people with intellectual disabilities.   Justin Newman, a person who attends one of our programs, led the Pledge of Allegiance and had the honor of cutting the ribbon to officially open the park.

An Important Area Nonprofit Committed to Teaching Inclusion through Play

At the opening ceremony, Brad Thornton, development director for Shane’s Inspiration, the nonprofit company that facilitates the construction of these playgrounds, spoke of their inclusive mission and their desire to bring this project to elementary schools in Riverside as the logical next step.

The educational program created by CEO and Co-Founder Tiffany Harris and program director, Marnie Norris, includes a field trip to the playground and a pre- and post-classroom session.  The students are briefed on what to expect before students with and without disabilities travel by bus to the park for playtime together.  Upon returning to school, they talk about the experience.

The Riverside Parks Department and the Commission on Disabilities are committed to helping schools implement this educational program.  With two members of The Arc on the Commission on Disabilities, our agency may play a key part in making this happen.

Several weeks after this opening, The Arc staff met with Shane’s Inspiration staff and ideas were discussed for taking the important next step to make this happen in our city.  Testimonials from schools where this program have been conducted are extremely positive.  Visit www.shanesinspiration.org for more information and for how this program can be done in any community.

Read the Press Enterprise article here.

History of the ADA

The ADA was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in July of 1990.  For the first time it prohibited discrimination based on disability.   “Over the past two decades, The ADA has created revolutionary improvements in the lives of Americans with disabilities,” said U.S.  Attorney General Eric Holder in a speech Friday commemorating the bill’s signing.  Many have noted that people with intellectual disabilities have the least from this landmark legislation.  One example is that while physical barriers in courtrooms around the country have been removed, accommodations for people with intellectual disabilities who encounter the criminal justice system often receive unequal justice due to the legal system’s ignorance and/or indifference to their plight.   It is our hope that these barriers will begin to disappear in the coming decade.

Read what The Arc of the U.S. says about the ADA.

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