One Buchanan Disability & Impairment Forum
by Rebecka Hoyt, Editor & Photographer
Buchanan Area Senior Center was the location for One Buchanan’s Disability & Impairment Forum on Saturday, October 18 2022 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Speakers from local agencies as well as a couple of Buchanan locals who are living with a disability gave much insight on how they go about their life as well as those who are treating a patient with a disability.
One Buchanan Chair, Ruth Writer welcomed the speakers and the approximately 20 attendees and Dr. Harvey Burnett, was the moderator. The forum was a 2-hour session with a 15-minute break. In Part 1, Dr. Robert Gross, music composer, a native of Buchanan and a Buchanan High School graduate talked about using music therapy with autistic patients and gave a demonstration on his keyboard. Music therapy has been around ever since WWI. His demonstration was telling us how a teenager with autism can add in words or emotions to a song that Dr. Gross plays about Spiderman. “You can’t cure autism with music therapy. If the client feels like they’re in school, then I’m not doing my job,” states Dr. Gross.
Next up was Kandice Kolberg with Berrien RESA. Kandice uses Orientation and Mobility Training with a number of students from ages 2 – 26 years. She noted that “Transportation is hard to get around when not living in a city and they’re in the rural areas.” Showing students how to use canes getting on and off a bus, and low vision devices is how they can get around home, school and other places.
Lastly in Part 1, Cindy Gray from Disability Network Southwest Michigan gives information and referrals for families. For example, they have a ramp program which Whirlpool helps build the ramps. She is also an advocate for community education and care support groups. One of her big things on her to-do list: “Housing is one of the biggest advocacy for seniors.” Since her daughter, Julie was born with cerebral palsy, she has been an advocate for disability rights.
Dr. Burnett encouraged the attendees to write down questions for the speakers and they would discuss them after the break as well as at the end of the event. One question was “How do you find a music therapist?” You can go to the American Music Therapy Association website and find three ways to find one. Dr. Gross stated, “It’s a growing profession but still young – demand music therapy at your school board.” Kandice Kolberg did mention “When you meet a blind person, say “Hi, it’s (your name), hi Joe!” A student of hers went through this one time where they went to the fair with friends, and no one said their names, so he couldn’t tell her who went.
Part 2 started off with Lisa Doll, who had elective amputation and Anne Reed who survived a stroke. Both of them are members of the One Buchanan group. Lisa at a young age was “Involved in a home accident that led up to her electively above-knee amputation in 2008 to improve my quality of life,” (One Buchanan Disability & Impairment Forum program). She told about her daily life struggles of going out to eat and how some restaurants and their restrooms are not ADA compliant. Well, then that makes her and her friends/family not go to those places and then that place loses business. Some businesses are “grandfathered-in and the owner of the building/business doesn’t do much to make it ADA compliant. There are grants for ADA and tax benefits for them,” states Lisa. She also mentioned, “Does the business have a gravel or paved parking lot?” So there are many things that a person like Lisa or someone else that has a walker, etc…of what goes through their minds before going somewhere.
Anne Reed, suffered a stroke at the age of 40. During this time, she has had complications with left-sided weakness with foot drop, vision and some cognitive deficiencies and the loss of her job. She moved in with her parents to help take care of her and now she has a great friend-partner that she thought she would never have. She expressed, “I wish I had known what special resources and services are out there.”
At the end, Dr. Harvey Burnett stated, “You’re not alone. Share stories and connect with others.” One thing that I took away from this and was also stated by some of the speakers: “Friends and family need to advocate for you and reach out and ask questions. Don’t give up!”
This forum was made possible by a generous grant from Berrien Community Foundation. Sponsor and Partners: Buchanan Area Senior Center, Berrien RESA, DISABILITY Network, City of Buchanan, Buchanan-Galien Lions Club and DPM Events.
- Berrien RESA – Regional Education Service Agency
- Website: www.berrienresa.org
- 711 St Joseph Ave, Berrien Springs, MI 49103
- Phone: 269-471-7725
- DISABILITY Network Southwest Michigan
- Serving Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren Counties
- Website: www.dnswm.org
- 2900 Lakeview Ave, St. Joseph, MI 49085
- Phone: 269-985-0111
- Berrien RESA – Regional Education Service Agency
PAST Event Details:
- Who: One Buchanan with Buchanan Area Senior Center
- What: Disability & Impairment Forum
- When: Saturday, October 8, 2022 at 2-4pm
The Disability and Impairment Forum was made possible by the hard work of the Board and volunteers of One Buchanan and financial support from the Berrien Community Foundation, For Good Grant. Forum partners include the Buchanan Area Senior Center, Berrien RESA, City of Buchanan, Buchanan-Galien Lions Club, Disability Network of Southwest Michigan, and DPM Events.
About this Forum’s Partners:
- One Buchanan started in 2016 as a grass roots community organization focused on diversity and inclusion issues and was subsequently adopted by the City of Buchanan as a City Board. One Buchanan’s Vision is to be the catalyst to create an inclusive community that values and celebrates our diversity so together we can thrive. One Buchanan’s Mission is to promote awareness of our rich diversity through education, activities, and programs that strengthen an inclusive community.
- Berrien Community Foundation was established in 1952 by William Vawter and a group of concerned business people, much like the rest of the community foundation movement that started in the Midwest. The Foundation is an innovative means by which concerned citizens can put charitable dollars to work for the benefit of Berrien County residents.
- Buchanan Area Senior Center (BASC) is a community focal point on aging, where area older adults gather for services, programs and activities that reflect their experiences and skills, respond to their diverse needs and interests, enhance their dignity, support their independence and encourage their involvement with this senior community center and the larger community. BASC is a non-profit organization serving older adults in Buchanan and the surrounding areas of Berrien County. The mission of Buchanan Area Senior Center is to promote physical, social, and mental well-being.
- Berrien RESA Mission is optimizing student outcomes through collaboration and transformation. Berrien RESA is one of 56 education service agencies in the State of Michigan serving over 24,000 students in Berrien County. The schools we serve include 15 public school districts, 20 non-public schools and three charter school academies. RESAs are the only educational entities with 100 percent access to every public school to ensure implementation of 6 core services: early childhood, student services, administrative services, teaching and learning, technology services and developing partnerships. Berrien RESA is an autonomous, tax-supported public school district governed by Michigan general school laws.
- Buchanan-Galien Lion’s Club has been serving the community for more than 75 years and is a part of Lion’s Club International. Lions Club International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.4 million members in 46,000 clubs in 192 countries and geographical areas. Lions are men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes. Founded in 1917, the organization’s motto is “We Serve.”
- Disability Network of Southwest Michigan is the first stop for people with disabilities and their families in Southwest Michigan, the counties of Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph & Van Buren. Our goal is to help foster a community where people with disabilities are able to participate fully in everyday life with equal opportunities and self-determination. Whether someone has a physical, psychiatric, neurological, or sensory disabilities, we believe they should be able to thrive and grow at home, in the workplace, and in their community.
- DPM Events is a medium size production company providing DJ, Photo Booth, Audio/Visual, Live Sound, and Lighting services for Weddings, Corporate Events, School Events and Live Sound Events. Since 1995 we have been providing the best service, cutting edge event technology, all the while providing the absolute best value to our customers. Our service area covers most of the mid-west. Whether you are looking for a Wedding or Party DJ, Live Sound for bands, Photo Booths, or Corporate Event Audio / Visual services we have you covered!
About One Buchanan: One Buchanan’s Vision is to be the catalyst to create an inclusive community that values and celebrates our diversity so together we can thrive. One Buchanan’s Mission is to promote awareness of our rich diversity through education, activities, and programs that strengthen an inclusive community.