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WKAR Hosts Free Wheelchair Awareness Event

MSU Community Music School and Area Agencies Join in as Partners

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

(East Lansing, Mich.) – At any time, a person of any age can find themselves using a wheelchair or caring for someone who does. WKAR-TV will host “Rolling: Focusing on Ability,” a day-long event designed to provide resources about wheelchair use and other special needs from a variety of organizations in the mid-Michigan area. In addition, an inspiring program will focus on the abilities and achievements of wheelchair users.

The free event will take place at WKAR on Saturday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and include both an extensive resource room and a program featuring several speakers, a musical performance and a preview of the national documentary.

The resource room will include organizations that address a wide range of special needs with a focus on wheelchair use. Included will be representatives from all of the “Rolling” community partners (listed below) as well as Lansing Area Parents Respite Center (LAP), Alternatives in Motion (providing wheelchairs for those in need), Creative Wellness, Radio Talking Book, Dianne Thies, coordinator for the on-site certified therapy dogs and their owners, and others. Those attending the free event will be able to pick up valuable information and talk with representatives from participating organizations.

The program will take place at 1 p.m. and include remarks from several leaders on this topic, including Judy Winter, the author of Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs, and a nationally recognized speaker and advocate; Al Swain, a nationally recognized speaker who is the assistant director of the Capital Area Center for Independent Living; Johnnie Tuitel, author of the “Gunn Lake Adventure” book series and founder of Alternatives In Motion; and Tony Rennpage, an MSU sophomore who plays wheelchair basketball.

The program will also include a performance by students from Michigan State University Community Music School’s Music Therapy Clinical Services and Jazz Orchestra. Those performing include Jenna Cole, Natalie Galey, Zach Gorbis, Kristen Hufstedler, Lauren Mendoza, Herbert Scott and Adam Shepherd. They will be led by Åshild Rødsætre-Thompson.

The program also includes a preview of the television documentary, which will be aired on WKAR-23 on Sunday, April 27, at 2:30 p.m., and followed by “Hubert’s World,” which focuses on the triumphs and challenges of a man with cerebral palsy.

Refreshments will be offered while supplies last.

The event will feature an ongoing screening room with inspiring videos, including the films Educating Samuel by Dan Habib and The Sandwich Kid by Keri Bowers, and other related videos. Also open throughout the day will be a photography exhibit by Erik Taylor focusing on the faces of special needs.

WKAR is located on the campus of Michigan State University. Free parking is available in the Trowbridge Road ramp.

WKAR’s community partners for this event are the Capital Area Center for Independent Living (CACIL); Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services, Center for Educational Networking (CEN) ; Peckham, Inc., MSU Community Music School, and MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Judy Winter, the author of “Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs,” and nationally recognized speaker and advocate, is serving as project advisor.

The event is made possible by a grant from WNET. Additional support is provided by the Lansing State Journal, McNenly Group, MSU ATS Media Services, MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences, and Hobie’s.

Contact information:

  • Jeanie Croope / WKAR, (517) 432-3120, Ext. 424
  • E-mail:
  • Phone: 517-432-3120