The Penn State Worthington Scranton Diversity Committee and the Northeast Pennsylvania Center for Independent Living (NEPACIL) co-sponsored "Project A.B.L.E." The Program was open to the general public and took place Monday, October 24th in the K. Bruce Sherbine Lounge.
Penn State Diversity Committee Chairperson Janet Melnick, Ph.D., discussed the rationale that created Project A.B.L.E. and explained why the Penn State Diversity Committee felt that participation was so important. "A parent's educational support group in Luzerne County created Project A.B.L.E.," she said. "Their intent was to help people understand the challenges and realities of living with a disability. Project A.B.L.E. consists of a series of workstations which simulate various conditions like fine motor difficulties, mobility challenges, communication disorders, ADD, ADHD and dyslexia. The Diversity Committee here at Penn State Worthington Scranton felt that Project A.B.L.E. provided a unique opportunity for the entire community to begin to understand the day-to-day challenges that our neighbors and friends who live with these conditions face."
Bob Fox, a member of the Penn State Diversity Committee said, "There is an ancient Chinese proverb that provides an excellent rationale for participating in Project A.B.L.E., I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. We are hoping that people come out and participate. Understanding is the very best way to show you care."
Mr. Fox, a 37-year old Penn State senior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies, is interning with NEPACIL. He had a stroke 10 years ago and has faced many of the challenges addressed by Project A.B.L.E. "The difficulties faced by people working with these challenges can be daunting," he said. "But the isolation and lack of understanding from others can be devastating. We on the Diversity Committee here at Penn State Worthington Scranton believe that opportunities like Project A.B.L.E. help everyone by bridging that gap of understanding and breaking down the isolation."
Sharon Quinn, manager of consumer affairs for NEPACIL said, "all of us here at the Center are excited to be partnering with Penn State on Project A.B.L.E. and creating internships within their Human Services and Family Studies Program. Project A.B.L.E. offers the ideal vehicle for us to help the entire community by working with the extensive resources at Penn State Worthington Scranton."
Project A.B.L.E. was well received on campus with enormous student and staff participation. It is hoped that this will mark the beginning of an annual event.