April 20, 2018
College students are a large population on the Palouse, but this doesn’t mean the community leaves senior citizens or members with disabilities without any help or support system.
The WSU Human Development 415 class has worked with Disability Action Center in Moscow for the past three years to put on events benefitting the community as part of the university’s capstone requirement. This year, students designed the Making Connections Project.
This project brought 16 different community centers together in one place to help anyone with a variety of needs, such as assisted living, health care concerns and transportation difficulties, and find resources that work for them. On Wednesday, some of the organizations represented were the Latah Recovery Center, the BluePath program, COAST Transportation and DAC.
Courtney Rogers, senior human developmental major, was one of the students involved in the planning of the Making Connections Project. She said all the organizations were chosen to give community members the widest variety of help possible.
“We wanted to bring all different aspects of the community to this resource fair, like transportation, employment and healthcare,” Rogers said. “This is a singular place with people you can physically talk to, rather than just a website, to help you get the resources you need.”
Vicki Leeper, marketing specialist at DAC and mentor for the students, said she would have benefited from having this kind of resource fair when her mother moved in with her in 2016. Each day she would go to work with a new issue or question regarding her mother’s health and disabilities. Employees at DAC always had an answer for her.
“Sometimes there’s a missed connection between the people with the problems and the resources made for them,” Leeper said. “The resource fair puts all the local help into one place to get your question answered.”
Miriam Hertz is an independent living advocate at DAC and ran a booth designed to help people in the community live independently.
“We connect people with the specific organization they need in the area,” Hertz said. “We want to help everyone in the community, not just people with disabilities.”
Other organizations at the resource fair were the Alzheimer’s Association, Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse and the University of Idaho Center for Disability Access and Resources.
“Everyone should be able to live their lives to the fullest,” Rogers said, “and this kind of event helps people find the resources that they need to do so.”