March 13, 2014
HARRISONBURG-- On Thursday, community leaders had a luncheon with disabled people at the First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg. It was held to talk about what exactly it's like to be disabled in the community, and how local leaders can be a better help.
About 120 people were expected to be there with people ranging from local politicians to advocates of the issue. People with disabilities spoke to encourage local and legislative change. Valley Associates for Independent Living (VAIL) put on the luncheon, and helped over 400 people in the area last year.
Virginia could make some changes in how it helps disabled people, the organizers said. The state ranks below 45th in the country in service to people with disabilities, according to VAIL.
The luncheon served as a reminder that things aren't easy for people living with disabilities. "It helps all of the leaders in the community, as well as citizens recognize, where those barriers are, and what we can do as a community," said Gayl Brunk, the executive director of VAIL. "It's the opportunity for the people to share with them at a local level what the challenges [are], opportunities, and great things are as well."