Community Engagement Town Hall to Focus on Neighbors with Disabilities


Supervisor Cook is extending the reach of his on-going Community Engagement Initiative. Emphasizing the themes of citizen participation, leadership training and outreach that made the Community Engagement Initiative so successful, this expanded effort, “Engaging People with Disabilities,” will focus on connecting community leaders with our neighbors with disabilities, so that they can participate more fully in community life.

To increase awareness and offer opportunities for people to get involved in the important work of this effort, Supervisor Cook will host a Town Hall meeting on Monday November 15th at 7:30 p.m. in the Kings Park Library. A reception will precede the program beginning at 7:00 p.m.

All too often, people think of those with disabilities as needing services. They fail to realize that these same people have a lot to offer their communities. The essence of Supervisor Cook’s Community Engagement Initiative is that all of our neighbors have something to offer the community. This initiative will make clear the value our neighbors with disabilities have and the benefits their engagement can bring to their neighborhoods. It will also provide those with disabilities information on how to become more active community members.

In partnership with County government, the Town Hall will feature Nancy Mercer and Jill Egle from the Arc of Northern Virginia, an expert on disability technologies, and Donna Goldbranson of Specially Adapted Resource Centers (SPARC). Donna and Nancy are both Braddock District residents. The Town Hall will discuss the positive contributions people with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities can make in their communities. It will inform community leaders of the technology available to them to help make meetings and events more welcoming to those with disabilities, and it will offer suggestions on how community leaders can reach out to people with disabilities.

Next Spring, a follow-on program will focus on encouraging people with disabilities to become more active in their communities and provide them with the techniques, connections to services, and inspiration to do so.

Last year’s inaugural Community Engagement Initiative Town Hall had more than 150 participants from across the district and encouraged people to get to know their neighbors, including those of diverse backgrounds. The Initiative was designed to increase outreach within community organizations, provide leadership training for community leaders, and strengthen Braddock District neighborhoods. Additional follow-on programs for the Initiative are planned for the Spring, and, by popular demand, an expanded Leadership Institute is being developed to provide more detailed training to community leaders.

In designing the Community Engagement Initiative, Supervisor Cook drew upon his experience as President of the Kings Park Civic Association, vice-president of the Kings Park/Kings Glen PTA, and as a girls softball coach for Braddock Road Youth Club. Supervisor Cook has repeatedly stated that providing training, resources, direction and inspiration to community leaders and volunteers is his primary goal as Braddock District Supervisor.


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