Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

July 23, 2013

ELKHART COUNTY FAIR: Disabilities Awareness Day gives those with special needs a chance to enjoy the fair

GOSHEN — A short list of exclamations overheard at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair’s Heritage Park Monday:

“Awesome job!”

“Great job!”

“You’re going to get one!”

“Nice throwing!”

Earning the praise were fairgoers giving it their all. They included Goshen’s Spencer Witmer and Tanner Powell and Millersburg’s Trevor Stickler, shooting baskets at the park hoop. There was Matt Lukasiak, going long with a Nerf ball throw.

Monday was Disabilities Awareness Day at the fair, and Special Olympics-style skills contests drew a field of competitors to the park area.

Fair Board member and event co-chairman Doug Thorne said this was the fourth year for the Awareness Day. One of the goals behind the event was to provide a way for people living with disabilities to take part in the fair.

Sam’s Club staffers came out to assist with various activities. And midway ride operators did their part to help out, too. Thorne said that for or two hours, they modified rides so fairgoers who might have difficulty with lights and loud noises could enjoy them.

Representatives from agencies assisting the disabled were on hand. They included MDC Goldenrod, ADEC, Loveway, Autism Ally, Wheelchair Help and Special Olympics. Monday’s event provided visibility for those groups, Thorne indicated, and put them in the eye of disabled people “who might not know there is an organization that can provide services to (them).”

Thorne also sees the fair event as a way for the non-disabled public to make a discovery.

“‘You know what? These people are not so different from you and I,’” he said. “So it makes us more aware of the population within our county who are living with disabilities.”

 

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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