19 December 2013

2nd Annual Disabilities Conference Scheduled in Bolivia: July, 2014

We are assembling a team to plan for and conduct the 2nd annual conference on Embracing Disabilities in Bolivia  to be held at the Walter Henry Education Complex, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  This school is an Advance Special. 

 The purpose of the conference is to work with Bolivian Methodist and public schools, Methodist churches, social services agencies, and families with disabled children, to help Bolivian schools better accommodate students with disabilities.  The successful 2013 1st annual conference focused on: attitudes about people with disabilities; what are disabilities; health issues and behavior issues related to disabilities; techniques, materials and equipment that teachers can use with disabled students; accessible schools and transportation; job training for disabled graduates.  The 2014 conference will build on these topics, but also have more emphasis on: coordinating and using the local (but very limited) disabilities agencies; enhancing parent advocacy; working with public schools; working with Bolivian teacher colleges to introduce upcoming teachers to the issues of children with disabilities; early intervention and assessment; funding; and having the conference more jointly planned and implemented with our peers in Bolivia.

We are assembling a team of practicing or retired teachers of special education, school administrators, education professors, social workers, psychologists, counselors, construction specialists, adults with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities.  Some of the team members will feel most comfortable in helping to plan, support and pray for the conference.  Some of the team members will want to actually go to Bolivia.  There is room on the team for all. 

We believe that it is important that adults with disabilities go on this mission trip in order to add their unique perspective and skills, but also to provide a role model (rarely seen in Bolivia) of a successful person who also has disabilities.  From the traveling team of the 2013 conference, we know that the travel, accommodations and conference are accessible with difficulty, depending on the traveler’s disabilities and mobility issues.

If you are interested in being a part of the 2014 2nd Annual Conference on Embracing Disabilities in Bolivia, please RSVP to Rich Schultze, Christ United Methodist Church, Kettering Ohio, at 937-304-6333 or schultze5@aol.com.  We will be having an organizational meeting on Thursday, January 23, 2014, 7PM-9PM Eastern.  If you cannot attend in person, we will include you electronically.


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