DEERFIELD, Wis. — Students at Deerfield High School spend a day learning what it’s like to have a physical or mental disability as part of Ability Awareness Day.
Deerfield senior Alexis Eilenfeldt was inspired to start a local chapter of Club Unity after working with students in her school with disabilities. Club Unity is part of a national network of clubs run by the Special Olympics.
“We started it last year with six people and now we have 40,” Alexis says.
Today students are taking part in workshops and demonstrations to get a better understanding of different kinds of disabilities.
“The goal is to get kids to learn about the different disabilities, have them see how people live day to day lives with disabilities,” Alexis says.
They were joined by UW Whitewater’s 11-time national champions men’s basketball wheelchair team.
“Just because you have a physical disability or you may sound different doesn’t mean you can’t to the same type of things that everybody else is doing,” Dan Price, UW Whitewater Assistant Director of Wheelchair Athletics says.
A few of his players took on the Deerfield High School varsity basketball team with everyone in a wheel chair. UW Whitewater won every game, showing that being in a wheelchair doesn’t prevent you from doing great things.
“If they’re able to see that here then hopefully they’ll be able to see that going forward and take that message to society going forward,” Price says.
Other workshops are scattered throughout classrooms in the school. At one of them, Jahna Noll is teaching students what it’s like to live with Down’s syndrome.
“It feels good to actually put myself out there and to tell everyone what I’m like,” Noll says.
She says she’s teaching lessons about her disabilities and how to live a happy life.
“It just feels so good to focus on you,, to be happy be proud be glad,” Noll says.
Ability Awareness Day is planned and coordinated entirely by students in Club Unity. Later this year they will host another awareness event specifically for Deerfield’s middle school students.
-Via NBC 15