This week is Disability Awareness Week at JMU! During the week of March 26th-March 30th, the Office of Disability Services is putting on numerous activities and events to spread awareness throughout the JMU campus. This will be the office’s third year putting on this week. Disability Awareness Week was created to entertain, educate and spread awareness throughout campus and knock down negative stereotypes associated with having a disability. One of our sisters Kari Owens has worked tirelessly to plan this awesome event as a Peer Mentor. Learn more about Disability Awareness Week and Kari’s personal experience as a Peer Mentor!
Kari Owens is currently a junior majoring in Media Arts & Design from Clifton, Virginia. Her favorite Tri Delta moment was the night of Big/Little reveal where she learned who her big was. Kari became a Peer Mentor one year ago and fell in love with the job immediately. She has been planning the week’s event for a year, and we are excited to see all her hard work pay off! As a graphic design major, Kari benefits by designing all necessary merchandise and marketing material for the week. She also works with registered students in the office who may need someone to talk to or understanding their accomodations. Kari is there to provide students with any advice and support as someone they can relate to as having a disability herself.
“Working with the Office of Disability Services has completely changed my life. Everyone has a story to tell and they most likely are waiting for someone to ask them to share, I love that I get to do that as part of my job.” Regardless if we have a disability or not, we most likely know someone who does. Disability Awareness Week is a great way to connect the community together by engaging in these conversations. For Kari, this week-long event is what brought her to her position as a Peer Mentor. “Being a person with a disability is part of who I am and this matters to me and it matters even more that people are conversing and becoming aware. I want to share this awareness with everyone because it is impactful.”
If you would like to work with the Office of Disability Services or learn more about the office, volunteering is a great way to get involved. There are many available programs where students can take notes for other students. Volunteering for the Disability Awareness Week specifically is crucial to ensure the office’s success for the week. This year the office was fortunate to receive over 45 volunteers, which made the week run very smoothly. Another volunteering opportunity is for students to attend programs such as Learning Strategies Instruction where they can get help if they struggle to manage their academic schedule. People are there to assist them in studying, organizing or test taking.
Check out the Office of Disability Services website and make sure you go out and support Disability Awareness Week at JMU, we’re so proud of you Kari!