Making connections: Teens gather to create newsletter highlighting disability issues

Together, the kids toward a common goal: the newsletter.

At this month's workshop, Tom Corrado led the group through a creative writing exercise.

He posed a question on a PowerPoint screen: "What is a disability anyway?"

Corrado, the teens' writing coach for the day, went around the room asking the students what their answer was, and coaching them to "get down to the ground" of the meaning of the word disability.

One student, Alexis Kim, said, "I feel like it has a negative connotation just because it has the word 'dis' in front of it."

Another student, Fabio Botarelli, said, "It's a mental or physical component of a person."

While some of the students do not have a disability, many of them have seen disability in their lives.

Bridget Ford, 20, of Delmar, said her sister, Cassie, who is also involved in Connect-ability, is autistic.

She knew a lot about disabilities and wanted to express her knowledge through writing.

"It's interesting to offer a completely different perspective," she said.

Ford said she would encourage younger people to get involved, if not with Connect-ability, then with something like it.

"I really think it broadens your horizon," she said.

According to Neira, NYSUT plans to broaden the program to include issues of race and diversity in the newsletter and have students discuss such topics at future meetings.

For information, contact Catharine McHugh at 213-6000, ext. 6522.""

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