By Aaliyah Hayes Contributor
The Disabled Student Services raised over $6,000 in scholarship money for DSS students through their first Move a Mile in Our Shoes fundraiser event on Friday, Oct. 27.
The event was held for two purposes: to educate people about disabilities and DSS services, and to raise money for the scholarship program. Different teams and individuals either walked or ran a mile in order to get sponsored by donors. Teams ranged from the campus police, Delta Gamma Sorority, veterans and more.
“We don’t want pity, we want acceptance."
“I wanted to involve my sorority in this event and raise awareness because I wanted to repay [DSS] for the ways they have helped me,” Delta Gamma member Maria Tripodi said. “We were able to raise $200 as a sorority and I’m proud of my sorority for doing this service with me.”
DSS partnered with California’s Department of Rehabilitation to fund Tripodi’s tuition two years ago. DSS has helped countless students with disabilities finance their studies here at Long Beach State.
The event kicked off with a special thanks to the event planning committee. As individuals and teams walked, jogged or wheeled their way around the track, the CSULB Spirit Team cheered them on.
“We volunteered to cheer everyone on so that more people can know what DSS has to offer,” said Spirit Team member Madalyn Flores.
As people were making their way around the track, representatives from different DSS services, like the Stephen Benson Learning Disability Program, Workability IV Program, Accessible Instructional Materials and more, tabled to educate students about what they offer.
The Stephen Benson Learning Disability Program assists students with different learning disabilities through assessments and works with enrollment services to conduct disability-based appeals.
AIM uses web programs like Kurzweil to convert tests and assignments into documents and materials that make them accessible for students with disabilities to work with.
“Our goal is employment,” said Workability IV Program Coordinator Monica Marquez-Savala. “We help students with resumes, cover letters and job placements in their degrees.”
Students Christiana Koch and David Nguyen came to promote a club they’re working to start called Students with Dis/Abilities + Allies, a space that will build community and relationships with disabled students. Their mission is to remove the stigma attached to people with disabilities as well as to promote inclusion.
“We don’t want pity, we want acceptance,” Koch said.
The event ended with a raffle and reminder to continue to support DSS so that DSS can continue to support students. Marketing major Victor Roman expressed his gratitude for DSS’s help as a scholarship recipient.
“I have three learning disabilities and the DSS scholarship released me of financial burdens so that I could focus on my studies,” he said. “I want to see the support continue.”