PHOTO: an older man stands at a podium. The LOGO reads Mesa Arizona. There is a playground in the background.

Community News Issue 7

LivAbility Magazine

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Community News

ILLUSTRATION: The phrase

Loren Worthington garnered much attention on the international scene for his photography of the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games held in Rio. His photos were used in numerous publications around the world. His personal story was told in print and broadcast news.

The Great Big Story learned of Worthington’s work and sent a team to Arizona to gather his story. Billing themselves as “A video network dedicated to the untold, the overlooked and the flat-out amazing,” the team shadowed Worthington for several days and produced a 2:34 video that captured his story and his photography. The Great Big Story is an international project based in New York and distributed by CNN. You can find Worthington’s story at greatbigstory.com. Way to represent, Loren!

LOGO: Protecting Arizona's Family Coalition

Ability360 staffer Jennifer Longdon received the PAFCO Timothy J. Schmaltz Leadership in Advocacy award for 2016. Recipients are chosen who “embody Tim’s spirit of service and commitment to advocacy.”
Schmaltz was on hand to present the award saying “Jennifer has a distinguished and unique history of advocacy – that is, speaking truth to power – for human dignity and justice for all of us, against gun violence and for reasonable gun control, against ableism and rights of all people to be treated with dignity, equality, and justice.”

PHOTO: an older man stands at a podium. The LOGO reads Mesa Arizona. There is a playground in the background.
Photo courtesy of City of Mesa

Dobson Ranch Park Introduces New Universally Inclusive Playground


Rock Climbing Sessions

“The new playground invites all children regardless of abilities the opportunity to play,” Mesa Parks Recreation and Community Facilities Director Marc Heirshberg said. “While traditional slides and swings are fun, we are introducing another approach to play where parents and caregivers can play alongside or with their child.”

Dobson Ranch Playground is a 10,000 square foot facility with many features that allow side-by-side play for children with all abilities, stations that encourage sensory play, quiet space, shade structures, mixed surfacing, and updated ADA compliant restrooms.

“This is a wonderful addition to Dobson Ranch and I am happy to have it in District 3,” Vice Mayor Dennis Kavanaugh said. “This playground will be a fantastic place for any child to come enjoy with their friends and family.”

PHOTO: First Place Phoenix in an urban setting, on a stage are several dignitary, some clapping, some taking pictures, in the foreground are three people breaking ground with gold shovels, shoveling dirt ceremoniously.
Photo: Stephen G. Dreiseszun/ Viewpoint Photographers

First Place®AZ broke ground on First Place-Phoenix, a new $15 million residential property for adults with autism and different abilities with a one-of-a-kind approach to combining apartments, a residential training program and a national leadership institute to advance more independent and community integrated living options.


Illustration: Year up at Gateway Community College

PHOTO: Portrait of Samantha Tiller

Samantha Tillier, a young adult enrolled in Year Up through GateWay Community College, is registered with the Disability Resource Service Office at GateWay Central City and is receiving services from Vocational Rehabilitation. Tiller is in her final two months of her internship through

Year Up, and has shown incredible growth. Due to her wraparound support, accommodations and resources, Tillier is able to successfully obtain her goals with documented disabilities (providing access to barriers for success).
Her professional and soft skills have improved along with her confidence. Tillier entered the program with a fear of speaking up, but now shows leadership skills amongst her peers and through presentations. Year Up has given Tillier the opportunity to achieve her goal of professional success with documented disabilities.

Opportunity to succeed professionally is given to all through Year Up, a year-long program which helps motivated young adults enter the workforce. Through the Year Up program, adults ages 18-24 will spend six months in the classroom, six months at an internship and graduate ready to enter the professional world. The goal of Year Up is to fill the gap of the Opportunity Divide, which prevents those who lack the opportunity to succeed professionally and become economically self-sufficient.
Year Up serves 13,500 young adults across 16 cities nationwide. In 2015, Year Up came to the GateWay Central City campus and has served 265 young adults so far.


Oral Health Education Begins at 360

Every month at Ability360, dental students from the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health University will provide oral health information sessions. Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, a non-profit program focusing on health sciences, is a part of A.T. Still University.

Educational sessions will not provide treatment, but will educate on healthy mouths and will instruct consumers, if necessary, to see a dentist. The event, lasting two to three hours, is first come, first served.

Dental and oral cancer screenings may be available in the future. Previous sessions discussed topics like oral health, what causes cavities, flossing and dental aids for dry mouth.

To RSVP go to www.ability360.eventbrite.com and/or contact David Carey at 602-443-0723.

Finding Free Services Made Easy

FindHelpPhx.org is a useful, easy website that finds health and social services in Maricopa County. Most services listed are FREE! Created by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, FindHelpPhoenix and the Spanish partner site, EncuentraAyudaPhx.org, are divided into multiple categories of services. Users can look for medical services, legal help and affordable housing, along with many other services. The website’s 1,500 or so free or low- cost resources are always checked for accuracy.

Please email any nonprofit resources that aren’t included in the site, as well as changes to information to: FindHelpPhx@mail.maricopa.gov

Are you newly engaged or married? Become a parent? Land a new job or earn a promotion? Recognized for recent achievements?

Share your news with us so we can share it with our readers. You can find the submission form and MORE Community News at ability360.org/milestones