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 EDITOR'S ADVISORY: Project for Freedom 

 

SPOTLIGHT

11/19/02

Contact: K.E. Schwab (724) 738-2199;  e-mail: karl.schwab@sru.edu

EDITOR’S ADVISORY

An excellent feature story is in the making with Friday’s [Nov. 22] planned graduation of 13 western Pennsylvania disabled persons who have spent 10 weeks (350 hours) in intensive study learning to be help desk technicians as part of a special Pittsburgh Disability Employment Project for Freedom program operated in conjunction with Slippery Rock University’s Division of Lifelong Learning.

The noon graduation ceremony will be held at SRU’s North Hills Site at Waterford Corporate Park, Wexford. In addition to SRU representatives, Project for Freedom board of directors members* are expected to attend.

Disabilities range from those who are wheelchair bound, to stroke victims, to those with vision difficulties, those without limbs and those needing special computer adaptations. Students in the program, all high school graduates, were referred by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, which pays for the training.

Among those graduating and willing to talk with the media are Karen Boyle, a 2000 Butler High School graduate disabled since childhood with the loss of her left hand and several fingers on her right after contacting spinal meningitis, and Ernie Gregorius, a 53-year-old Cranberry Township resident and former South Hills carpet storeowner, disabled in 2000 by a paralyzing stroke. Also on hand will be W. David Huddleston, executive director of Project for Freedom, and A.J. Reed, a 19-year veteran computer science instructor, who provided the help desk instruction in Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access computer programs.

(Special Note: Some program graduates may be less willing to discuss their disability, and we request their privacy be respected.)

*Partners in the Project for Freedom program are the Pittsburgh-based Bayer Corp., Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Life and Casualty, Mellon Bank Corp., Bender Consulting Services, Inc., Accessibility Development Associates, Inc., Edinboro University’s Office for Students with Disabilities, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and SRU.

Those planning to staff the ceremony are asked to call 724-738-2199.

## PN, PgN, WPN, PR, PT, S

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