Disability Empowerment Center Grand Opening
Last Thursday I had the privilege of attending the grand opening celebration of the Disability Empowerment Center of Arizona. Joining me was my brother, David Crook, who took many photos of the event. The center, a project of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL), is a universally designed, accessible, and transit-oriented nonprofit resource for Arizona’s disability community.
Perhaps this is best illustrated by the photo below, which shows people using wheelchairs and scooters breaking through the walls…portraying successful steps taken to advocate for the disability community…including legislation.
The entire evening was filled with grace and beauty, as people came together to celebrate the opening first portion of the center. Currently DEC offers fully accessible administrative office space, meeting rooms, event space, a cafeteria and kitcen, computer lab, and a resource center.
“The DEC will serve as a national model for accessible design, according to Phil Pangrazio, executive directory of Abil. “Future plans for the center also include a universally accessible sports and fitness center for persons with disabilities that is being funded through the City of Phoenix 2006 Bond program and private foundations that include: The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the David Reese Family Foundation, Thunderbirds Charities, the Rhett Butler Family Foundation and others that are currently being pursued. Completion of the sports & fitness center is planned for the summer of 2009.”
The 62,000-square-foot facility houses (in addition to ABIL),
- Arizona Center for Disability Law
- Raising Special Kids
- Arizona Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Joni & Friends
- Statewide Independent Living Council
- Arizona Autism United
- Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association
- Valley Center of the Deaf
- PRN Medical Services