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SBU Partners with Human Services Organizations to Host Life Skills Symposium

Free drumcorps

Stony Brook University has partnered with several human services organizations to host a day-long conference for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) on Saturday, November 18, at the Student Activities Center. The event, called the Life Skills Symposium, will offer educational workshops and hands-on activities that explore and demonstrate ways people with I/DD can live independently in their community with support.

Select members of the FREE Players Drum and Bugle Corps will perform at the symposium.
Select members of the FREE Players Drum and Bugle Corps will perform.

This event is the result of an inter-agency collaboration between Stony Brook’s School of Professional Development (SPD) and East End Disability Associates Inc., Family Residences and Essential Enterprises Inc., YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities, Independent Support Services Inc., and the LI Regional Center for Workforce Transformation.

SPD’s Assistant Dean Carolyn Jankowski, event organizer, states, “This is the first time these well-respected organizations have worked together with the University in this way. The resources and expertise they offer has proven invaluable in developing a comprehensive program that serves this diverse community.”

The symposium is open to people with I/DD, their families, direct support professionals and service providers. Participants will learn from human services leaders and advocates about ways to find and use community resources and services. Topics include budget planning, health and wellness, recreation, cooking and personal safety. Keynote speakers James Traylor (Upstate Special Needs Consulting), Maggie Hoffman (New York Self Determination Coalition), Joan Cornachio (Supported Decision Making of NY) and Desiree Loukes-Baer (NYSACRA) will be presenting.

A highlight of the event will be a performance by select members of the FREE Players Drum and Bugle Corps, which is billed as the “first differently-abled (Special Needs) Drum & Bugle Corps in the world.” The 70-member group, which performs at sporting events, parades, festivals, and in competitions across Long Island, has been featured by more than 100 media outlets around the world, including ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, the Associated Press, USA Today and TIME.

The symposium is subsidized by a grant from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, which allows people with I/DD and a member of their family/support staff to attend free of charge. The fee for all others is $20. All attendees are required to register by November 15.

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