Raising awareness: OUN celebrates Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. It’s a time to educate the community about the issues facing people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and advocate for those individuals in Albany.

But at Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, it’s also a time to show gratitude to the community that supports the organization.

Each March, OUN holds an internal food collection for the Niagara Community Action Center, which distributes food to different pantries across the county. Different subsidiaries of NYSARC, OUN’s parent organization, run similar food drives across the state.

2015 is a big year for OUN itself, however, as the organization celebrates its 60th anniversary in June. Founded in 1955 as part of NYSARC, the Niagara chapter of Opportunities Unlimited now serves 617 individuals with disabilities and their families throughout Niagara County and neighboring communities, offering support programs from birth to the elder years.

It’s that range of services that Roxane Albond-Buchner, manager of communications at OUN, wants people to know about.

“Most people drive by our building or they might attend (an event) … because they like doing those things, but I don’t think they really understand who they’re supporting with that or the complexity of who we are,” Albond-Buchner said.

Among the programs offered are recreational activities for people ages 10-18 and 19 and older, where participants meet as a group to go out into the community. Participants self-select which activities they’d like to do every two months, including things like seeing a professional sports game, going to a theater or seeing a movie.

Read the rest at: Raising awareness: OUN celebrates Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

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