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STRIDES walk raises $8K

Oct. 11, 2014

CORNING | The people were different, but the vision was the same: An accessible and inclusive community free of barriers to independent living.

Approximately 200 people walked and rolled together Saturday at AIM Independent Living Center’s third annual STRIDES for Independence Walk to promote disability rights and awareness. The event, which was held at Denison Park in Corning, raised nearly $8,000 for AIM’s disability services.

“Our community is very supportive of disability rights, and this event proved that,” said John Zick, AIM’s director of government and public affairs. “All people, regardless of ability level, should have the right to self-determination and independence. Events like STRIDES help spread the message.”

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, attended the walk and shared a similar sentiment.

“Education and awareness are really important,” he said. “Agency’s like AIM have done a great job supporting individuals with disabilities.”

Corning Deputy Mayor Bill Boland said AIM and the event helped bring more focus to the local disability community.

“The City of Corning is working on its housing strategy, and (Zick) and I have talked about some of the issues facing people with disabilities,” Boland said. “We hope we can address some of these issues.”

For the second straight year, AIM partnered with Corning Inc. to put on the walk. In 2012, AIM and Corning Inc.’s Abled and DisAbled Partnering Together (ADAPT) team hosted separate awareness walks in October, which is National Disability Awareness Month

“We realized we were two similar groups walking around Corning, so teaming together made sense,” said Dr. Melissann Ashton-Patton, Corning’s ADAPT president. Corning Inc. contributed $2,000 to the event.

The walk received additional monetary support from several other businesses: the Denison Parkway McDonald’s, Perry & Carroll, Bryans & Gramuglia CPAs, World Kitchen, Hughey Signs, Simmons-Rockwell, Walmart, Steuben Design Co., Everything Medical, Dandy Mini Mart, First Heritage Federal Credit Union, Wegmans and Bouille Electric. The Sam Pallet Band played the event.

Also on Saturday:

  • AIM presented its STRIDES grant award, which supports a project that improves the lives of people with disabilities. AIM awarded $400 to the Corning Community YMCA, which will use the money to repair four accessible showers. Another $100 was awarded to the Elmira Heights Central School District, which will use the money to help establish a small business for special education students.

  • Don Castellucci, a case worker for U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, presented AIM with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition on behalf of the congressman.

 “Thank you for continuing to promote disability awareness and working toward a community free of barriers to independent living,” the certificate says.