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VIUCEDD to Host 11th 'Voices That Count' Forum

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The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD) will host the 11th annual “Voices That Count” forum from Oct. 23 to 24, in the Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, and from Oct. 28 to 29, in the Administration and Conference Center on St. Thomas. The theme of the forum is “VIUCEDD: 20 Years of Empowering People with Disabilities.” The forums will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

The “Voices That Count” forum brings individuals with disabilities, family members, service providers, advocates and candidates for political office together to discuss issues that affect people with disabilities and promote systemic change. This year the forum will solely focus on asking incumbents and aspirants in the 2014 Virgin Islands gubernatorial, congressional, and senatorial races for their vision and ideas for solutions to better the disability community, said VIUCEDD Program Coordinator Jerae Allyson Forde.

“Through this forum, persons with disabilities and their families will have a voice in advocating for legislation and public policy reform in the Virgin Islands,” she said. “We are hopeful that collaborative efforts between people with disabilities, policy makers and government agencies will improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities in the Virgin Islands.”

There is no fee for conference participants, but space is limited on both islands. To register online visit: http://events.viucedd.org. Individuals may also call (340) 692-4266 or 692-4267 on St. Croix for more information. On St. Thomas, call (340) 693-1322 or 693-1173. Reasonable accommodations, such as having American Sign Language interpreters, should be requested in advance.

VIUCEDD is funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission, under the provisions of the Developmental Disabilities Act, is to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families in the Virgin Islands and to provide them with tools necessary for independence, productivity and full inclusion.