“As a society, we have so much to learn about disability and I truly believe that the way to learn is by doing. We must design events and projects with disability at the forefront of our minds, instead of an add-on when necessary,” shares Dr. Jolan Smith about the College of Education’s sponsorship of Fun, Friends & Fitness for All: An Inclusive Community Event. “By doing this, we include all sectors of community - from the youngest to the oldest, and we can prepare for different levels of ability and alternate modes of access,” says Dr. Smith.
The community event was held in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park neighborhood and led by Dr. Smith, a Board Member of the Gailen and Cathy Reevers Center for Community Empowerment, another event sponsor. As a Board Member, Dr. Smith has worked to bring her background in special education to the nonprofit to further the organization’s outreach and audience engagement, which now includes this annual inclusive community event for families and individuals with disabilities. Dovetailing with the CED's own mission of excellence and leadership in urban education, the College’s sponsorship and participation perfectly aligned with the event’s goal.
College participation also included CED students, including Mary Jane Patterson Scholars who helped to plan the event and Student Ambassadors who managed College outreach. Through the planning of various activities – from music to artmaking to games – CED’s Patterson scholars furthered their skills in UDL (universal design for learning) strategies. “These scholars invested their time, showed up for community, and gained invaluable skills they will take with them as they continue their professional careers in urban education. Through CED's sustained presence in the community, I hope to recruit more dedicated scholars and future educators to attend CSULB.” Dr. Smith said.