Waco businesses celebrate in walk for disabled workers

WalkNRoll FTWBy Rebecca Fiedler
Staff Writer

Several businesses in the area who have excelled in hiring and accommodating people with disabilities are being honored Friday at the third annual Walk ‘N Roll event downtown, said Kim Nunn, co-chair for Walk ‘N Roll.

Walk ‘N Roll will begin after the Lex Freiden Employment Awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. in the Waco Convention Center, where Texas employers who have enhanced and empowered the employment of those with disabilities will be recognized. A walk to raise awareness for those with disabilities will be take place from 1:45 to 2 p.m. around the convention center, followed by the recognition of local businesses and a resource fair from 2 to 4 p.m.

“The message is that people with disabilities are not different from anyone else, especially in the employment aspect,” Null said. “They can make great employees. They may need a little bit of extra accommodations, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to work, and work in an environment like everyone else.”

The incorporated resource fair will connect people with disabilities to providers of beneficial services, Nunn said. There will be Zumba demonstrations and classes for people with and without disabilities.

Free food has been donated for the event, and those who visit all of the vendors at the resource fair can enter to win a door prize.

There are no technical qualifications that a local business must meet to be honored at Walk ‘N Roll, Nunn said. A collaboration of disability organizations, including the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, consider different businesses that have hired people with disabilities.

Kelly Yarbrough, the chairwoman for the Waco Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, said businesses like the Prophecy Media Group, the Waco Distribution Center and the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living are all being honored by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.

“These businesses that have been selected have been our partners for the last year that we are recognizing them now because they’ve done such great work in helping us to get people with disabilities employed,” Yarbrough said.

October is a big month for disability awareness, Null said. White Cane Day, a day that honors the blind is also in October. Both events will be incorporated in the Walk ‘N Roll.

Nunn is a member of the Waco Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, which is composed of people and businesses in community. The Committee is one of the groups hosting the Walk ‘N Roll.

“We get together and discuss different resources available for people with disabilities, what’s going on in the disability community, bills being passed that might affect people with disabilities and different resources,” Nunn said.

Yarbrough said the inclusion of those with disabilities in the workforce maximizes the potential of all employees.

“It’s just another way to diversify your workforce,” she said.