WINNSBORO — March has been proclaimed as Disability Awareness Month in Fairfield County thanks to the efforts of Fairfield County Council and the Fairfield County Disabilities and Special Needs Board.
The proclamation was signed March 3 by local elected officials including Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy, Ridgeway Mayor Charlene Herring, Sen. Creighton Coleman and Rep. Mary Gail Douglas.
More than 500,000 South Carolina residents and families are impacted by severe lifelong disabilities including autism, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, mental retardation and related disabilities in regard to race, culture, geography, age, sex or economic class.
The proclamation, which was put into effect by Council Chairman David Ferguson, states that people with lifelong disabilities and productive citizens, neighbors and family members are deserving of respect and opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, independence and personal growth.
FCDSN director Laura Collins noted that service recipients work various jobs including custodial and recycling attendants through a program offered by the county.
“The ability to work and get paid does so much to make them feel self sufficient and independent,” she stated.
The S.C. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs and FCDSN with with families to provide services that promote independence and inclusion.
“We owe a special debt of gratitude to the caregivers who selflessly provide physical, emotional and spiritual support to our residents with disabilities and special needs,” Ferguson wrote in the proclamation.
The observance of Disabilities Awareness Month in 2014 celebrates the successful partnership between people with and without disabilities as well as the increasing involvement of people with disabilities in education and community activities.
FCDSN has been located at 408 W. Washington in Winnsboro for just over a year.
The county donated what was the old sheriff’s department, office space and a jail and then grant funding to help with new construction costs. The county issued a $125,000 that was matched through private donations and fundraisers prior to the building’s renovations and construction.
In an effort to pay of the mortgage of the new building, FCDSN is holding a capital campaign. There are room naming opportunities for both individuals and corporate sponsors.
For more information about how to contribute, call Laura Collins at 803-635-2154.