3rd Annual Disability Resource Expo provides resources, knowledge to the community
For the third year in a row, the Disability Resource Expo gathered as many resources as possible for those living with disabilities under one roof.
Volunteers in Gainesville held the community event Saturday at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville to bring awareness to the resources available for people living with disabilities.
The Disability Resource Expo is designed to connect families living with disabilities to professionals around North Central Florida who can help those with special needs.
"I've heard everything from families just coming in awe of what's available that they had no idea [of]. This feeling of relief that 'there's this thing that can help me and help my family.' So by having an event like this, a lot of families can come into contact right away so they're not scrambling and trying to figure out where to get those supports, resources, and accommodations that they need," said Cheryl Russell, one of the event's organizers.
Russell said the turnout seems to have matched expectations set by the years before.
"In that first year, we actually outgrew our venue; we were busting at the seams at that point," Russell recalled. "So that's when we decided we needed a larger place and came to Trinity United Methodist Church last year. We ended up with about 1,500 attending, more than tripling our numbers from the past year. I want to say that as far as attendance goes this year...while it's too early to call...it seems that we at least had as many as we had last year, so at least 1,500."
The Expo featured free workshops, Q&A sessions, and more than 90 exhibitors offering resources for disabilities ranging from cognitive and developmental to physical and mental health.