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Franklin - Local Town Pages

2nd Annual Disability Expo in Franklin

Volunteers and members of Franklin’s Commission on Persons with Disabilities at the first annual Disability Expo. This year’s event will be held at the Franklin Senior Center on May 4th, from 10-2.

Sometimes, finding the right services to meet the needs of you or your family member can be daunting. Cue the 2nd Annual Franklin Disability Expo, slated to take place at the Franklin Senior Center, 10 Daniel McCahill Street, Franklin, on Saturday, May 4th, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
“(The Disability Expo) is super valuable to the community, because it puts everyone in the same room, so you’re not trying to go to different places to get the resources you need,” says Assistant Franklin Senior Center Director Sarah Amaral, who says she’s grateful the Franklin Commission on Persons with Disabilities organized this event.
“We were very happy with the turnout last year. It poured, but we had a steady flow of people, probably over 100,” says Mary O’Neill, Chair of the Franklin Commission on Persons with Disabilities, who organizes the event with other members of the group. They include O’Neill, Debbie Bean, Randy Jay, Alison Rheaume, Martha Murray, Michael Furilla, Vicky Trant, and Lorraine McLaughlin. O’Neill expects this year to get even more visitors, especially if the weather cooperates. 
“We’re gathering people who work with and people who advocate for persons with disabilities. We’ll have fun stuff, like gift baskets, free prizes and gift certificates,” says O’Neill. Some local restaurants will provide the gift certificates, says O’Neill, adding, “We’re trying to keep them local and at locations that have access for people with disabilities.”
Tickets handed out for the door prizes will allow the Commission to gauge attendance.
Although at press time, O’Neill expected most of the participating groups and businesses to return for the second year, she was still waiting on confirmation. Visitors can expect to be able to learn more from the following, and more and the Disability Expo:
• Vendors with information on accessibility products
• First Responders-Police and Fire
• Our first repsondrs the police and the fire
• Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office
• Massachusets Commission for the Blind
• Autism-related organizations
• Mobility – companies providing and repairing mobility aides
• Mental Health advocates
O’Neill says visitors expressed a lot of positive feedback last year regarding the event and were happy to be able to talk with the Commission members. She hopes this year will be an even better experience.
“We wanted to do something to reach out to the community and the surrounding towns because a lo of people aren’t aware of all the services that are available to them. We thought it was important to provide this for them. It enriches their lives. It’s wonderful if they can get something they might not have been aware of to help. It’s a lot of work, but we’re very excited about it, and we’re looking forward to it.
O’Neill adds, “If someone has a concern about a disability not represented, please reach out to any of the Commission members with your concerns, and we will do our best to assist in getting them appropriate information.”