As a student attending Florida Southern College you have more than likely utilized the sidewalk around Lake Hollingsworth at some point during your college career, whether you wake up at 6 a.m. to run it or wait until the evening to take a leisurely stroll around it. Now, imagine taking a lap around the lake in a wheel chair.
The Center for Independent Living is going on its third year of holding an event called Stroll ‘n’ Roll.
The event allows participants to walk and roll in order to raise funds and awareness for those with disabilities.
In 1976, the Center for Independent Living was started and has been aiding the residents of seven central Florida counties ever since.
With offices in Orlando and Lakeland, CIL is a nonprofit agency that helps and encourages individuals with disabilities.
CIL provides a variety of services for the disabled in the areas such as information on discrimination, helping towards independence goals, peer support and bettering accessibility.
Three years ago, CIL decided to start the Stroll ‘n’ Roll, which would not only provide more funds for the organization’s needs, but also would bring awareness and support to the disabled community.
“It’s a celebration of diversity and inclusion,” Development Director Jason Venning said. “We put it out there not only for the people with disabilities, but people who want to come together and celebrate our likenesses and differences.”
All money that is raised by entering the walk or by donations goes towards projects that are not normally funded specifically by CIL, such as equipment to modify disabled citizens home.
Last year, the funds went towards building wheel chair ramps.
Anyone can participate in the Stroll ‘n’ Roll by simply signing up on the website: www.snr2013lkd.kintera.org.
You can enter as a team, enter to join a team or enter as an individual.
The $10 fee includes an event t-shirt, entrance into a raffle prize and a goodie bag from local sponsors.
By entering the event, you can send emails to friends and family members, or even hold your own fundraiser to raise donations.
The top three teams with the most money raised are awarded with a congratulations plaque of their own.
The top leader overall is awarded with the coveted legacy plaque, engraved with the team’s name.
For the past two years, FSC sports teams have held that title.
“The student body of FSC has made this event happen. Without [them], we wouldn’t have been able to have a third event,” Venning said.
This being said, Venning looks forward to a heavy FSC participation along with that of many local businesses.
He views this as a vital way for members of the college, business and disabled communities to come together over a relevant cause.
Sophomore, Ashley Dudman, participated in the Stroll ‘n’ Roll last year, and said: “I enjoyed meeting new people and racing around the lake in a wheelchair. It showed my team and I how much a smile can mean to someone in need.”
The event takes place on Oct. 12 at the First Presbyterian Church, just down the street from FSC.
Check-in begins at 8 a.m. and shortly after the walk around Lake Hollingsworth will follow.
It is a family and pet-friendly event that will include vendors, giveaways, crafts and a DJ.
Mayor Fields will be speaking along with people from the community who have been impacted by the services that CIL has provided to them.
The organization provides wheel chairs for those who are not disabled in order for them to experience a day in the life of those who are limited in their mobility.
Venning stressed that awareness does not have to stop with just one event.
CIL provides monthly newsletters and volunteer activities for those interested, throughout the year.