Next month the City of Fishers and Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability will host their annual, month-long celebration of National Disability Awareness Month. The celebration, presented by Old National Bank, strives to bring awareness to what life is like for those with physical and intellectual disabilities through a series of special events and initiatives throughout the city. This year’s celebration will be held virtually, with unique opportunities for all residents to get involved from the comfort of home.This year’s theme, Building Our Inclusive Community, will celebrate the Committee’s achievements in building an inclusive community including expanded employment opportunities, the creation of social groups such as Thrive Social Club, the addition of affordable and accessible housing with Real America’s SouthPointe Village Apartments, and more.“Since Fishers became a city, the Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability has strived to build a more inclusive community every year by working with the disability stakeholders and our community partners,” said Cecilia Coble, co-chair of the Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability. “This March, our community will celebrate the achievements that have been built in the last five years in the City of Fishers. This foundation will help us to continue to work together to build a place where individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities can live and thrive without limits."“I am so proud of the work of the Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability to build an inclusive and accessible community,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. “Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 over the past year, the Committee has continued to move this initiative forward—launching the Thrive Social Club to bring our residents together during a difficult time and transitioning our March celebration to a virtual series so that our community can participate safely from home.”This year’s lineup includes virtual events hosted by the Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability and community partners such as Fishers Arts Council and the Hamilton East Public Library; a recurring Disability Awareness Month series on ThisIsFishers.com featuring guest blogs every Wednesday throughout March; and a new ally campaign which invites residents to become advocates for disability inclusion and showcase their support for the initiative. An ally toolkit will be available for download from fishers.in.us/DisabilityAwareness and will include information on how to be an ally, a list of frequently asked questions and a language guide, digital graphics, and other resources. Ally kits with stickers, t-shirts, and other items will be available for in-person pickup throughout March.“It is so exciting to see the momentum that continues despite this health crisis,” said Kelly Hartman, co-chair of the Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability. “As a committee, we have been able to make the virtual pivot to sustain many of the events that have become the center of disability awareness for Fishers. The unique opportunity is that we can reach even more people, as we know there are some people who may never have come to an in-person event but will find the virtual awareness opportunities intriguing. We are excited to engage many people in our community in March as we strive to be a community that is inclusive of all people”The virtual event lineup includes:Disability Awareness Month Kickoff: Building Our Inclusive CommunityMarch 1 | 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.Kick off the month-long celebration with guest speaker and disability advocate, Ben Trockman, Diversity & Inclusion Outreach Specialist for Old National Bank and elected City of Evansville First Ward City Councilor. A video presentation will highlight the work of the Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability over the past six years to build an inclusive community in Fishers. Recipients of the 2021 Inclusion & Accessibility Awards will also be recognized. This event is free, but registration is required. Visit fishers.in.us/DisabilityAwareness to register.Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability Quarterly MeetingMarch 2 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.Hear more about the accomplishments of building a more inclusive community in Fishers. Help the Committee identify priorities and goals for the disability community in Fishers and beyond. This event is free, but registration is required. Visit fishers.in.us/DisabilityAwareness to register.OneZone Luncheon: Expanding Your Applicant Pool: Exploring the Untapped WorkforceMarch 10 / 11:30 a.m.Learn more about the benefits of employing individuals with physical and developmental disabilities from Kylee Hope, Director of the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services. Check out a video presentation of successful employment opportunities from around Fishers and Hamilton County. Event is $10 per person and registration is required. Visit fishers.in.us/DisabilityAwareness to register.Building Our Inclusive Community Through ArtMarch 12 / 7 - 9 p.m.Celebrate the artwork of local artists with disabilities and view the virtual art gallery exhibition hosted by Conner Prairie. This event is co-hosted by the Fishers Arts Council. Join the virtual broadcast on their Facebook page.The Hamilton East Public Library will also be hosting a series of virtual workshops as part of the celebration. Topics include caregiving, disability inclusion, American Sign Language, and more.To register for events, download the Ally Toolkit, and learn more about the work of the Fishers Advisory Committee on Disability, visit fishers.in.us/DisabilityAwareness. Follow along on social media at #FishersDisabilityAwareness.