FCC Shows There’s a Community for Disabled, Disability Awareness Day Celebration


Photo by: Krystle Nozartash

Disability Awareness booth serving pizza and drink to staff and faculty in support of Disability Awareness Day on Oct. 5.

Oct. 5 was Disability Awareness Day at Fresno City College, an event with 30 booths in attendance at the Campus Mall to help students who have disabilities

The main focus for Disability Awareness Day is to let students know that there is a community for them. 

“Sometimes we get a bad wrap, and we just want to let people know that we’re here for them, and we are not going anywhere,” said FCC Senior Program Specialist Stephanie Salazar . 

Some of the vendors were Disabled American Veterans Association, Down Syndrome Association of Central California, Wayfinders at Fresno State, and also companies like Amazon. 

One booth at the Campus Mall was Kalos Specialized Services. 

Kalos provides a service that teaches living skills for anyone who is seeking to live an independent lifestyle. “We can step in and give them support and guidance as they move into their first apartment or roommate situation,” said CEO Amy Corpus. 

Another service Kalos offers is the Community Integration Program.

Corpus said many people think the Community Integration Program is a daycare program for people with Intellectual and developmental disabilities where groups of people are taken to the mall or Walmart, but Kalos works with people one on one. 

“We ask them, ” What are your interests? Would you like to take an art class? Our staff will help you learn to paint, watercolor, look for a job, or just help you do fun stuff,” Corpus said.

Jennifer Murrieta who is in the Community Integration program says she loves this company. “We all get together and have fun. We don’t call this a group or a program, we’re family. We’re friends, and we do things for each other,” said a teary-eyed Murrieta.

Murrieta held up a flier and pointed to the different activities that they partake in such as camping, getting a manicure, applying make-up, and going to the lake. 

This was the first Disability Awareness Day since the pandemic. During the pandemic, Disability Awareness events happened online over the span of a month. 

According to Salazar there are currently about 1,800 disabled students attending FCC this year. 

Disabilities range from physical to mental, and might include being non-verbal, on the autism spectrum, or some form of mental illness or disorder like anxiety or depression. 

“There is a big stigma around disabilities, so it’s hard to reach out to students who have them to come and get services,” Salazar said. 

Fresno City College has assisted technology available such as text to speech, getting a book transferred to braille, and audio recordings for students who have difficulty taking notes during lectures.