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VAN Forum

Disability Awareness: Living an Active and Engaged Life - Golden Valley

April 12, 2010
10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Candy Pettiford, Courage Center client, volunteer tour guide and community speaker
Connie Shaffer, Driver's Assessment and Training, Courage Center
Christian Knights, Public Affairs associate, Courage Center

Courage Center
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422

Only accessible parking is available at the Courage Center. All other people can park at:
Valley Community Presbyterian Church
3100 N. Lilac Drive
Golden Valley, 55422

Here is a link to the map for parking:

The shuttle bus will begin transporting people at 9:30 AM and make one trip every 20 minutes through 10:30 AM. The shuttle bus will wait in the church parking lot for any people who arrive after 10:30 AM. Return trips to the parking lot will begin at 12:40 PM and run every 20 minutes through 2:00 PM.

Are you or is someone you know affected by a disability? Join VAN and co-sponsor the Courage Center, to hear an interactive and engaging panel of people 50+ who live active lives despite a disability. They will talk about how the disability affects their lives and strategies for addressing challenges.

Hear information about accommodations that can help aging drivers, specifically the Courage Center’s Drivers Assessment Program. Get an update on current transportation public policy at the capitol, and information about how to become an advocate.

A half hour walking tour of the Courage Center facility will be available following the forum.

Download the flyer.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact VAN at 651-917-4652 or



On Tuesday, April 13, 2010 almost 40 people gathered to learn about aging and disability. The Forum began with a panel of older adults living active lives despite having a disability. The panel was facilitated by Candy Pettiford. Below are the questions asked of the panel, and the panelists' responses.

Question: How does a disability impact your life?

  • One panelist said that as she ages, she is beginning to see a loss of muscle strength.
  • Another panelist said she has to learn how to "play differently." She then provided the example of how difficult it can be to rent a car if you have a disability.

Question: What kind of activities do you enjoy?

  • For one panelist, spending time with her grandchildren was extremely important. She also wrote a book and likes to cook.
  • Another panelist enjoys going to her cabin with her husband.
  • The third panelist said that volunteering with the Courage Center is something that he enjoys doing.

Question: What kind of barriers do you fact?

  • The panelists seemed to agree that attitudinal barriers are the most challenging they face. All panelists agreed that people view them differently because they have a disability. As one person eloquently put, "I don't let people disable me."

Connie Shaffer spoke about the Drivers Assessment that the Courage Center offers. The Courage Center has an objective test to help determine whether is a person is capable of driving or not. She reiterated that driving is a privilege not a right, and that's why these assessment exist.

Finally, Christian Knights talked about current legislation at the Minnesota capitol. He encouraged people to become advocates for disabilities and aging. He provided a tip to help people communicate with representatives. He said to put a personal zip code in the subject line of an email. This will guarantee a much faster response then sending an email without one.

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