The ABLE club seeks to use outreach events to raise awareness and advocacy for those with disabilities through outreach events.
According to Kerry Kimble, club founder and staff leader, ABLE stands for awareness, boldness, leadership, empowerment. It is devoted to creating conversation and consideration of people with disabilities, some of which include physical, learning, chronic, and mental. Kimble, who is also the Director of Disability Services, recently founded the ABLE club in 2014.
The club’s goal is to engage the campus community on issues of disability, with the hope of encouraging kindness and conversation that can help to break the stigma surrounding disabilities, according to Kimble. ABLE hopes to achieve this through the events they host.
Such stigma-breaking events include the Mental Health Awareness Day lunch-and-learn, part of the annual Mental Health Awareness Week, which focused on different cultures around the world view and how they treat mental health.
During the same week, ABLE hosts an encouragement wall where students can take and give notes of encouragement. According to Kimble, the idea was to give notes of support for others and for people in need of encouragement to take one.
ABLE president, Emma Bohnert, was drawn to the club from her sophomore year when she attended their mixer.
“I was drawn to the purpose behind the club, promoting advocacy and awareness surrounding disabilities,” Bohnert said.
According to Bohnert, she fears that there has been a lack of discussion about these disabilities within the Christian community, and feels the community can do a better job of supporting one another and having an open dialogue.
“Making people aware that it’s OK to speak about your struggles and reach out for help are so valuable in cultivating a culture of support,” Bohnert said.
According to Kimble, the club was created upon noticing a lack of support, advocacy, and awareness of students who have disabilities. Growing up with two physically-disabled parents, she was used to disabilities and thought they were nothing out of the ordinary.
“It wasn’t until high school that I realized that people with disabilities were looked down upon and at a disadvantage in society,” Kimble said.
From this experience, Kimble became passionate about changing the way people viewed disabilities, which led her to create a club that fosters a positive campus environment for those with disabilities. By helping students become more knowledgeable about disabilities, Kimble hopes to create a better environment for students with them.