WXXI AM News

College fair held to help people with developmental disabilities consider options

Nov 18, 2019

Two local organizations are working together to hold what they say is the first local inclusive higher-ed college fair for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The event is organized by GiGi’s Playouse in Rochester and Roberts Wesleyan College. The event Monday evening will include not only Roberts Wesleyan, but also Keuka College, MCC, Nazareth College and the University of Rochester. GiGi's Playhouse is a non-profit organization that serves people with Down syndrome.

Organizers say this effort will give an opportunity for families to look at options after someone with intellectual disabilities leaves high school .

One of the organizers of the event, Roberts Wesleyan Vice President for Enrollment Management, Kimberly Wiedefeld, says she has a personal connection to this college fair.

“I have a daughter with Down syndrome, but I want her to have the opportunity to go to a college fair in the same way that her peers do as they’re completing high school and looking at what the next step will be; and so, now we have the opportunity to do that,” Wiedefeld said.

Carrielyn Bertino is a founding member of GiGi's Playhouse, and she hopes that more groups around the country get together and hold these kinds of sessions.

“We’re hoping that more opportunities will arise and more community organizations will see the real potential in people to be active community members and really support these programs and these individuals when they’re ready to perhaps go out in the workforce or be an active volunteer,” Bertino said.

The College fair takes place at GiGi’s Playhouse Monday 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.,  372 North Goodman Street at the  Village Gate complex.