Nearly 400 guests attended the Ninth Annual Disability Ball Nov. 2 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. The ball was an opportunity for those with physical and mental disabilities to enjoy an evening of dining, dancing, door prizes and more. It is the only such event of its kind in the United States.
The ball is sponsored each year by Independent Resources Inc. To help those with disabilities live independently, IRI offers job training and teaches daily living skills.
“The Disability Ball brings together many different disabled communities, not only to have a good time, but, for some, to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said IRI Executive Director Larry Henderson. “Because many disabled people never had the opportunity to attend a high school prom or other formal event, we created the Disability Ball.”
With offices in each of Delaware’s three counties, Independent Resources was established in 1994 to provide services and support to persons with disabilities living in Delaware. IRI is a center for independent living, as defined by the federal government. The center is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provide services to persons with disabilities.
Specific services provided are advocacy, information and referral, peer counseling and peer support, and independent living skills training. In addition to these mandated programs, IRI offers the Community Works Partnership, a nursing home transition program, a computer-training program for the blind, and services geared for the deaf and hard of hearing.
All services provided by Independent Resources are designed to help individuals acquire the necessary skills to obtain the independent lifestyle of their choosing. More than 50 percent of IRI’s employees, as well as the board of directors, are themselves persons with disabilities who live independently in the community.
“The counsel and support of the staff, based on their own life experiences, is a unique benefit for disabled individuals,” Henderson said.
The 10th Annual Disability Ball will be held Nov. 8, 2013, again at the Chase Center.