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Actress/Comedienne Geri Jewell from "Facts of Life" To Speak at Hudson Valley Community College May 4, 5

CONTACT: Lisa Roche (518) 629-8063 or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8073
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, April 13, 2000

On Thursday, May 4, 2000 at 7 p.m. and Friday, May 5, 2000 at 10 a.m., Geri Jewell, an internationally known motivational speaker, actress and comedienne, will present the keynote address for Abilities Awareness Week at Hudson Valley Community College. The address will take place in the McDonough Sports Complex Main Gymnasium on the Hudson Valley campus, 80 Vandenburgh Ave., Troy. The event is free and open to the public.

"We are thrilled to welcome Geri Jewell as our keynote speaker to help us celebrate the many abilities and talents of those who have disabilities," says Pablo Negron, Director of the Disability Resource Center at Hudson Valley. "Abilities Awareness Week is a great opportunity to provide awareness and educate to the community on disability issues and to enhance their knowledge on technological advances for individuals with disabilities."

Geri Jewell is known to millions as "Cousin Geri" from the NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life". As the first person with a disability to become a regular performer on a national television show, she broke important new ground in a medium long hesitant to address issues of disability awareness. Jewell has performed on the comedy circuit nationwide, and in comedy shows in VH1 and A&E. She has opened for stars such as Robert Goulet, Paul Anka, and Judy Collins, and appeared in several films, numerous television specials and as a guest star on television shows. Her training and motivational performances have taken her to the White House, college campuses, social service agencies, and the corporate world. Jewell brings to her presentations the personal experience of often having her behavior and action misunderstood because of how she is perceived.

Abilities Awareness Week, sponsored by the Disability Resource Center at Hudson Valley, will take place from Monday, May 1, 2000 through Friday, May 5, 2000. There are a number of activities planned during the week, including workshops, open classrooms, and a film series on disabilities. All events are free and accessible to wheelchairs. Those in need of other accommodations are asked to contact Patricia Murray, Office Manager, Disability Resource Center at 629-7154 or TDD 629-7596 prior to the event. The public is invited to attend all Abilities Awareness Week events.

Abilities Awareness Week workshops will be presented on the following topics:
The Exceptional Child
Student Presentations on the Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the Community.
Welcoming Diversity (NCBI) National Coalition Building Institute
Hidden Disabilities
Amputee Athletes: Living with a Disability
Access Project Team Update
An Interactive Workshop on Eating Disorders

Call 629-7154 for workshop times and locations.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.