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White Plains' Committee, Youth Bureau To Sponsor Inclusion Programs

Geri Mariano will talk to local youths about her life and experiences living with a disability.
Geri Mariano will talk to local youths about her life and experiences living with a disability. Photo Credit:

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The White Plains Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities is partnering with the White Plains Youth Bureau to sponsor several December presentations focusing on inclusion and recognizing strengths that are often created by disabilities.

The purpose of the committee is to increase public understanding in relation to the inclusion of people with disabilities within the community and to work toward the elimination of attitudinal and architectural barriers. The committee also functions as a liaison between city government and other agencies and services, acting as an advocate for people with disabilities and making recommendations to the White Plains Common Council as it may deem advisable.

These presentations will feature Westchester County native Geri Mariano talking to local youths about her life and experiences. Mariano was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a condition that affects bone and cartilage, resulting in dramatically short stature and many physical and social challenges. These disabilities do not define Mariano, who has a master's degree and a gift for connecting with children and communicating the value of inclusion and compassion.

All children who attend the bureau’s after-school program will have an opportunity to take part.

"Our community is stronger and healthier when we recognize that all people have some ability despite their situation or circumstance," said Youth Bureau Director Frank Williams. "The only handicap we have is the handicap of ignorance.”

“We're very proud to partner with the youth bureau to bring Geri's story to children in White Plains," said Jeremiah Frei-Pearson, chair of the advisory committee. "Geri will help teach our children the importance of recognizing that every human being has unique values and strengths - and we hope that the youth who hear Geri's message will carry it forward in their daily lives.”

Here is the schedule of presentations:

Dec. 3: George Washington Elementary after-school program.

Dec. 12: Ridgeway Elementary after-school program.

Dec. 17: Mamaroneck Elementary after-school program

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