Experience a Kaleidoscope of Abilities at service project event

by Cami Buckman, Staff Writer

A display of vibrant shapes and colors are noticeable upon looking into a kaleidoscope. All of these shapes and colors are different, and yet they seem to complement each other as a whole. Reigning 2014 Homecoming King Brandon Ishikata and Queen Sara Roldan have created a service project for the San Diego State community that embodies this idea.

After a great amount of planning and preparation, A Kaleidoscope of Abilities will commence on Thursday, April 16. It will be held in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Goldberg Courtyard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A Kaleidoscope of Abilities is a free event that will focus on disability awareness and art appreciation. Ishikata, a liberal studies senior, has a strong appreciation of the arts and comes from a performing arts background.

“I feel like that is something we at SDSU really lack,” Ishikata said. We need to promote more art-driven pieces.”

Roldan, a homeland security graduate student, is a cancer survivor and suffers from dyslexia. She is very passionate about overcoming and accepting disabilities.

“When most think of disabilities, many might think of people who have lost a limb, are blind or are in a wheelchair, so we wanted to create this event to show awareness of disabilities that are not typical,” Roldan said.

The two decided to combine their ideas to make an all-inclusive service project that SDSU has never seen before. The event will take place in two parts. On the morning of the event, many volunteers will be seen wearing various labels that define certain disabilities such as attention deficit disorder, dyslexia or depression. Many of these disabilities are “invisible” to others, so the goal of the activity is to encourage people to talk about them openly.

“A Kaleidoscope of Abilities is meant to create awareness and a space to talk about invisible disabilities and what they are,” Roldan said.

The afternoon portion will include various performances, many from individuals with disabilities. This will include a collaboration between SDSU female a cappella group the Vocal Vixens and the American Sign Language club as well as performances from a Bollywood dancer, a spoken word piece from an SDSU professor and a bachata dance routine from the 2013 Homecoming king. While some individuals in these performances have disabilities, their disabilities do not define them.

“This event is about looking at disabilities from a more positive light, and it brings SDSU together because we are all coming together for a common cause,” Ishikata said.

Ishikata and Roldan want their service project to be interactive and entertaining. There will be a large hand print activity in which attendees will be encouraged to paint their hands and leave their mark on a mural. Canvases will be donated to disabilities services, Arts Alive, and non-profit organization The Arc of San Diego.

Ishikata and Roldan want their event to stress the importance of recognizing all types of disabilities and show that there is a community of people to turn to when feeling discouraged.

“Students should attend to expand their minds about the topic of disability, and it’s also an interactive and entertaining way to support students and local performances,” Ishikata said.

Ishikata and Roldan see the event as a way to prove that winning the Homecoming crown is not all about the glitz and glamour, but about the service as well. A Kaleidoscope of Abilities is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the invisible disabilities other students may face and enjoy entertaining performances.

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