Local Board of MR/DD to host showing of #039;I Am Sam#039;

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 17, 2003

In the tradition of film critics Siskel & Ebert, representatives for the Lawrence County Board of MR/DD hopes to see everyone, "At the Movies" Tuesday to watch a film that illustrates the theme of MR/DD Awareness Month.

The board will host four free showings of the Academy Award-nominated movie "I Am Sam," starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer, at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Bowman Auditorium at Ohio University Southern.

"The message behind the movie is significant to the theme of MR/DD Awareness Month, which is 'We Can Make Choices,'" said Sarah Diamond Burroway, grants and special projects coordinator for the MR/DD Board and chair of the Awareness Committee.

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"The whole purpose of this month is to change people's attitudes towards people with MR/DD," she said. "We have made a lot of headway in providing opportunities, but we still run into barriers every day."

Kenneth Ritchey, director of the Ohio Department of MR/DD will speak after the 9 a.m. showing.

"We are very pleased and excited that our state director is making a visit to the county," Burroway said. "There are a lot of positive things going on in Lawrence County and we are excited that he wants to share in the celebration."

The goal is fill all 175 seats for each showing. Seating is still available for all showings, especially the 3 and 6 p.m. shows. Large groups should contact the board to reserve seating and the viewing would make a good activity for businesses, families and anyone else, Burroway said.

Throughout the rest of the month, the Lawrence County Board of MR/DD will be sponsoring a food drive to collect items for the First United Methodist Church's food pantry, one of the largest in the county. Items most needed include peanut butter,

jelly, spaghetti sauce, cereal, crackers and canned fruit.

In addition to being accepted at all events, donations can be dropped off at the Lawrence County Early Childhood Center, the Open Door School, Tri-State Industries, Inc., Briggs Library in Ironton and South Point, Rax Restaurant, Papa John's Pizza and VOCA-Rescare in Chesapeake.

The final event of the month is the Fourth Annual Chili Fest that will be hosted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 29 at TSI.

The event will include crafts, entertainment, and children's activities. Businesses, organizations, consumers, family and staff are encouraged to enter the competition and can contact the Board at 532-7401.

"It is important for the public to understand that because someone may have MR/DD that they still have the same rights as you or I," Burroway said. "To choose where we live, where they work and all the others are choices we take for granted everyday."