2018 Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant awarded to The Arc, Upper Valley

Posted: Jun 04 2018
2018 Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant awarded to The Arc, Upper Valley
Wings for All, a rehearsal program in a real airport environment planned by The Arc, Upper Valley in Grand Forks, has been named 2018 recipient of NDAD’s $5,000 Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant.
The grant is named for NDAD’s late co-founder and longtime program services leader, who died in 2014. NDAD awards the grant to a nonprofit organization or agency for a health, welfare, social service or educational purpose to help at-risk populations.

The Arc, Upper Valley will conduct the first-ever Wings for All event in North Dakota on Sat., Sept. 15, in partnership with Allegiant Airlines, Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Thanks to the NDAD grant award, the event will be offered free of charge to the community, according to The Arc officials.

A national initiative of The Arc of the United States, Wings for All is an airport rehearsal program specially designed for people with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
(From left) Rachel Hafner, The Arc, Upper Valley executive director; Pam Solga, The Arc, Upper Valley creative director; and Leslie Stastny, NDAD chief program officer, who presented The Arc with a $5,000 Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant for 2018.

The event provides an opportunity to prepare for and practice the process of a flight, including arriving at the airport, checking in, going through security and both boarding and de-boarding a plane.  Participants even will be encouraged to bring a carry-on item.

The goal: build confidence with air travel in a controlled, real-life environment.

“I’m excited,” said Pam Solga, creative director for The Arc. “It’s just going to be so fun.  Everyone has been wonderful to work with during the planning. It’s just going to be fantastic.”

Wings for All also gives airport, airline and TSA professionals an opportunity to interact with and learn from people with disabilities and their families or caregivers to acquire a deeper understanding of how to provide services to accommodate their unique needs.

Training sessions for volunteers, TSA and airport personnel are planned prior to the event to demonstrate best-practices interactions with individuals who have sensory issues, physical limitations and other distinct needs.

For participants with disabilities and family members or caregivers, a review of safety protocols and a chance to explore the aircraft will be followed by a reception in the airport lobby.

Pre-registration will be required, for which details will be announced sometime this summer.

NDAD's next call for Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant applications is set for spring of 2019.

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For more information about Wings for All:
Video about Wings for Autism, from which Wings for All is patterned.
Pam Solga, (701) 772-3148; psolga@arcuv.com
More information about NDAD’s Faye Gibbens Memorial Grant HERE.

Donna Hansen
Donna Hansen is on the move in retirement. Relaxing wasn’t her post-career goal. Finishing her 39th and final year in special education, though, proved more than a small challenge for the longtime Grand Forks special educator.   NDAD helped her move quickly to meet the challenge through its Healthcare Equipment Loan Program (HELP). While ...
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