Program Commemorates 25th Anniversary of the Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Arts-Access-Web-HeaderGood Shepherd Rehabilitation Network will host a launch party for Arts & Access, a year-long commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act on Friday, July 24. Community members are invited to attend the celebration, which begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center, 850 South 5th Street, Allentown.

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed legislation for the Americans with Disabilities Act, a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and public and private places that are open to the general public.

Arts & Access is an initiative led by Lehigh Valley Arts Council (LVAC) and the Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community in the Lehigh Valley (PfaDFC) with participation from regional arts and cultural organizations and disability service providers.

“Through the lens of the arts, we are working collaboratively to make the community more aware of the importance of inclusion and access for people with disabilities,” says Randall Forte, LVAC executive director.

Events planned through Arts & Access in 2015 and 2016 include theatre, music and film presentations, art shows and lectures featuring participation of people of all abilities as audience members and performers. Many of the events will be open captioned, audio described or translated by an American Sign Language interpreter. A calendar of events can be found at

Guests at the launch party will be greeted by the Good Shepherd Pediatrics Miracle Movers – the Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley’s inclusive cheerleading squad. The party will feature program remarks from Forte, John Kristel, Good Shepherd president & CEO, and Nelvin Vos, the first convener of the PfaDFC. Refreshments will be served and entertainment will be provided by the Mississippi Mudders, a Dixieland band.

Attendees will be invited to sign the ADA Pledge – a nationwide effort to promote renewed support of the ADA and its goals. Tablet computers will be circulated at the event to collect signatures onsite. The national cut-off date to sign the pledge is December 31, 2015.

“Good Shepherd’s goal is to educate and motivate local residents about the ADA Pledge so the Lehigh Valley will acquire the most signatures in the country – demonstrating our regions’ commitment to access and inclusion for people with disabilities,” says Cynthia Lambert, vice president, government and community relations at Good Shepherd.

Individuals and organization, government and faith community leaders who are unable to attend the launch party can access the pledge form at

Those who wish to attend the launch party for Arts & Access are asked to RSVP by emailing or calling 1-888-44-REHAB (73422).

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized rehabilitation leader, offering a continuum of care for people with physical and cognitive disabilities and specializing in assistive and rehabilitation technology. More than 60,000 people come to Good Shepherd each year for specialized programs in stroke, orthopedics, brain injury, spinal cord injury, pediatrics, amputation and more. Good Shepherd provides rehabilitation services in 8 eastern Pennsylvania counties. Good Shepherd operates 22 outpatient sites, 4 inpatient sites, a long-term acute care hospital, 2 long-term care homes for people with severe disabilities, an independent living facility and a lifestyle products online store called Rehability. Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, began operations in July 2008 and provides post-acute care in the Philadelphia region. Good Shepherd was founded in 1908 when The Rev. John and Estella Raker invited a disabled orphan named Viola into their Allentown, Pennsylvania, home. Good Shepherd is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. For more information, visit