The Funny Bunny Parade of Fools Comedy event is coming up this weekend at Lovejoy Hall at 520 West College Avenue. Several local comedians will provide the entertainment on Saturday starting at 3PM.
A $20 donation at the door is suggested. Attendees will have the chance to win one of 5 free hams. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Fresh Start program, which provides free assistive technology and training for people with disabilities.
Dan Thompson says Fresh Start has helped several people in the area since it began through updating and repurposing recycled technology: “Since 1994 to about now, we have probably serviced a well over 500 people from elementary school students all the way to senior citizens. I primarily work with senior citizens since I’m retired. Our name back in the beginning was ASPIRE – Achieving Success by Providing Individuals with Recycled Equipment.”
Thompson says he’s become the local on-call, in-home technology guru for several people, even those who move out of Jacksonville on a variety of equipment: “I go to people’s houses and teach them how to use a wide range of technology. There’s a whole list of technology. I go to their houses and I train them. I also volunteer at the Jacksonville Center for Independent Living. I also help a lot of people on the phone. Many people will call me that have moved away. Once you help them, once you become a part of that lifeline you kind of become their lifelong assistive tech guru.”
Thompson says that he also helps many keep or get a job, stay in school, or remain independent. He says that on average, a person with a visual disability only makes about $38,000 a year. Thompson says this is just one more way for those with a disability or those who are retired stay connected with technology, use technology, and develop valuable job skills. For more information about Fresh Start, call 217-883-4582.