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METROHEALTH FESTIVAL AIMS TO HELP DISABLED RETURN TO COMMUNITY LIFE

 CLEVELAND, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Back in May 1979, when patient Ed Sparre arrived at what is now MetroHealth Center for Skilled Nursing Care, no one thought about the day he would leave.
 Sparre, a quadriplegic with some use of his arms and fingers, had no particular reason to think about leaving. Community re-entry was not considered part of the script for people with physical disabilities.
 That has changed in the last five years, and Ed Sparre has had a lot to do with the shift in thinking at MetroHealth. One result of the efforts of him and others is the second annual Community Life Festival, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, July 23, at the Center for Skilled Nursing Care, 4310 Richmond Rd. in Highland Hills.
 The festival will feature exhibits from some 30 area agencies serving individuals with physical disabilities. Its objective is to present a range of community resources -- services, programs, benefits, products -- that promote independence and self determination.
 Sparre, 37, had begun thinking in personal terms about community re- entry when he discovered that no centralized registry of resources existed to ease a potentially difficult transition. Where could he learn about housing, attendant care, counseling or vocational opportunities, to name only a few immediate concerns?
 The festival is one helpful solution, in Sparre's view. He's been busy working on fliers to advertise the event, making phone calls to prospective exhibitors and assisting social worker Karen Centrackio, who is coordinating the second-year festival, as she did the first.
 "We went through catalogs and phone books, hunting the names of groups and agencies," Sparre said. "Then we contacted them and asked if they'd like to come. Most were very interested in participating."
 Among the confirmed public and private participants are MetroHealth Center for Rehabilitation, Services for Independent Living, Regional Transit Authority, Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, Cleveland Sight Center, Ohio Rehabilitation Commission and Professional Canines.
 Exhibitors will have videotapes, brochures and other materials geared to the needs of patients, families and professionals, said Rosemary Mirrotto, manager of medical social work at MetroHealth Center for Skilled Nursing care. Wheelchair racers will contribute to an upbeat mood.
 The festival has given Sparre new hope that someday he will be able to marshal the resources he needs to rejoin the community.
 "I'm fearful, too," he acknowledged, "but doing this work has removed a lot of that fear about community re-entry.
 "People with disabilities used to be warehoused, with no real thought given to the need for a home environment," he added. "Now there's a real commitment to improving the quality of life."
 For more information on the Community Life Festival, contact Karen Centrackio at MetroHealth Center for Skilled Nursing Care, 216-765-2527.
 -0- 7/22/93
 /CONTACT: Terry Pederson of MetroHealth, 216-459-3699/


CO: MetroHealth System ST: Ohio IN: HEA SU:

AR -- CL035 -- 4714 07/22/93 15:52 EDT
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Date:Jul 22, 1993
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