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Bring back those positive feelings

Posted: September 22, 2008 7:50 p.m.
Updated: November 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Locals are coming together next month to focus on ability rather than disability.

Congress designated October as National Disability Employment Awareness month, and to kick it off LETMESAIL will host "An Evening of Inspiration" at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on College of the Canyons' Valencia campus.

Patrick Henry Hughes and Kathy Buckley will deliver messages of inspiration.

A virtuoso musician and singer, Hughes plays in the University of Illinois marching band. He was also born without eyes or the ability to fully straighten his arms and legs.

"God made me blind and didn't give me the ability to walk. I mean, big deal," Hughes wrote. "I'm the kind of person that's always going to fight until I win."

Buckley is a hearing impaired comedienne, actress and motivational speaker.

Standing for "Lifestyle Enrichment Through Meaningful Exercise, Social Activity and Independent Living," LETMESAIL is a nonprofit organization that, according to the group's Web site, provides "therapeutic, social, recreational, and educational opportunities for differently-abled individuals."

The event is a fundraiser but there is a greater purpose, according to Executive Director Gay Spindt.

With the U.S. economy in the dregs, too many people "have a glum look on their face," he said. "(We figured), let's be a leader in bringing back some positive feelings to the community. If there's anybody who has a right to feel sorry for themselves (Hughes and Buckley) have that right."

This is the first time LETMESAIL will host the event, Spindt said, but added that Buckley is no stranger to the Santa Clarita Valley. She was on the board of directors of LETMESAIL, and serves as a spokeswoman.

Her routine for Oct. 2 is called "Label me able."

The organization's biggest fund-raising need is a new facility. Funds raised will go toward that goal, Spindt said. The organization serves nearly 250 clients ages 16 and up,

"We've outgrown our current facility," Spindt said.

The evening will open with a performance by the hand bell choir from Activities for Retarded Children in North Hollywood.

The group consists of more than 20 musicians, many of them with Down syndrome, who perform at nearly 50 events per year.

In addition, there will be a "Disability Awareness Fair" in the foyer of the performing arts center with information available from 10 local nonprofit organizations.

Spindt's hope is to sell out the performing arts center. Nearly 500 of the 886 seats available are sold, he said.

LETMESAIL still has a number of seats available in the orchestra section, and if someone buys the tickets through COC they will receive balcony seats.

"It ought to be something special," he said. "Fundraising is secondary."

General admission tickets are $15, or $10 for seniors, youths and people with disabilities.

For tickets or more information call (866) 535-4938 or (661) 702-8555, or write to


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