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Lindenwood Students Help Make St. Charles A More Accessible Place

Lindenwood University has partnered with the city in a project that will benefit both students and the community.

Students from ’s School of Human Services are working with the to produce an updated edition of the St. Charles Accessibility Guidebook for People with Disabilities.

Carla Mueller, dean of the School of Human Services, said that Lindenwood was first approached by City Council member, , about the project that began Feb. 22 during a training session at .

Lindenwood University President Evans then asked the School of Human Services to assist with the project, Mueller said. 

“After several meetings with Councilmember Ohmes, Anita Telkamp, the Community Block Grant Development coordinator for the City of St. Charles, Dave Huesing, Chair of the city’s Disabilities Board, and myself, we devised a plan for LU students to be involved in this long-term project,” she said.

The collaborative group developed a training program to help the first group of Lindenwood students with evaluating accessibility in conjunction with Independence Center, the Mid-East Area Council on Aging and Paraquad.

The program currently involves eight senior social work students, who are completing surveys of new local businesses as a class project, Mueller said, and a graduate assistant is coordinating the scheduling.

“We expect many more Human Services students will be involved in the future as this is quite a large undertaking,” she said. “We see this as a collaboration of the City of St. Charles, community agencies, the community of those diagnosed with disabilities and Lindenwood University to make St. Charles a better place for all.”

Mueller added that Mayor Sally Faith’s letter of endorsement for the project summed it up well.

“We believe that [contact with the businesses] will encourage more compliance with ADA and our hope for the future is that businesses will see an increase in commerce as persons without limitations are accustomed,” the mayor’s letter read.

Students involved in the project will meet with City Council, the Disabilities Board and the Senior Citizen Advisory Commission to learn more about public accessibility issues. They will also visit local businesses to perform checks for inclusion in the updated guidebook, for both new and previously verified businesses.

“This partnership is perfect for the students because it gives them the knowledge and skills necessary to work in the field,” said Dana Klar, assistant professor and field education coordinator in the Lindenwood School of Human Services, in a press release. “At the same time, we hope to help the city as much as possible by giving this project a solid boost throughout the process.”

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