For many people, the word “disability” is filled with negative connotations, inconvenient traveling and plenty of social don’ts. Yet at PLNU, that is not what disabilities is about. On campus at the Disability Resource Center (DRC) there are people to help those who struggle with a disability, whether it be physical or mental, and support them and provide whatever services are needed.
In association with the DRC is an organization called Delta Alpha Pi (DAP), which recognizes students who have outstanding academic achievements alongside being enrolled in the DRC. The DAP is an international society, though the group at PLNU is the only one in San Diego, and one of three in California.
This week DAP is hosting (Dis) Ability Awareness Week, which gives students a chance to ask questions, learn and experience what it means to have a disability. On March 24, the group will be holding a discussion surrounding the book “I Am Intelligent” by Peyton Goddard and DAP leaders hope for opportunities to share with students throughout the week about their group and its purposes.
Students in DAP mostly seek to express how having a disability does not mean that one is broken down, sidelined, out of action, broken, or weak.
Nichole Hope-Moore, director of the DRC says, “Some people have a hard time with the word ‘disability’ and they don’t even like to come into my office because it says ‘disability’. They don’t want to associate with the negativity around it.”
Opposing negativity, the center is instead all about supporting students and focusing on their abilities. The members of DAP each have their own struggles they have had to overcome, and they wish to share that with other students.
“(They) have the resources here, we do want to help you, this is something that we deal with, we’re professional about it,” says senior Angelica Diaz de Leon, president of DAP.
Secretary of DAP, Kristen Houp believes that the way people understand and see the word “disabled” starts with how disabled people see themselves.
“How do we reach that student who has a disability,” Houp often asks herself. “How do we not just change, but help them develop their own self confidence, their own self advocacy and see the truth about themselves? It really starts with how people with a disability see themselves.” By taking charge of their disability, students can lead better, more successful and joy-filled lives.
Junior Molly Krumpe stresses that ability is what is emphasized within the organization and in the DRC.
“For in our weakness we are strong,” she says. “Not by our strength, but by His strength. So that’s really the emphasis we want to make. The journey that these women (DAP leaders) have gone through have enabled them to grow as women of God who has become the rock in their lives.”