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Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education will host the Virginia Assistive Technology System conference June 14.

VATS, a consumer-driven organization, advocates for the rights of the disabled community. One of the primary objectives of this year's conference, "Taking Control: Empowerment Through Self-Advocacy and Advocacy," is to provide practical solutions to the ongoing problem of advocacy.

The daylong conference includes numerous presentations and workshops, as well as a panel discussion on advocacy. The cost is $40.

The keynote speaker is author and lecturer Skip Wilkins. A former high school football and track star with more than 20 scholarship offers, Wilkins suffered a spinal cord injury in a water-skiing accident three days after his high school graduation that left him a quadriplegic.

His message, "Doing your best is a lifetime job," has inspired CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, NFL athletes, sales professionals, students and even presidents of the United States.
Wilkins has been named to "Who's Who Worldwide" and has served on numerous Presidential committees for the disabled.

State Sen. Yvonne Miller (5th District) will serve as moderator for the VATS conference. Miller was the first African-American woman to be elected to both the Virginia House of Delegates and the Senate. She currently serves as vice-chair of the Virginia Senate Democratic Legislative Caucus and has served on the Public Safety Task Force of the Council of State government.

Miller has won numerous awards for her advocacy of work education, women, and minorities. In 1997, she was awarded Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity's Social Action Award.

Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf will give closing remarks. Oberndorf was recognized by Newsweek magazine as one of the 25 most dynamic mayors in the country.

Oberndorf, past president of the Virginia Municipal League, currently co-chairs the Presidential Policy Transition Team on Human Dignity and Diversity.

To register or for more information, call 683-5773.

This article was posted on: May 25, 2001

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.