FREDERICTON (GNB) – Various contests, events and awards are underway to promote the upcoming 28th annual Disability Awareness Week from May 31 to June 6. The events are being co-ordinated by the Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons.

The theme for this year is Independence through employment, intended to promote the goal of increasing the number of persons with disabilities finding meaningful, long-term employment. Employers are encouraged to provide inclusive employment opportunities.

Disability Awareness Week serves as an opportunity to bring together all levels of government, caregivers, advocates, interested individuals and persons with disabilities. The intention is to celebrate the many accomplishments achieved over the years to accommodate and include persons with disabilities in their communities, and to discuss plans and objectives for further improvement.

To foster discussion and a better understanding of the challenges facing more than 125,000 persons with disabilities living in New Brunswick, a number of province-wide contests and awards will take place throughout the month of May and during the week. The campaign is geared toward everyone, regardless of age, region or ability.

The kick-off for this year's campaign will be held in Grand Falls on May 30 beginning at 4 p.m. and is being hosted by the Grand Falls Association for Community Living.

There will be a Legislative Breakfast at 8 a.m. on June 2 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Queen Street, Fredericton with guest speaker Mark Wafer. Wafer will later host a reception with stakeholders and the news media from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. to discuss his work as an inclusive employer and his recent induction into the disability hall of fame.

The annual Walk and Roll Challenge will be held on June 5 at the legislative assembly, beginning at noon.

The council encourages everyone to organize or participate in an activity in their community to celebrate the week and to promote the theme.

More information on events in various communities is available online.