January 11, 2011

WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies Host the Ninth Annual Dialogue on Disability Initiative

Dialogue on Disability - The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series - logo

WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies kick off the ninth year of Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series on Sunday, January 16. The weeklong outreach initiative is designed to encourage community conversations about the perspectives and abilities of people with disabilities. The heart of this initiative is programming that can be seen on WXXI-TV/HD, WXXI-CREATE and City 12, heard on AM 1370/FM-HD91.5-2 and Reachout Radio, and screened during WXXI’s Community Cinema series.

“WXXI is proud to partner with Al Sigl Community of Agencies for our ninth year of Dialogue on Disability,” said Norm Silverstein, WXXI President. “The programs featured are designed to educate our community, and celebrate the amazing lives of people with special needs.”

The centerpiece of this year’s program is a film about Bobby McMullen, a competitive mountain biker on a mission to race on the most demanding downhill course in the country. Adding to the difficulty of a course riddled with obstacles and flanked by steep, life-threatening cliffs, Bobby is blind. The Way Bobby Sees It*, airing Tuesday, January 18 at 10 p.m. and again Thursday, January 20 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable1011/cable 11), shares howBobby uses humor, determination, and unshakeable optimism to battle adversity –   both on and off the bike.

In addition to Bobby’s amazing story, Dialogue on Disability features several inspiring films and TV programs throughout the week:

The Music’s Gonna Get You Through, airing Monday, January 17 at 9 p.m. on WXXI- TV/HD,explores pianist Henry Butler’s impact on a group of blind and visually impaired teens who gather in New Orleans one summer to train with the master at his week-long Creative Music and Jazz camp. Also airs Wednesday, January 19 at 7 p.m. on City 12 (cable 12 for City residents only).

Second Opinion Special Edition: Spinal Cord Injury airs Wednesday, January 19 at 10 p.m. WXXI-TV/HD. Dr. Brad Berk shares his personal story about his 2009 bicycle accident that injured his spinal cord, and has left him in a wheelchair. His wife, Mary Berk, gives firsthand advice to those families undergoing similar challenges. Also airs Thursday, January 20 at 7 p.m. on City 12 (cable 12 for City residents only). A half-hour version of this program will air in Second Opinion’s regular time slot on Saturday, January 22 at 3 p.m. and again on Sunday, January 23 at 1:30 p.m.

I’m an Artist, airing Thursday, January 20 at 9 p.m. WXXI-TV/HD, introduces viewers to young adults who are disabled and are creating professional art work with the help of a dedicated teacher. Also airs Friday, January 21 at 7 p.m. on City 12 (cable 12 for City residents only).

Growing Bolder, airing Sunday, January 23 at 1 p.m. WXXI-TV/HD,talks to Sandy Scott to find out how he went from a broken back to breaking records. Also, Leon Fleisher tells his story of his struggle of being America’s premier concert pianist and having to learn how to play with only his left hand.

The Byron Janis Story, airing Sunday, January 23 at 7 p.m. WXXI-TV/HD, shares the story of Byron Janis, a great concert pianist, with a miraculous, unusual, and inspiring life.

*Dialogue on Disability’s centerpiece film, The Way Bobby Sees It, also airs Sunday, January 23 at 9 p.m. on City 12 (cable 12 for City residents only).

WXXI will also broadcast a variety of children’s programs on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 & 11) and WXXI CREATE (DT 21.31 cable 433), that deal with disability issues. For a complete list of children’s programming, visit

Throughout the week host Bob Smith talks with local experts about the many abilities of those with disabilities on 1370 Connection, weekdays at 12 noon on AM 1370/HD91.5-2. In addition to 1370 Connection, AM 1370 presents two special programs during the week:

The Poet and His Dyslexia airs Sunday, January 16 at 9 p.m. on AM 1370. In this programPhilip Schultz shares his story of how he became a successful poet and how he has a disorder that was affecting his writing.

Soundprint: Educating Emily, airing Tuesday, January 18 at 10:30 p.m. on AM 1370,looks at howtwelve-year-old Emily has cerebral palsy, and is learning not only to communicate, but also to reach her full potential.

WXXI Community Cinema, a free film series, has also included a film for Dialogue on Disability in its schedule:

For Once in My Life, an Independent Lens presentation, screens Thursday, January 20 at 7 p.m. at WXXI’s Studios. The film introduces viewers to 28 musicians and singers who all have severe mental and physical disabilities. They make up the Spirit of Goodwill Band, which challenges preconceived notions of what it means to be disabled. Film will be followed by a panel discussion with guests: Dennis Pastrana, CEO of the Goodwill of South Florida, Dr. A. Gidget Hopf, President and CEO of ABVI-Goodwill of Greater Rochester; Wade M. Richards, Chair of the Music Therapy Department at Hochstein School of Music and Dance and owner of Time for Music, a private music therapy practice; Betsey King, Assistant Professor of Music Therapy at Nazareth College and co-founder of Prelude Music Therapy. This screening is free and open to the public.

Dialogue on Disability is made possible thanks to support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation. The series runs from Sunday, January 16 through Sunday, January 23, 2011. To learn more, visit

Al Sigl Community of Agencies provides high quality, cost-effective real estate and business services while fostering community awareness and philanthropic support to non-profit organizations that serve children and adults with disabilities and special needs.

WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to for more information about our services and programs.

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