Greenville, S.C. (June 3, 2019) – The Bon Secours Wellness Arena’s General Manager, Beth Paul, was honored by Mike Teachey, Executive Director of the Barbara Stone Foundation for creating, designing and opening a Sensory Suite to give more individuals with disabilities equitable access to entertainment programming and sporting events. Paul received a Greenville CAN plaque and special recognition during the Greenville Arena District’s board meeting on May 29 to spotlight her leadership in creating the Sensory Suite and filling a void for families wanting to enjoy concerts and sporting events together in one of SC’s largest arenas.
This new Sensory Suite was designed to meet the unique sensory needs of guests that may have difficulty processing the sights, smells and sounds of an arena because of a disability or sensory impairment. Key features of the Sensory Suite include sound and light dampening glass to enclose the suite, soft seating options and rockers and a de-escalation room with a privacy curtain.
“The Bon Secours Wellness Arena’s Sensory Suite is the latest example of Beth’s commitment to give more individuals with disabilities equitable access to entertainment programming and events,” said Mike Teachey, Executive Director, Barbara Stone Foundation. “The Wellness Arena management team did a lot of research consulting with professionals and individuals with disabilities to create a one-of-a kind Sensory Suite that can be a shining example to other entertainment and sports facilities across the country.”
To help concert goers and event attendees enjoy concerts inside the Sensory Suite or in any seat in the arena, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena also offer Sensory Safety Kits, which include an assortment of useful tools like noise reducing earmuffs and ear plugs, antiglare glasses, sensory "fidget" toys and a communication card to help guests enjoy an event with greater comfort.
Under the leadership of Paul, Bon Secours Wellness Arena has made a stronger commitment towards inclusiveness and accessibility each year. The Wellness Arena also hosts “Skate, Roll and Stroll” events where families of children and young adults with disabilities are invited to use the indoor ice rink in wheelchairs or walkers, on ice skates, in sleds or wagons so anyone with physical limitations can ice skate with their family or friends. The Wellness Arena also started actively recruiting and identifying individuals with disabilities to join their staff, and this successful initiative has helped the arena fill several open positions.
“Beth has increased access to recreational and entertainment opportunities, reduced barriers to employment for people with disabilities and trained the Wellness Arena Staff to better understand and serve guests who have disabilities,” adds Teachey. “Greenville CAN was started six years ago to serve as a positive champion for disability related issues and encourage and celebrate organizations in Greenville who work towards inclusivity. Beth is a champion for individuals with disabilities and her leadership in this area deserves community-wide recognition.”
About Barbara Stone Foundation
Since 1991, the Barbara Stone Foundation has provided funds to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. The mission of the Barbara Stone Foundation is to raise funds to enhance the quality of life for citizens of Greenville County with developmental disabilities, head and spinal cord injuries, and autism. For more information, visit www.barbarastonefoundation.org.
About Grenville CAN (Collaborative Action Network)
Greenville CAN was started in 2013 as a network of self-advocates, service providers, families and community stakeholders working collaboratively to take actions that will strengthen Greenville, SC and make it a better place to live and work for individuals with disabilities. The organization addresses community needs by linking organizations together, leveraging available resources to expand capacity and advocating for system and policy change. Greenville CAN believes the best way to increase services, programs, access, opportunities, and resources in our community for individuals with disabilities is through collaboration and partnership. For more information, visit www.GreenvilleCAN.org.