WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A new study ranks Winston-Salem as one of the worst U.S. cities for people living with disabilities, but one resident is working to help them find resources.
What You Need To Know
Winston-Salem is 176th out of 182 U.S. cities for people living with disabilities, according to WalletHub
Bryan Dooley lives with cerebral palsy and works for Solutions for Independence, a resource center for people living with disabilities
Winston-Salem recently opened Malloy Park, a park designed for people with disabilities
Bryan Dooley is a Winston-Salem native who was born with cerebral palsy. He’s had his own challenges with navigating through the city. He gets some help from his aide, Dave.
“Until recently, it’s been really hard to get around downtown, that’s why I don’t normally go,” Dooley said.
The study by WalletHub ranked Winston-Salem 176th out of 182 cities for people living with disabilities. The city is also tied at 97th for low walkable areas.
Dooley, who studies disability history at Guilford College, says Winston-Salem has a unique history of resources for the community. The Centers for Exceptional Children opened in 1953, providing services and programs to children living with disabilities.
“People have been getting educated for a long time in the city,” Dooley said.
Dooley works as a community inclusion specialist for Solutions for Independence, a resource center committed to helping people living with disabilities. After losing his mother this year, Dooley says it was important to find meaningful work.
“I wish every place in North Carolina had a center for independent living. It’s very hard to make systemic changes, but when you think about the individual, we definitely have an impact,” Dooley said.
With more than 10 years of experience in advocacy for people living with disabilities, Dooley is glad to help people overcome the challenges within the community.
“I never know who I’m going to help, but we all do our best to assist, and people are normally very grateful,” Dooley said.
The city has made some changes to improve accessibility. It recently opened Malloy Park, designed for people with disabilities.
Dooley continues to help put on events for people with visible and invisible disabilities.
Dooley and Solutions for Independence are hosting a youth adaptive sports clinic featuring cycling, basketball and tennis on October 23. For more information, click here.