The Independence Center and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) hosted the third annual Yes We C.A.N. (Cultural Awareness Network) Expo! at the Colorado Springs Event Center on June 7th. The expo showcased exhibitors and information on resources specific to Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf-Blind needs and on-site demonstrations of products and services. In its third year, the expo made many changes from previous years.

“We were able to collaborate with Colorado Springs Silent Club this year and bring a movie in, which had 139 participants,” said Angela Tenorio, Deaf and Hard of Hearing program coordinator at The Independence Center. “We also expanded the expo and had an interrupter workshop, which is not something we had last year.”

The growth of the expo this year was tremendous. Last year’s expo housed 47 tables while this year the expo boasted a notable 70 tables.  With this growth came more interaction within the community and opportunities.

“We added an award ceremony in which we gave awards out to members of the community,” Tenorio continued. “We also gave out multiple door prizes this year to give out to consumers, which was nice.”

Sponsors are one of the huge reasons these upgrades were made possible. AT&T, Meeting the Challenge, Memorial Hospital and Purple are among the top sponsors for the event. AT&T partnered with The Independence Center providing numerous opportunities, including three iPads used at the event and support independence at the Center.

“Because of AT&T’s donation, we were able to celebrate people in the community by giving awards and a nice meal to the recipients, secure a larger venue and a movie screen for ‘Lake Windfall’,” said Tenorio.

The many upgrades and changes, as well as the increase in sponsors and venders this year, were considered a great success for The Independence Center and DVR. This resource event has been a staple for the past three years and will continue to bring its services to the community.

“The Independence Center and DVR are dedicated to the continuance of this event, which promote information, services and resources in our community to individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind,” said Tenorio.