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Impact, Empower, and Connect - ImpAACt Voices had the honor of hosting its Inaugural Live Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) Hangout & Celebration 2022 at the Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia – just outside of Washington, D.C. on October 7 & 8, 2022. We made history at IV Live 2022, as the first in-person event put on by all AAC users.

 

Highlights from Day 1 

 

Live AAC Hangout & Celebration:

 

The main event of the first night was the Live AAC Hangout & Celebration. We had two star-guest speakers, India Ochs and Yoosun Chung. India and Yoosun shared their employment journey with us with all the highs, lows, successes, and challenges. We’re sure the audience was impressed with their resilience, perseverance, and sense of humor. 

 

Our Vice President, Chris Klein shared about ImpAACt Voices new program, ImpAACtful Hiring as well as its mission and vision. Lance McLemore was the Master of Ceremonies. All four individuals are AAC users making this the first in-person event put on by all AAC users. 

 

Happy Hour:

 

IV Live 2022 started with the Happy Hour and Networking Event. It gave everyone time to mingle and connect. AAC users rarely have the opportunity to talk to other AAC users, so the Happy Hour provided a unique opportunity to network. 

We had AAC users from 11 different states in attendance. Everyone gathered in a large room and chatted while eating hors d'oeuvres. We also had parents, personal care attendants, volunteers, AAC professionals and employers. Multiple people exchanged contact information, and lots of good collaboration has and will continue as a result from IV Live 2022. 

 

Highlights from Day 2

 

Workshops:

 

The second day at IV Live 2022 included: the workshops, lunch and a roundtable discussion. The workshops were split into sixteen classes throughout the day. The classes were fifty minutes long, so that the attendee could pick and choose which classes they wanted to attend. The topics were around: Resumes, Interviewing, What's Possible with AAC and Government Assistance. 


The workshops had lively discussions and interactions. These interactions helped build relationships and provided a platform for everybody to participate and connect. We had facilitators support us from local organizations to include: The Arc Southern Maryland, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and Easterseals. We also had volunteer support from Howard University and Skill Builders. Lunch was provided for all attendees and was another opportunity for the community to network and have great discussions while sharing a meal.