Release Date: 
Fri, 04/03/2015

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kristin Tutino, WXXI, (585) 258-0253/259-5884

Peggy Fortune, Al Sigl Community of Agencies, (585) 353-1887



Dialogue on Disability kicks off January 19, 2015 and runs through January 23 

Rochester, New York (January 5, 2015) - WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies kicks off its annual Dialogue on Disability: The Herman & Margaret Schwartz Community Series, a programming initiative that puts abilities in the spotlight, on Monday, January 19, 2015. During the week-long initiative, which runs January 19 through January 23, WXXI will present special programming on TV, radio, and at the Little Theatre. The programming is designed to encourage community dialogue about the lives and abilities of people with physical and intellectual disabilities and the importance of inclusion.

The centerpiece of this year’s initiative is a film that spotlights a 30-year partnership between two Philadelphia schools, whose students learn the values of tolerance, acceptance, and unity by producing and performing in an original musical. On the Other Side of the Fence screens at the Little Theatre (240 East Avenue) on Tuesday, January 20 at 6:30 p.m. It will be followed by a panel discussion.

WXXI will present a variety of poignant documentaries throughout the week, including Cody:

The First Steps, airing Thursday, January 22 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. This is a powerful documentary that charts the extraordinary story of Cody Unser, who was tragically struck with Transverse Myelitis at the age of 12. The next year, Cody started her own Foundation to raise funds for a cure and to help others with spinal-cord related paralysis.

Additional television programs featured in the Dialogue on Disability series include:

Second Opinion "Multiple Sclerosis" airs Thursday, January 22 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease of the nervous system in which the protective sheath around nerve cells becomes damaged. Rochesterian Vlad Stefanovic shares with the panel how Multiple Sclerosis has affected his life.

Healed: Music, Medicine and Life with MS, airing Friday, January 23 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV, tells the story of renowned cornet virtuoso Jim Klages. He was at the height of his career, having achieved his dream as soloist for the elite "President's Own" U.S. Marine Band© in Washington D.C. when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Faced with the challenge of finding his way back to the art that had once sustained him, Jim persevered, determined to heal himself through composing and teaching.

• Special PBS Kids Programming that deals with disability issues airs throughout the week including Arthur on 1/20, 1/21, 1/22 at 4 p.m. and Clifford the Big Red Dog on 1/23 at 7:30 a.m. on WXXI-TV.

Also throughout the week on AM 1370 and WRUR-FM, WXXI present news stories and special  programming on Connections with Evan Dawson (weekdays 12-2pm), as well as a Dialogue on  Disability segment on Need to Know with Helene Biandudi Hofer (1/22 at 8pm) on WXXI-TV. 

Dialogue on Disability is made possible through support from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.

The partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies is supported by the Golisano

Foundation and MOVE TO INCLUDE, a project designed to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

To learn more about the series and a complete list of all the programming, 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.