State seeks more volunteers to help disabled

The state is seeking more volunteers to help families with special needs members.

Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Jim Henry meets with Corinne Derenburger at Ryan's Place Playground in Collierville, which Derenburger helped create. (Nikki Boertman / Commercial Appeal)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The state is seeking more volunteers to help families with special needs members.

Jim Henry, who heads the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities office in Nashville, said more than 7,000 families are on waiting lists for assistance.

The Commercial Appeal reported Corrine Derenberger of Collierville said many families with a disabled member are isolated. Derenberger's 18-year-old son has developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism and seizure disorders. Derenberger recently helped raised money and built a universal playground in 2007 so their disabled family members could socialize.

Henry said the state will never be able to meet the needs of the families without volunteers.

Carol Westlake of the Tennessee Disability Coalition said the families don't have a lot of social support and volunteers help fill that need.

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