Local couple to compete in national disability-awareness competition

Mark, Vicki Leeper will play virtual Jeopardy game; competition to help raise awareness for Americans with Disabilities Act

Mark+Leeper%2C+pictured+here%2C+decided+to+work+for+Disability+Action+Center+Northwest+because+he+has+dealt+with+personal+issues+related+to+depression+and+anxiety.

COURTESY OF VICKI LEEPER

Mark Leeper, pictured here, decided to work for Disability Action Center Northwest because he has dealt with personal issues related to depression and anxiety.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

A team from Disability Action Center Northwest, located in Moscow, will compete in a nationwide virtual game of Jeopardy. 

The competition will be held at 11 a.m. today virtually, executive director Mark Leeper said. The competition will have 50 participants, and Mark is going in with a team of 10.

The competition is being held to help people learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said. People tuning into the competition will have the opportunity to learn about the history and purpose of the ADA.

Community members can register to watch the event online. Team members will be in separate rooms during the competition. Outreach specialist Vicki Leeper said she is excited to compete in the competition and hopes her team does well.

“I happen to love Jeopardy, and I’m really excited to see how this is going to go,” she said. “Although I am one of those people that forget to put the answer in the form of a question when I watch it on TV.”

The competition will most likely have strict rules on when someone can use their clicker to answer a question, such as waiting until the question is fully read, so the team has been practicing that as well, Mark said. 

Vicki said some categories are complicated, such as ones with answers starting with a certain letter.

“Those are always harder for me than just the regular topics,” she said. “I’m kind of curious how [the competition organizers] are going to lay that out. I think that will be entertaining.”

Mark said the competition will also highlight Disability Action Centers around the nation and will help communities know the centers are there to serve them. 

Disability Action Center Northwest serves Idaho, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, he said. 

“We exist to serve those states, and we want those states to know that we’re there to help them out for free,” Mark said. 

Mark said he decided to work for Disability Action Center Northwest because he has dealt with personal issues related to depression and anxiety and has known people with physical, sensory and developmental issues over the years.

He said he wanted to be an advocate for people going through the same experience and wanted to build a community for people who feel like they do not fit in.

Vicki said she decided to work for the Disability Action Center Northwest because her son has a disability that did not appear until he was a teenager, which created a new dynamic in her home. 

She said if someone needs help working with a disability, it is helpful to speak to someone who has experience with what they need help with. 

“You can come in with just about any question of life that you’re dealing with that has to do with disability, and chances are somebody here has a way to help you with that sort of peer-to-peer aspect rather than an agency aspect or a medical model,” Vicki said.

While Mark and Vicki have not taken part in an event similar to this in the past, they both said they are looking forward to participating in this competition.  

Mark said it will be a new experience for him, and he is looking forward to making connections with people from other centers.