About

Melanie ThorntonMelanie Thornton is the Coordinator of Access and Equity Outreach at the University of Arkansas CURRENTS (UA CURRENTS). She provides professional development on topics related to leadership, disability, diversity, and design. She is very interested in working with organizations to create more accessible environments and to reframe perspectives of disability as an aspect of diversity. Prior to coming to UA CURRENTS, Melanie was the Associate Director of the Disability Resource Center and the Director of Project PACE at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also has 8 years of experience working as a counselor with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. Melanie earned her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Gallaudet University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hendrix College. Melanie enjoys writing, spending time with her partner, hiking in the woods that surround her in Arkansas, and playing with her dog, Haley.

Current Projects

Arkansas Victims Assistance Academy (AVAA)

Description: The AVAA is a weeklong professional level academy designed to provide victim service providers with intensive training tailored to the needs of Arkansas.
Coordinated by: Crime Victims Assistance Association of Arkansas (CVAAA) and U of A Partners for Inclusive Communities
Funding: A subgrant agreement from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, Victim Justice Assistance Program
Learn more about AVAA

Crime Victims with Disabilities Project

Description: With collaborators from numerous state agencies, nonprofit organizations, victim services organizations, and local multidisciplinary teams, project staff have worked to establish a network of education and technical assistance to improve services for people with disabilities who experience violence.
Coordinated by: U of A Partners for Inclusive Communities
Funding: A subaward funded through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s Victims Justice Assistance Project with funding from the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
Learn more about Crime Victims with Disabilities Project

Project LENS

Description: Project LENS is Leading the Evolution toward New Solutions by promoting new perspectives on disability, access and design. We partner with faculty, staff and students in postsecondary programs within Arkansas and beyond to remove barriers and create more inclusive environments through training, technical assistance and resources.
Coordinated by: UA CURRENTS
Funding: These efforts currently are being accomplished through a variety of funding sources but we are seeking additional funding for this effort.
Learn more about Project LENS

Safety and Sexual Violence Prevention Project

Description: The overall goal of this project is to promote efforts that help prevent the critical problem of rape and sexual assault among people with disabilities.
Coordinated by: U of A Partners for Inclusive Communities
Funding: A grant from the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence
Learn more about the Safety and Sexual Violence Prevention Project

Southwest ADA Center Affiliate – Arkansas

Description: One of a five state collaborations, the Arkansas regional affiliate focuses on increasing the capacity of Arkansas agencies—higher education institutions, criminal justice system agencies, and others—to improve access for people with disabilities through deeper understanding of the ADA and related laws.
Coordinated by: Partners for Inclusive Communities
Funding: A subaward from the Independent Living Resource Utilization (ILRU) in Houston, Texas
Learn more about Southwest ADA Center Affiliate

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