In the News

Treasure Maps event shares stories across Georgia of those living with disabilities

As Ricardo Aranda crossed his wheelchair across the finish line of the Peachtree Road Races, he couldn't believe what his family was shouting.

"Good job Bud. You won! And broken a course record!" his parents exclaimed.

The Mableton resident had just completed the race faster than anyone before in the Push Assist Division, clocking in at 37 minutes, or 6:02 per-mile race time.

"...the most exciting words of my life," Aranda shared.

Ricardo was born with cerebral palsy and diagnosed with legal blindness due to optic nerve atrophy. He also chased his dreams to become a wheelchair athlete and now competes several times a year.

It's easy to connect with others when you know their story, even when their life looks a lot different from your own.


Aranda's experience is one of 10 stories being shared in a new storytelling event crisscrossing the state this summer. The event aims to shed a light on what it's like living with a disability and help others better understand how they interact with the world.

“Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow,” is a series of pop-up events in six cities featuring an interactive outdoor theater experience.

The series comes from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and will feature vendors, installations, food trucks, and live music for attendees.

It's the fourth year for the council's Storytelling Project program, and the first to feature the interactive event.

Treasure Maps comes to Savannah on Friday to the Old Roberds Dairy Farm. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the screening beginning at 9 p.m.

"Sometimes it seems as though we think the stories of people with disabilities are marginalized, but really, that's only the case if we see neurotypical or able-bodied people at the center," says Irene Turner, Storytelling Project Director.

"This evening is all about bringing these stories into the center, bearing witness, and encouraging us all to be better allies."

Treasure Maps is a collection of short films showcasing 10 Georgia storytellers as they provide an up-close perspective into what it's like navigating the complex webs of life in our communities as a person with a developmental disability.

The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) estimates that nearly 153,500 Georgians live with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities in the state.

From early childhood, to school, independent living to employment - the storytelling series offers a personal spotlight on the trials and triumphs of those living with an impairment in our state and how they persevere and succeed.

"Each story is a beautiful manifestation of the teller. It was fun to work with all these gifted, unique storytellers," Turner added.

The shows will be accessible to all, with CART and ASL services to enable communication for the deaf and hard of hearing, adding to the inclusive themes of the event.

Beforehand, visitors can enjoy art installations, a riding demonstration by the Pegasus Riding Academy, dancing, popcorn, while visiting tables from agencies that serve the disability community.

To learn more about the Treasure Maps Storytelling Project and read bios of each storyteller, visit:


WHAT: Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow - Savannah Night

WHEN: Friday; Doors at 7:30 p.m., Screening at 9 p.m.

WHERE: Old Roberds Dairy Farm, 2500 Tennessee Ave.

COST: Free


This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News on June 22, 2021.

It also appeared in: