At some point you’ve probably found yourself under the hood of your car, waiting in a repair shop or stuck on the side of the road. While car repairs can be inconvenient and costly, they get you back on the road and on with your life. At UCP, you could say we serve as a pit stop to getting people back on track.
Through our Equipment Exchange Program, UCP helps 1,700 families each year improve their quality of life by providing free durable medical equipment. From wheelchairs, shower chairs, walkers, grab bars and a host of other items, UCP is dedicated to placing families with the right equipment.
The Equipment Exchange is running because of the generous donations so many of you make. People will give us their new or gently used equipment and UCP will clean and make small modifications, then send it out to someone in need. What’s great about this program is that it runs in a circle. When a piece of equipment leaves the building, there’s a good chance it will be donated back when it is no longer needed.
Margaret Eighmy oversees our Equipment Exchange and ensures that as many families as possible are helped. As she leads the program, a number of volunteers make sure the program runs on all levels. UCP is thankful to have a group of Vietnam Veterans who work to modify and service the equipment.
Additional volunteers help to keep inventory of the supplies, assist families when they come in the door, and meet whatever needs may come up on any given day. For the UCP Equipment Exchange to maintain, grow and meet our families needs, we need three things. Number one, we need equipment. If you have medical supplies that you no longer use, please get those to UCP. Number two, we need money. The great thing about the Equipment Exchange is that it has very minimal operating cost.
With that being said, donations would allow us to buy things like wheelchair batteries and other maintenance pieces that are seldom donated. And number three, we need YOU! UCP is always in need of volunteers and people who are willing to help. From simple tasks around the office to maintenance and pick up of supplies, UCP has a place for you!
We love being able to get out of our homes and experience life. Going to work, the store, or to see friends is something we do nearly every day. But what if you couldn’t go up or down stairs? What if you relied on a wheelchair for mobility? What if no one was able to help you?
Home accessibility is a major component of UCP’s goal to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Last week, HCA’s Caring for the Community Campaign helped us provide wheelchair ramps for four families in the Nashville area.
Many individuals with limited mobility are confined to their homes or have to rely on others to get them in and out of their houses, which can often be a dangerous job. In building ramps, there is no longer the need for assistance or confinement as they are free to go in and out of their house as they please.
During the recent builds, two of UCP’s board members, Ken Roth and Joe Haase, served as site managers, both of whom have numerous ramp builds under their belt. With the help of these men along with around two dozen volunteers, UCP was able to successfully complete these ramps.
UCP’s John Pickett runs the Home Accessibility Program. Having been in this position for 15 years, John has helped secure funding, coordinate, and build more than 2,000 ramps. John relies on volunteers like HCA to help build these ramps, and he is always looking for groups that want to be involved.
Being mobile is a tremendous gift. As for UCP, we are always working to provide people with that gift. If you or your group would like to be a part of a ramp build or volunteer in any capacity, please let us know. We are always looking for groups that want to help make a difference.
No, we haven’t been gone, we haven’t stopped serving individuals with disabilities, and we haven’t veered from our mission. But we have strayed from connecting with our supporters and sharing the successes we work so proudly to accomplish.
The things we do at UCP are done with a purpose–to advance the quality of life for people with disabilities. Every wheelchair ramp we build is to help someone gain a freedom to go and come from his o her house as they please. Every piece of medical equipment we give out is to provide someone with the supplies needed to improve and maintain his or her quality of life. Every sports night, fundraiser, activity, every conversation, laugh and tear is fueled by our purpose–helping those in need.
I hope you will check out our blog every few weeks to stay current on what’s happening at UCP. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more daily updates. And more than anything, find your way that you can help UCP fulfill its mission of advancing the lives of people with disabilities.
Over 1,000 runners are expected to participate once again in Nashville’s 10th Annual Resolution Run on January 1, 2013. Onsite registration starts at 7:30 a.m. on Demonbreun Street in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame. The race starts at 9:00 a.m. Preregistration is open through the end day December 31, 2012 at: http://IRunfortheParty.com
Preregistration fee is $35
Race Day registration fee is $40
The Resolution Run benefits the Durable Medical and Adaptive Equipment Exchange at United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee. The Equipment Exchange serves persons with all forms of disabilities, not just cerebral palsy. The Equipment Exchange at UCP provided equipment valued at $510,655 to 1435 people with disabilities last year. The Equipment Exchange is one of many programs offered to families needing services at UCP, and resources are needed for each program. For more information about United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee go to: http://www.ucpnashville.org
Contact: Deana Claiborne, Executive Director
Phone 615-242-4091 ext.102
Bring all your friends for lunch!!! TODAY (Thurs May 31) at Centennial Park from around 11:00 to 1:00 near the train — across from HCA! Food Trucks from Riffs Fine Street Food will be donating 10% of their lunch proceeds to UCP. The trucks are owned by Mr. B. J. Loffback, president of the Nashville Mobile Food Vendors Association. Greeting everyone at the trucks tomorrow will be Anthony Savankham and his mom, Tricia, along with UCP staff, by the SumYumYum truck. Also, please retweet and repost. Thanks, @riffstruck
Thursday, May 10
Interviews and Photos 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
916 Hermitage Ridge
Hermitage TN 37076
Cell Phone: 615-513-0777
Volunteers from Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) are teaming up May 10 with United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee to commemorate construction of the partnership’s 2,000th wheelchair ramp on to the home of a person with a disability.
The ramp will benefit Buddy, a 24-year-old young man who has a severe mobility disability. Buddy’s disability affects his motor coordination at all levels, meaning he cannot walk or perform any tasks that involve dexterity. Buddy lives in the home with his parents who provide his living supports. He looks forward to having a wheelchair ramp so he can use a power wheelchair to enter and exit his home independently.
The collaboration between THDA, UCP and a variety of statewide organizations has addressed an immense unmet need in Tennessee for persons of low income who have disabilities and have no way to get in and out of their homes without this essential accommodation. Through the program, wheelchair ramps are constructed of people qualifications. THDA dollars have paid for lumber and supplies. UCP and the partner agencies coordinate the ramp builds and provide labor.
According to UCP Executive Director Deana Claiborne, the long economic downturn has been especially hard on people with disabilities and their families, leading to increased waiting lists in the program. “The financial pressure on families is immense when you consider home modifications, extra healthcare expenses, durable medical equipment, and caregiving supports.” A wheelchair ramp gives a person the most basic access to the community, making it possible to participate in transportation, work, school, worship, healthcare, grocery shopping, and many other activities that people often take for granted.
A well-designed wheelchair ramp ensures the safety of both the person with a disability and the caregiver who would otherwise have to lift the individual up and down steps. UCP builds ramps in the Middle Tennessee area and coordinates ramp building through a variety of partner agencies across other areas of the state.
The program needs the financial assistance of donors in order to meet the unmet need. “We just spent our last dollars in the current THDA grant,” says UCP Home Access Director John Pickett, “But we have a statewide waiting list of 122 applications.” The cost of lumber and supplies for an average ramp is $754. An additional $92,000 is needed just to acquire supplies for people on the waiting lists. That doesn’t include labor costs and the additional need, taking into account new applications that arrive every day.
John Pickett has to make a hard decision today: When you have a long list of people with disabilities who have immense unmet needs, which one gets the wheelchair ramp? Today, Pickett has 20 people on a waiting list in Davidson County alone, and available funds for only one wheelchair ramp. Pickett is the director of United Cerebral Palsy’s Home Access Program. Through this program, UCP and partner agencies across the state construct wheelchair ramps on to the homes of people with disabilities.
The program also provides limited home modification services such as bathroom modifications and other essential services. Pickett’s problem isn’t new. He has been doing this job since 1999. According to Pickett, there is never enough money to serve all the people who apply for the program. “We do our best to serve people on a first come, first serve basis, but there are other factors that must be considered, with safety of the applicant and the caregiver lifting them up steps being a primary concern.”
Pickett narrowed the list down to the 5 program applicants who have been waiting the longest. They range from 24 to 95 years old. They have disabilities resulting from a variety of conditions, including cerebral palsy, strokes, cancer and lung disease. What they each have in common is the need for a wheelchair ramp because they are not able to independently enter and exit their own homes without this modification and they cannot afford to pay for the ramp.
The program has just depleted the last funds in a grant from Tennessee Housing Development Agency. The average cost for lumber and supplies for a single ramp is $754. “We have 122 people on waiting lists across the state right now,” says Pickett. We need an additional $92,000 just to acquire supplies for people on the waiting lists. That doesn’t include labor costs and the additional need when you take into account new applications that arrive every day.”
The program saves money by enlisting volunteers from area businesses, church groups, civic organizations and schools to build the ramps. “This is a program that changes lives in less than a day of work,” says Pickett.
To donate or volunteer for the Wheelchair Ramp program, contact:
United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee
1200 9th Avenue North, Suite 110
Nashville TN 37208