Posts filed under ‘Programs and Services’

Out the door

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. HCA 2

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. HCA 3

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. HCA 4


October 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm Leave a comment

UCP and Statewide Partners Celebrate 2000th Wheelchair Ramp

Ramp Build
Thursday, May 10
Interviews and Photos 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
916 Hermitage Ridge
Hermitage TN 37076

Deana Claiborne
Phone: 615-242-4091 ex. 102

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.

May 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Wheelchair Ramps: Greater Need than Available Funds

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



May 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm 1 comment

Tennessean: United Cerebral Palsy provides gear to people with disabilities
By Chris Echegaray • THE TENNESSEAN

There was a six-month wait to get a correctly sized wheelchair ordered for Patricia Cullum’s 10-year-old son who has cerebral palsy.

But Cullum, of Brentwood, went to the equipment exchange program at United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee and found a wheelchair that fit Samuel, and it was free.

“He had outgrown the wheelchair, and it was unsafe,” Cullum said. “The one we had from UCP worked perfectly for the six months, and it didn’t cost a dime. Then, we returned it. They help a lot of people.”

United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee helps children and adults with all types of physical disabilities.

The organization’s equipment exchange program provides recycled medical and adaptive equipment to patients who can’t afford it. The organization serves 3,000 people a year.

The demand for medical equipment is unusually high this year because so many people had to leave their equipment behind to escape the flood in May, said Margaret Eighmy, director of the equipment exchange program.

There is a waiting list of 550 patients who need 1,200 pieces of medical equipment, Eighmy said. The program, she said, always needs wheelchairs, shower seats, benches, walkers and bedside commodes.

First come, first served

People apply for the service, and they can get, for instance, a donated wheelchair or other piece of equipment on a temporary basis, Eighmy said. The equipment is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“This helps people who are trying to keep the lights on,” she said. “They have to pay the rent. This makes life easier and safer.”

All the programs at United Cerebral Palsy promote independence of people with disabilities and also help family members and caregivers, Eighmy said.

The program gets refurbished, therapeutic and adaptive medical equipment, which must be in working condition when donated.

Cullum said she’s been using the equipment program since her son was 3. Bathing and toilet aids cost $500 each and insurance will not cover that cost, she said. “It’s a blessing to go in there and find equipment you need at the moment,” she said. “Insurance won’t cover bath support, even though it’s an everyday necessity.”

Bennie Sears, 35, has spina bifida and has used the program since he was 8. Sears was involved in UCP’s programs, including wheelchair basketball and soccer.

Now, Sears volunteers for UCP.

“They’ve helped me a lot,” he said. “I’ve been there all my life. They came out and built a ramp for me.

“They have helped so many people. They are good to everyone. I had to give back.”

On New Year’s Day, UCP will have its seventh annual 5K Run, Walk or Roll Resolution Run at the Hall of Fame Park in downtown Nashville. All proceeds benefit the equipment exchange program.

Patricia Cullum

December 17, 2010 at 5:09 pm Leave a comment

Metro All Together Kids Grant

All Together KidsUCP is concluding the first year of our All Together Kids Grant through Metro/Davidson County. All Together Kids is UCP’s Inclusion Program, aimed at offering the same opportunities to children with disabilities that are available to typically developing children. Despite advances to our educational systems as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, children with disabilities have significantly less access to community based activities than their typically developing peers. 81% of respondents in the 2009 grant pre-assessment indicate that their child has “limited or no access to opportunities for participation in integrated programs and activities in their local neighborhood or community.” 71% of respondents reported that their child has “limited or extreme difficulty interacting with typically developing peers.”

Children with disabilities are limited in exposure to activities that allow them to compete on an equal playing field, and as they grow, they have proportionately less opportunities available to them in higher education and in the workplace. All Together Kids addresses this gap by affording access to existing community and neighborhood-based arts programs, sports, recreation, day care, summer programs, camps, and the myriad of peer-related activities that round out the social, physical and intellectual development of all children.

The purpose of the Metro grant is to provide funding supports to families of children with severe disabilities in order that they may access these programs with a service plan that is specific to the individualized needs of each child, and targeted to advance personalized educational and developmental progress goals in the most integrated and inclusive environment possible. UCP also has a training curriculum for community agencies to assist with nclusion objectives and we provide technical assistance and consultation to community-based children’s programs throughout the Metro area aimed toward development of infrastructure capacity to include children with disabilities.

The 2008-09 grant continues through June 30, 2009. According to UCP program director Laura Crain, most of the requests for this year have been for assistance in enrolling children with disabilities in summer programs. At present, all of the 72 contracted slots have been filled, and 100% of the funds have been allocated. There is currently a waiting list of 32 children for the program. UCP has applied for continued funding supports for the program in 2009-10.

June 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment

Letter from Asst. Commissioner Norris to DD Taskforce

In the report entitled “Fulfill the Promise” the Developmental DisabilitiesTask Force appointed by the state legislature called for an increase in state funding for the Family Support Program, one of Tennessee’s only service programs that is available to persons with developmental disabilities other than mental retardation. The entire Family Support Program is now at risk due to the current state budget situation. Go to the following link to download the letter that Assistant Commissioner Steve Norris sent to the members of the taskforce detailing state plans for the future of the Family Support program:

April 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm Leave a comment

2008-09 Metro Funds Still Available for All Together Kids Inclusion Program

United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee is still accepting applications for the All Together Kids inclusion program for Metro/Davidson County. All Together Kids is a program designed to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in community based after school programs, recreation, arts, and extra curricular activities alongside their typically developing peers. The program will supply grants for up to $1,000 to families for direct assistance for their child to participate in these activities. The program is funded by a grant from the Metropolitan Government of Nashville.

The program is designed to be flexible to meet children’s specific needs, and available to families in neighborhoods where they live and work. For example, funds may be used for tuition or enrollment in a variety of community programs such as day care, arts, after school care, camps, recreation and faith-based programs. Funds may be used for specialized accessible transportation, supplies, uniforms and other items specific to the child’s needs in the program. Funds also may be used for specific therapies and services that are targeted toward development of communication, socialization, or other skills that may be necessary for children with disabilities to integrate effectively with their peers.

According to UCP Executive Director Deana Claiborne, families are finding a number of creative ways to make use of the program. “Some families of children with autism are enrolling their children in community based programs and using the All Together Kids grant to help pay for behavioral therapies that give their children the skills to interact with typically developing children.”

Some families are applying to use the funds so their children can attend overnight camp programs, affording their children with disabilities the opportunity to spend the night away form home for the first time in their lives. Others are using the funds for integrated day care and summer day camps. One family is using the funds to pay for a recreational therapist to work one-on-one with their child in taking community-based swimming lessons alongside typically developing children. Another family is using the funds to acquire accessible playground equipment at their child’s afterschool program so their child “will no long be left laying on a blanket while other children are at play.”

The program is for school-age children with disabilities who live in Davidson County and who are currently enrolled, or will be enrolled during the period of the grant, in an inclusive community based after-school, recreational, extracurricular or other community based program in the Nashville community.

While families may apply at any time, Claiborne urges families to get their applications in a quickly as possible. “We know that a number of families want to use the grant for summer programs that may cross Metro fiscal years. We need to get these application in as quickly as possible to we can set up service plans and work out the financing arrangements for this fiscal year. There are limited funds available, and we want to make sure everyone who needs the program has an opportunity to apply.”

The application for the All Together Kids program can be downloaded from the UCP website at
If families have questions about the program, of if assistance is needed in completing the application, call the All Together Kids Program Coordinator, Laura Crain, at 615-477-4992.

February 10, 2009 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts


UCP Mid TN on Twitter

Delicious Bookmarks