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Dear Mr. S:
I cannot image how it would be, not to be able to be completely mobile. I commend you for wanting to do everything you can to achieve as much mobility as possible. I believe you have a right in our society to pursue this goal with all the effort you can muster. There are many sources of help in this country to solve your problem and unfortunately, no one person, not even me, is aware of everything this great country has to offer. If the sources I give to you do not work please still have faith that the help is out there. It is just going to take a bit more perseverance. As someone with a disability, I am certain that you know a lot more about perseverance than I do. Finding the right information in our information-driven society can also take an enormous amount of perseverance.
There are 2 major sources for finding money from these groups:
A. The Foundation Center of New York City maintains a database of all foundations that provide money to non-profit organizations or individuals. Their information is available on the web at http://fdncenter.org or from their participating libraries by contacting 212-620-4230 (or they are also listed on the website).
B. The Guidestar Company in Williamsburg, VA also maintains a database of foundations and they can reached at 757-229-4631 or at www.guidestar.com . Much of their database is accessible for free on the web.
There are a number of national volunteer organizations around the country that offer grants and other free services to solve problems for people in their community. The Lions Club awarded over $340 million in grants since they started, and the Kiwanis Clubs give out over $100 million every year.
Find your local club for each of the organizations below and contact them for information on their programs. If they do not have an ongoing program that specifically suits you, you can ask if you send a letter of request for their consideration. It can't hurt to ask. We've used these clubs in this way to help people in our "Show Me The Money Contest."
Here are some similar resources we found while doing a research project in Arkansas that will show you the kind of help that may be available in your area:
Emergency Money Available From United Cerebral Palsy...might be able to be used to help finance a van if funds are not available from other sources. Contact: United Cerebral Palsy, 10400 W. 36th, Little Rock, AR 72204, 501-228-3834, www.ucpcark.org/ucpservices.html
Grants From Local Kiwanis...can be used to help people obtain special equipped vans. Their funding is limited, but they may be able to offer some assistance. A letter is required describing the details of the situation and it will be presented to the board. Contact: El Dorado Kiwanis Club, P.O. Box 1187, El Dorado, AR 71730, 870-862-9876
Low Interest Loans And Cheap Payments...are available for those who need money to cover the costs of adaptive equipment. An equipment exchange program and used wheelchair vans are also listed on the website. Contact: ICAN-Increasing Capabilities Access Network, Arkansas Rehabilitation Service, 2201 Brookwood, #117, Little Rock, AR 72202, 800-828-2799, www.arkansas-ican.org
Grant To Purchase A Special Equipped Van...may be available if it is going to help a child. Contact: First Hand Foundation, 2800 Rockcreek Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64117, 816-201-1569, www.firsthandfoundation.org
Local Jaycees May Help Finance...such a purchase even though they mostly offer college scholarships. A letter is required describing the details of the situation and it will be presented to the membership for consideration. Contact: Jaycees, P.O. Box 2264, El Dorado, AR 71731, 870-863-7446
1. Check out the website www.disability.govDisabilityInfo.gov is the federal government's gateway to disability-related information and resources. You can find information on employment, housing, health, income support, technology, transportation and independent living.
2. State Vocational Rehabilitation Offices State Vocational Rehabilitation offices are the main entry point for services within your state. Services differ from state to state, but they can provide medical information, vocational training, adaptive equipment, business assistance, counseling, and more. To locate your state vocational office contact your state operator or check out the website www.govengine.com or a listing can be found at www.jan.wvu.edu/SBSES/VOCREHAB.HTM
3. Financial Aid For People With DisabilitiesThis is a free report written by the American Council on Education and provides a wealth of information on how to fund a college education. It takes you step-by-step through the financial aid process, explaining the types of aid available and what you will be expected to pay. What is great about this report is that it explains how to make sure that disability expenses are covered and what government agencies fit into the financial aid process. It details how disability benefits can be protected while in college and provides a list of scholarship information for those with disabilities. This report is available through the Education Resources Information Center (ERIS) at 800-LET-ERIC (538-3742) or online at www.eric.ed.gov
4. Find All Federal Government Money Programs For DisabilitiesThey are described in a book called the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. This book is available at your local public library or the U.S. Government Printing Office www.gpo.gov You can also search the content of the book for free on the web at www.cfda.gov
5. Another great resource for information is the Council for Exceptional Children. Topics covered include all aspects of education and development of children with disabilities, current research, links to resources and more. Contact Council for Exceptional Children, 1110 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201; 888-CEC-SPED; 703-620-3660; www.cec.sped.org
We cannot emphasize enough the help that is available from your state. We have known people who have gotten $11,000 to start a business at home and $15,000 to finish a degree because they were suffering from low self-esteem. Terri Handshoe got her college education paid for, as well as had an interpreter and books covered during schooling. Sandy Smith got a $3,000 custom designed telephone system which allowed her to work for a major hotel chain. You can receive:
Your state Vocational Rehabilitation offices want to keep you a productive member of society, and they will do what it takes to get you on your way. If you are denied any of these services, you have several places you can turn for help. The first stop is your state Client Assistance Program. They will help you learn your rights and handle the appeal to get you what you need. They can take your appeal process from the first stages, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary and it won't cost you a penny.
I hope some of this helps. I hope that you do not give up hope in trying to live as big a life as you possibly can live. This seems like a duty each and every one of us has while we are here.
Matthew LeskoPresidentInformation USA, Incwww.lesko.com