Monday, May 22, 2017

Family prepares for a summer of bike rides, thanks to Logan AT Lab

Parker and Chris try the bike out for the first time.

The Layton family likes to bike together. But when Parker, 8, outgrew the bike trailer they were using to tow him, they needed another option; preferably one that would allow Parker to sit in front of the person pedaling for him. (Parker has Down syndrome.)

The Laytons hoped he could ride where they could see him during their outdoor ventures.

They looked online, and found a solution that would work... for $5,000.

So they began networking with other families of Down Syndrome children, in person and on Facebook, "The first hit we got said, 'We're following this because we have the same problem,'" said Christopher Layton, Parker's dad. They found a used bike in Texas, but before they could make arrangements to bring it to their home in Utah, it was gone.

"I thought about a GoFundMe page," Christopher said. When a friend suggested he should contact the Utah Assistive Technology Program's Assistive Technology Lab, he gave it a try.

Within days he was talking to Mike Stokes, a volunteer with the AT Lab. Mike brought in Todd McGregor, another volunteer, and together they began creating something new and wonderful, using parts from five old bikes...



... a high-end jogging stroller and a custom-made box...


... plus a sawed-off chair.

Photo of Atkinson by the chair
Shawn Atkinson with his donated creation.

Shawn Atkinson of Atkinson Furniture & Upholstery covered the chair in Aggie blue and added the U State logo. Jim Kofed at the Logan Deseret Industries donated bikes and other materials.

The two volunteers took it out for a test spin, to make sure it felt strong enough to support an eight-year-old boy.

photo of Mike and Todd, testing the equipment. Mike is riding in the box.

Finally, they finished the project...




...and invited the family over to give it a try. Parker was nervous about the harness, but once he wore the lap belt and experienced a ride, he was smiling wide.

"The biggest reward in volunteering at the AT Lab is seeing the expressions of happiness, and knowing that the person will live a better life when we complete a project," said Stokes.

Photo of Parker, smiling, as he rides with his dad in the new bike.
Parker's first ride, in a slow, controlled environment. He is wearing a lap belt in this photo, and will wear safety gear
as he becomes more accustomed to the new equipment.
"It's been a godsend to us," Chris said. "Everything just fell together, one piece after another."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Construction business grows, thanks to UATF

York Martinez received a loan from the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation to help land his first big construction contract. Four years later, his business is growing and employing others.

York Martinez had experience, a construction business plan and a large contract waiting—but he needed more equipment. He was a veteran with a disability, and he wasn’t having much luck getting a loan from a traditional lender.

He turned to the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund and the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation, which work together to provide low-interest loans to entrepreneurs with disabilities. Martinez got the loan, bought the equipment, and landed his first long-term contract. “It made it very easy for me, especially when I was trying to start a business,” he said.

Small business loans from UMLF and UATF allow small business owners to apply for a loan and pay the prime interest rate, minus .25 percent. Loans run from $500 to $25,000, and there is no income limit to apply.

Today, more than four years after Martinez came to us, CastraCon LLC is still doing business, working with partners, employing three people full-time, and providing work to many others as construction projects become available. The business is solid and growing, Martinez said. Working with business partners allows them all to keep a pool of good construction workers employed.

For more information on small business loans through the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation, call 800-524-5-152 or visit their webpage.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Know a smart marketing student? Send them to us!

The CReATE initiative seeks a summer intern who is at least a junior in marketing. If you're interested, and you have marketing and marketing research savvy, this is for you! If you go to Utah State University, apply for Job #95466 at Career Aggie. If you don't, contact JoLynne at 435.797.7412 . 

This position is available to candidates from all Utah universities. CReATE is located in Salt Lake City.

This position will last for 12 weeks.

CReATE is an initiative that puts refurbished mobility devices into the hands of Utahns who need them.