Monday, April 30, 2012

CReATE client, Larry O'Sullivan.
Larry O'Sullivan is a wheelchair recipient and fan of CReATE (Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment). This program of UATP refubishes donated mobility equipment to get back to the community for a minimal cost. O'Sullivan shares how getting his chair has changed his life on his blog. Read the post here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Students volunteer cleaning and organizing CReATE
(Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment).
A program that refurbishes donated mobility equipment.
There are many volunteers at the Center for Persons with Disabilities, including the Utah Assistive Technology Program. Recently, groups of students spent their spring break in Logan, Utah, helping at the CPD and UATP. See a few of the things volunteers do in a YouTube video. Learn more about volunteering at the CPD by calling Jeff Sheen at 435-797-8113.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

CReATE is Earth-friendly

UATP's Clay Christensen pushes a
powerchair to the scrap pile at the recyclers.
The ideas behind Earth Day have implications for just about everyone, including UATP. Our program, CReATE (Citizens Reusing Assistive Technology Equipment), is a project based on the principles of recycling and upcycling.

The Utah non-profit recieves donated mobility equipment from the community. Wheelchairs and scooters that cannot be reused are parted out (controls, wheels, etc. to be used on future chairs) and then taken to a scrap metal recycler.
Larry O'Sullivan, a Sandy, Utah resident, 
using a powerchair he got from CReATE.

Chairs that are usable are refurbished using new and old parts to bring them back to manufacturer specs. They are then available to the community for a fraction of the cost of a new chair - just a couple hundred dollars. This is a great help to those who's insurance may not cover a chair or someone who just needs an extra chair to keep in the car. You see trash, CReATE sees independence.

Parts taken from unusable mobility devices are organized
at CReATE, which are then used on other chairs, saving the
community money and keeping wheelchairs out of landfills.
This last year, CReATE recycled 189 batteries (6,282 pounds) keeping them out of the landfills. Since February 2009, CReATE has recycled 298 devices weighing 38,430 pounds or 19.215 tons.

Donations received by CReATE thus keeping them out of the landfill:
· 101 manual wheelchairs
· 226 power wheelchairs
· 39 scooters
· 29 other Assistive Technology devices

If you are interested in donating a used mobility device to CReATe, or obtaining a device, call 801-887-9398.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Utah Conservation Corps needs members for 2012 survey crew

Service Position Summary: The Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) is seeking 4 AmeriCorps crew members to serve as on the 2012 survey crew. Crew members will conduct accessibility surveys of trails, campgrounds and facilities within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and work closely with the Forest Service to develop transition plans and make changes on the ground. The crew will document such things as picnic table dimensions and trail width/slope according to ABA (Architectural Barriers Act) standards. Crew members will enter survey data into a U.S. Forest Service database for use by the agency and the public.

Service Position Title:  Accessibility Survey Crew Member (full-time 900 hour AmeriCorps position)

·  June 4 – November 2, 2012
·  $6,250 AmeriCorps Living Allowance (paid in $625 semi-monthly installments)
·  $2,675 AmeriCorps Education Award (upon completion of service) 

·  Conduct on-site accessibility surveys of developed campgrounds, facilities, and trails within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest 
·  Enter accurate survey data into U.S. Forest Service database
·  Provide land managers with professional reports and feedback, enabling them to improve disability access on public lands  
·  Participate in group presentations to land managers and public officials

· Transport equipment and tools to and from project site
· Conduct trail maintenance to make trails more accessible
· Set up tents
· Cook meals

Principal Working Relationships:
  • Work as a team with other crew members with and without disabilities to complete project tasks
  • Work in partnership with agency sponsors
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: 
  • High School Graduate (minimum)
  • Computer Skills
  • Camping Experience
  • Communication Skills
Service Conditions:  Accessibility surveys will be conducted outdoors on U.S. Forest Service land and data entry will be performed in an office. 

PHYSICAL & MENTAL REQUIREMENTS:  Reasonable accommodations can be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the following requirements.

·  Be 18 years or older
·  Be able to manage all personal care and mobility
·  Work successfully as part of a mixed-ability team
·  Be outdoors for extended periods during the summer months
·  Be able to successfully use a computer
·  Be able to communicate clearly and consistently
·  Be able to record accurate information and pay attention to detail
·  Travel in lift equipped van for up to 6 hours to/from job sites
·  Camp overnight with crew for up to 4 consecutive nights

Equipment Used:  Smart Tool level*, inclinometer* (measures running slope), scale, camera, GPS unit, roll-a-wheel* (measures longer distances), tape measure*

*These tools have been modified so that they are usable by people with a variety of disabilities.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Michigan students volunteer during spring break at CReATE, CPD

Nine students from Grand Valley State University visited Utah for an alternative spring break, volunteering at the Center for Persons with Disabilities. They spent Wednesday cleaning and organizing CReATE (Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment).

CReATE before student volunteers. CReATE offers the Utah community refurbished mobility equipment at a low-cost.

Students cleaned the upstairs, braving the ladder and dust so wheelchair battery covers could be put away. Student Jordin Billinghurst said, "I was really surprised learning about assistive technology capabilities. They are so expansive, and you can transform about anything to make it accessible."

"Working at CReATE was really cool. Learning how power mobility works and how chairs are refurbished was really interesting, and inspiring to see how people can get chairs," Molly Aldridge, GVSU student

Teamwork was essential to the success of the day. Kelsey Bosiloviaz, bottom, said, "I learned how we take for granted what goes on behind the scenes - the programs that serve people with disabilities - as well as what they're day to day lives are like."

When CReATE receives chairs it can't use, parts that are usable are taken off so they can be used for other mobility devices. The students organized these parts.

Student volunteers after a day of hard work.

CReATE after student volunteers - organized and shining.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Utah realtor and war vet gets a 'fast speed chair' from CReATE

by Storee Powell

Larry O'Sullivan spent 30 years as a professional photographer in Australia, shooting everything from weddings to aerial pictures, but was cut short of his Down Under lifestyle after a Vietnam War injury led to an above-the-knee double amputation.
The amputation relieved the war vet of pain he'd had for years due to vein and artery damage from being exposed to war chemicals, however, found himself struggling to make ends meet because of the lack of accessibility in his community.

The 68-year-old decided something needed to change. And that change was meeting his wife, an American massage therapist, Christie, on an online dating service. The two met and knew it was meant to be. The couple married and moved to Utah. In December, Larry and Christie celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary.

"I'd passed my 'use by' date in Australia, but aging and retirement is not synonymous with not having something to do," O'Sullivan said. "America is the land of potential and accessibility - you can be anything you want to be."
Larry O'Sullivan, a realtor for
Rocky Mountain Realty.

And O'Sullivan is doing just that - anything he wants. Now a member of several community organizations, such as the Utah Jesters and Amputees on the move, O'Sullivan shares his message of perseverance and just enjoys clowning around.
"When I was in the geriatric ward in Australia, recovering from my amputation, from which I wasn't really expected to live, I dressed as a clown," O'Sullivan said. "I wanted to remind people that life wasn't over; they could still smile."

He wears a black leather hat with an Australian flag clip and colorfully themed ties just to prove his point. But the greatest feat for him has been the opportunity to have a job.
"I am not good at being housebound, and now I can make my own ends meet here," he said. "I can try to be the least burden possible on Christie."

O'Sullivan now works as a realtor for Rocky Mountain Realty. The former photographer used to take photos of homes for realty companies in Australia, and he's always had an interest in the field. To help clients understand his disability and how it relates to business, he keeps a personal blog for the company, The Internet is making business 'totally accessible' for the realtor.

"When I started, I was Larry B.C. - Larry Before Computers," O'Sullivan said. "But now I can do everything I need to, with the world at my fingertips because of computers."
Another equalizer for O'Sullivan is his wheels.

Upon arriving in Utah, O'Sullivan read about CReATE in the newspaper and knew it was his answer to finding a power chair, or as he calls the assistive technology devices, 'fast speed chairs.' The devices are hard to come by in Australia and the accessibility needed for chair users, he said.

CReATE, Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment, is a non-profit that serves Utahns with disabilities by providing low-cost mobility equipment. Wheelchairs and scooters are donated from the community, and refurbished to manufacturer standards by CReATE. Utahns can get one for the cost of refurbishment - saving hundreds to thousands of dollars. Trained technicians match people to appropriate chairs.

"Here, I can go cross-country and only carry an emergency kit on my chair. The chair I got from CReATE has given me independence," O'Sullivan said.
When shopping, Christy pulls Larry in his manual wheelchair while she uses a power scooter. But the one barrier O'Sullivan is still working to overcome is the social stigmas associated with amputees and wheelchair users.
"Being accepted socially as an equal is the hard part - people see me and think I'm 'a cute little man' and that 'my life must be over,'" O'Sullivan said.
But that doesn't stop him from being active in the community. O'Sullivan uses his disability as an ability, providing wisdom and humor everywhere he goes to break down social stigmas.
"My father said life is a magnificent adventure, and I want to be here as long as there are adventures to live for," O'Sullivan said.