UCP would like to congratulate our 2015 Awards for Excellence winners! Thank you for your hard work and dedication you show to our affiliates organizations and people with disabilities and their families in your communities. These amazing programs and people will be honored at UCP’s Annual Conference in Chicago May 20-22.
Washington, D.C. (April 3, 2015) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Life Labs initiative will bring an intensive, two-day design challenge called an Innovation Lab to Chicago May 19-20, 2015. Following successful events in London, Washington DC, and Sydney, Australia, the Innovation Lab (formerly called Enabled by Design-athon) brings together people from all walks of life under the principles of Universal Design to dream up the next big idea for people with and without disabilities.
At each Innovation Lab, this diversity of talent from a variety of fields is coached to use human-centered Universal Design concepts to solve every day problems as part of a competitive yet collaborative design challenge for team prizes. Designers, engineers, inventors, makers and hackers as well as professionals and caregivers in the disability field are all encouraged to contribute their unique perspectives to the.
The inaugural Innovation Lab scheduled for Chicago will take place at the Microsoft Technology Center and will be co-hosted by Smart Chicago. Smart Chicago is a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology by increasing access to the Internet, improving skills for using Internet, and developing meaningful products from data that measurably contribute to the quality of life of residents in the region and beyond.
“Here at Microsoft we are focused on improving the lives of citizens through technology,” said Shelley Stern Grach, Director of Civic Engagement at Microsoft. “The Innovation Lab focuses on the principles of design to provide opportunity and access to technology for diverse communities, and we’re excited to see what the teams come up with.”
Teams will design and build prototypes or present plans that demonstrate how products can rapidly be created to better fit with people’s lives and needs, no matter what those need may be. UCP’s Life Labs is intent on creating a movement of accessibility for the masses so that mainstream products work for as many people as possible, including those with disabilities and older people. The Innovation Lab events are meant to challenge preconceptions of assistive equipment, showing how products can be personalized, purposeful and beautifully designed too.
“Rather than continuing to retrofit our world to accommodate people with disabilities, there’s no reason why we can’t design our world to work for people of all abilities,” said Marc Irlandez, Director of UCP’s Life Labs.
Registration is now open at http://ucpinnovationlab.org/ Space is limited.
In time for the 5th anniversary of President Barak Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, UCP has signed on to a letter expressing our support for maintaining affordable access to comprehensive health insurance coverage for people with disabilities. Acting as part of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) – a coalition of more than 70 organizations working for people with disabilities and their families – UCP joined in sending this letter to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate demonstrating that support and expressing our concern that proposals and legislation being debated in the 114th Congress which may undermine the progress being made to ensure people with disabilities have access to the care they need to lead healthy, fulfilling and independent lives.
March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Throughout the month, United Cerebral Palsy will be encouraging people with cerebral palsy to share the many things they enjoy and can do using the hashtag #CerebralPalsyCan on social media. On March 25, National CP Awareness Day, UCP and our partners in this campaign (listed below) will will feature submitted videos on our social media channels and websites.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a broad diagnostic term used to describe a problem with movement and posture, due to damage or abnormalities in the brain that makes certain activities difficult. It is the most common motor disorder and the second-most common disability found in children. UCP aims to demonstrate through short, light-hearted videos that people with cerebral palsy have a range of interests and abilities, and in that respect are no different than anyone else. Find out more about the campaign and watch the video on My Life Without Limits, UCP’s new online resource and community for individuals with a range of disabilities at www.mylifewithoutlimits.org.
#CerebralPalsyCan Campaign Partners
United Cerebral Palsy: http://ucp.org/
My Life Without Limits: http://mylifewithoutlimits.org/
Love That Max: A Special Needs Blog: http://www.lovethatmax.com/
The Cerebral Palsy Swagger: http://cpswag.blog.com
Ms. Wheelchair Michigan: http://www.mswheelchairamerica.org
United Cerebral Palsy’s Life Labs to Take Universal Design Thinking to Apple’s iTunes U
Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2015) – United Cerebral Palsy’s (UCP) Life Labs initiative was awarded a significant grant from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. The grant will help fund a unique new approach to fostering innovation in design and technology for people with and without disabilities.
The project embraces the principles of Universal Design, which strives to create products and environments that are inherently usable and accessible to all people, including people with disabilities. It will deliver an open-source event toolkit and a full curriculum built around UCP Life Labs “maker fair” event concept and distributed through Apple’s iTunes U. UCP is one of less than 100 nonprofit partners – and the only disability organization – curated by iTunes U for educational materials offered to more than 250,000 students.
UCP’s Life Labs held a small-scale version of the event in Washington, D.C. in each of the past two years, bringing together people with disabilities, inventors, hackers and other innovators with and without disabilities. In a friendly competition, attendees developed ideas for revolutionary products and services using a Universal Design approach. With input from mentors with disabilities, team members collaborated to create workable solutions for everyday problems that they then pitched to judges in an atmosphere similar to the hit TV show “Shark Tank.”
“It’s time to take this to the next level,” said Marc Irlandez, director of UCP’s Life Labs. “We were looking for a way to bring the event to a greater number of people in more locations. Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation saw the possibilities and iTunes U was the perfect platform to help make sure that anyone who wants to learn how to make the world a better place through Universal Design can do so.”
“By providing opportunities for people with and without disabilities to work together with industry leaders in a creative way to design accessible consumer products, this project not only exposes students to careers in science and technology, but it also helps raise the awareness of the capabilities of people with disabilities,” said Kevin R. Webb, senior director, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. “Ultimately, it will help empower youth with disabilities to make changes for the better in society, which is the mission of our Foundation, and why Mitsubishi Electric is proud to provide support to help replicate and expand this innovative project.”
The initial goal of the materials to be made available via iTunes U is to introduce college-age students to the concept of Universal Design and inspire innovation. Eventually, other materials will be developed as part of a school’s STEM lessons that K-12 learners can adopt.
“It’s significant that a large national nonprofit such as UCP is able to work with a recognized brand as iTunes and be supported by such a well-known foundation as Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation,” said Stephen Bennett, president and CEO of UCP. “With this level of credibility and this unique learning platform, this project is bound to bridge the gap between designers and engineers and people with disabilities, to the collective benefit of us all.”
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About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services through an affiliate network to ensure a life without limits for people with a broad range of disabilities and their families. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, visit www.ucp.org.
About Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation
The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, based in the Washington, DC area, was established in 1991 by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and the Mitsubishi Electric U.S. companies, which produce, sell and distribute a wide range of consumer, industrial, commercial and professional electronics products. The Foundation has contributed more than $13 million to organizations that are empowering young people with disabilities to lead more inclusive and productive lives.
To learn more, visit the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation’s website at www.MEAF.org.
Washington, D.C. (January 6, 2015) –UCP is pleased to introduce a new community-driven resource for people with disabilities called My Life Without Limits. This initiative is a natural companion to UCP’s My Child Without Limits program, which was developed for the parents and family members of children with disabilities. A flagship website and online community, www.mylifewithoutlimits.org, will serve as the new program’s focal point and is intended to become an online hub for people with a range of disabilities.
My Life Without Limits is designed to allow people with disabilities to join and receive the latest news and other benefits of community membership such as writing guest blogs, commenting on posts and resource pages and participating in polls and surveys. In the forum – coming soon – members can stir up conversations and ask for advice. Information and resources pertaining to education, entertainment and lifestyle, health and wellness, travel, relationships and more will be available and updated, with guidance from community members themselves. And, people can share new resources or upcoming events on the site or using the #MyLifeWithoutLimits hashtag on social media
UCP’s Director of Membership and Public Education talks about his personal connection to this project in a new blog: “Connecting with others who have a disability is something that I never really did until I started working at UCP. Until then, I must have known less than a handful of others,” he said.
“When I joined UCP, my life changed. I began to understand how there are so many other people with disabilities (one billion worldwide). Immediately, our stories were shared– those related to growing up and our relationships, jobs, goals and more. This connection is one that everyone should have the opportunity to experience.”
The initiative’s flagship website, http://www.mylifewithoutlimits.org, launched Monday, January 5 and an online forum will be added soon. Later this year, we will announce more activities – both online and off – for the program.
UCP Wheels for Humanity (UCP Wheels), a subsidiary of United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura & Santa Barbara Counties, has received a $2.2 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and JSI Research & Training Institute to support Project CLASP, a project which will improve and streamline the supply-chain for wheelchairs worldwide and supply over 15,000 wheelchairs to those in need around the world.
CLASP (Consolidating Logistics for Assistive Technology Supply & Provision) is a two-year project in collaboration with ten international partners in Indonesia, Philippines, Georgia, Romania, Nicaragua, El Salvador & several other nations to improve the quality, selection and volume of wheelchairs provided in each country. In partnership with supply-chain experts Jones Lang LaSalle, UCP Wheels will consolidate inventory from five international manufacturers in a single hub, so that a variety of locally appropriate wheelchairs can be acquired from a single location.
“UCP Wheels for Humanity’s is the ideal organization to lead this project,” says Sue Eitel, Senior Rehabilitation Advisor at USAID. “Their proven track record of successful wheelchair provision projects and international partnerships makes them an industry leader.”
“Project CLASP addresses a serious barrier confronting the wheelchair industry which leads to people with disabilities worldwide not receiving wheelchairs that meet their personal needs,” says UCP Wheels Chief Executive Officer, Ronald S. Cohen, Ph.D. “This project will allow UCP Wheels and other organizations to give the life-changing gift of mobility to more people in need, more efficiently.”
UCP Wheels for Humanity was founded in 1996 to increase access to mobility for children and adults with physical disabilities who live in developing countries. UCP Wheels provides appropriately fitted wheelchairs and quality of life services to more than 6,000 individuals each year and acts as an advocate and capacity-building partner to local organizations, creating sustainable, community-based systems that support long-term change.
Effective October 1, United Cerebral Palsy’s Board of Trustees welcomed new members and several new officers to help lead the national nonprofit organization for people with disabilities and their families. UCP has more than 80 affiliates in the U.S. and internationally.
Gloria Johnson-Cusack was elected as chair after more than a decade supporting the UCP network, and brings to the national board more than 20 years of deep, cross sector experience. Currently, she serves as Ex
ecutive Director of Leadership 18, an alliance of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) responsible for leading some of the country’s largest and most well respected charities, non-profits and faith-based organizations. Member organizations serve over 87 million people annually and represent $59 billion in total revenue. She also is a board member of the Firelight Foundation which supports children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Previously, Johnson-Cusack served as a Senior Vice President at GMMB, a D.C.-based strategic communications and advertising firm focused on cause marketing. In this role, she advanced issues on behalf of key nonprofit organizations and foundations. In the public affairs arena, Johnson-Cusack served as Director of the Office of Congressional Relations at the Peace Corps, Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of National Service, and Director of Constituent Relations at the Corporation for National Service. She was Chief of Staff for the D.C. Office of the Inspector General and was policy advisor to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Senator Albert Gore, Jr.
In 2005, Gloria led the strategic and creative team responsible for developing UCP’s “Life Without Limits” brand identity to enhance the international positioning of the organization. She also worked with UCP leaders to develop the strategic vision and plan for National Big Sky Visioning Sessions and related outreach to explore ways communities can work together to integrate people with disabilities fully into the fabric of society. Most recently, she helped lead the strategic planning committee which advised about the future direction and business model for the national office and conducted related outreach to affiliate CEOs and their board members to invite input.
Her expertise will add to the talents and strengths brought by new Vice-Chair Eric Hespenheide, who retired with more than 25 years of financial experience as a senior partner Deloitte & Touche, LLP and new Secretary Pamela Talkin who is the first woman to serve as Marshal of the Supreme Court of the U.S. overseeing the security and operations of the Supreme Court building. They join Melvin “Chip” Hurley who has over 30 years of healthcare and management experience in accounting, auditing and consulting. Each officer was serving as a trustee before being elected.
“I am thrilled to take on this new role leading one of the most outstanding boards I have ever encountered. They are passionate and laser-beam focused on smart strategy. Each of us will draw from our strong, diverse perspectives to advance the vital work of the UCP network that helps so many people world-wide.”
“UCP is incredibly excited to see Ms. Johnson-Cusack take this key position on our board,” said UCP President and CEO Stephen Bennett. “Her knowledge of the UCP network, her insight into how nonprofits can and should work and, most important, her vision will be critical to continuing the strategic changes which began under Woody Connette’s leadership.
New members of the Board include Seth Harris, Pablo Chavez and Ouida Spencer as trustees. For more information about the board including biographies for all members, visit www.ucp.org/about/board.
Steptember is a four-week event to raise awareness and support for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Beginning on September 3, teams from around the world will challenge themselves to take 10,000 steps a day and fundraise along the way— and nearly any activity, including biking, physical therapy and yoga, can be converted into steps. Find out more about the event and how you can participate on the Steptember website.
Team Hoyt will lend their “Yes You Can” attitude to rally teams participating in this year’s Steptember event. Last year, over 10,000 people worldwide participated in the challenge and raised nearly $1 million. Team Hoyt is committed to helping make this year’s event an even bigger success!
Rick Hoyt may use a wheelchair, but that has not stopped him from competing in over 1100 athletic events across the past 37 years. Together, Rick and his father Dick are known across the disability community and race circuit as Team Hoyt. They have run in 70 marathons – 32 of them being the Boston Marathon – and have competed in over 250 triathlons. After the pair’s first race in 1977, Rick said running felt like his disability disappeared. He felt free.
Rick was born in 1962 as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy– but despite these disabilities, Rick’s mind and spirit have always been strong. His family supported his quest for independence and inclusion in community, sports, education, and the workplace, culminating with his graduation from Boston University in 1993.
Dick travels the country doing corporate and community presentations, educating the public about disability awareness, and promoting the Team Hoyt motto: “Yes You Can.” Through his presentations, Dick shares his lifelong commitment to changing attitudes and educating others on the world of disabilities. We look forward to seeing this message empower Steptember affiliates, participants, and supporters to adopt the same mentality between now, the event’s conclusion on September 30th, and beyond!
“Our family is personally affected by disability and we know first-hand what perseverance can accomplish. Joining in the Steptember campaign, like a entering a marathon, is a way to show the world what you can do once you have committed to something,” said Dick Hoyt. “When asked to be a part of Stepember, Rick and I accepted right away, as this campaign aligns with the Team Hoyt mission of empowering people with disabilities”
“Dick and Rick Hoyt are the perfect ambassadors for Steptember. They truly embody their motto – “Yes You Can” – and show individuals with disabilities, their families, and the people who care about them how to ‘live a life without limits,’” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of UCP. “We are proud that they are on board to help inspire us all to take 10,000 steps a day toward an admirable goal.”
For more information about Team Hoyt and the duo’s 37 years of racing, please visit their website at www.teamhoyt.com.