Network News

September 2020
Spinal Network's mission is to support the employment and education of individuals with spinal cord injuries/diagnoses by providing the tools and community support to be successful in their work and personal lives.
How Should We Celebrate (virtually)?
Share with us ideas on how we should celebrate National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. This is your chapter after all, let's make the month fun and insightful.
Spinal Network Movie Review - Rising Phoenix
September 22nd at 12 noon
Join Us, All Are Welcome

Please find the information required to log in further down in this newsletter

As many of you know, Spinal Networks focus is on Education and Employment. We have partnered with many organizations and agencies to provide the resources necessary to achieve your dream of becoming gainfully employed. As you will see further down in this newsletter information on our new partner as well as information on our upcoming Employment Preparedness Workshop and the best part of this is that it it is all free.

I hope you are getting the chance to join us on one of our zoom get togethers. Collaborating with Richard Green and the Sharp group has created twice the opportunity as we offer a social event each week. It's worked out great and we're having a lot of fun, so much so that when we get through this pandemic, we plan on continuing this wonderful relationship. You'll find the schedule for our meetings further down in this newsletter.

If anyone needs to find resources or maybe you just want to talk, we have our peer mentors, our board of directors and our advocacy team. Check out the list of contacts under the COVID-19 section further down in the newsletter.

Nobody needs to be alone during these uncertain times


Rick Hayden
Executive Director
Spinal Network Has Partnered with and
Spinal Network has partnered with and to provide free one-on-one job mentoring, information about the Ticket to Work program, information about Medicaid buy-in programs, and access to employment benefits counseling to help persons with disabilities gain and maintain employment. Please fill out the survey by clicking on the button to the right to be matched with a free disability employment benefits mentor and counselor.
United Spinal Association’s Pathways to Employment (PTE) program supports the pursuit of new job opportunities and a successful career for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) by providing the tools and support necessary to successfully overcome barriers to gainful employment.
Our Virtual Employment Preparedness Workshop is
Scheduled for October 28th
Our 2020 Employment Preparedness Virtual Workshop will consist of three sessions with each sessions consisting of five areas of focus. These five areas are as follows:

  • Social Securities PASS program
  • Disability Rights California WIPA (Work Incentive Planning and Assistance)
  • Dept. of Rehabilitation Employment Services
  • Workability III and Connecting with the Community College system
  • Spinal Network Interview tips
The New Grassroots Advocacy Network
Change is made by the people who speak up.
That’s the most important principle of advocacy. People can believe very strongly in a principle or an idea, but unless they express it, those with the power to make that idea a reality will never know just how much support that idea has.
We at United Spinal know how important it is that every elected official – everywhere – hears from our community about our priorities, our challenges, and our perspectives on policies that affect us. That’s why we re-launched our Grassroots Advocacy Network this summer with the goal of having a critical mass of committed advocates in every congressional district in the United States.
This initiative is based on two basic principles. First, our community needs to stay engaged with our elected officials throughout the year. In order for all the good work that goes into our annual Roll on Capitol Hill to be most effective, it needs to be paired with emails and phone calls from our Grassroots Advocates to their members of Congress on issues of importance throughout the year.
Second, we know from experience that members of Congress place great value on hearing from their constituents. That is why we’re looking for individuals who are interested in sharing their stories and perspectives with staffers for their Representative and Senators as an ambassador for our community. Congressional staff will sometimes look to reach out to particular constituents to include them at official events, use their stories in speeches or at committee hearings, or ask for their perspective on how a policy they are considering would affect them. Building those kinds of relationships with Congressional offices deepens their bond with our community.
You can have just as much of an impact by sending messages through United Spinal’s Action Center and making phone calls throughout the year to your members of Congress as you could by meeting with their staff in Washington, DC. Both are incredibly important. Together, these forms of advocacy combine to provide a comprehensive outreach approach that allows United Spinal to best advocate for policies that benefit our community.
So, please consider joining the Grassroots Advocacy Network. We will send you action alerts on important issues throughout the year that we need our advocates to contact their Representatives and Senators about. The messages will be written for you – all you need to do is input your name, address, and email address and click send. We may also reach out to you if we are planning a virtual meeting with your Representative or one of your Senators. If you have any questions about this program, you can email United Spinal’s Advocacy and Policy team at
Name Our Newsletter
Currently, our newsletter is call Network News, playing off part of our chapter name, Spinal Network. But we feel it should have more pop to it. Of course it needs to in some way relate to who we are and what we do. If you'd like to get a better feel for that, head on over to, that might help shed some light. We look forward to your ideas for a new name. Did I mention that the winner will receive a Google Home Mini kit (includes light bulb).
United Spinal Association is Searching for a CEO/President
The position would require the individual to relocate to New York City where they are headquartered. If you are interested in learning more, click the button to email me and I will send the job description.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We Are Providing Additional Services and Resources or maybe you just want to talk with someone.

Contact Information and Resource Links
Bill White 310-770-7503
North County Inland, Escondido to Mira Mesa

Chelle Struve 619-316-3743
North County Coastal, Oceanside to Del Mar

Jim Weber 619-851-8633
East County

Dominick Taitano 619-289-0753
Mission Valley to Del Mar

Ania Flatau 831-224-0006
Mission Valley to Del Mar

Rick Hayden 951-775-2561
West and Southwest Riverside County

Virtual Meet Ups and Movie Reviews in September
  • Spinal Networks Movie review of "Rising Phoenix" will be on Tuesday, September 22nd at 12 noon. This movie is available on Netflix.
Meeting ID: 987 4214 4954
Password: 850088

  • Sharps SCI Support Group will be 21st from 4:00pm - 5:30pm.

If you would like more information on this group, please email Richard Green at
What Movie Would You Like to Review?
The 4th Tuesday of each month we get together on Zoom and review a movie that in some way pertains to our community. Let us know what movie we should check out and join us in a relaxed and informal setting as we share our thoughts.
Slingshot Golf, a Game for Everyone
It doesn’t matter if you are a professional golfer or a high-level quadriplegic – ANYONE CAN PLAY.
To hit the long ball a golfer or their caddie uses a hand-held slingshot and once on the green uses a putting mechanism of their choice to get the ball in the hole.

In the spinal cord injury community, a day doesn’t go by without learning of a new tool, technique or device that has an impact for a certain segment of our population. We recently discovered the concept of “Wearable Therapy” that, according to the company, helps treat the effects of neurological conditions such as disuse muscle atrophy, pain, and spasms in those with SCI. It is the brainchild of AxioBionics founder, Philip Muccio, which uses NMES electrical stimulation to repeatedly contract and relax muscles, which maintains muscle strength. By managing the contractions of the muscles, NMES can also calm erratic muscle spasms and restore a more natural state of relaxation.
One of the company’s first clients was Christopher Reeve. The system can be designed for individuals with paraplegia or complete quadriplegia and is custom-fitted as you will work one-on-one with a specialized trained expert to ensure optimal results. The company does suggest use of this system as soon after an injury as possible. For an evaluation or questions, check out the information on their web site HERE.
United Spinal Association/ Spinal Network Membership Benefits
  • Personalized Advice and Guidance
  • Peer Mentor/Support
  • Advocacy and Public Policy
  • Veterans Benefits Counseling
  • Accessibility Advocacy
  • Local Chapters such as ours
  • New Mobility Magazine (free subscription)
  • Informative and Educational Publications
  • Ongoing Educational Webinars
  • Local Meet and Greets
  • Virtual Movie Reviews
Are We Really a Community? I Believe So
Is community important? I would have to say very important right now. Spinal Network, like many others is providing resources and services to help you all get through this pandemic safely. Building community is so important, otherwise we have no purpose.So for now let's stay in tough by phone, email, text or virtual get togethers. When it is all said and done, we can resume our activities and ad in a couple of fun outings

So, who makes up a community such as ours? Our community is made up of a diverse group of people from all walks of life. There are those of us with a SCI/D who use wheelchairs for mobility, our friends and family, physical therapists, occupational therapist, recreation therapist, social workers, rehab nurses and anyone who advocates on our behalf. That's quite a powerful group of advocates if I do say so.

What are the benefits of being part of a community such as ours? The most obvious to me is making new friends. Whether we're getting together for a Meet & Greet, an educational workshop or the Interabled Couples group, it's about friendship, socialization, building a support network and being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Another benefit; we always have a good time.

How can we grow our community? Word of mouth is the most powerful, people that come out and hang with us and have a good time will tell someone else and maybe they'll come check us out and have a good time too. The proverbial snowball. Our events draw people to us and so many times, those same people come to a Meet & Greet and before they know it, they're an integral part of this community. It's certainly not lost on us that our friends who are rehab professionals, support us all of the time and every step of the way and we can't thank them enough. Well, we can, by continuing to build this community and providing great opportunities to learn about this new way of life. I want to finish off by saying that Spinal Network is not about exclusivity, it's about inclusivity. So come out and hang with us, we're a pretty fun crowd.
Our Website Has Many Areas of Interest?
Health and Wellness
Nine areas of interesting facts related to SCI/D such as caregivers, managing pain, depression and spasticity.
Peer Mentoring
Requesting a peer mentor or looking to become a peer mentor. The information is right here in one spot. We currently have eleven certified peer mentors.
Employment Preparedness
This is a very important focus for us. Many of us in the disability community want to become gainfully employed. We want off the system and to help others along their journey.
Virtual Meet & Greet Events
Our monthly Meet & Greets are a great way to connect with peers and to build your personal support network. It's also a great way to meet new friends within the SCI/D world.
Video Gallery
Our helpful video gallery has available to you, a number of videos related to SCI/D. Topics on advocacy, lifestyle, health, employment and more.
Vets First
VetsFirst is a program of United Spinal Association that assists veterans and their eligible family members in obtaining the benefits they are entitled to, deserve and need.
Looking for a Certified Peer Mentor?
Do You Want to Become a Peer Mentor?
Spinal Network has eleven certified peer mentors available to meet, listen, share their experiences as well as sharing resources and services. Whether your newly injured/diagnosed or you've been wheeling this earth for a while, or maybe your a friend, family member or rehab professional, reach out, we're here for you.

During this time of lockdown we will mentor via phone or video chat.

If you'd like to become one of our peer mentors, shoot me an email, click here Rick
Spinal Network
a chapter of the United Spinal Association
Tel: 951-775-2561
Please Support Our Sponsors
Purcell International Group