Community News
Our New Employment Program for 2020

On February 27th we held an employment preparedness workshop collaborating with Social Security, Dept. of Rehab, Workability III and Disability Rights California.We had a great group of attendees who were very engaged. I was impressed by the number of questions following each presentation. The presenters had a chance to talk about their respective agency and the program that they specialize in as well as to show how they collaborate with each other. Each of us is committed to providing education that will lead to employment for those who wish to go back to work.

The opportunities for employment for an individual with a disability are far less than that of their able-bodied counterpart. The unemployment rate for persons with a disability was 8.0 percent in 2018, more than twice the rate of those with no disability which was 3.7 percent. (*Unemployed persons are those who did not have a job, were available for work, and were actively looking for a job). Individually we could all make an impact on changing this statistic but collectively we can do so in a far shorter time frame..

So join with us and be a part of this change, this movement to reduce the unemployment rate for the disability community. Not sure how? Shoot me an email and I would be happy to detail ways by which you can become involved.

Each individual voice is but a whisper, together it is a shout.


Rick Hayden
Executive Director
Our New Employment Program
Our goal with the new Employment program is to connect the person looking for gainful employment with an employer.

Step one would be for the individual to complete the Candidate Profile located on our website (see the link below). If the person needs help building a strong resume, we can provide that service or connect you with a resource that can at no cost to you. The profile is then submitted and uploaded into a secure database.

Step two will be employers registering with us to gain access to the secure database where they can search by category for all candidates that meet their criteria for employment. The employer will contact the candidate directly.

This is a valuable resource not only to the individual and the employer but also to other agencies and organizations. We will look to work with the colleges/universities in our area of service, primarily their Disabled Students Programs and Service (DSPS) department.

Looking for employment? Click the Candidate Profile. Looking to hire? Register with us by clicking on the button below to gain access to our secure database filled with candidates looking to enhance the vision of your company.
March Meet & Greet: Access Trax San Diego
Kelly and Eric were inspired to help local adaptive surfers cross the sand to the waters edge in their wheelchairs with dignity and independence. Motivated to create a user-friendly solution, the two designed numerous prototypes and tested them with the adaptive surfing community. The initial concept worked, and they have since continued to improve upon the design with the input of the adaptive surfers and other wheelchair users. Their goal to have Beach Trax available to the public has been realized in 2018 with the launch of their company, Access Trax.

We envision bringing communities together to help all gain access to any outdoor activity. Access Trax will be a leader in promoting inclusion and accessibility through product development, volunteerism, education, and advocacy. We will focus on providing innovative and cost-effective solutions for portable accessibility.
Let's Build a Community
Is community important? With organizations like ours, building community is so important, otherwise we have no purpose. We have struggled a bit on how to go about doing this, so we ramped up the frequency of our newsletter, sending them monthly. We hold monthly Meet & Greet events in San Diego and working on the Riverside area as well as the Murrieta valley. We are also in the planning phase for a couple of fun outings in 2020 designed for everyone of all ages.

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.
Did You Know That Our Website Has These 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.
Meet & Greet
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.
Interabled Couples Support Group
There are so many untold, beautiful love stories of couples in which one person has a disability and the other person does not. It comes with unique challenges, but with the right support we can happily roll and walk through life together.
Trusted Resource Directory
Finding a trusted resource today is difficult regardless of access to the web. Our directory will be comprised of companies and organizations who offer a quality product or service and have a long history of treating their customers with respect.
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.
Schedule "A" Career Fair
Save the Date: April 23, 2020 
Location: Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific – Behind Bldg. 400 on Catalina Blvd/Memorial Drive (this is outside the base)
Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) and Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific are planning the 4th Annual Career Fair for Individuals with Disabilities. 
Candidates must be Schedule A eligible, able to obtain and maintain a Secret Clearance. Pre-registration will be required and please  no walk-ins  due to the registration process.
Candidates will have a unique opportunity to speak to hiring managers and supervisors from NAVWAR (formally SPAWAR) in any of the fields below.
Possible Positions: Contracts/Procurement, Budgeting/Accounting Technician, Analyst/Logistics, Cyber Security, and Administrative Assistant. 
Targeted majors include: Engineering, Computer Science, Information Systems/IT, Business/Accounting/Finance, and Human Resources.
We Launched our New YouTube Channel
Spinal Network has launched their new YouTube channel where you will find not only instructional videos but also some very cool stories about some very cool people. Please help us reach our target of 100 subscribers.
Take a look and subscribe.
New San Diego East County Support Group
Jim Weber started the East County SCI/D Peer Support Group in April 2019 with the goal of bringing people with spinal cord injuries and diagnoses (SCI/D) from San Diego’s East County together. The group meets the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month at 12pm in the food court at Parkway Plaza.

Jim knows that through peer support, mentoring and networking, people will learn from each other, foster independence, and help those with new injuries and diagnoses ease back into being in a public setting. Getting through the social anxieties of being in public after their spinal cord injury can be a major step in resuming life in the real world. We also want to provide a safe place to socialize with their peers and to make new friends and build self-esteem.
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.

If you'd like to become one of our peer mentors, send me an email, click here Rick
Triumph Foundation's Wheelchair Sports Festival
Join us at Triumph's 9th Annual Wheelchair Sports Festival on April 25 & 26, 2020 in Santa Clarita. Triumph Foundation hosts this FREE event to introduce wheelchair sports to the community.

Announcing a new Youth Camp at the Wheelchair Sports Festival. If you are under the age of 18, use a wheelchair (or have a mobility impairment) and want to experience our event with other kids and families, sign up by emailing
You will get a free t shirt, a chaperoned tour of the event, designated time to play each sport, and have lots of FUN.
Family and friends will get to play too. Limited to 12 spots each day.
Special Loom Seeks New Home

Palomar Handweavers’ and Spinners’ Guild, in North San Diego County, would like to donate a beautiful and unique loom to a person or organization that can make good use of it. Custom made for a professional weaver who was paraplegic, it was donated to us several years ago, after he passed away. But we haven’t yet had a weaver at our Loom Barn who has benefited from its special features. So it’s time for it to move on.

Instead of foot treadles, this loom has hand-operated levers which tie up to, and raise and lower, its shafts. The levers are located to the left and right of where the weaver sits in a wheelchair or standard-height chair (see photo). Good upper body strength is needed to operate these levers.

Crafted from solid maple and approximately 60 inches in in both width and depth, this loom can weave fabric up to 42 inches wide. Its professional-quality features include 8 shafts, 3 warp beams, and worm gear brakes. Locking casters make it easy to move.
Although heavy, the loom can be transported in a pick-up truck without taking it apart. The Guild can’t ship it, but our volunteers might be able to help move it within the So Cal area. If you are close enough to visit, we would be happy to show you the loom at our wheelchair-accessible Loom Barn, on the grounds of the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum, 2040 N. Santa Fe Avenue in Vista. Please contact me if you are interested in owning this loom, know of an organization that can use it, or want to see the loom at the Barn.

Elizabeth Michel
Companies You Can Trust
Please take a few minutes to check out our Trusted Resource Directory, a place where you will find product and services from companies that we trust, and who are committed to improving the quality of life for our community.
Upcoming Events
Men's SCI Support Group at Sharp Rehab in San Diego on the third Monday of every month, 4pm - 5:30pm
East County SCI/D Support Group at Parkway Plaza Food Court in El Cajon on the
first and third Saturday of every month, 12pm - 2pm
AdaptFit - Group fitness class every Wednesday at 4pm
Adaptive Yoga at Sharp Rehab SCI gym from 4pm - 5pm every Monday
March 10th - Meet & Greet San Diego @ Sharp Rehab, 11:30am - 1pm
April 14th - Meet & Greet San Diego @ Sharp Rehab, 11:30am - 1pm
April 23rd - Schedule "A" Job Fair San Diego @ Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific
April 25th & 26th - Wheelchair Sports Festival put on by Triumph Foundation and will be held in Santa Clarita
May 12th - Meet & Greet San Diego @Sharp Rehab, 11:30am - 1pm
May/June 2020 - Picnic in the Park, a fund day for all, food and activities, vendors
August/September 2020 - Job Fair, this will be for the disability community
October 3, 2020 - SCI/D Rehab Professional Workshop, details coming soon
Spinal Network
a chapter of the United Spinal Association
Tel: 951-775-2561
Purcell International Group