Network News

February 2021
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.
Spinal Network Movie Review - "Penguin Bloom"
February 23rd at 12 noon

Join Us, All Are Welcome
This movie can be found on Netflix

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2021 is off to a fast start with lots of change taking place and we have lots of change happening here too. Take a look at what's ahead:
  • Four Town Hall meetings, each presenting a specific topic related to employment/education and benefits.
  • Monthly employment preparedness workshop series, six modules that will better prepare you for employment.
  • Annual Job Fair for those living with paralysis
  • Expansion of our peer mentor, peer support program
  • A new Youth Transition program
  • A fun virtual 5K in June 2021
  • And a sneak peek into 2022....our first Annual Meet Up, a two day event with workshops, food, adaptive recreation, food, information on products and devices that make our lives a bit easier and......did I say food?

We have been truly blessed, our collaboration with Sharp Rehab's support group has been such a positive experience and will continue through this new year.

We have also joined in collaboration with the following agencies/organizations:
  • Social Security Administration
  • Workability III
  • Disability Rights California
  • Department of Rehabilitation
  • SPINALpedia
  • Willing to Work USA
  • United Spinal Association
  • Triumph Foundation
  • Rehabilitation Care Coordination
  • Here and Now Project

When we assemble all of these pieces, we become a valuable resource offering very impactful programs.

We look forward to seeing you in this new year, virtual at first but face to face when it is safe to do so.


Rick Hayden
Executive Director
Virtual Happy Hour
Feb. 19th at 5:30
Critters & Cocktails - bring your pets :)
Let's give this a try, Friday late afternoon (or evening anywhere west of the pacific time zone), it was a hard week and you need a bit of down time, grab a drink, bring your pet and hang out for a while. The conversation will be light and those hanging out will be the very coolest...but that goes without saying.
Building an Inclusive World
Celebrating 75 Years of Service to the SCI/D Community
As a member of United Spinal we are so honored to have you celebrate our 75th Anniversary with us! 

For 75 years, with the support of our growing community, United Spinal has dedicated itself to building an inclusive world that empowers people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) in reaching their full potential. Throughout our history, we have provided people with SCI/D valuable programs and services that maximize independence, enable successful community living, and provide opportunities to become leaders, advocates, and innovators.

United Spinal’s leadership and staff has empowered advocates as we enhance disability rights, provide the community with accessible design information, healthcare resource information, as well as peer support and other assistance to facilitate community reintegration and increased quality of life. If there is one fundamental truth we have learned over the years, it’s that we are united in our belief that all of society wins when people with disabilities have equal opportunities to pursue their dreams and interests.

Please follow us on our social media channels linked below and share your pride in being a part of United Spinal with hashtag #75YearsUnited.

Welcome to the Spinal Network Team Richard
Richard Green has joined the Spinal Network Team as Clinical Social Worker Consultant.

Richard has been a social worker at Sharp Rehabilitation Hospital in San Diego for over 35 years working with the SCI population. He is co-founder of the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation and facilitates the SCI Network group that meets twice per month using the zoom platform. Richard is the Sharp Rehab liaison with the United Spinal Association.
Looking for a 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.
Monthly Employment Preparedness Workshop Series
Module #2 set for February 10th at noon
Bill White will be presenting tips and strategies for you to better prepare yourself when searching for that perfect job. February will see module #2, a more detailed presentation on resume building.

This one hour workshop will take place on February 10th at 12 noon.

Here is the number If you will be using your phone to log in, 669 900 6833

Meeting ID: 915 2690 2393 Passcode: 274359
Our Virtual 5K Fundraiser is set for June 2021
This event is open to anyone and everyone
Our virtual 5K will take place throughout the month of June. We'll have a link to the website where you can register as an individual or a team. You will have the entire month to complete the 5K. Since it is virtual, there is no restriction on where you live or where a teammate may live. Maybe you're interested in a 10K or a 50 mile journey (you'd have 3 months to complete)

Go solo or build a team
October 2021 Job Fair for those
living with paralysis
To commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness month, Spinal Network will host a job fair for those individuals living with paralysis. We are in the planning stages, if you have an idea or suggestion on what the job fair should include, shoot me an email. We will offer a couple of break out sessions with workshops on resume building and interview tips.
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 below 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.
Check Out Our Scholarship Page
Spinal Network has put together a list of scholarships that may be of help if the next phase of your life's journey takes you to college. Check it out by clicking on the button below.
New Town Hall Meeting Series set to start
on February 17, 2021 at 12 noon
Our first Town Hall Meeting will feature Jamila DeCarli who is with the Workability III program.

The San Diego Community College WorkAbility III program provides guidance to students and helps them acquire the tools necessary to obtain successful employment. Our goal is to teach students the skills that will help them develop meaningful careers throughout their lives.
Self-Advocacy Presentation February 22nd at 4pm
What is Self-Advocacy?
Advocating for oneself is more of a learned skill than most expect, It involves being able to identify an issue or need; articulating desired action steps; listening to alternative suggestions or outright refusal; and standing firm to ensure an end result.
Conversely, advocating “is not about being bossy, nor is it about being apologetic,” However, “it is about building up a self-confidence to realize that being self-directing is in fact empowering. And whether done independently or with assistance from those trusted agents (such as family, friends, or caregivers) you have in your network, it still all comes down to your choices and your desired outcomes.”

Benefits of Self-Advocacy
1)   Being able to make your own decisions.
2)   Gaining self-confidence and self-respect.
3)   Building allies.
4)   Learning to properly express your needs to achieve goals.
5)   Experiencing teamwork.
6)   Developing conflict resolution and creative problem solving skills. 

If you'd like to hear Annie Streit, Grassroots Advocacy Manager for United Spinal, share her experiences, shoot me an email and I will put you on the email list to receive the link.
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 Review for February 2021
  • Spinal Networks Movie review of "Penguin Bloom" will be Tuesday, February 23rd at 12:00 noon.
Meeting ID: 986 4941 9944
Passcode: 482488
Phone Call In: 669 900 6833

  • Spinal Network Group will meet on the 2nd Monday of every month from 4:00pm - 5:30pm.

Please note this is a new day and time

Here is the Zoom link for February 8th

  • Sharps SCI Support Group will be on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month from 4:00pm - 5:30pm.

If you would like more information on this group, please email Richard Green at
Can $10 Make a Difference?
Absolutely it can....If we've had any impact on your life or the life of a loved one, if you feel that our vision for our community is one worth supporting, then please consider our Good Will program. This program allows a person to put the amount that they would like to donate each month or as a one time donation, it could be $5 or $25..that's the beauty of the program. If your interested then simply click the button and it will take you to the sign up. I'd like to thank you in advance for supporting Spinal Network.
Check Out Dextra from Cure Medical
Watch the short video below
Cure Dextraproprietary attributes are intended to facilitate use, increase independence, and reduce risk of infections. A Support Band enables controlled use without the need to grip the device with two hands. Tip Advancing Technology moves the pre-lubricated catheter from the 1000 ml collection bag into the body without contact. Sterile intermittent catheterization is possible without the requirement to use gloves. A Gripper Arrow facilitates advancing the catheter with each forward stroke. The catheter does not retract on back strokes. Like all Cure Medical intermittent catheters, the Cure Dextra features polished eyelets for increased comfort and is made of quality materials  – not made with DEHP*/DINP, BPA or NR-Latex.
Click the button below which will take you the Cure Medical website where you can request your free sample.
Check Out Our Video Section
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.
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Spinal Network
a chapter of United Spinal Association
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