Network News

October 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.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is an opportunity to educate employers, fellow employees, state legislators and those within our own community.

  • If you are employed, offer to help your employer reach out to our community when a position is available
  • If you are an employer, look at the statistics, hiring a person with a disability makes sense, you won't be sorry you did.
  • Looking to change a career, thinking of going back to school, there are many options available to you.

Don't hesitate to reach to Spinal Network if you have questions or can't find a resource, if we don't know, we'll find out. It's what we do and why we're here.


Rick Hayden
Executive Director
Walk, Roll & Stroll at Mission Beach
What a great time walking, rolling and strolling along the bay at South Shores Park. We will be there Saturday the 16th at 9:30, enjoying the fresh air, getting a little exercise (we travel at a slow pace) and great conversation. We meet over by the restrooms and boat launch.

This is open to everyone!

Hope to see you there on October 16th
Mobility Community Access Partners
Spinal Network is proud to be a part of this new and exciting group. We held our first meeting via zoom last week and it was filled with such a creative buzz. Each of the fifteen groups listed below do great things in our community individually, not try to imagine what we can do collectively.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
 “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy.
Judy Heumann is a lifelong leader of the international disability rights movement, contributing to important legislation including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. #NDEAM Spotlight
Former Sen. Tom Harkin has advocated for increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities for decades, including authoring the ADA and serving as its chief sponsor in the Senate. Today he continues his work through @HarkinAtDrake & @HarkinSummit #NDEAM Spotlight
22nd Jobtoberfest
October 13, 2021 10am - 2pm
Jobtoberfest is the largest Job Fair for San Diego County for People with disABILITIES to meet with several employers who are ready to employ jobseekers with competitive integrated jobs.

There is NO CHARGE to jobseekers for this event!

We will be using a web based platform (no software to install). Attendees will be able to meet employers and resource providers via Video/Microphones and Text.

Advance registration is highly encouraged -- we will be providing training and opportunities to test your mic/video/browsers & get familiar with the platform before the event.

Attendees who need accommodations or assistance: Please indicate during registration.

Follow us on Facebook at for up to date information.
Spinal Network's New Podcast Series will
Launch October 20th
We are still looking to come up with a catchy title for our podcast, in the meantime our first one is scheduled to be up and available October 20th. We'll be sure to get the word out on where you can watch it.

Our first guest will be Jamil DeCarli who is the Workability III coordinator for the San Diego Community College District. If you scroll down a little to our Community Partner Spotlight, you will find a detailed description of the Workability III program.
Assistive Technology Loan Closet
We've begun to schedule assessments for assistive technology, this equipment is a game changer for so many. Here is a link that will show the equipment we have in our inventory as well as additional information on the program
You can also email Rick Hayden by clicking the button below.
United Spinal Association is celebrating their 75th Anniversary and Doing It in a Big Way
United Spinal’s year-long celebration of our 75th Anniversary will highlight compelling stories of dedicated members, advocates and disability trailblazers that have supported our vision of building an inclusive world that welcomes wheelchair users and all people with disabilities.

United Spinal Association is pleased to announce that we will be hosting our virtual 75th Anniversary Gala on November 10, 2021 at 6pm EST and we invite you to be our guest as we celebrate Building an Inclusive World!

Registration is free! Please click on the Eventbrite link here to register:

Be sure to visit our Member Prize Zone and enter to win great prizes!
Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” 
This adage comes to mind when thinking of the work we do with students. WorkAbility III provides comprehensive employment services to a diverse population of job seekers with a range of employment preparation and support needs. Some have never worked before; others have worked for several years and have had several careers. Some of our students are working toward their high school diploma while others may have earned their associate degree, while still others come to us having already achieved even higher degrees of postsecondary education. Regardless of the level of education and past work history, the experience that people have with applying for, obtaining, and retaining employment can vary drastically. In order to best help our students, we must determine how well our participants know how to fish.
For example, computer literacy can significantly affect the job seeker’s ability to effectively and efficiently apply for positions. Some individuals are quite computer savvy and may be quite comfortable with submitting 5-10 applications per day, while others may have rarely touched a computer and may require significant support in order to become self-sufficient. Our dedicated staff have been known to spend hours, if needed, with an individual to help them gain the understanding and develop the skill needed to apply for positions, which can be arduous due to the length, accuracy, and level of detail needed. This is time-consuming, but once a student becomes self-sufficient, the effect is much more powerful as they will be able to conduct their job search more independently.  
Another area our students often require significant support and instruction in order to become self-sufficient is developing effective communication skills (networking, interviewing, work place etiquette). Think of the interview process: Having to sell yourself can be difficult for any job seeker, but for those who are still adjusting to their lives post-injury and will be returning to work, this can be a particularly intimidating experience. There may be long or intermittent periods of unemployment to have to explain to an employer, and possibly the need to disclose a disability (or not). Through working individually with our specialists, our students develop self-advocacy by practicing interview skills and general professional communication etiquette, often including the subjects of disability and requesting accommodations. Often times, this is the first experience individuals have with this. However, once that bridge is crossed, it is much easier to discuss in future communications related to employment.
At times our students may return to us later down the line for employment services. However, it is not uncommon for us to receive messages from former clients years later, sharing their pathway of continued success, whether it be continuing in their job or using their skills to obtain a new position. These are the phone calls we LOVE to get! This impact is ideally what we strive for: creating an investment in personal and professional development that pays off, time and time again.
Grassroots Advocacy
Throughout this year, United Spinal's advocacy team has been pushing to increase engagement and participation in advocacy efforts from our community. Our 2021 Roll on Capitol Hill had a record number of advocates participate, we've launched new advocacy programming, and we now have more than 1,100 registered advocates across all 50 states.
As we enter the fourth quarter of 2021, we want to make sure that we're finishing strong with our 75th Anniversary Advocacy Challenges. These year-long challenges for our chapters and advocates feature great prizes which will be awarded in December. If you haven't participated yet, you're in luck — there's plenty of time for you to enter and win.
Our 75th Anniversary Advocacy Challenge is aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to sign up as a United Spinal registered advocate and to send our action alerts to their members of Congress. The categories for prizes are as follows:
  • Chapter Prize: Most Advocate Registrations by Chapter Area
  • Chapter Prize: Most Action Alerts Sent by Advocates in Chapter Area
  • Advocate Prize: Random Drawing of Registered Advocate
  • Advocate Prize: Most Action Alerts Sent by Advocate

We also have our 75th Anniversary Recognition Challenge, where we are encouraging our chapters and individual advocates to reach out to your state and local officials to ask them to formally recognize United Spinal's 75th anniversary through a resolution or proclamation. United Spinal did this at the federal level this year through a bipartisan resolution that passed in the U.S. Senate in June. So far this year, chapters and advocates in six states — Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee — have done the same at the state level. We have a template for advocates to use for this purpose. The categories for prizes are as follows:
  • Chapter/Advocate Prize: State-level resolution or proclamation (state legislature or governor)
  • Chapter/Advocate Prize: Local-level resolution or proclamation (city/county government or mayor)
Let's finish this year strong as we celebrate 75 years of United Spinal! The quickest ways to participate in these challenges are to register as an advocate (if you haven't already) and to visit our Action Center to send in our action alerts.
Thanks for all you do,
Steve Lieberman
Peer Mentor Training and Program Update
from United Spinal
We will host a virtual peer mentor training in collaboration with United Spinal's Lindsey Elliott. This training will be held in either December or January depending on her availability. It will be in two parts, the first is an online course that should take about 1 hour. The second part will be live on zoom and run approximately 3 - 3.5 hours. This will not only be a valuable resource for new mentors but a great refresher course for those of us that have been trained in the past. Check future newsletters for the date and time.

United Spinal will be introducing a peer mentor newsletter in the upcoming months, if interested and you would like to be on the list to receive it, shoot me an email.
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.

Get Your Free Paralysis Resource Guide
The Paralysis Resource Guide is a one-stop handbook to help people with paralysis and their families or caregivers navigate the world of paralysis. The book is written for consumers. The topics covered include the various causes of paralysis (stroke, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, etc.) as well as various secondary conditions caused by paralysis (pain, spasticity, bladder management, etc.). Other chapters cover topics that help one live successfully with paralysis including travel, recreation and sports, home modification, signing up for federal benefits, and wheelchair selection. There are also chapters on resources for children living with paralysis, disabled veterans and caregivers.
Cure Medical Donates 10% of Sales to SCI Research
me+™ from ConvaTec Continence Care is a support program designed to help you navigate life using intermittent catheters. As a member of me+™, you have full access to several benefits:
• A team of WOC nurses and product specialists available by phone or email to answer questions and offer advice.
• Personalized product sampling helping to ensure you are using the best product for you and your cathing needs.
• The GentleCath™ Video Trainer, create your own personalized video guide with tips and advice tailored to your approach to cathing.
• me+ answers, an in-depth online resource for all your cathing questions.
• me+ community, highlighting real stories and experiences from intermittent catheter users.

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a chapter of United Spinal Association
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