When I was first injured my family became involved almost immediately. My mom sought out resources and brought in a peer mentor from AzSCIA so that I could ask questions and relate to someone. At the time I was apprehensive about it, but once we started talking and sharing it was a pivotal moment in my life. I needed someone who understood what I was going through and someone I didn’t need to be brave for.
Soon my parents signed up for family mentorship to help them navigate my new disability status and they found it hugely helpful. Later that year I began the Empowerment series which not only taught me about spinal cord injuries but introduced me to a group of individuals who served as not only mentors but became friends. I found real community and their guidance made that first year bearable. Eventually my mother joined the Board of the Association and several years later I worked there as the Community Resource Specialist.
Moving Forward and Looking Back
Now that I have moved on I can’t help but look back fondly and wonder if my life would have been different had we not sought out the Association. I would like to think I would still be where I am today, but they sure did make it easier. So I just wanted to let you guys know about a few of their programs:
- The Empowerment Class- a twelve week course with dinner and transportation provided, each class is a different topic related to paralysis.
- Peer Mentoring Program- No matter how far you are past your injury you can always request a peer mentor who can help counsel you through life changes, visit you when you’re sick or just serve as a sounding board.
- Social and Recreational Activities- Each month there are one or two fun events inspired just to get people out of the house and active. This also includes getting involved in sports like rugby, fencing, basketball, tennis, power soccer etc.
- Educational Classes- Check the calendar, there are two educational classes each month and transportation is provided
- Transportation- low cost accessible transportation 365 days a year
- Lending Closet- Books, wheelchairs, standing frames whatever you need the association probably has it check their first
- Information and Referral- Have a question or need a doctor? Call and get up to date information
- Chair Skill Classes- Twice a year they host a series of four classes that focus on wheelchair maintenance to navigating sidewalks, a great refresher course for rehab.
If you want to check them out go to www.azspinal.org or call 602-507-4209. The biggest thing I’ve learned since my injury is that you can’t get answers if you don’t ask questions so contact your local Spinal Cord Injury Association today!