~ AUGUST 30, 2011 ~

LIZ PERSAUD: This is Liz with the Pass It On


I have 2 o'clock eastern time, and that's our

starting time. So we're going to actually go ahead and get


It looks like we've got a few more people signing

on as we're doing a few of the introductions. And for

those of you who are joining us today, we really appreciate

you taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us.

All of us at the Pass It On Center certainly know

how busy y'all are. And that time is absolutely precious.

So we are extremely grateful that you are taking time out

of your day to join us today for this wonderful webinar

that we've got.

Today's webinar is focused on using public and

private community partnerships to expand AT reuse in your


We've got a number of wonderful speakers: Julie

Schulz from Wheelchair Recycling Program Mobility Store;

and also Helen Baker with STAR, Alabama's assistive

technology resource program.

And before we actually jump into the meat of

today's program, today's webinar, I wanted to just do a

brief overview of using some of the features within the

Pass It On Center webinar room just in case some of you

aren't familiar with it or need a refresher.

Over on the right-hand side we have a public-chat

area. And for some of you who have been on with us the

past couple of minutes, you can see that we're just typing

in, and we're saying hello, and we are responding as we're

doing sound check.

So feel free to use that area to type in any of

your questions or any of your comments that you have

throughout our webinar.

I'm actually going to type in "hello" so you can

see -- hopefully all of y'all saw that, and you can see

where it popped up.

Under the public-chat area there's a white blank

box. And if you just type your text in there and press

"Enter," it will pop up in the public-chat area. And

that's a great way to communicate with us if you do not

have a microphone and a headset.

And Tom Buckey just said "Greetings." Hello, Tom.

Thanks for joining us today. And that's a great example of

how public chat works here.

Underneath the blank white box in the public-chat

area, that's where you can see a list of today's

participants that are joining us on the webinar.

And again, thank you so much for being here with us

today. We're really excited because the Pass It On Center

webinars really and truly get everyone from all over the

world. So all of y'all can see your peers from all over

the country, all over the world here today.

And you can see that we've got our moderators

listed first. And if you scroll down underneath that, it

looks like we've got 35 participants so far today. And

we've got a great list of those joining us. So that's a

great way to keep in touch with folks.

You can send private messages to people, as well,

too. If you right click on someone's name and just click

"Send Private Message," you can send them a private message

behind the scenes.

We do promise that is a private message to them.

We promise it's not going to be publicly displayed for

everyone to see. But that's a quick way to send a note or

a quick hello to folks that you normally don't get a chance

to kind of be in the same room with and say hello, if you


If you are interested in any accessibility options,

if you go to -- over on the left-hand side at the very top

where it says "Files," "Action," "View," "Options," and

those menu options up there, if you click under "Options"

and click on "Accessibility," there's different ways that

you can configure the screen for screen readers to tell you

who is currently speaking at the time. So if any one of

y'all are interested or in need of those accessibility

options, that's the way to find it.

We do want to let you know that this webinar is

being recorded. Thank you to Kimberly Griffin, who is our

wonderful transcriptionist who really spends a lot of time

and is so detailed and thoughtful when it comes to

recording these webinars and getting these archives up for

all of you.

If y'all just give us a couple of weeks, on the

Pass It On Center webinar page you'll see that we'll have

the PowerPoint up, the transcription and the audio

recording of today's webinar. So you can definitely catch

up with us and use that for references as well.

We also wanted to let you know that this webinar is

offering credits, that we are able to offer you CEUs

through the AAC Institute.

If any of you are interested in getting CEUs,

please visit the AAC Institute website. You should see our

webinar listed, and that's the way that you will get your

certification for CEUs is directly through the AAC


They have been a little slow posting those webinars

up there. So if you have any problems, definitely get in

touch with me, and I'll put my e-mail address up there in

just a few seconds. And I'll do my best to help you with


We're also offering CRCs for today's webinar as

well. So if you are interested in getting any CRCs, you

will just send me an e-mail address -- and there's my

e-mail address, liz@passitoncenter.org -- and let me know

that you're interested in CRCs, and just give me a few

days, and I'll send you your CRC verification form.

And again, it's liz@passitoncenter.org. That's the

best way to get in touch with me.

After this webinar, we're going to throw up a link

for an evaluation. And there it is. And we can also put

that in the public-chat area.

But after the webinar, if y'all could just take

just a few minutes. We promise this is not a very long

evaluation. It shouldn't take you any more than five

minutes. But this is the way that we're able to offer

webinars to all of you and to offer credits, as well, too,

to make it a complete package, if you will.

So if all of y'all can just fill out that

evaluation at the end, that's a great way to keep us

flowing and offering credits.

The other thing that I wanted to mention when it

comes to offering credits is, if all of y'all could

actually take a minute and type in your name and the

organization that you're with in the public-chat area, that

helps us to build our roster. And again, that allows us to

offer the credits for each of these webinars.

We have another slide up here. That is our AT

reuse location database. I'm sure many of you have visited

the Pass It On Center website. And if you click on "Reuse

Locations," you'll find a map that looks just like this, a

map of the U.S.

And what it is, when you click on your state, it

lists all of the reuse programs in that state that you're

clicking on.

So we want to know, can we find you on our map?

Hopefully we can. And if not, definitely go onto the map,

create a profile, and give us all of your information.

All of that information comes to me. I look it

over. And within a few minutes it's in the database.

So that way all of your information is available

out there, and we know that this is just another way of

marketing your program so that people can get in touch with

you for equipment and any of the other types of information

that they possibly need.

So again, definitely visit our website, and be sure

to create your profile. And if you already have a profile,

make sure all the information is up-to-date. And again,

you can certainly get in touch with me if you have any

questions or run into any problems with that.

With that being said, I think we've gone over all

the details for housekeeping.

I just want to say welcome again to everyone who is

joining us today. And I'm going to now pass it on to Trish


Just want to say thank you to Trish. She is our

wonderful consultant with the Pass It On Center. She's our

educator and our writer. And she is really the brains and

the hard work behind a lot of these webinars -- my partner

in crime, if you will -- on building these webinars,

working with all the speakers and just creating these

beautiful PowerPoints that you all have access to.

So Trish, thank you again for all your hard work

today, and I'm going to release the mic for you.

Thank you, everyone.

Hey, everyone. This is Liz. Can everyone hear me

okay? Okay. Wonderful. I think Trish may be having some

technical difficulties. I'm going to release the mic.

Trish, if you can hear me, let's try that again

very quickly.

TRISH REDMON: Learning objectives. Okay. You

cannot hear me. We're losing sound. Okay. Apparently

most of you can hear me now. Is that true? Yes. Good.

Okay. We'll go forward and hope no one else has any


So today's learning objectives are to explore these

public community partnership models and to see which of the

factors are key to the success of these partnerships and

for us to consider opportunities for replication of the

models or for expansion of what you're doing by some

variation on the models we examine today.

Now, this might not be something that you attempt

immediately, but it's something worth examining.

We know that the need for AT reuse is growing

dramatically. In 2009, since this data we reported, nearly

51 million Americans under 65 is uninsured. And we know

that those numbers have grown dramatically in the last two

years as unemployment has escalated.

The Pass It On Center has a lot of initiatives

underway to explore improved sustainability for reuse


And that includes a current project to review the

experiences of the 12 model demonstration grants and to

describe those models and a variety of others for

publication and to identify other successful models for new

and expanding programs and to look for innovations that

will improve existing programs.

Today we're going to examine public private

partnerships and public private community partnerships.

PPPs are simply the delivery of services through

private entities with some government funding or some

contribution in kind.

When the partnership includes a community group, we

call it a public private community partnership. And we all

know that many reuse programs are partnerships of multiple

entities, not just two.

Why should we pursue these? Well we know that our

government resources are limited. And the reality is that

funding may diminish and that the point of need for

increased public and community involvement is now.

So we want to create partnerships to share the

allocation of risk because we know that the opportunity for

sustaining those programs improves when we do not count on

a single source of income or even the same sources of

income all the time.

And we know that sustainability is greatly improved

when we have enhanced community support for the reuse


So today we're going to examine a couple of

different models. One is that we're going to look at

Alabama, which is a state served by a variety of public

private community partnerships.

And this includes major nonprofits that provide

services to people with functional needs; a nonprofit that

you recognize and have heard of; it includes a major

faith-based ministry that's been committed to community

activities for over a hundred years; and includes a rehab

center that has partnered with an individual who himself

was injured and now uses AT and was inspired to help


We're also going to explore Wisconsin, another

state served by major public private community partnership.

And it includes the unique aspect of prison-based


And we're going to hasten to say that we're not

suggesting that everyone rush out and explore that

immediately. We'll talk about that in a minute.

Some local affiliates of major nonprofits already

engage in AT reuse in your communities. And many of you

are already partnered with these. Three examples are UCP,

Easter Seals, Goodwill.

Maybe there are affiliates of these organizations

in your community that do not engage in reuse. And if

that's the case, perhaps that's an opportunity for you to

talk to them about reuse, to see if it's a logical

extension of their services, and to determine how you might

partner with them.

Prison-based refurbishing sounds really unusual.

But Joni and Friends, which you may know as Wheels for the

World, is a Christian ministry that has trained inmates in

16 states to refurbish wheelchairs. But nearly all of

those wheelchairs go to developing nations. And that's not

a bad thing, but it just poses the question about, is that

a resource?

Now, in exploring this, I discovered that the Texas

Department of Corrections actually uses work programs to

refurbish computers for its public school systems.

And very recently Bridge Disability Ministries in

Bellevue, Washington, trained people in a state

correctional facility to refurbish durable medical

equipment for their internal use.

All prisons are required to provide medical care

for the inmates. And so, after being trained for their own

use to save money internally, they had agreed that they

would expand to external reuse later.

And I understand, in talking to Jack Staudt, that

that hasn't occurred yet, but that's something to hope for

in the future.

Are prison partnerships a reuse opportunity? Well,

here's a very sad fact: 1.4 million people in America are

in state prisons, and nearly another quarter million are in

federal prisons.

So that is something worth examining on a lot of

levels. And the Pass It On Center is going to explore that

further and get back to you.

But today we'll just want to hear about a

longstanding working example and learn about some of the

special challenges in that successful partnership.

The first person who is going to speak to us is

Helen Baker, who is executive director of STAR, which is

Alabama's Assistive Technology Program. And the second

person is Julie Schulz, who is executive director of the

Mobility Store, which used to be known as the Wheelchair

Recycling Program, which serves the State of Wisconsin.

But first we're going to have Helen walk us through

how STAR serves the State of Alabama through a network of

related partnerships.


HELEN BAKER: Thank you, Trish.

First I would just like to say, glad to be sharing

this information with everyone. I hope that something that

I share today will help others. And I'm sure there are

other AT Act programs that are doing similar things within

their state.

I want to also extend my prayers and thoughts to

all the people who've been affected by Hurricane Irene.

And I hope everyone was safe and made it through okay.

Secondly, I would like to thank FODAC for sending a

lot of reused equipment over to Alabama during the time, I

think April 27th, when we had the tornadoes that came

through Alabama.

So it was another example of how we share with each

other, neighboring states helping each other out. So

really appreciate that.

Moving on, just to -- if y'all have a question for

me, I'm going to try to watch the public-chat room. And

Trish might be able to throw up a flag or something to let

me know if someone has a question.

But I will certainly entertain those at the very

end of the presentation. But if you just have a burning

question before we move on, just let me know.

One of the reasons why I wanted to put this

information up here to show Alabama's vulnerable

population, to show how many people we have uninsured. And

of course we know that number has grown. It's 1.2 million

for 2007 and '08.

And with unemployment rate increasing. About two

weeks ago we had about 10 percent unemployment rate here in

Alabama, which is high even compared to the national


We have 31.9 percent of those individuals under 65

are uninsured. We have a below-poverty-level rate here of

17.5 percent compared to 14.3 percent of the poverty level

in the United States.

I put some numbers up here just to show you how

many people are receiving SSDI in Alabama and SSI. But

there's also another table that will show people that are

receiving combined benefits. So I don't have that to show

as well. So this is not the complete and composite number.

Next slide. Next slide, please.

Okay. Just to give you an idea of Alabama's

partnerships and how we are located strategically

throughout the state.

We didn't plan this, but as you can see, we're

covered from north to south, and we're very fortunate to

have gotten started by having a connection with the Alabama

Department of Rehabilitation Services. They are our lead


And there are some community-based programs that

are already established through the Alabama Department of

Rehabilitation Services, which has made it very easy and

kind of a natural fit for the AT reuse partnerships.

And as you can see, the earliest one was started in

1997. And we have moved on -- okay. I was just looking at

-- someone said they can't see the video.

But just moving on from 1997 to 1999, 2002, 2007

and then 2009 and 2010. So we've had just three centers

really to just pop up within the last few years, two

actually within the last year and a half.

And Birmingham Baptist Association is our ReMEDy

program, 2010. It's our first faith-based organization.

And we'll talk a little bit about that.

But I just wanted to put this map up just to show

you how strategically they're located throughout the state

and some areas that we're going to be looking at for


Next slide.

First of all, I want to talk to you about some of

the differences and uniqueness some of the programs that we

have. And I also want to let you know that we have success

stories and pictures.

And one of the things that I'm requiring from our

partnerships, for them to send in success stories and

pictures. Because, as you know, pictures tell your


So I just -- with each of my programs that I'm

going to talk about, I have displayed a couple of pictures

just so you can see some of the users.

But our Waste Not Program is one that is in North

Alabama, and it is our partnership with UCP Huntsville and

the Tennessee Valley.

It started out as a loan program, which is an

assistive technology loan program; and then it expanded to

refurbishing or reuse program.

One of the unique features this had was a physical

therapist and an occupational therapist on staff. And they

have one part-time person for the reuse position.

And this person shares a position with UCP as

the -- I think it's an intake coordinator. And this is a

plus for us because she gets to see all of the consumers,

parents that come into the facility.

And they ask about our program, and she shares

information. And also we get referrals and donations by

having this relationship and this type of communication

with the consumers for United Cerebral Palsy.

It is an urban center, of course, located in

Huntsville, Alabama. It's technology oriented with

engineers, military, the space program. But it's also

surrounded by rural, low-income population as well.

And when I asked -- one thing that I did is I sent

each of the partners a series of questions. And I just

asked them what did they benefit from having a reuse

program. And on each program I'll tell you what they all

said, not all of the responses.

But the administrator with the UCP program said

that the reuse program helped to reach individuals, not

served through the traditional programs. And it also helps

them serve the adults over 19. And of course it reaches

out into the rural areas.

Our Mobile reuse program started in 1997. And

actually this was our first reuse program. And this one is

interesting in how it started because Mobile had received

some funds to start a medical equipment program where they

actually purchase medical equipment to give to people in

their area.

Mobile is on the coast of Alabama and the Florida

panhandle area. And they would actually purchase the

equipment new and give it to the consumers.

But at one point in time, the equipment started to

come back. And they didn't know what to do with the

equipment. So we started the reuse program that way.

We have two part-time staff people there, a

technician. And at one point in time we had a rehab

engineer for consults, evaluation. Any fitting and repair

kinds of problems or needs that were required, this person

would be available to us. And also having a connection

with the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Another plus, donations are delivered through the

Goodwill trucks. I think they have some 19 or 20 stores in

the network.

And we also utilize ADRS satellite offices. We

have 21 of those across the state. So we'll talk a little

bit more about how we use them to transport some of the

equipment from one end of the state to the other. You

know, that's what is portable and available to transport.

Also, the administrator with the Mobile reuse

program told us that the AT reuse adds to their public

awareness; it helps them to create a strong community with

health care facilities, social services organizations,

schools and hospitals, et cetera.

Next slide, Trish.

Our 3-R Project, this is located in Anniston,

central Alabama, north central. It's a program of our

Opportunity Center, and it's supported by ADRS, CRS,

Alabama Easter Seals, United Way, and a local community


One unique thing about this program. It started in

1999. They approached their local -- it's called the

Calhoun County Community Foundation and received for

several years a large sum of money to sustain the program.

But one of the things that you might need to be

cautious about is, when you're applying for local

foundation funding, there may be some stipulations as to

serving the people within that locale first before reaching

out into other areas. And this is what happened with the

Calhoun Community Foundation.

But the 3-R Project -- and I'll tell you what 3-R

stands for. It's called reclaim, refurbish, and reuse. So

that's the name of the 3-R Project.

Between the funding that it received from ADRS, the

STAR funding and the community foundation, they have grown

to be the largest reuse program in the State of Alabama.

And you will see their stats a little later.

This is a full-time reuse center operated five days

a week. Right now we've cut back to four days because of

the economy. But staff is available every day of the week.

They just have to take turns on who will be available and

who's not.

But we have a full-time technician and a full-time

program coordinator that handles all of the requests and


The unique thing about this is also they receive a

lot of requests from ADRS, the State of Alabama Independent

Living Program, their Homebound Program, the Alabama Head

Injury Foundation, and many health care facilities.

The community partner purchased a building that

included adequate space for it to become a self-contained

program, a huge warehouse for storage. And they also

purchased a box truck with a hydraulic lift for pickup and

deliveries. So this was quite an advantage for us to have

a connection with this particular community program.

The next program is the CARE Project. And this is

located here in the capital city, Montgomery, with Easter

Seals Central Alabama.

Easter Seals has a 50-year history of serving the

community, which is an added plus. And the administrator

just told us that it was just a natural fit. So it was no

problem to get this program started here.

It took a while. I didn't understand that. But I

was determined to make sure that we had one here in the

State of Alabama, as I was doing this on a haphazard basis

and holding it in like storage space here in the Montgomery

office, but we never had this program to come to fruition

until actually 2008.

Another advantage of connecting with the Easter

Seals Central Alabama facility community-based programs is

because we at one time were housed with Easter Seals, and

they are our fiscal agent.

They cut our paychecks and so forth. So we had a

nice, good relationship with the staff there as well. The

space was provided, and they also provided one full-time

staff to operate this program.

Additionally, they went after some funding from one

of the county community foundations who provided just a

small amount of funding to advertise the program in terms

of putting together brochures and flyers so that we could

distribute those into the community.

So just by partnering with a lot of these

community-based programs, you get a lot of other perks that

you can either piggyback on or just become infused into

that system.

This center, of course, like I said, located within

the state capital city. And we serve about a 12-county

area, predominately rural. And there's a great need for us

to, of course, provide more services to those rural areas.

The administrator there provided us with this data

that she had received. They had received 33 percent

increase in devices alone from 2009 to 2011. And keep in

mind this program was implemented in 2008.

It also increased the demand for specialized

devices, especially for children.

And as you can see, a couple of slides of our


Next slide.

Back to question -- I'm sorry -- 3 and 4? Hello?

Can anyone hear me? Okay. All right. I got the go-ahead

to proceed.

Our next program is called ReMEDy. And it's

interesting how we came up with this title. Back in 2007

we had an organization to contact us to start -- well,

began to ask questions as to why there was not a program in

the Birmingham area, which is really the largest city in

Alabama. I'm sure most of you know about Birmingham's


But we have the 3-R Project, which is in

Anniston -- it's a couple of counties over -- that was

serving that particular area. But people from Birmingham

were going to Anniston to get equipment because it was the

nearest location.

And finally a young lady from the Birmingham

Baptist Association decided that they wanted to have an

organization or center in the Birmingham area.

So when they approached the staff at the 3-R

Project in Anniston as to who to contact, how do we get

started, and naturally she sent that individual to me.

And we met a couple of times and talked about how

we would want to explore starting a program in the

Birmingham area.

And low and behold, into 2009 we put everything to

work, meeting with the president of BBA association here in


And as you can see, the BBA has a history of

177 years of service through the Baptist health system.

They also have a conglomerate of over 135 churches.

And we're definitely going to pursue just every

route that we can to utilize this faith-based organization

and its affiliates to sustain this program.

We think that it can become -- and I'm sure it will

become -- the largest program in the state with all those

resources, you know, affiliated.

This program is also housed on the west side of

Birmingham, which is an impoverished area in much need of

economic development. It has a large number of seniors and

low-income families.

So we thought it would be ideal just to put it in

this location. And the awareness of it has been heightened

tremendously by having the affiliation with the BBA.

They're also allowing us to utilize -- of course

all the programs are -- the link to their website, which

helps also with the public awareness.

Through the faith-based organization, we also serve

consumers in other ways. They will come to us if we have

to refer them for maybe some spiritual or mental kinds of

services, mental health services. We can provide those

referrals as well.

Next slide.

The R.E.A.L. Project. Now, how we came up with the

R.E.A.L. Project is -- this is very interesting -- but this

is the project that Trish alluded to earlier where we

have -- the program manager has a disability. He's

paraplegic, and he's very sensitive to the needs of


But what happened to him, he was in school and had

an accident. And he and his buddies -- he was a very

active, outgoing, young man. And he was with a group that

had formed a band. And they decided to have what they

called the summer June Jams.

And so they were sensitive to the program manager's

need, having recently developed a disability. So they

decided they were going to raise some funds because they

wanted to give back to the community and on behalf of the

person with the disability.

So when they raised the money, they did not know

what to do with the money. And they thought, Well, we need

to contact some people and see how we can best put this to


His first thought was that he wanted to build some

type of physical fitness program for people with


Then he got wind of a community-based rehab program

in Dothan, Alabama, which is southeast Alabama. And this

is our latest program, the very last one implemented in

October 2010.

And they wanted to bring us all together to meet.

So the administrator of the rehab center at that time

contacted me and said, "Can you come and give a

presentation to this group, this foundation and family

members and some friends, and tell us what you do and

how -- if they can partner with us to start some type of

program for people with disabilities?"

So I proceeded down, and I gave the presentation.

They were all excited about it and had the money ready to


The rehab center said, "Fine. We have the space.

We have the staff. And we'll work with the center

manager," who was disabled, "to get the program started.

We'll provide him with volunteers, just whatever he needs

to get started."

And they just asked, "What will you provide?" So

naturally they counted on us for the training and the

development of all the forms that were needed.

And in addition to the training and the forms, we

helped them fill out the forms as well and any kind of

technical assistance that they needed with the database for

capturing all the data that we needed.

So with that in mind, they were ready to go. The

rehab center provided them with a van to pick up and

deliver equipment.

They have partnerships with vocational rehab

services, children's rehab services, and other community

and civic organizations. They are very, very well known

with the Rotary and civic town clubs in the area.

Next slide.

Okay. Basically when you are ready to talk to

these organizations or community-based programs, you would

need to have a Memorandum of Agreement. I'm sure most of

you are familiar with that. And that is negotiated with

each community partner.

The MOA of course you know will specify the terms

and the conditions, the roles and responsibilities for what

each party will provide and vice versa.

And at the end you will agree upon a budget to

use -- how you're going to use the funds, the reuse funds.

And Liz is going to post in the knowledge base an

example of a Memorandum of Agreement. So you can just take

a look at one that we use here in Alabama.

We also -- she will also have a budget for you to

look at, a sample budget.

And in this budget you may include things like

salary, show how you're going to pay either a portion of

the salaries or a contract laborer; equipment and tools;

repair expenses; other office expenses; rental space;

mileage, et cetera.

ADRS support for community partners. Now, ADRS,

like I said, is our lead agency for the STAR program as

well. They provide the financial support, of course,

through the STAR funds.

And ADRS also provides some funding to a couple of

our centers. Not all of them, but some of them have

funding through ADRS.

Hopefully, as long as we're receiving the funding,

federal funds, the programs will be there. But Trish and I

talked a little bit.

We're still hopeful that, with the connections we

have with our community-based partners, that our programs

will probably -- they may suffer a little bit, but we think

they will be sustained even if federal funding disappears.

Another thing that ADRS supports for us is

accounting and IT support. Being the AT Act program housed

under ADRS, the accounting department takes care of and

reconciles all of the resources that come from our partners

in the community. And of course they provide technology or

IT support for the staff here.

We also get a lot of publicity through the

promotion and public awareness of our programs through VR,

children's rehab services, public health, public education,

senior services, ADRS.

We provide -- it's kind of a win-win situation as

far as referrals. We get referrals and donations by being

affiliated with ADRS. They are consumer-based. And people

that come for services here are also given information

about what we do here at STAR.

And then we provide -- when we get a referral, and

we find that they need to be in the program for voc rehab

or children's rehab or the deaf/blind services, then we

make that referral to that particular entity.

We also are able to participate in a lot of

training programs that are provided through ADRS in terms

of best practices. There may be Medicaid-related-type

training that we need to be aware of, other training

regarding assistive technology, and programs connected to


Community partners. Now, this is what we ask of

community partners. "How have you all benefited from the

services? And what do they do for us, the reuse programs?"

And the nonprofit partners provide community

support through fundraising, sustainability and equipment


For instance, we're trying right now to come up

with ways to raise funds to sustain some of the programs.

And through our advisory council we have members from

nonprofit organizations attending, so they know of our


But we cannot mix federal dollars with state or

fundraisers-type money. So naturally we're having to go

through nonprofits to do this. So we are in the process of

exploring that. And they are a good venue for having

fundraising-type activities.

Their existing facilities that share with us would

not have been available if we had not connected to them.

We would not have had the space, some of the equipment and

the staff because our funds would not have allowed for this

type of program operation.

It increases public awareness of the STAR program

and the reuse programs through their websites, Facebook and

any print media.

The programs make referrals to ADRS and other

agencies for services and often feel specific needs for

ADRS customers.

Their relationships with some of the vendors help

to increase referrals and donations.

And one of the things we found is that reuse

programs help to promote their mission of assisting

individuals with disabilities to overcome barriers and lead

and maintain healthy and productive lives.

So by having the reuse programs there and it helps

them to accomplish their mission, it's a win-win situation.

The reuse benefits to the partners. This is what

we provide.

Reuse programs bring additional community attention

and support to the other services of the partner

organizations. The reuse program's visitors and equipment

donors learn more about what the organization does for the


Let's say, for an example, of Easter Seals Central

Alabama. They provide speech therapy. They have a program

to provide services to children with autism, PT, computer


Some of the visitors coming to the center for reuse

equipment may not know that. So by coming to a

community-based program facility, they are made more aware

of those programs.

Sometimes the staff may tell them, and sometimes

they may just see them as they enter the building, and they

can read the marquee telling them about the different

services that are available. But of course a lot of these

facilities have been in the community for several years.

Equipment donors represent potential financial

supporters. Sometimes they are given a pledge envelope,

and monies come back. At the end of the year, it adds up.

It may not be much, but a few thousand dollars does help.

Collaboration among partners. It's a new

initiative, and this is what STAR is planning to do with

the reuse centers, which is start a subcommittee, which we

have, that meet with our regular advisory council meeting

on a quarterly basis.

But this network will provide a network and support

system for each of the reuse centers. And that's what we

don't have in place right now on a very strong level. But

we hope that we will find ways to increase the donations,

especially if we have items that are requested a lot that

we cannot fill, and we need to network to find out how can

we meet those needs.

They can problem solve and share information; seek

improvements and best practices; generate new marketing

ideas, new marketing venues; assist with sustainability

efforts; and of course, as I said, participate in the STAR

advisory council efforts as well.

Current needs identified by our partners. And of

course right now STAR is a little bit behind the times in

terms of reporting data. But that's going to change.

They want our training manual, of course, to be

improved. We really tried this training manual with our

Birmingham-faith-based organization. We didn't have a

training manual in place, per se. But now with the

expansion, we're working to tweak that.

Our inventory tracking system of course is outdated

right now. We'll show you in a minute how we compile and

distribute that and disseminate that information.

But our goals right now are to partner with the

AT4ALL in Nebraska in early fall of this year so that we

can share our information in realtime.

Also the partners say that they need additional

expertise in gaining financial support to sustain the

programs -- which we're all talking about diversification,

diversify, diversify -- and some new marketing venues.

This is how we share our inventory currently, but

as I say, it's going to change. The reuse centers, all six

of them, electronically submit their inventory to us on a

monthly basis. The STAR office, we aggregate the

information into an Excel spreadsheet. We sort it by

device type and category.

The list is posted on the website and e-mailed to

people on our Listserv. It's also put in alternate format,

if requested. It's mailed to some of our consumers who

don't have computers. And it's disseminated via

conferences, churches, health care facilities. And any

speaking engagements that we have, we just share the


Our most requested device types, as you can see

here on the pie chart, is mobility, seating, positioning,

of course. That's our greatest need, wheelchairs and

things of that nature.

Second followed by daily living. We have a lot of

hospital beds and shower chairs and benches, health and

hygiene types of things.

Then followed by the hearing and a few computers.

We're going to get into a computer reuse model that we're

working on currently.

This is one chart just to show you our data for

2010. And this is including five of our programs. We have

not added the data for the sixth program, which is the

R.E.A.L. Project. That will be with the 2011 data.

But as you can see: devices donated was 1,680;

devices reassigned was 1,828; the value of the equipment if

they had bought it new was over $1,406,283. And that

number has been growing consistently every year.

We also are unique here in that we capture data for

ADRS. That's something that we wanted to share with them

to show how many referrals we're getting from our lead


So we received last year 224 referrals. And we

filled 179 of that 224. And our savings to ADRS, as you

can see, was $160,295. And the total number of requests

that we received all together was 2,796. At one point in

time we had received over 3,000 requests.

So as you can see, we're at least about half of

that -- more than half of reassigning or filling those


Okay. I guess I'm at the end of my presentation.

Are there any questions for me? I don't know if I should

take them now, or we will take them at the end.

What do you think, Trish?

LIZ PERSAUD: Hey, everyone. This is Liz. Is my

sound coming through okay? Okay. Wonderful.

It looks like we're just having some sound problems

today, but we appreciate all of y'all sticking with us.

We're going to go ahead and take some questions for

Helen very quickly, so that way we can get Julie on and

talk a little bit about what she's got going on.

And, Helen, I know that there was a question

earlier when your sound was lost. And the question is, it

says: "Does 3-R Project charge for devices?" So does the

3-R Project charge for devices? And I'm going to release

the mic for you now.

For some reason it looks like Helen's sound is not

coming through.

So, Helen, if you want to go ahead and type your

answer into the public-chat area, that may be the best way

to answer that question. And then we can go ahead and let

Julie continue with her or start her part.

So if that works for you, Helen, just go ahead and

type in the response into the public-chat area, and we can

share that as well.

There's also another question for you: "What

qualifications do staff have that work in the reuse


So let me try releasing the mic for you, Helen, one

more time.

HELEN BAKER: Can you hear me now? Okay. The

first question -- hopefully you can hear me -- no, we do

not charge for devices.

Devices are donated by private individuals,

different entities and businesses within the state. We get

those devices and sanitize them, refurbish them. And we

give them back to consumers free of charge. And they also

can keep the devices for as long as needed.

We do not have a fee-for-service program in place

here. Our faith-based organization is exploring that at

the time, but we do not charge for any of our devices.

As far as qualifications for the staff, for some of

our coordinators, they may have an associate degree or

something maybe in the area of -- social services related

or dealing with the public.

But there are no requirements that we have in terms

of having expertise, other than some of the technicians

that are hired.

Our part-time technician, full-time technician just

comes naturally with some skills. And they consult with a

lot of the vendors in the area on those repairs that they

cannot make on their own.

But I'll be happy to provide anyone with a

résumé -- I shouldn't say résumé -- job description that we

use when we are seeking employees.

But for the most part these people come as a

natural fit already through our community-based partners.

I hope that helps.

TRISH REDMON: Thank you so much, Helen. That was

a wonderful presentation. Lots of great information about

the network.

Now we're going to move on to Julie Schulz from the

Mobility Store to talk about the unique model that she has

had in place for some years.


JULIE SCHULZ: Thank you. Good afternoon,


I am here representing the Wheelchair Recycling

Mobility Store. And as was mentioned earlier, the program

was previously known just simply as the Wheelchair

Recycling Program.

But recently, through a full-blown marketing

effort, the board of directors decided to lean toward a

broader view of the organization and adopted the Mobility

Store tag.

So that having been said, I guess a few quick

housekeeping things. I just hope that, from what we talk

about today, that you get some element, some piece that

might benefit your organization as I talk about the model

that we use here.

If you've got questions, interject them as they

occur to you.

The Wheelchair Recycling Program Mobility Store is

a 501(c)3 private, independent, nonprofit. And we have

been available to consumers needing DME equipment for many

years in Wisconsin, well over 23 years.

The organization -- next slide -- is available to

fill the following needs in our state: We offer affordable

DME equipment to individuals who are elderly or disabled,

and we prevent waste going into the landfills, and we offer

an inmate work training program that helps them develop

skills with the benefit of reducing recidivism.

And we'll talk about that in a little bit more

detail later as to what the model is with our partner.

The program began in 1988, and it was a grassroots

effort, a small group of volunteers who collected DME

equipment across the State of Wisconsin and sent it off to


When that hit the papers -- and it was a very large

article -- there was just a huge outcry from the people

living in the state saying, "What about me? Can you help


And from there this small group of volunteers

continued to grow, developing their own model of how they

best wanted to rehab durable medical equipment with some

primary focus to manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, and

some scooters.

So as that grew, we got quite a bit of interest

from our then governor, Tommy Thompson. And he became

involved in funding the organization initially through a

DNR initiative.

So through our Department of Natural Resources, he

introduced a full funding model and worked with the

volunteers to further flush out how the organization could

expand and grow.

In 2001, the evolution of the organization led it

to a conversation with the Department of Corrections

through then a member of the board of directors of the

Wheelchair Recycling Program.

They had one to two inmates who spent some time

rehabbing wheelchairs for wheelchair recycling. But the

volume of the work was still being produced by the

volunteers in a warehouse location.

In 2003 when the DNR funding was pulled completely

from the picture, it forced a complete redevelopment of the


And while you would think that, in 2003 they put

together a responsive plan and put their ducks in order and

knew how to save this really critical nonprofit to our

state, it floundered for many years.

They lost volunteers. They diminished the

rehabbing they were doing. And it hung on at a bare

minimum with then the majority of the rehabbing coming from

the inmate time in the prison.

In 2008 the board of directors was facing a

critical decision as to whether or not they were going to

close the organization, or if they were going to look to

develop a new model.

They opted to a last effort to development of a

best practice and what they termed a true business plan.

That business plan incorporated, after it was

completed, and introduced the idea of, where all equipment

previously was given away, this would be a fee-for-service

business plan and include, in their vision, actually

expansion in order to generate enough revenue to have a

viable organization.

So having done that, I actually came onto the

organization about three years ago after the business plan

had been developed and some attempts had been made to

implement it and without any real success.

One of the key reasons that was the case was

because there was still a stronghold to the past. After

15, 20 years, it was very difficult for even the board and

especially the staff to make that transition to a

fee-for-service model.

And as I came on, essentially what we did was take

it back down to the rafters and the joists and rebuild it.

In doing that we were successful in introducing the model

throughout the State of Wisconsin.

We opened a new store in Milwaukee, which is our

population base for Wisconsin. We shut down our internal

volunteer rehabbing in favor of expanding and increasing

our partnership and agreement with the Department of


I do want to interject one of the reasons that we

actually made the decision to shut down the model --

volunteer model in Wisconsin was based on the fact that we

had really very little control over the process in terms of

quality control.

And going to a fee-for-service model, some of the

key elements I'll explain further really required us to

(audio skipped) . . . setting of standards.

And that included not just how we rehabbed

equipment, but how we sanitized equipment, how we

transported, how we secured, all of those elements.

As we looked to standardizing our rehabbing of

equipment, I made contact with and we are now strong

partners with the Invacare Corporation.

Our staff are trained in their model for rehab and

repair, as are the inmates and the supervisors of the

inmates within the state prison system.

When we look to standard of sanitization, we have

to consider all elements. And that covers what we term our

flow of equipment. So the separation of donated equipment

from clean equipment within our different locations.

So we have a Madison store and a Milwaukee store.

And donations are accepted in each. And it required a

separation and a clear flow, including taping and signage

and things like that, that helped us insure to our

customers that what they were getting out from the prison

met a certain level of sanitization.

And we went about devising as well what that

standard was: what products we would use, what equipment

we would use, and that type of thing.

From that point, one of the other key pieces we

redeveloped was having a retail environment.

Where previously you might walk through the door,

and the majority of our finished area was offices and staff

functioning more in a social service type of model, we

eliminated that and set up shelving and displays and

brought forward a selection of all of the different pieces

of DME equipment we had.

So as people came to the door, they could see

options, and we could better discuss what options were.

Another key piece in our partnership and model for

us relates to another partner, which is our KING Veterans

home. They operate a wheelchair repair program, and that

program serves as an alternate site for rehabbing and

delivery of equipment.

And I'll explain a little bit more, when we get

into security, the significance of that.

Obviously one of the key elements for us in

succeeding is ensuring that you have what you need. And

that's our equipment flow.

We are seeing equipment coming from all over the

state from a variety of partners, including individuals and

our DME suppliers, who we partner with very closely,

depending on the provider; our nursing homes, clinics,


We get donations from our Goodwill store,

St. Vincent. Those kind of faith-based operations as well

collect and provide us equipment.

Let's talk a little bit about who we serve. The

majority of our clients are disabled and/or elderly and

over the age of 60. We are -- right now have a very

concerted effort to expanding and increasing our services

to youth.

Some of the key reasons we hear that people are

choosing us, as we've talked about and everyone is acutely

aware, is the uninsured, the underinsured factor for

people, that they have coverages, but they're denied. They

find that getting the equipment from us is still well below

a co-pay that they might have to pay.

Often, and I would say quite probably, the leading

reason we see people coming to us is for replacement of

equipment or backup of equipment.

And when someone is looking at not being able to

get equipment but every five years, oftentimes there is an

additional need that they have.

We also know that people choose us because we don't

put a lot of -- we call it card-carrying requirements to

getting equipment from us.

If you or someone who is a family member or someone

who is coming in to get equipment for you -- if there's a

perceived need, that's how we qualify eligibility.

We also know that our close partnerships with other

agencies like National MS and CP Inc. and our state loan

program are key elements in people coming in because they

know that we will partner with and assist them in

application to and connecting to different resources that

might help pay for some or all of their equipment.

We also, when I started three years ago, expanded

our funding internally and introduced a program called

Equipment Advanced Fund where I got grant dollars given to

us. It's a simple program, straightforward.

We allow individuals to get the equipment that they

need and make small payments based on their income.

There's no finance charge, no fees.

It's really what we think about and talk about

being kind of a handshake between us and the individual

with the understanding that, if they don't repay it, then

the money is not there in the fund for the next individual.

This fund was really easy to set up, largely

because the grant -- the foundations and others, including

the state of Wisconsin, who I supported, could really see

the value in putting money into this based on a perpetuity

type of philosophy that the dollars don't go away; they're

not exhausted; that they're there and being managed.

Next slide.

So as a result, we have seen a continued growth and

expansion and demand for our services. We see a great

demand for mobility items, as you can see by the graphs,

strong demand for daily living.

The estimated value of our equipment that we -- in

terms of the retail side of it, value that we sold last

year, we estimated about $1.1 million. And you can see the

revenue generated in comparison.

We don't get too far -- you'll see on the bottom

there, 166 tons of equipment kept out of landfills from our

roots. So there is a strong tie in our state to the

environmental cause and the environmental need for what we


And to be honest with you, that is an unmet or

unrealized opportunity, I think, for WRP. In the past

three years as we've righted the ship, it's become really

clear that, in terms of diversifying our funding, while we

self-generate most of our revenue -- we've got some

foundation dollars and some other dollars, a small amount

of state money -- we have not yet tapped into the

opportunity that there is related to environmental --

foundations that are sensitive to environmental priorities.

In terms of the business itself, it really -- and I

use this phrase when I talk to people -- we're a little


And what I mean by that is our donated equipment

becomes the opportunity to have a training work program.

In this case, that relates to our inmates. And that

equipment, in turn, meets huge unmet needs in our state.

And the small amount of money that we get from that volume

helps keep the cycle going, the lights on, the doors open.

So the first thing we needed to do was really

evaluate and ensure that we have a sufficient flow of

viable equipment. And that requires us to take not just

the really nice high-end pieces; we have to have a certain

volume of items that we identify as scrap, raw materials.

Realistically what we needed to do to begin, just

in looking at this volume and diversity, was to evaluate

what our raw materials were going to be. And it was

decided that we would expand upon that.

And we don't just do wheelchairs. We do -- the

prison rehab's rollators, scooters, power wheelchairs.

Just about any piece of equipment that might have a braking

mechanism they we'll take on and rehab.

Another key piece of success for us was in managing

the warehouse and vehicle management. We run a 16-foot

panel truck. And vehicle maintenance is one of our top

items and tough to tell where warehouse management is

because they flip flop in terms of our number one business

operational priorities.

So once we determined the racking and the storage

and all of those things, we really needed to then take it

to the next step and make sure that we knew what our

inventory was.

To do that, to make that happen, what I did was

used a FileMaker platform. And we developed a complete

database that integrates and serves as our sales receipts.

It can link to our web. And it tracks our raw materials as


So I know that I have this equipment sitting and

waiting with these features and factors to it. So we might

pull that based on a request for an individual or pull

three pieces, because it may take that many. And then

those can be shipped through.

Another key element that we identified as we looked

at these basic business practices was we wanted to be ahead

of the game on the sanitization piece.

While there's no standard set for restored DME,

it's highly likely, as we see it expanding and as we became

more prominent and well known in the state, that that was

going to be questioned.

So as I said before, we determined what we were

using, how we were using it, including introducing a

HUBSCRUB in both the institution as well as in-house at


The other piece of equipment that -- a large volume

of bath equipment is also processed through our prison.

Our cleaning supplies are all broad spectrum and the

HUBSCRUB actually does rust inhibiting and drying and

things like that.

Probably, without specific in-kind services that we

receive, we wouldn't be at a balanced budget. Our in-kind

services include accounting, IT. And those are provided by

our independent living center in the Milwaukee area. We

also have donated space from Milwaukee County for storing

of excess inventory.

And at this point in time the prison system, there

is no reimbursement. That is also an in-kind service.

The relationship that we have with the prison, I

guess I want to touch real briefly and just say that the

way this is set up with them really requires, at the heart

of it, security.

So you won't hear me talk about what prisons or

when we go or any of those things. Most of that policy and

procedure is dictated by the Department of Corrections.

Our staff must meet their security clearances.

We run multiple locations, so there's not

predictability, so contraband can't be introduced and

predicted where it will be and accessible to an inmate.

So there are a few factors that we have to adhere

to. Beyond that, the overall operations and this

partnership was an absolute joint project.

We sat down. We looked at our needs. We looked at

their needs. We developed -- when we developed the

database, we ensured that there was remote access. So the

prison directly enters our inventory before it leaves, and

they can generate shippers.

It really was just a matter of sitting down and

planning the different areas of operation and re-evaluating

it almost continuously during the first year. We've gotten

that back now to the point where we do about a 20-minute

call every Monday.

The other piece of funding that relates to this

partnership is that they hold and keep back scrap from

their process of rehabbing.

So if there's a value -- and we see that market

changing fairly quickly -- the prison has a contract and

receives any revenue that's generated from that scrap

value. That is the one funding piece that they get at this


You can see on your screen the 2010 revenue. The

bulk of our revenue coming from the sales of equipment.

And the WisTech funding. I think, all in all, our key

objective here is to keep it diversified.

It's a given, in our case as an organization, that,

if we didn't have the partnership, we wouldn't have the

flow of equipment; we wouldn't have the sale of equipment.

That's our vulnerable point as a business.

I do want to say that, when I'm doing grant writing

and looking to secure other dollars from individuals or

corporations, we're very appealing from that top-line

funding from our budget because we have a strong

self-sustaining modelling.

We get very little objection or very little

question to: Well, how are you going to grow the program?

How are you going to sustain the program?

The answer to that lies in the volume. And we have

no difficulty getting the volume of equipment that we need

to rehab. In some cases we say, "Be careful what we ask

for; we may get it."

Generally an outreach for donations usually means

that we have more than we can manage. So we're very, very

appealing to foundations and to other funders.

And there were some pieces on here that were to be

deleted, but that's fine.

Next slide.

I think the greatest unmet need that we have here

in Wisconsin is what we hear being talked about every day,

wherever we go, and that is the increasing number of people

who need equipment.

And in our case, despite the fact that we're in two

large population bases, I'm asked every week, "When can we

get an outlet here? When can we get an outlet there?"

So being able to respond to the demand of wanting

access to us in a community location closer to the


There are a few other unmet needs that I can see

the organization having, and they're not on there, but one

is in the area of marketing dollars.

Expansion to this type of reutilization program is

highly dependent on expanding proportionately all of those

line items that I showed you.

So if we're going to do that on the retail side of

our business, then we need to be able to spread the word.

And advertising and marketing is very expensive. So that

is our key development piece right now in combination with

the youth -- expanding our youth services.

I also included for you in this next slide -- if

you want to go to that, please -- our warranty. And the

reason -- and it's a sample. It's possibly even been

revised since the slide was last done.

But that is one of the greatest challenges we face.

And I start with that. And that's this question of: Is

the equipment worth it? Is the equipment buyable?

And so we provide our assurances to the process and

to the sanitization. And we have taken it another step in

terms of warrantying certain specific pieces of our


I can tell you statistically that, in the last

year, we have had under five requests for return or for us

to honor our warranty.

Other challenges, and I think just challenges in

general if you were going to be looking at doing this model

or introducing it at some level in your state, would be

that introduction to the Department of Corrections, being

able to secure the partnership relationship with them.

In our case, because we had the governor interest

and because we had a board member with ties to DOC, the

introduction came very easily, and it has grown.

How I might suggest you go about that is looking to

legislators or different individuals politically who have

ties to your Department of Corrections and to opening the

conversation and using a model that you know has succeeded

and suggesting the benefit back to their model.

Which, if they have an employment component to

their rehab of inmates, it will definitely be a strong

correlation for their statistics.

Because, while DOC doesn't track specifically these

inmates who are being trained to do the rehab, we do know

that, with the Invacare model of training, that the

individuals who are reporting back to the supervisor in the

prison are reporting above-poverty-level wage opportunities

when they leave.

And that's the first time that's ever been reported

back, although informal at this time, and they are looking

to further solidify that statistic to try and gain even

more support within Department of Corrections to expand.

The other key pieces I want to point out would be

making sure that you're open and understanding to the need

for security. It's not your typical way of doing business.

And understanding that and sitting down and working

collectively through that.

Recognizing that you're entering into a retail type

of business, if you go for a fee-for-service model such as

we've used, that you've got the need to have an inventory

system, have a warehouse-management system, and have those

key elements in place.

We were developing it as we were going down the

road, which meant that we were under the gun a bit. But

there's definitely some basic components to that that are

easily enough developed.

I think the other challenges we've talked about

already is vehicle management, program awareness.

And to talk a little bit about staff, the

cross-training of staff. Most of our staff come to us with

some background to human service type of work. Most of

them have strong people skills.

And then from there we take and train them to the

specific needs of our organization. So we spend time

talking about how you relate to individuals with

disabilities and who are elderly. We train just disability


We train with an OT to the specific uses,

measurement, all of those factors in working with someone

around their equipment need.

We've developed a sheet that we use for every

customer that helps us kind of walk through the factors of:

Where are you going to use the equipment? How are you

going to transport the equipment? All of those pieces.

So cross-training people. And then we also send

them through Invacare, the repair and maintenance training.

And I think it's always a challenge for us to

hire -- while we can qualify people and build upon their

basis, our key element is we're looking for somebody who

wants to stay.

We view ourselves as a small business, and that

means cross-training. On any given day, as executive

director, I might need to drive a truck or answer the phone

and do retail and work one on one with a customer. So I

think that's another key piece as well.

That's us in a nutshell. If you have questions,

I'm happy to answer. If not, thank you. I appreciate you

giving me the opportunity to present our organization.

TRISH REDMON: Thank you so much, Helen and Julie.

Wonderful presentation.

We hope each of you found something of use to

explore or to think about or discuss for your program.

We ask you to please complete the evaluation to

help us improve our future webinars. Suggestions are

always welcome.

And again, thanks to Helen and Julie. Great job.