Handihelp's purpose since its creation in 2008 has always been to improve the lives of those in the disabled community by reducing daily frustrations and providing information to facilitate the return to activities that contribute to quality of life.
Just prior to my accident, I had retired after 33 years of teaching, so it was only natural that I would involve myself in educating others about the challenges faced by both the disabled and able-bodied. Prior to the creation of the Handihelp website, I was already speaking in local public schools and also had returned to working with students who were involved with the adventure program I had created prior to retirement. Motivation and facing life's challenges are the most common topics unless speaking to specific groups such as recreation majors, occupational therapists or military servicemen.
Over the years I have received a wide range of requests not only to speak to civic groups, college and university students, but also share adaptions I have created to overcome the limitations placed on me by quadriplegia. Handihelp has also developed a display booth with homemade adaptions that have been developed allowing participation in outdoor recreation. The display has been at several Rotary Outdoor Shows and other local venues.
Handihelp has also presented workshops at SUNY Cortland's Annual Recreation Conference and the 2016 Adirondack Assistive Technology Expo Sponsored by Clarkson University’s Occupational Therapy Department.
In the last couple years Handihelp has been asked to participate in webinars for several colleges and graduate courses, which have enabled Andy Dahmen and me to participate in the webinars together.
As a result of our proximity to Fort Drum, the Home of the 10th Mountain Division, Handihelp has been involved in a number of activities on post. October 2012 we gave a talk on Disability Awareness Day. In July 2014 we were part of a program put on by the Accessibility for Outdoor Recreation Programs and Facilities on Military Installations where we discussed and demonstrated adaptions and strategies which allowed us to successfully harvest wild game and fish from a wheelchair. The first day of the workshop we gave a presentation on hunting and fishing adaptions we made and strategies developed to be successful. Day two, on the skeet range, I demonstrated my trigger adapter (PMTA) firing my weapon at several targets using my mouth.
Handihelp also participated in Fort Drum's annual Outdoor Adventure Day which is a family-friendly, free event with hands-on activities and demonstrations appropriate for all ages focused on outdoor recreation and the outdoors. The event is open to families on Fort Drum as well as the North Country community.
There is NO CHARGE for any of the events Handihelp participates in.