Over the past two years, the United Cerebral Palsy network in Turlock has been working to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) stopped by the UCP Turlock office on Tuesday morning to see how a recent donation of new computers will add to the lives of many.
Coming from the Alliance for Affordable Services – a not for profit association dedicated to helping small business owners and individuals across the nation – the donation of 10 Dell OptiPlex desktop computers will help program participants at UCP Turlock communicate with others, while also learning valuable skills in areas such as job searching.
“We make it a point to have those in our program be involved with our community and interact with others just like anyone else would,” said Chris Selridge, site manager at UCP Turlock. “With these computers, we’ll be able to better promote jobs and pre-employment opportunities while also providing more communication tools for them. We have one participant who enjoys being on Skype to talk with his brother who lives in the south, so having these new computers will make things like that more available to them and allow them to communicate through technology just like anyone else does.”
Advancements in technology continues to improve the UCP’s efforts and services for disabled persons, says Selridge, as many participants have found new ways of communicating that might have otherwise been impossible previously. For example, Selridge highlighted the achievements made by one participant who, although nonverbal, has learned to communicate with program facilitators and other participants through an electronic tablet.
“The use of technology has made a huge difference,” said Selridge. “We’re so thankful for Congressman Jeff Denham, the Turlock Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance for their efforts to help us get these computers.”
According to Selridge, who has been with UCP Turlock since its inception, the program began with only five participants. As the program continually integrates with the local community, participation rates have steadily increased with the facility now serving more than 20 individuals.
“Even in the couple of months that I’ve been here, I’ve seen an increase in our program,” said Lisa Rebsamen, a program facilitator. “Each day we have objectives to accomplish, including physical tasks, interacting with the community, and classes promoting creativity like art and music. We do a lot of fun stuff like going to the park and local stores or restaurants, but also teach them about areas such as money management, employment options…anything that will remove limits in their lives.”
Visiting his hometown of Turlock for the rest of the week, Congressman Denham says that he looks forward to spending time with members of the community in addition to participating in the Turlock Government Night on Thursday where he and other local elected officials will meet with constituents in an open forum meeting.
United Cerebral Palsy Turlock is located at 959 E. Monte Vista Ave.