Tag Archives: autism

Armando Contreras, CEO of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

Circle K Raises $5.3 Million for UCP of Central Arizona

Through fundraising efforts at local stores and events throughout the State of Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, Circle K employees, customers and vendors generously helped raise over $5.3 million for UCP of Central and Southern Arizona, and Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, Nevada.    The funds donated support the organizations’ mission to help children and adults with disabilities including Down syndrome, autism, developmental delays, learning disabilities, and cerebral palsy.   Donations are collected every day when Circle K employees ask customers to donate their extra change at the register to benefit families and children with disabilities.  And vendors participating in the Aces High and Desert Klassic golf tournaments result in additional funding for UCP of Central Arizona’s important mission.

UCP would like to acknowledge Circle K for its extraordinary efforts in supporting UCP and its families.  “Circle K promotes a culture that is deeply rooted in corporate responsibility, giving back to the community and making a positive difference in the lives of others,” said Armando Contreras, CEO of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona.  “UCP has been working in collaboration with Circle K for over 30 years, and with their help, thousands of children, adults and families have received the essential services they desperately need.  Because of the generosity from Circle K employees, customers and vendors, we have children and adults who were given the opportunity to speak their first words, take their first step, and give a loved one a hug for the first time,” he added.

“Our record contribution level this past year is testament to the caring and generous community spirit of everyone we have the great privilege to employ and serve,” said Paul Rodriguez, Vice President of the Arizona Division of Circle K.   “Our 30 year partnership speaks not just to the sincerity of the effort but also to the good and important work being done by UCP. Breakthroughs happen every day at the Dozer Center that our employees have the honor to witness and participate in. It lends greater meaning and higher purpose to each and every workday at Circle K. Everyone benefits,” Rodriguez added.

Circle K will be honored at United Cerebral Palsy’s annual event, Champions in Life Night Gala, scheduled for the evening of November 15, 2013 at the Ritz Carlton-Phoenix.  Circle K will be receiving the Laura Dozer Award, named after the daughter of Rich and Karie Dozer, who had cerebral palsy and passed in 2008.

Founded in 1952, the Central Arizona chapter of the nationally recognized agency has served as a private, non-profit health and human service organization for adults and children with disabilities and their families. UCP of Central Arizona’s programming is designed to help children and adults reach their full potential and improve the quality of life of their family members.

UCP is committed to creating possibilities and nurturing opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. To accomplish our vision, we’ve become a leader in providing therapies, independent living services, inclusive and integrated educational based programs, innovative social opportunities, and basic research. We also bring support to families as they face the daily challenges of raising a child with a disability and hope for a life without limits for their son or daughter.

To learn more, visit www.ucpofcentralaz.org.

child.hospital

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Offers Grants

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.uhccf.org, and there is no application deadline. Organizations or private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.uhccf.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

“The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is dedicated to improving a child’s health and quality of life by making it easier to access needed medical-related services. The grants enable families to focus on their children’s health instead of worrying about how they’ll pay their medical bills,” said Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “Eligible families are encouraged to apply online for a medical grant today and take advantage of this valuable resource.”

In 2012, more than 36 grants totaling more than $95,000 were awarded to families in Arizona. Nationwide, more than 1,300 grants, worth more than $4.1 million, were awarded for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy. As successful fund-raising efforts continue to grow, UHCCF is hoping to help more children and families in 2013.

child.hospital

UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation Offers Grants

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is seeking grant applications from families in need of financial assistance to help pay for their child’s health care treatments, services or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plan.

Qualifying families can receive up to $5,000 per grant to help pay for medical services and equipment such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, counseling services, surgeries, prescriptions, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

To be eligible for a grant, children must be 16 years of age or younger. Families must meet economic guidelines, reside in the United States and have a commercial health insurance plan. Grants are available for medical expenses families have incurred 60 days prior to the date of application as well as for ongoing and future medical needs. Parents or legal guardians may apply for grants at www.uhccf.org, and there is no application deadline. Organizations or private donors can make tax-deductible donations to UHCCF at www.uhccf.org. Donations are used for grants to help children and families in the region in which they are received.

“The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation is dedicated to improving a child’s health and quality of life by making it easier to access needed medical-related services. The grants enable families to focus on their children’s health instead of worrying about how they’ll pay their medical bills,” said Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Arizona. “Eligible families are encouraged to apply online for a medical grant today and take advantage of this valuable resource.”

In 2012, more than 36 grants totaling more than $95,000 were awarded to families in Arizona. Nationwide, more than 1,300 grants, worth more than $4.1 million, were awarded for treatments associated with medical conditions such as cancer, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, hearing loss, autism, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, ADHD and cerebral palsy. As successful fund-raising efforts continue to grow, UHCCF is hoping to help more children and families in 2013.

Hunkapi Provides Horse Therapy for Mentally, Physically Disabled

Hunkapi Provides Horse Therapy For Mentally, Physically Disabled

Rocky’s long tongue flaps out from his toothless mouth as he trots around a child, whose goal is to “go catch a horse.” But this isn’t merely a game of tag; it’s a therapy session — for children with autism.

Rocky, a sorrel, 31-year-old quarter horse, is one of six at Scottsdale’s Hunkapi program, a therapeutic, nonprofit organization that uses horses to help habilitate physically and mentally disabled people.

In consequence of a horse’s highly receptive nature, the animal’s body language allows Hunkapi therapists to observe a person’s interactions on an intimate level, all while teaching them how to ride, take care of and relate to a horse.

“We’re watching how people approach problems,” says Hunkapi Executive Director Terra Schaad. Therapists look at how a person solves problems, their energy and creativity level and how much anxiety they can handle.

Because horses largely communicate through body language and mirror the emotions of others, Hunkapi staff is able to observe and interpret the horse’s interaction with clients.

“We feed that information back to the client, saying, ‘this is what we’re noticing the horse doing; tell me where this is also showing up in your life,’ ” Schaad says.

To start, every patient must “go catch a horse.”

In the exercise, Schaad releases a horse into an arena to run around freely, and then the client must catch the animal without any instructions.

She says people are often not completely comfortable with horses, and that causes their innate qualities to emerge.

“It gives our therapists an edge because there is a relationship being built where we don’t have to actually see what’s happening or pry because the horse is already telling us what’s happening, and the client doesn’t feel we’re being as invasive,” Schaad says. “It’s a very tangible way to see behaviors that are not working for them anymore, and we can quickly create new behaviors that create a different outcome.”

Hunkapi ProgramOne reason a horse is an efficient therapeutic tool for autistic individuals is their ability to relate to the animal through similar frontal lobe functionality.

Many of Hunkapi’s autistic clients have sensory integration dysfunction, which can increase sensitivity to visual, tactile or auditory stimulants past what is deemed as normal functionality.

“They have this ability to read energetically the horse and create a bond that is a lot of time a lot more intense, a lot more real and a lot more accurate than even an abled-body person,” Schaad says.

The weekly therapeutic process typically begins privately, and then transitions into a group level to increase social skills.

To the extent a child or individual is physically and emotionally able, Hunkapi includes them in all aspects of a horse’s care — from the grooming process, learning to brush and clean their horse, to teaching how to lead a horse and be safe on the ground around them.

Schaad says physically disabled participants find working with horses a fun and interactive way to strengthen weak muscles, and to improve balance and flexibility.

Some patients initially struggle with overcoming fear about a horse’s sheer size and negative assumptions of biting, but after 15 or 20 minutes, the fear dissipates and the person is riding.

Hunkapi also offers team building exercises, where horses are released into an arena, and the group tries to catch the horses under a given set of parameters, which can take up to an hour.

Schaad has found that, similar to the individual catching exercise, the horses mirror how the humans behaves. If the group is bickering among each other, horses may not be cooperative and will keep their distance.

“No matter how much they’re able to keep it together in an environment that is comfortable and safe to them, such as their work environment, when they’re put into an environment that’s foreign … a lot of time negative behaviors or positive leadership qualities come out.”

Schaad says the scenario is ripe with uncertainty because most groups don’t know, intuitively, how to stop and catch the horse. She observes how autonomous or social the group wants to be, how ambiguous its creativity and problem solving is and the relationship being built with the horse.

The Hunkapi program plans to continue its growth through other therapeutic avenues that are transferable to horse interaction.

Over the next three months, a low-ropes course, yoga and archery will be added to the Hunkapi’s current services to accentuate the physical development required for horseback riding. The counseling and coaching program is also growing, with more emphasis being added to a leadership perspective.

For more information about Hunkapi’s services, visit hunkapi.org.

Specialty Bread Company

Valley Diversity Leader Establishes Specialty Bread Company

Christine French, a local entrepreneur and businesswoman, has established The French Bear Company to produce and market a specialty bread product with a unique shape and flavor.

French, the founder and principle of Global Diversity Consulting, a Phoenix-based organization that partners with businesses to create diversity strategy and policy, is branching out with this specialty bread food venture.

The product, called the Teddy Bear Bread, is shaped like a teddy bear with a happy face. These charmingly-designed, golden brown and sweetly scented delicacies will make a welcome addition to any meal, or simply a delicious snack.

French came up with the idea for the business after making the specialty bread for her family and friends for decades. The love of the bread grew with each warm, succulent batch she made using natural, fresh and pure ingredients. Now, French has started the business with the help of her four grandsons, three of whom are autistic.

French aims to use the business not only to put her great specialty bread into the hands of hungry customers, but to teach her grandsons, who range in age from 10 to 16 years, about entrepreneurship, develop their baking skills and foster their self-sufficiency. Alexandre, age 16 and autistic, will serve as the chief of inventory, while Christian, age 14 and also autistic, will be chief of mailing. Noah, who is 10 and autistic, will be the chief taster, while his twin brother Ethan, who is the only grandson without Autism, will serve as general manager. All of the boys will actively participate in making each loaf of bread individually and by hand.

“This business truly is a labor of love. Our family has loved this bread for years and we want to share this special, one-of-a-kind product with others. Also, this business grew out of the love we have for our grandsons and the goal of helping each one of them develop their own set of unique skills through the art of bread making,” French said.

The business will market the bear breads through direct sales and mail order. Each bear-shaped loaf is priced at $4. To place orders, call 480-543-8189 or email frenchbearbread@hotmail.com.

HCL Awards 2012 - Arizona Institute for Breast Health

HCL Awards 2012: Institution Or Educational Program, Arizona Institute For Breast Health


Institution Or Educational Program

Arizona Institute For Breast Health

Arizona Institute for Breast Health was formed in 1998 by local breast cancer experts Drs. Coral Quiet and Belinda Barclay-White. Their focus was to offer women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer a second opinion, completely free of charge. There is no other non-profit organization in the country doing this. AIBH has created an unparalleled synergy between medical professionals, patients and their families to provide information, education, resources, hope and peace of mind.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is overwhelming, and the realization is difficult to comprehend. But knowledge is power. AIBH seeks to inform and educate so that patients are empowered in their battle against breast cancer. To date, AIBH has worked with thousands of women and their families – and not only to provide second opinions. In fact, they also provide free support, resources, fitness and nutrition advice and more.
More specifically, when Dr. Quiet came to Arizona, 80 percent of women with breast cancer were treated with mastectomy. Now that women have the knowledge to know their options, that number is only 40 percent. Breast conservation has skyrocketed since the organization began educating the community and women diagnosed about all of their options.

aibh.org


Finalist

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

HCL Awards 2012 - United Cerebral PalsySince 1952, UCP has served and educated individuals and families faced with various disabilities, including cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and autism. Based in Arizona, UCP team members make efforts to directly reach out – despite a family’s location – with the purpose of addressing each person’s needs. UCP offers an innovative early learning center intended to blend children with and without disabilities in order for them to teach and learn from each other in an educational setting. In 2011, UCP united with the Ballet Academy of Arizona to produce a unique ballet performance predominantly cast with children with disabilities.

ucpofcentralaz.org


Finalist

Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Injury Prevention Center’s Educational Mobile App

HCL Awards 2012 - Phoenix Children's HospitalIn 2010, 71 percent of child deaths caused by car crashes involved a child that was improperly or not restrained. Phoenix Children’s Hospital generated another innovative step to merge the importance of healthcare with the convenience of technology. The “Car Seat Helper” application for mobile phones provides recipients with assistance in selecting the safest car seat for a child. The app was launched in October 2011 to improve child passenger safety and was named “app of the month” by ANSCA Mobile. With recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Car Seat Helper” can help reduce the number of child deaths and injuries in Arizona.

phoenixchildrens.com


HCL Awards 2012 Winners & Finalists

AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012