Free house painting
Metro Paint-A-Thon helps low-income seniors and people with disabilities continue to live independently in their own homes, enriching their lives and neighborhoods. Thousands of volunteers scrape, prime and paint these homes at no cost to the homeowner. Volunteers from companies, congregations, civic groups, and schools will paint homes the weekend of Aug. 4-5. To qualify for Paint-A-Thon, homeowners must own and occupy a single-family home, in need of paint, but not in need of major repairs; live in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington counties; be 60 years of age or older, or have a permanent physical disability if under age 60 and meet monthly income guidelines. Deadline is May 4. FFI: 612-276-1579; www.paintathon.gmcc.org
Enter Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota
Applications are being sought for Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2012. The pageant, which recognizes the accomplishments of Minnesota women who use wheelchairs, is April 2. Entry forms are now available. The pageant is open to the public. Jenni Taylor is the reigning Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota. The group has a Ms. Minnesota Wheelchair Facebook page for those who want to compete in, help with or be guests at the pageant. FFI: 952-388-0500, www.mswheelchairamerica.org, www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ms-Wheelchair-Minnesota/174180105949729
Accessibility improvement grants available
ADA Access Improvement Grants for Metro Arts Organizations are now available in the Twin Cities seven county area. The focus of these grants, up to $15,000 each, is to help make arts programming, activities and facilities more accessible to people with disabilities.
Made possible by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, the grant program is administered by VSA Minnesota for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). Over the past two years $440,785 was awarded to 36 Twin Cities organizations. In 2012 approximately $180,000 is available to be awarded over two rounds, with application deadlines on Feb. 17 and May 11, 2012. A series of information meetings will be announced shortly.
The project grants are not intended for one-time activities such as a sign language interpreter or a Braille program for one play, but to have the potential for significant or long-term impact in involving more people with disabilities as participants or patrons in arts programs. Minnesota nonprofit arts organizations in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties are eligible if their annual budget is under $4,460,000. Download 2012 grant guidelines and application at www.vsamn.org/forms.html#adagrant FFI: 612-332-3888 voice/tty, firstname.lastname@example.org
Give away that car
Autos for Arc can take old vehicles off your hands, give you a tax deduction and say “Thank you” for helping change the lives of people with disabilities. Autos for Arc accepts cars and trucks of any model and condition and other vehicles including boats (with trailers), RVs, ATVs, golf carts, personal watercraft, motorcycles and snowmobiles. Within the seven-county metro area, Autos for Arc can arrange to have a vehicle towed free of charge. Call the toll-free Autos for Arc hotline, 1-877-778-7709, to arrange a pickup. Or drop off vehicles at a Value Village location. FFI: 1-877-778-7709, www.autosforarc.org
Volunteer with RSVP
Volunteers age 55 and older are eligible to receive free supplemental insurance, mileage reimbursement and other benefits through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) sponsored by Volunteers of America of Minnesota. RSVP/Volunteers of America of Minnesota and AARP Foundation need volunteers with good budgeting and organizational skills to help manage finances of older or disabled low-income individuals. Have a few hours a month to volunteer? Money Management Program staff will train and match you with someone in the community. FFI: Money Management Program Coordinator, 612-617-7821.
Enjoy a movie tonight
Several theaters around the state offer accommodations for movie-goers, such as captioning or descriptive services. www.captionfish.com lists cinemas with access (AD/CC) features. Find theaters in your area by typing in your zip code. MoPix-equipped Rear Window Captioned Films are listed at cam.wgbh.org/mopix/nowshowing.html#mn .
New TSA Cares toll-free helpline
Are you a person with disabilities who likes to travel? The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced the launch of TSA Cares today, a new helpline number designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions, prior to getting to the airport. Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855- 787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.
“TSA Cares provides passengers with disabilities and medical needs another resource to use before they fly, so they know what to expect when going through the screening process,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “This additional level of personal communication helps ensure that even those who do not travel often are aware of our screening policies before they arrive at the airport.”
When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA. TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary.
Every person and item must be screened before entering the secure area of an airport and the manner in which the screening is conducted will depend on the passenger’s abilities and any specific equipment brought to the security checkpoint.