Monday, January 28, 2013

A Swimmer With No Limbs!!!

Just keep swimming...
I saw a photo of a swimmer waiting to jump into the water. He had on the swim cap, goggles and speedo uniform of any swimmer. But this guy was a little different from the typical. He was being held up in standing position by another man standing behind him. He also had only one leg – which turned out to not be his actual leg, just a prosthetic. Oh, and he didn’t have any arms. WHAAAAATT???
What the heck is going on? Is this one of those photoshop things?

Nope. It’s Nick Vujicic, pronounced ‘Vooy-cheech’. He was born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia with no arms and no legs, surprising his parents, his mom who was a nurse and his father, a pastor. Here’s the opening paragraph of his bio on his website:

Imagine being born without arms. No arms to wrap around a friend ; no hands to hold the ones you love; no fingers to experience touch ; no way to lift or carry things. How much more difficult would life be if you were living without arms and hands? Or what about legs? Imagine if instead of no arms, you had no legs. No ability to dance, walk, run, or even stand. Now put both of those scenarios together… no arms and no legs. What would you do? How would that affect your everyday life?

Pretty intense. I can’t imagine this scenario. But Nick has lived it. He has fought through bullying and teasing, loneliness and depression. He has earned a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. He has become a motivational speaker, beginning at age 19. He has shared his testimony and brought the Gospel of Jesus. He has moved from Australia to California, USA and begun a non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs. 

Lotta good stuff, if you ask me. Check out his website and consider helping out his very good cause!

No belly flops here!

Accessibilty Arcade

An accessible arcade – Accessibilty Arcade – is open for all gamers in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in D.C. The idea of one had been showcased in the past but it’s a permanent fixture developed by The Ablegamers Foundation that can be enjoyed by visitors. 

Why is this so important? 
Glad you asked! 

First, it’s important to individuals with limitations (and their families) to be able to enjoy the same type of good stuff that you & I take for granted. Me? Not much of a gamer. But I have the option to not be one. With this type of technology, thousands of people (if not more) now have the option to not be a gamer, like me.  =D

Another reason this is great stuff is because beyond the fun of playing there’s the therapeutic aspect. Hand-eye coordination is something that has often been touted by defenders of gaming when non-gamers commented on the time wasted in front of the screen (I would never). And it’s true. Gaming offers a fun way to improve cognitive ability as well as fine, and sometimes gross, motor skills, depending on the type of game.

So play on, playas! 

Check out some images in this article: Life Labs Attends Launch of Ablegamers Accessibility Arcade 

UCP’s Life Labs has recently won a CVS Community Grant that will help to build a prototype mobile accessible gaming station in partnership with the AbleGamers Foundation. Read more about it here.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

MLK Day of Service

Martin Luther King day is a day people usually look forward to because they get the day off from work. How about making this a Day of Service? Can you commit to doing something good for your community on this day as a show of honor for what MLK did for us?

Find something in your area: Martin Luther Kind Day of Service

 Join my community on Google Plus and share with us what you plan on doing.
You just may inspire someone else to make an impact!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Affordable Care Act - Your Health Coverage Options Explained

Affordable Care Act  

Times, they are a-changing! Finding health insurance is a huge pain in the you-know-what for millions of Americans who don’t have steady employment. Even for those who do, it’s complicated and expensive! Before the end of the year, we will all have new options and purchasing power we have never before had through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed by Congress then signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010 & upheld by the United States Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.
Here are some FACTS about what you can expect:

ACA Title I
  • Reduces what you have to spend on health care by
    • Capping out-of-pocket expenses
    •  Requiring preventive care to be fully covered
  • If you like the coverage you have, you can keep it
  • Provides hundreds of billions of dollars in tax relief – the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history 
  • Members of Congress will also be required to purchase their insurance through the same Exchanges regular Americans will (See below for more info regarding Exchanges)
  • Small business owners will receive a new tax credit to help offset the cost of covering their employees
  • Pre-existing conditions will no longer be a basis of denial of coverage
  • Better appeals process

ACA Title II
  • Extends Medicaid while treating all States equally & preserves CHIP 
  • Provides States with opportunities to expand home care services to people with long-term care needs 
  • Reduces prescription drug costs and payments to subsidize care for uninsured Americans

There are a total of 10 Titles to the Affordable Care Act. If you want to read about them in depth, CLICK HERE

Affordable Insurance Exchanges

Historically, the individual and small group health insurance markets have suffered from adverse selection and high administrative costs, resulting in low value for consumers. Affordable Insurance Exchanges work similar to “Travelocity” where individuals and small businesses can look for the best deal in their state. Open enrollment is supposed to begin by Oct. 1; consumers will be able to use federal subsidies to purchase coverage by Jan 1, 2014.

How Exchanges Can Help YOU:
  • Exchanges pool people together, reduce transaction costs, and increase transparency so they create more competitive markets for individuals & small employers
  •  Eligible individuals will be assisted in receiving premium tax credits or coverage through other Federal or State health care programs
  • One-stop shopping means buying health insurance will be easier

Exchanges In Your State:

On January 3, 2013, the total number of states with approved health insurance exchanges has been bumped up to 17. DC has also been approved. States which have not set up exchanges can decide to partner with the federal government, overseeing certain parts of the new exchange, or leave the entire task to the government. They have until Feb. 15th to notify the feds which way they will go.

If you would like to see where your state falls, CLICK HERE
At this time (Jan. 11, 2013) the latest update was on Jan. 4th. Check back on Feb. 15th to see the final decision by your state!

Other Links: