Nov 30: “Making Welcome” — Great customer service is disability friendly

Access 4 All Spokane presents “Making Welcome”, a fun and interactive session on how to confidently provide disability-friendly customer service.

November 30 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

711 S. Cowley St., Room # 200
(St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute)

“Making Welcome” is geared toward anyone who wants to promote great customer service for all abilities and all ages in our area.

There is no charge. Snacks will be provided.

To RSVP or request accommodations, contact:
Dave Reynolds, Coordinator
Access 4 All Spokane
“Celebrating and encouraging accessible and disability-friendly places, services, and events across Spokane County.”

Congratulations Alex Knoll!!! Guests on Ellen Show, gets funding for Ability App, spreads message of inclusion

Alex Knoll from Post Falls, Idaho is $25,000 closer to realizing his dream of developing the Ability App, which will allow people to find and rate places that are accessible and disability friendly.

As a guest on Ellen DeGeneres’ show, the 12-year-old entrepreneur spread the message of inclusion to an international audience. Ellen got him connected to a team to help him develop the mobile app, and gave him a huge check for $25 grand.

Here is a link to a brief story on KREM TV. The video segment from Ellen’s show is amazing!

Way to go Alex!

Access 4 All Spokane Rocked Bloomsday Trade Show!

The above photo shows seven smiling people gathered in front of our “Access 4 All Spokane” banner and table display at the Bloomsday Trade Show: (clockwise from the left) Dave Reynolds, Allene Osborn, Larry Gorton, Deb Wolfer, Jude Cormier, Liam Osborn and Cheyenne Osborn. Behind the camera is Steve Osborn.

A4A’s Accessibility Ambassador team rocked the Bloomsday Trade Show last Friday and Saturday.

We met lots of terrific people from all over the continent and added more than 55 new contacts to our A4A email list!

Our youngest Accessibility Ambassadors, Cheyenne and Liam Osborn, spent time networking and educating people about our mission. Saturday morning, they signed up 25 people for our email list. They also connected with people in other places that want to make their communities more accessible and disability friendly. 

As a result of one connection made at the event, Larry and I will be doing a presentation about A4A for the Engineers Forum of Spokane’s annual meeting, coming up May 22. 

Great job team!

Thanks go to the awesome people at the Lilac Bloomsday Association.

City of Spokane wants your input on its snow removal plan!

The City of Spokane is seeking feedback from citizens on how to improve its response when it snows. The Mayor, City Council, and Street Department plan to use that information to identify changes to better meet the needs of citizens during winter weather.

This past winter was the wettest on record and much of that precipitation fell as snow; the City completed three full-City plows to respond to those conditions. Throughout the season, citizens relayed concerns about how the City manages snow on streets and sidewalks.  Concerns ranged from dissatisfaction with the berms deposited at the end of driveways to how long it takes to complete a full-City plow to a lack of compliance with requirements to remove snow from sidewalks.

The City has compiled the citizen concerns and is asking citizens to define how important each one is to them as part of an online survey. The survey will be available for the next two weeks, until Tuesday, April 25, and the results will help define which changes will be prioritized for implementation next winter.

Here is the link to the survey:

A4A Spokane At Dedication of City’s First Inclusive Baseball Field

“We are not the ADA police, but we are here to promote accessibility.” — Larry Gorton, Vice-Chair of the grassroots disability rights group Access 4 All Spokane, during the dedication of the city’s first inclusive baseball field at Mission Park.

Nice article in Wednesday’s Spokesman-Review about the dedication of the city’s first inclusive baseball field. Larry Gorton was there and he explained to the reporter what A4A is about. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the story:

This is a great step for people with disabilities in and around Spokane!

Successful Legislative Candidates Forum on Disability Issues

About 50 people braved the downpours Thursday night to attend the Legislative Candidates Forum on Disability Issues at Spokane Falls Community College.
Nine candidates for Washington State Senate and House of Representatives answered our questions on how they would address issues that are important to local citizens with disabilities. Those included explaining their priorities and plans regarding public transportation; accessible & affordable housing; interactions between law enforcement and people with disabilities; institutional and community living supports; education; and employment.
It was a great opportunity to have the candidates side-by-side to give us their thoughts and tell their stories. After the forum, many of the candidates stayed to meet one-on-one and talk more informally with audience members.
Kudos to the candidates for coming and being so direct and open with us.
Thanks go to the organizers of this event, including Reisha Abolofia, Betty Schwieterman and David Lord from Disability Rights Washington; Darci Ladwig from the Spokane County Parent Coalition and The Arc of Spokane; Brian Holloway from The Arc of Spokane; Alisa Alonge from Access 4 All Spokane; Ed Kennedy from the Spokane Center for Independent Living; and Angela Merritt from the Disability Support Services office at Spokane Falls Community College.
Thanks also to Dave Sonntag from Gonzaga University for skillfully moderating the event.

A4A Spokane Co-Founder Receives Access Award

Access Spokane 2016 Individual Access Award
Access Spokane 2016 Individual Access Award

I am honored, amazed, and extremely jazzed to tell you that on Monday, October 3, I received the 2016 Individual Access Award from Access Spokane, at an event hosted by Spokane Mayor David Condon.

Here’s a description of the award: It’s a solid wood 8 X 10 plaque with shiny gold print on a dark metal background, and reads “Access Spokane, 2016 Individual Access Award, Presented to Dave Reynolds, for providing outstanding and dedicated service to citizens with disabilities in the Spokane community.”

Ellen Nagourney, Vocational Services Specialist with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, read the following statement as the Mayor presented the award:

“It is unlikely that anyone in our area that identifies as having a disability has not heard of Dave Reynolds.

“Dave started with The Arc of Spokane as a Client Support Services Coordinator in 2008. In that capacity, Dave promoted opportunities to enhance the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

“In 2012, Dave co-founded Access 4 All Spokane, a group that ‘celebrates and encourages accessible and disability friendly places, services, and events’ across Spokane County. He has trained a team of Accessibility Ambassadors who provide no-cost accessibility evaluations of local businesses and government campuses. These Accessibility Ambassadors help places become more aware of the challenges people with disabilities might face at their locations. In one short year, 100 places have been evaluated by Dave’s teams of Ambassadors.

“In 2013, Dave helped organize the first Spokane County Accessible Communities Advisory Committee, whose purpose is to ‘promote greater awareness of disability issues and improve access for, and inclusion and acceptace of, persons with disabilities in Spokane County’. This is accomplished in part by their advisory capacity with the Spokane County Board of County Commissioners and other local governments.

“Dave goes out of his way to advocate for individuals facing challenges within our community. The person who nominated Dave for this award, Larry Gorton, certainly appreciates the time and effort Dave spent supporting Larry in his persistent efforts to have ASL interpreters available at city neighborhood council and community assembly meetings. By the way, they were successful in their efforts.

“It is impossible for us to measure the true impact Dave has had on breaking down barriers to inclusion for people with disabilities of all ages through employment, residential, community access, training, education, advocacy, planning, and positive behavior support.”

How cool is that?

I am grateful to Mayor Condon, and appreciative of the organizers of the Access Spokane Awards.

Mostly, I am super grateful for my amazing friends with Access 4 All Spokane. It really feels awkward to accept this ‘individual’ award, considering that our work is such a team effort. I know they all would be telling me to get over myself already and accept the award. But, the truth is, none of this work could be done without their commitment, knowledge, expertise, and countless hours of work. Not to mention the personal advice and support they’ve given me, especially when things got tough.

So, if you want to watch a video of the presentation, it’s about 11 minutes into the Mayor’s weekly media briefing, on this YouTube link:

Thank you so much for all you do to make the world a better place for everyone!

Dave Reynolds, Coordinator
Access 4 All Spokane

Three Access 4 All Spokane members up for award!!!

Three members of Access 4 All Spokane — Alisa Alonge, Jude Cormier, and Dave Reynolds — have been nominated for this year’s Individual Access Award.

Mayor David Condon will present this award Monday October 3, 2016, at 10:30 am in the Chase Gallery on the lower level of Spokane City Hall (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd).

The award recognizes “an individual who demonstrates advocacy through dedicated volunteer and/or professional advocacy and/or service initiatives and support which have made employment, health, housing, civic, cultural, recreational, or facilities and programs accessible for people with disabilities.”

Individual, Business, and Employer Awards are made every October to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, by Access Spokane, a partnership of agencies, including WorkSource, Spokane Area Workforce Development Council, Spokane County, and Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

Timber Creek Grill Buffet gets full accessibility review

An A4A Spokane Accessibility Ambassador team ascended on Timber Creek Grill at Argonne Village last Friday with our measuring tapes, door pressure gauge, bubble level, light and sound meters to review the buffet for accessibility features. Nice to see several wheelchair users casually dining at their tables. We’ll be posting the other awesome things we found there in a few weeks.

Coming up . . . more Rosauers Supermarkets, The Man Shops, and both Northwest Seed & Pet stores.

Stay tuned!