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Meet the UCP Scarecrow

    • UCp's Scarecrow

UCP's community garden plot (located in Hazelwood Community Gardens) is in full swing. Lots of people we support (and employees!) love to visit, taking a little time to pull a few weeds, plant, or water.

This year, they will be in the company of UCP's new scarecrow. The scarecrow was created by some of our very creative Choices Support Specialists.

Find Out More

Want to help, or donate plants, seeds or tools> Please contact Kerry Pinney by  or at 503-777-4166 ext. 353.

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Walk, Roll 'n' Run Registration Is Now Open!

We are pleased to announce that registration for the 2013 Walk, Roll 'n' Run is now open! Visit the event website to learn more.

And don't forget to save the date: Saturday, September 7, 2013. We'll see you there!

UCP Explores the Mississippi Neighborhood

Every month or so, UCP picks a different neighborhood to explore as part of our “Neighborhood Waves” program.  During that month, we encourage the people we support to explore that neighborhood’s shops, restaurants, parks and trails, making new friends along the way.

In May and June, we will be exploring Portland's Mississippi neighborhood. Thanks to the following businesses for taking part in either by providing a coupon or tour:

  • The Rebuilding Center
  • Salty’s Dog & Cat Shop
  • Por Que No?
  • North Portland Bike Works
  • Pistils Nursery


Stay tuned for more stories as we make new discoveries and try new things. 

For more info about Neighborhood Waves click here or contact Kerry Pinney by or call 503-777-4166.

A New Community Services Director

Please join us in welcoming John Goff, UCP’s new Community Services Director. As Community Services Director, John will oversee UCP's supported living and community inclusion ("Choices") services.

John came to us from the east coast, where he served as the Executive Director of a large non-profit that supports adults with disabilities through residential, recreational, and individualized supported employment services. Prior to his work on the east coast, John spent 10 years in Oregon, where he served adults and youth with disabilities in different capacities.

John first became interested in disability issues as a teenager while volunteering at a UCP affiliate in New York. He has dedicated his career to empowering people with disabilities ever since.

John is committed to the mission and values of UCP, and is very excited to have returned to the Northwest community. In his free time, he enjoys exploring Oregon’s outdoor spaces with his wife and two sons, and rock climbing whenever he gets the chance.

Congratulations To Melissa and Our Supported Employment Department

We are pleased to congratulate Melissa Miller, the head of Employment Solutions (UCP's supported employment department), on reaching ten years of employment at UCP.

Melissa has been employed by UCP since April 30, 2003. She started as a Roommate (live-in caregiver) for one of the people we support. Since then, she has made a huge impact on many of the people we support and the disability community at large.

In 2005, Melissa assisted with the creation of our supported employment services. The program is known today as Employment Solutions and is revered as a model of best practices in Oregon. 

If you’ve had the privilege of working with Melissa, please make sure to congratulate her on ten years and her many successes!

Find out more about Employment Solutions here and learn more about Melissa here.

Neighborhood Waves Update

Every month or so, we pick a different neighborhood to explore as part of our “Neighborhood Waves” program.  During that month, we encourage the people we support to explore that neighborhood’s shops, restaurants, parks and trails, making new friends along the way.

Our most recent neighborhood was Beaumont/Concordia, where we had the pleasure of touring the Concordia New Seasons Market and McMenamins Kennedy School.

At New Seasons, we were greeted with tasty samples in each department. The locally made cheese and pastry sample were especially popular, and so was an impromptu lesson on how to properly filet a salmon.

At McMenamins Kennedy School, we learned about the building’s past (it used to be an elementary school) and about the fantastic murals, several of which were created by middle school students. 

What’s next, you say? Well, for the months of March and April, we'll be focusing on Oregon City. So far, we’ve planned tours of Oregon City Fire Station #15 and Sycamore Lanes Therapeutic Riding Center. If you'd like to expore the neighborhood, too, please click here to get  a coupon to use at participating businesses in April.

For more info about Neighborhood Waves click here or contact Kerry Pinney by or call 503-777-4166.

Lawyers Title selects United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon & SW Washington for Giving Hope Campaign

We are excited to announce that Lawyers Title of Oregon, LLC has pledged its support to our UCP affiliate through its Giving Hope Campaign.  The money received through this program will go towards Platinum Sponsorship of UCP’s Walk, Roll ‘n’ Run. The funds raised at the WRR are the primary source of funding for UCP’s Family Support Department.

Here’s how the program works: every time a Lawyers Title transaction closes during the second quarter of 2013 (April-June), a portion of the transaction fees will be donated to UCP. Also, Lawyers Title employees have opportunities to volunteer and take part in the event.

So, if you or anyone you know is in the process of buying or selling a house, we’d love it if you select consider Lawyers Title. Thanks for your help!


About Lawyers Title:

Lawyers Title of Oregon, LLC is a fixture in the Portland real estate market.  Lawyer Title has six branches in the Portland metropolitan area and is a member of the Fidelity National Title Group, America's largest family of title insurance and related companies.  The company was originally founded in 1925 in Richmond, Virginia and has expanded its national footprint in the title insurance market.  Its direct operation in Portland began in 1983.  Learn more about Lawyers Title here.

Let's Connect

With state resources dwindling for families, it’s more important than ever that parents and other caregivers have opportunities to connect to share resources, respite, equipment, emotional support, and more. 

To facilitate these connections, UCP Family Support is offering something we call “Let’s Connect.”

Let’s Connect is a vibrant collaboration between UCP Family Support and the Developmental Disability Service offices in both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties, who have provided grant money to fund the trainings.

This year, we will be holding seven parent trainings for parents and other caregivers (as well as professionals) on topics that have been identified by families as relevant to them.  The topics include:

  • Bullying Prevention
  • Behavior
  • Transition to Adulthood
  • Communication
  • Locating Summer Resources 


The trainings will be held between March 7th and June 12th.  To find the dates and locations of these trainings, please visit this link.

Last year, we worked with Clackamas County to provide nine parent and professional trainings; the trainings were very well attended. This is a partnership we hope will continue for years to come. 

Along with the trainings, UCP will also host two family outings in the summer that are fun for the whole family, including another roller skating outing with the Rose City Rollers! Summer can be a very stressful time for families raising children who experience a disability or special health need because not all summer programs are accessible. 

Find out more about UCP's Family Support Department here.

Congratulations to Chris

UCP’s Supported Employment division (Employment Solutions) assists qualified job seekers who experience a disability to connect with employers who value what they bring to the workplace.

One of the people being supported now is Chris. A couple years ago, Chris hired UCP and Melissa to help him work toward his goal getting his dream job, which is to repair computers and work in a small shop.

Melissa and Chris met regularly to work on employment-related skills such as improving his hygiene and social skills, how to show up on time, and how to set appropriate work place expectations. Then they worked on pursuing related experience for him. First, he participated in Free Geek’s Computer Build program.  He was assisted at Free Geek by Melissa and other UCP staff, who assisted him to learn the tasks and interface with his American Sign Language Interpreter. Chris is proud to announce that he just received his certificate and earned a free computer!

Chris also completed a two-week unpaid work assessment at a Gresham computer repair shop called East Wind Computers. He did a good job, but Roger (the owner), thought he needed more training before he’d be a competitive applicant for related jobs, so Roger offered Chris an unpaid internship! This is a very special opportunity for Chris to learn all about computers by working closely with the best in the industry.

Chris is also connected with Vocational Rehabilitation, who provide him with a variety of resources such as an employment mentor, interpreters and a cell phone so he can text with his support team and stay accountable.  

It’s taken a lot of resources for Chris to get where he is today but it’s well worth it! We wish Chris the best of luck on his journey.

Learn more about East Wind here. And don’t forget to support this wonderful company the next time you need your computer updated, cleaned or repaired!

Building Models... and Relationships

    • Bill & Mark
    • UCP Group at Bridgetowne Hobby
    • Rich & Nicole
    • Don & Michael
    • Larry & Vernon
    • Tony & Trey
    • Trey & David
    • Will & Dan
    • UCP Visits Bridgetowne Hobby
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UCP’s Choices program provides support to individuals who experience disabilities so that they can participate in community-based recreation, leisure, education, or the volunteer activities of their choice.

One of the best things that comes out of Choices are amazing new community partnerships.

Vernon Halls is the Assistant Team Leader of the Choices program, and it just so happens that he is also an avid model builder. He’s been shopping at Bridgetowne Hobbies for years. Four years ago, he discovered that some of the people we support also like to make models, so he started taking some of the people we support to Bridgetowne.

Ever since then, Bridgetowne’s owner, Bill Daemke, has had a dramatic impact on the people we support. Bill always takes the time to engage, visit, and help us in our model building endeavors. Last year, Bill and Vernon decided to hold a model building class for the people we support.

The first model building class was a hit! Bill was there every step of the way, teaching UCP staff and a person we support how to build models from the ground up, showing us some tricks and short cuts along the way. It truly was a great time.

The first class was such a success that we decided to have another! This time, we had the pleasure of having a volunteer, Dan Evans, join us.  Dan is a semi-retired Portland Public School and a Bridgetowne customer who also loves models. So another friendship has been formed.

Our next model building class (to be held in July) will have a Star Wars theme of Rebels vs. Empire.  Half of the group will be building X-Wings and the other half will build TIE Fighters.  This theme has generated a lot of excitement and anticipation among our group.  July can’t come soon enough.

Thank you to Bill, Dan and Bridgetowne Hobbies for making a “Community for Everyone”! Find out more about Bridgetowne here.

UCP Employee Selected for the National Emerging Leaders Academy

The UCP national organization has selected 10 nonprofit leaders from across its affiliate network to participate in the 2013-14 class of the UCP Emerging Leaders Academy... and one of them is our own Family Support Director, Susan Cushman. 

The program seeks to expand and develop the skills of promising nonprofit managers in the UCP affiliate network. Selected participants spend a year in leadership training and mentorship with established leaders throughout the UCP network.

Susan will participate in in-depth professional development workshops. She'll also attend regular conference sessions, collaborate with UCP executives from across the country and complete a service project that will not only benefit our affiliate, but the UCP network as a whole.

Congrats to Susan!

Tags: news, staff news

UCP Cruises into the Portland International Auto Show

    • Happy Ed at the 2013 Auto Show
    • Ed checking out a sweet ride
    • Auto Show 2013
    • Ed at the 2013 Auto Show
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Thanks to a generous donation of complimentary admission tickets from the Oregon Auto Dealers Association, a large group of Choices Program and Supported Living customers along with their UCP support staff were able to attend and explore the 2013 Portland International Auto Show.  This year’s show was packed with activities for all ages and abilities to enjoy and participate.

Performance Mobility (also friends of UCP) partnered with the Auto Show this year to design a ‘Mobility Zone’ showcasing specialized mobility equipment, accessible vans, trucks, and even motorcycles to reinforce the idea that despite barriers limiting a person’s physical abilities; there are tools available to live an active, fulfilling life without limits!  One UCP customer, Ed M., was especially grateful for the opportunity to attend. As a lifelong hot rod and vintage classic car enthusiast Ed was all smiles for days leading up to and following the event.

We would like to extend special thanks to Greg Remensperger, Executive Vice President of Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association, and Jeff Fishback, Auto Show Director, for all of their hard work and dedication to this event and for exemplifying the kind of leadership and thinking that promotes full inclusion for all people within our communities and community based events.

UCP Is Recruiting for Board Members

United Cerebral Palsy Association of OR & SW Washington is pleased to announce the opportunity for qualified applicants to be considered to serve on our Board of Directors. 

Board service provides a unique opportunity to “give back” and use your professional expertise and personal experience to help shape the organization.  Board terms are 3 years and require monthly meetings and periodic committee meetings. 

Persons with the following characteristics are desirable for our board: previous experience with committee work, and/or previous participation in leadership development training; comfort in communicating ideas in a group setting; and interest and dedication in working with persons with cerebral palsy and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

We have particular interest in gaining members who are competent in the following areas:  Accounting; Financial Management; Community Organizing; Development / Fundraising; and Public Relations / Marketing. 

Please send a letter of interest and resume to: .

UCP completes a formal screening and interview process, and provides orientation and training to newly selected members. Please review our website to learn more about UCP’s mission, values, and the services we provide to the community.



Tags: news

Our Brokerage Turns Two!

Two Decembers ago, UCP’s support services brokerage, UCP Connections, opened its doors with fifteen customers, three Personal Agents and a whole lot of support from UCP and the community.

Since then, Connections has enrolled over 180 clients.

Connections provides person-centered planning, case management, fiscal intermediary services, and resource referral. But what does that actually mean? Brokerage Director Sarah Knight describes Connections’ role as  “celebrating individuality, providing education, offering resources and support, and lending an empathetic ear to support the people we work with, helping them to realize their goals and sometimes to deal with the consequences of their choices.”

It’s a very exciting and meaningful job. As Sarah says, “the people we support are doing the things that Oregonians do. Some dance, some get dinner with friends, some bowl, some enjoy nature, some are involved in disputes, some drive, some take the bus, some need shelter, some budget their money, some take medications, some have family, some have friends who are most important to them, some vote, some want to make our lives better than they are today, some want to make other people's lives better, some are content, some work, some play.”

Happy Anniversary, UCP Connections!

To learn more about UCP Connections, contact Sarah Knight, UCP Connections Director by or call 503-777-4166 x 361

Date Night With UCP

Do you own a restaurant? Do you have connections to an Oregon or SW Washington entertainment venue, like a theater, comedy club, bowling alley, pool hall, or river cruise? Then we need your help!

United Cerebral Palsy's Family Support Department offers fun evenings out to parents who are raising children with disabilities. The program is called “Date Night”, and it’s wildly popular. But to keep it running, we rely on donated gift certificates from Oregon businesses. If you can help, please contact the program’s coordinator, Jan Shellenberger.

You’ll make a huge difference in the life of the parents, as this quote shows: "You have no idea how much it means to us. Rebuilding our marriage has taken a back seat to the needs of our children. From the bottom of our heart . . . THANK YOU!"

Date Night is only two years old, but we’ve been running an equally popular “Respitality” Overnight Program for twenty-one years. Parents who make use of this program receive a free hotel room for the night and the chance to and spend quality time together. If you’re able to donate a hotel stay, please contact .

View a list of participating businesses here and feel free to thank them for their support next time you visit them!


    • Jimmy & Marcy on Respitality Date Night
    • Jimmy & Marcy on Respitality Date Night
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Some Serious Horsin' Around

Jodie uses UCP's Supported Living services to live independently in her own home, and she also uses UCP's Community Inclusion services to get out and enjoy her community. In particular, Jodie loves riding horseback. She first went to Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center in October of 2010, and ever since, Jodie hasn’t stopped riding… nor does she ever plan to!

Jodie has made lots of new friends, and gained all sorts of new skills. As Ellen, one of Jodie’s therapeutic riding instructors, says, “When Jodie first started, she needed to have a person support her by sitting behind her on the horse. Now, she can ride on her own and can even ride hands free! Jodie has progressed to riding more difficult horses and is working on balance and proper posture. She is an amazing rider. Everyone loves her dearly.”

Jodie believes that anyone who enjoys horseback riding should go visit this facility.  She says, “it is fun, plus it makes you a lot stronger, and the volunteers are helpful.” She says that her favorite thing about riding is when she is lifted up into the air when getting situated on her horse.  She says it feels like she is flying!

About Sycamore Lane

Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center’s mission is to provide and promote therapeutic riding and recreation in a safe, professional, nurturing environment to children and adults with mental and physical disabilities in the Portland metropolitan area.  To learn more about Sycamore Lane, visit their website.


UCP Explores Concordia/Beaumont

UCP loves to explore all that Portland has to offer, and one of the ways we do this is through our Neighborhood Waves program.

In January and February, UCP will be exploring Concordia and Beaumont: discovering business, restaurants and more. We even have a couple of fun tours in the works!  As our explorers report back, find out the latest on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ucpaorwa

A special 'thank you' to the businesses below that are welcoming the people we support and helping to make "A Community for Everyone".

Participating businesses include:

  • The Arrangement
  • The Bookmark at Concordia University
  • Troolie
  • Cracker Jack
  • Beaumont Do-It-Best Hardware
  • Delphina’s Bakery
  • Rose’s Ice Cream
  • New Seasons Market- Concordia
  • Hattie’s Sweet Shop

For information on Neighborhood Waves contact: Kerry Pinney 503-777-4166 x 353 or by .

Hire Brock Today!

UCP's Employment Solutions program assists qualified job seekers who experience a disability to connect with employers who value what they bring to the workplace. Since the department's inception in 2006, Employment Solutions has supported over 100 individuals in their job search journey. Our goal is to help them find, secure, and keep employment.

One of our current job seekers is named Brock, and he would love to get a job. Below, in Brock's own words, is what Brock wants you to know...

Do you know of a good job opening for Brock? Contact Brock's Job Developer, .

Hi!  My name is Brock L. Turner and I have been working with Job Developer Nicholas Von Pless for the past 3 months.  I am a soon-to-be 33 years old (birthday on January 27th!) adult with Asperger’s Syndrome/High Functioning Autism, and currently serving as a member of the Adults Subcommittee on the Governors’ Task Force on Autism.  I have a two-year Associate’s of Arts Oregon Transfer (A.A.O.T.) degree from Portland Community College and have also completed a two-year Work Force Career Pathways Pharmacy Technician Training Program, also from PCC. 

I am currently seeking employment in the greater Portland/Vancouver metro area.  I am an Oregon State Licensed Pharmacy Technician, and I also possess national certification.  Part of my two-year training for a Pharmacy Technician Career included a three-month full-time, forty hours per week onsite externship working at Walgreens Pharmacy as a Pharmacy Tech.  In addition to my education and training for pharmacy work, I also have a history of clerical/administrative and customer service work.

I spent approximately three and a half years from September 2004 to January 2008 working as a Customer Service Representative at the Affiliated Computer Services (A.C.S.), Inc. Call Center off NE Sandy Blvd & NE 181st Ave in Gresham, OR.  I also worked doing various temporary staffing duties including data entry, filing, telephone reception, and other clerical tasks.  My primary career goal is to work in a pharmacy, but I am in a place of keeping an open mind to possible job opportunities. 

My long term goals include finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at PSU (in conjunction with working full time), and am currently the elected Vice Chair of the Multnomah County Young Democrats. 

Some other clerical/administrative work experience I have as working as a volunteer, intern and occasional paid employee for a variety of political campaigns.  Work with these campaigns includes multi-line telephone experience, fundraising and sales, writing, composing and editing Letters to the Editor and Opinion/Editorial work for various newspapers, filing and stuffing envelopes, phone polling, data entry, and direct face-to-face canvassing and assisting to register new voters and assist registered voters to cast their ballots.

I pride myself on being a good proponent and advocate for persons with Asperger’s/Autism and feel I can help promote a diverse and harmonious work environment.  Please feel free to view my resume at any time!


    • Brock

New Resource For Parents

UCP’s Family Support Department currently supports over 800 families of children who experience cerebral palsy, or a closely-related disability.

The parents in the program have a very active Facebook page. Recently, a parent posted this question: How affected will my son be in the future?

The comments that were posted in response were so helpful that we have collected them into one document, which you can view here.

The 15th UCP Family Conference Was a Huge Success

What a great 15th UCP Family Conference! Participants reported feeling a sense of connection and community, and said that they learned a great deal as well.

Our keynote speaker, Gregg Mozgala, set the tone for "community".  If you have yet to learn about Gregg Mozgala and his work with Tamar Rogoff, watch the Today Show story here.

During their work together, Gregg and Tamar shot over 300 hours of film, and then obtained funding through Kickstarter to turn the footage into a movie.  We were fortunate that Gregg was able to bring a rough cut of the movie to the conference, which we showed on Friday night. 

The conference also featured 15 workshops with interesting and informative topics, such as spasticity management, healthy sexuality, blended diets, employment, transition to adulthood, music therapy, and much, much more.