501-362-7526 info@maysmission.org 604 Colonial Drive, Heber Springs, Arkansas 72543

Religious freedom for all

Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed and fully implemented in 1992, not all facilities were required to become “accessible.”  The ADA covered “public accommodations” but has no authority over private institutions and organizations. So let’s talk a bit about “places of worship.”

Churches, synagogues, fellowships or whatever a place of worship chooses to be called do not fall under the auspices, rules and guidelines of the ADA.  Because these institutions are private religious organizations, they are not required to become compliant with Title III of the ADA regarding “public accommodations.”

Now, I have been in many places of worship and have yet to find one where I can’t get through the doors.  Yet once inside, many an obstacle has been found.  Probably the most annoying and inconvenient situation is an inaccessible restroom.  Classrooms and the like can easily be made accommodating but once the plumbing is in place it’s difficult to change.

Situations like this can be very discouraging to people with disabilities.  As usual, changes can be made (and should be) but it’s usually a slow process.  Change will not be made until the problem area is brought to the attention of those in authority.

Check out your place of worship for accessibility issues and report your findings to those in authority.  Try to get a plan of action to make necessary changes.

In a land that was founded on religious freedom, would it be a shame if we all were not comfortable in our respective places of worship?

If you would like more information or one of our free brochures like “Making Your Community Accessible” call us toll free at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org. Thanks and please share in the comments section.

Volunteerism

We can’t say enough about the importance of volunteerism. Ask any hospital, nonprofit organization or civic related agency and they will attest to the fact that volunteerism is their backbone, strength and support.

Volunteers do everything from answering the phone to driving busses and anything in between. Even professionals such as doctors, dentists and counselors often provide their services to clinics that offer care to low income families and individuals. Lawyers and paralegals often devote a certain amount of their time to those who could not afford their services on a walk-in basis. Volunteers often get out and do the leg-work that administrators just don’t have the time to do.

There are a vast variety of volunteer opportunities in every community. One of the advantages of giving your time is the array of work to do. Whatever your talents are, more than likely an organization in your community would be willing to put you to work using your skills.

So, what do you need to do to find out if you can assist an organization in your community? It’s as simple as calling and asking. Better yet, go to the agency and ask them personally if there is something you can do.

 Looking for something a little out of the ordinary? Call your state office of volunteerism. They should be able to give you a variety of places that are always looking for people to assist. You can also turn to the Internet. Just type in the state or city you live in along with the word “volunteerism.”

Helping others is always rewarding. Become a volunteer today. You will see new faces, make new friends and feel better about yourself for what you’ve done for others from your heart!

If you would like more information call us at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org and please feel free to share in the comments section. Thanks!

Labor Day

Labor Day, always the first Monday in September, also known as the “workingman’s day”, has many roots and origins as with any other national holiday. It introduces a yearly national tribute to the hard work that workers have made to the prosperity and involvements of our country.

The severe depressive economic conditions of the late 1890’s caused layoffs and pay cuts to thousands of railroad workers. Workers walked off the job and protested and joined by mobs of non-union workers. President Cleveland called in 12,000 troops to end the dispute.

Legislation was rushed through Congress and the bill arrived on President Cleveland’s desk just six days after the troops had broken the strike. It was then that Labor Day was born. On June 28th 1894 it was an official national holiday.

Currently, in attempts to assist people with disabilities entering the competitive labor force, Mays Mission offers on-the-job training to people with disabilities. Individuals with a variety of disabilities from blindness to quadriplegia, mental illnesses to slow learners have come and gone. For many the training was successful. “Some come and find out that employment is just more than they can handle, yet others have been with us for over 30 years” said Mays Mission President Sherry Niehaus. “Some stay and call Mays Mission home while others move on into other employment avenues, which is what we’re all about.”

Give people a chance. If you can’t get your foot in the door, of potential employers who focus on disability instead of ability- the disabled don’t stand a chance. People with disabilities need continuing advocacy.

This Labor Day, help us celebrate by committing to encourage an employer to hire people with disabilities. It’s not about labor unions and high wages – it’s about giving capable workers a chance to prove that they are worthy of employment. For more information, please call us at 888-503-7955  or email us at info@maysmission.org for a variety of brochures. Thank you for supporting people with disabilities!

Good Neighbors

  The sweltering heat of summer is upon us.  Record-breaking temperatures have already hit the northeast.  We, here in the south, are always anticipating the “dog-days” of summer-but few can honestly say they enjoy the heat indices commonly above 105.

  A healthy able-bodied person may go to the lake for a swim or take a cool dip in a pool.  So refreshing and what a relief!  Yet, for many with disabilities these options are not available.  Therefore, one must take precautions not to get overheated in this volatile time of the year.  It is common for people with spinal cord injuries, such as myself, not to have the ability to perspire, which is the body’s natural cooling system.  Also, as some people age their skin loses elastins (elasticity) thus keeping the skin taut.  This, in turn, causes the body not to perspire as it should.  Over-heating leads to heat-stroke and heat-stroke may lead to death. 

  As friends and neighbors, make it a point to call or visit a friend with a disability or the elderly especially if they are without air conditioning or live alone.  Maybe you could invite them over for a cool sip of lemonade.  Sound silly?  Please do not feel that way.  This not only shows your caring and concern, you may save a life.  Do your part to help us all make it through the dog-days of summer! 

  Think about it!

Call us at 888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org for free informational brochures like “Heat Wave – Heat Protection Safety” to show how you can help. And if you have any other advice please share in the comments section. Thanks!

Vacation Time

Everyone needs a break from the hustle and bustle of his or her everyday routine. Whether you are working a 40-hour a week job, being a house-mom, volunteering or even retired, we all like to get out and get away from our usual environment and take a vacation – and especially right now has many Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted all across the country. Trips to the big city, camping, theme parks and national and state parks are just a few of the multitude of possibilities for a family vacation.

            For people with disabilities, just a smidgen of planning ahead can prevent heartbreak, disappointment and potentially risky situations. Most attractions, such as theme and national parks have made their sites accessible to the disabled thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Yet, due to a variety of issues and unforeseen circumstances, what is available to the able-bodied individual may vary somewhat from what is available to the disabled traveler.

            When making hotel/motel reservations, always ask the manager of the facility to describe “handicapped” rooms. What works for the “average” traveler may not work for you. In my travels across the nation, it’s not uncommon to reserve a room only to find out that my wheelchair cannot get through the bathroom door. There’s no such thing as “over planning.”

            If flying, try to take very necessary items with you in your carry-on luggage. Especially remember your essential medications. If your regular luggage should happen to get lost or end up on another flight, you will probably be a little more at ease.

            For more information on vacationing with the disabled, call 888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org for our brochure, “The Disabled Traveler.” Have fun and be safe!

Just Say Thank You

Ewing Mays began his “mission” by visiting his fellow veterans with whom he shared a common bond.  All of them had been wounded in the war and many of them, like Mr. Mays, had lost a leg or an arm in the service of their country.  He knew what they were going through.  He had been there.  And he was determined to help as many as he could.  He wanted to help them to understand that life could still be worthwhile and he wanted to share with them what he had learned and what he had done to overcome his disability.

But his visits did more.  Each time he visited a veteran’s home or hospital he was also letting the veterans know they were not forgotten and what they had done in the service of their nation was important.  By his mere presence he was letting them know they had done something noble, something which deserved the gratitude of us all.  He was saying “thank you, thank you for your service to your country.”

We all like to hear someone say thank you to us.  It is a phrase which makes us feel good.  The two words give us a sense of accomplishment, a sense of worthiness and the knowledge that someone else believes we did something good. 

Memorial Day is a day for saying thank you.  We remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and we say thank you to them by placing wreaths of flowers, by parades, by speeches, by moments of silence, by fly-overs of jet fighters and by simply saying “thank you.”  This is our national day of saying thank you to all those who served and sacrificed to keep our nation free.  Ewing Mays said thank you each time he visited with a group of his fellow veterans.  He celebrated Memorial Day each time he made a visit.

  Let us all celebrate Memorial Day as Ewing Mays did.  Whenever you meet a veteran, remember to say thank you. Take the opportunity to let a living veteran know you appreciate what they did for our nation. What better way to memorialize those who are gone than by honoring those who are still here.

  For more information email us at info@maysmission.org and feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section. Thank you.

Reaching Out

Followers of this website may have noticed some changes recently. We are trying to reach out to more people with the addition of a blog.  Our founder, Ewing W. Mays, started Mays Mission as a way to reach out and raise awareness for people with disabilities, and it’s what we have been doing for over 48 years now. And hopefully as we grow stronger in the online community this will open up new employment opportunities for interested people with disabilities seeking work.

Mays Mission for the Handicapped was conceived to offer on the job training and employment to persons with disabilities in rural Arkansas. What better way is there to reach out and offer a person stability and independence than to teach them how to do a job and then employ them to do that job? 

On-the-job training has always been the main focus at Mays Mission. We have trained many disabled persons over the past 47 years. While some we trained have gone on to other companies, we have other employees who stay with us many years. 

Our employees with disabilities work in every department of our organization. They produce all of the brochures, calendars, books, notepads and gift paks that we use in our outreach programs.    

We reach out to young people when we award scholarships to deserving students with disabilities. We are helping these young people to acquire the education that will allow them to compete in the workplace.

We also reach out with camperships so that children and adults with disabilities can enjoy summer camp programs.

Mays Mission for the Handicapped has also reached out to those confined to Veterans Hospitals and Nursing Homes due to age, illness or injury and let those confined there know that they are not forgotten.

We reach out by sending countless brochures each month in our effort to educate as many people as possible to the importance of hiring the disabled. The brochures cover many subjects such as The Americans with Disabilities Act, and On the Job Training.  Many of our loyal donors help, by passing out the brochures in their community.

We have been a past recipient of the local Small Business Employer of the Year. This honor was bestowed by the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities.

While we are proud of our accomplishments, we could not have done it on our own. It is through the generosity of our donors that we continue to achieve our goals. For more information, please call us at 888-503.7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org. Thank you!

Exposure Breeds Comfort

For many people who have little exposure or experience with a disabled individual, the initial focus of the new relationship, unfortunately, is on the disability. As we have come to know, getting truly acquainted with someone takes much more than concentrating on physical characteristics. Focusing on the disability instead of the inner-beauty and personality causes uneasiness. A true and lasting relationship will take much longer to develop. If the disability is deafness, you may become very self-conscious about what you are not saying or communicating with your hands. If the disability is blindness, you may become self-conscious about pointing or saying phrases such as “see you later,” and so on. The truth is that you will probably be uneasy until your relationship has had time to develop. Focusing on a disability will only cause delay in your maturing relationship. Consider this, that you too, must be yourself in order for the good and healthy relationship to properly develop. This is true of all relationships, not simply with the disabled. In a “normal” relationship, factors such as gender, age, race, and physical features seem very pronounced when we first meet. These features quickly become secondary, and we eventually lose awareness of them completely. The same can and should be true when getting to know the disabled. Be at ease. Be yourself. Treat your new-found friend the same way that you would like to be treated. That’s the best way to develop and nurture a relationship that is long and lasting.

Please feel free to share in the comments section. If you would like more information call us at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org and thank you for supporting people with disabilities!

Spring

 With the spring season upon us we begin to look for signs of new life.  Driving through a pristine country setting or even dashing through a city subdivision one spots evidence of the seasonal change.  It may be the first daffodil reaching out to grab a ray of sunshine or seeing a frolicking foal bouncing through a fresh green pasture.  Whatever the case may be, everyone can see that new life has begun.

Using the above as an analogy, when people with disabilities see changes happening, it is probably time to make an appointment with your doctor.  Depending on the disability, change can be a positive or negative thing.  This is especially true with diabetes.  Changes in skin color, easy bruising or a sore that will not heal is a signal that something may be going awry and need to be checked out by a physician or healthcare professional.

Diabetes is one of those diseases that is very unpredictable and affects seven percent of the US population.  Thirty percent are undiagnosed (National Diabetics Information Clearinghouse)!  With early detection and proper treatment diabetes may be manageable.  Left undetected and untreated, diabetes can be fatal.

Make it a point to have your blood sugar checked yearly.  What better time than spring?  The sooner diabetes can be diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin and adjustments can be made to our lifestyles to assure a longer and better quality of life.

If you would like more information on how you can help, call us toll free at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org today. Thanks for all you do for the disabled. And please comment in the comments section if you have some helpful, healthy ideas you would like to share. Thanks!

Make Caregiving a Team Effort

When tragedy, sudden illness, disability or death occurs within your family or circle of close friends, there is often a feeling of helplessness or emptiness. With illness or disability, one can usually cope by visiting the loved one and offering to lend a helping hand. Volunteering to do chores, watch the kids, and run errands not only helps tremendously the stricken individual and their family, but it also gives the person assisting a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. There is not much of a better feeling than knowing that you have assisted a friend in getting through a crisis.

 You see, caregiving doesn’t always mean “hands on.” The term “Caregiving” covers a broad spectrum of services and is not limited to the actual “physical” care of an individual.

 Most communities have a group, agency or organizations and nonprofit agencies are often your best bet for resources and referrals. Don’t forget support groups. They not only point you in the right direction for the service you need, but also lend an often needed emotional boost as well.

 Seek out the resources available in your community. They are there to assist you and to help make caregiving a team effort.

 Please contact us for more information about caregiving, volunteering and helping others with disabilities. Call us at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org to find out more and feel free to share in the comments section. Thanks!

Cautious Rehabilitation Pays Off

When the body has suffered trauma, whether it is from an accident or disease, it takes time and patience to recover. The rehabilitation process is often long and drawn out. During inactivity, muscles, joints and tendons weaken. Due to this inactivity, it takes, on the average, three times longer to heal. Let’s say you broke your arm and it was in a cast for 3 weeks. It will take approximately 9 weeks to regain full strength and range of motion, due to immobility.

  Setting goals during the rehabilitation process is good; just make sure they are realistic. Being hospitalized and under the care of occupational and physical therapists is a safeguard against doing further damage. But, for those released from “guarded conditions” it is easy to become too anxious and try to “speed up” the rehabilitation process. In doing so, you put yourself at risk for further damage. Muscles and tendons need to be stretched slowly. Too much exercise or overexertion could actually tear the already damaged and tender affected area. Remember, too, that if the damaged limbs are lower extremities, there is a risk of losing balance and falling. We certainly do not want to go back to “square-one.”

  Follow the doctor’s orders and prescribed time for the healing. The end goal is to be back to a condition that is as normal as possible. Be safe, not sorry.

Please share your experiences in the comments section and if you would like some of our free brochures, please call 888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysission.org and thank you for supporting people with disabilities!

Happy New Year!

Another year has passed and some good questions might be “What have we accomplished? Are we better off in any way than we were 365 days ago?  What can we do in the coming year to improve our lives and the way we live?” Better yet, what can we do to improve the lives of others, especially those with disabilities?

The dictionary describes an “advocate” as one who publicly supports or suggests an idea, development or way of doing something.

Here at Mays Mission, our primary goal is to aid and assist people with disabilities. Yes, putting to work those who may have difficulty finding gainful employment is one facet of our purpose yet there is so much more.

Public education regarding the abilities and capabilities of people with disabilities is of utmost importance. You see, through our various programs and direct mail, we have the opportunity to inform and educate the public throughout the country that given the opportunity, people with disabilities can become productive citizens.

We have seen scores of people with a variety of disabilities come and go here at Mays Mission while others have chosen to stay with us. It’s heartwarming to know that some have bought their own homes, learned to drive and purchased automobiles, while some have moved on to bigger and better opportunities. Seeing people succeed and become more independent where at one time hope seemed lost is an indescribable feeling.

We’ve set our goal: to aid and assist people with disabilities. Won’t you please join us? Email us at info@maysmission.org to learn more about our programs and see how you can be an advocate for people with disabilities this year. And your comments are always welcome in the comment section. Thanks!

The Greatest Gift

It’s that time of year again – the Christmas season. The brightly colored autumn leaves have fallen to the ground, announcing a time of rest and relaxation for many living things. We’ve stuffed ourselves with juicy Thanksgiving turkey and loads of luscious desserts from our bountiful buffets. People are putting up the Christmas decorations and the malls are calling for us to come and shop.

In all the hustle and bustle, let’s not forget the “reason for the season,” the birth of Jesus. He came to us just as foretold by prophets of old (Isaiah 7:14). Without his birth, there would have been no atonement for sin. We would still be sacrificing bulls, lambs and doves – presenting our sins to a high priest once a year. If He hadn’t come we would be unable to enter the most holy place – the throne room of God – are present out prayers and petitions (Hebrews 4:15, 16). He came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10).

As we enter this holiday season, let’s not forget those who might have difficulty getting out and about. Offer a ride to a friend with a disability or someone who may have difficulty navigating a shopping center or mall. Offer to shop for someone who may be unable to get out for whatever reason. A little kindness and friendliness and a show of care and compassion may be just the ticket to make someone’s Christmas time a little more stress-free.

I can think of no better verse – no better gift, than what is the most quoted scripture: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

God bless you all! And thank you for supporting people with disabilities!

Photo taken during a Mays Mission Veterans Home visit. For more information email us at info@maysmission.org today. We would love to hear from you!

Amazon and Mays Mission working together and you can help!

If you will be using Amazon for your holiday shopping this year, go to smile.amazon and select Mays Mission as your charity.


AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. You will be asked what charity you wish to help. You can type in Mays Mission in the search window.


The easiest way to support Mays Mission through Amazon Smile among almost a million other charities Amazon is helping is to go to the following link:


https://smile.amazon.com/ch/71-0445210


Use this link in all your Amazon shopping experiences.


AmazonSmile is also now available in the Amazon Shopping App to all AmazonSmile customers using supported Android devices. Just download the Amazon Shopping App, open the App on your Android device. View Settings and select AmazonSmile. Then follow the in-App instructions to complete the process.


And thank you for all that you do to support the disabled!

To Tell or Not To Tell

Are you disabled and unemployed?  Do you have the feeling that if you tell a potential employer about your disability you won’t be hired?  Great news!  Since the inception of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, there has been a lot of progress for the disabled.

            Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”), an employer may ask disability-related questions and require medical examinations on an applicant only after the applicant has been given a conditional job offer.  However, employers can ask if you can meet the job requirements before being hired.

            Another benefit that has occurred since the ADA inception is Jobs Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is a free consulting service for employers, disabled employees and rehabilitation services. JAN provides free customized worksite accommodation solutions and technical assistance. It works in conjunction with the ADA and other disability-related laws and legislation.  It also provides job searching and links to employers who are committed to hiring people with disabilities.   

            Last but not least, Mays Mission has made progress helping the disabled.  From on-the-job training for the disabled to scholarships to help disabled adults get a college degree. Camperships are important as well because the children and adults with disabilities experience recreational opportunities while being around others with similar disabilities.  This is why your support is so important to Mays Mission for the Handicapped and we sincerely thank you for your involvement in keeping the dream of Ewing W. Mays for a Mission to assist the disabled thriving. He saw the ability in one’s disability. His dream has given Mays Mission employees a chance to live productive lives. 

            For more information on the Americans with Disability Act or on-the-job training for the disabled, contact us at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org.  For more information on JAN, go to the askjan.org website or call 1-800-526-7234 (1-877-781-9403 – TTY) – where you will get live professional assistance.

Please share your experiences in the comments section and thank you for supporting the disabled!

Accessibility