Author: Amelis Long, Enable Outreach Specialist, First National Bank of Omaha

World Cerebral Palsy Day will be recognized around the globe this Friday, October 6th. To commemorate this important day, we spoke with BevVan Phillips, Executive Director at United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska, to find out more about how the organization is spreading awareness of Cerebral Palsy, as well as helping individuals with a broad range of disabilities and their families.

What is United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska? What are its goals?      

United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska is an affiliate of United Cerebral Palsy and part of a large network of organizations working to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. UCP of Nebraska serves people and their families who live in Nebraska with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. We provide education, advocacy, personal grants and social programs on our own and in collaboration with other agencies. 

Can you elaborate on some of the ways UCP-NE provides support to individuals with Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities?

We fill a need for social outlets and social skill development and the family in most of our programs. Another focus is on technology or modifications and its impact on a person's quality of life. We collaborate with site agencies to run seven Tech Tools developmental libraries across the state. These are small libraries of adaptive toys, switches, and simple environmental control technology that people with disabilities, their families, and professionals that work with them can utilize.  The items can be checked out for a period of 3-4 weeks depending upon the site. We provide a limited number of small grants to individuals throughout the year primarily to assist with the purchase of assistive technology or home modifications.

What is the most rewarding part of working with this organization?

There's very little that's not rewarding about working with UCP of Nebraska. We feel good when we are able to help provide someone tools or guidance to help themselves or a family member. It is exciting to meet people who have accomplished a goal no matter its size and to participate in their triumph. 

What does World Cerebral Palsy Day mean to you? Why is it important?

World Cerebral Palsy day is an opportunity for each of us to understand more about Cerebral Palsy so that we can do a better job of recognizing people who have it as people—not as the assorted physical, mental, or health differences that they may have. Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common physical disabilities and truly is one of the most misunderstood. There is no average or typical presentation so that even some people who have cerebral palsy themselves may not understand what someone else with CP is experiencing. I appreciate World Cerebral Palsy Day as an opportunity for people to raise their voice proudly and to educate themselves and others. My personal challenge is for everyone, even people who live with Cerebral Palsy every day, to make it their mission to talk about it and to learn at least one new thing about it on October 6th.  The organization World CP Day has made it easy to do. Visit Get the conversation going. 

At Enable, we are committed to helping individuals with Cerebral Palsy—and all disabilities—reach their savings goals and achieve financial independence. To share why you think World Cerebral Palsy Day is important or to learn more about the Enable Savings Plan, visit our Facebook page.