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Proposal Writing

Deals with Rural Community Recreation Project: Increase Access to Technology for People with Disabilities

Personal names and addresses were removed at the project's request. Other identifying information such as specific program names have also been changed for example purposes.

WRITE A GRANT

COVER SHEET

Title: Rural Community Recreation Project (RCRP)

Grant application to: The Community Foundation Assistive Technology Program

Contact person: Executive Director

Applicant organization: Assistive Technology Partnership (ATP)

Tax exemption:

501 (c) (3) organization

Priority areas addressed:

Recreation

Education/Training

Information access

Mission:

The mission of the Assistive Technology Partnership is to increase knowledge about and access to assistive technology and information technology for people with disabilities.

Geographic area served:

State-wide.

Population served:

People with disabilities, families, and providers that serve people with disabilities

GRANT REQUEST

Project title: Rural Community Recreation Project

Project summary:

The Rural Community Recreation Project will address barriers to recreation participation faced by adults with disabilities. Assistive Technology Partnerships, in collaboration with multiple organizations, will promote inclusion, access, and availability of assistive technology used for recreation in two rural communities. Project activities will include community mapping of local recreation resources, training related to assistive technology use, provision of assistive technology devices to community recreation sites, and information dissemination.

Time frame: January 1, 2004 - December 31, 2005

Requested funds: $184,738

PROPOSAL NARRATIVE

Statement of the community problem

Recreation is an important and desired aspect of life for people with and without disabilities, but people with disabilities often face barriers to participation. The lack of knowledge about existing resources, inaccessible facilities, lack of training by community recreation providers, and a lack of appropriate adaptive recreation equipment are significant barriers to desired recreation and community participation. A recent Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities found that 69% of adults with disabilities report their disability prevents them in some way from getting around, attending cultural or sporting events, participating in recreation, or socializing with friends outside their home. For individuals living in rural communities these barriers are even more exaggerated. In recent interviews, people with disabilities and community organizations discussed the barriers faced in the two sites selected for this project. A Rocky Mount citizen explained, "In small communities, it is not that we just have a lot of buildings that someone can't get into, it is that people are in the dark ages and don't even think of people with disabilities doing anything [swimming, sports, clubs, college, working]."

Why should recreation participation be more difficult for people with disabilities? Why are there often few existing adaptive recreation programs that provide accessible and inclusive facilities and even fewer facilities that have the assistive technology often required for many individuals with disabilities to participate in specific self-determined recreation activities? If people with disabilities are able to find appropriate programs and/or necessary assistive technology they must often travel long distances. By focusing efforts on increasing access to existing community resources, people with disabilities will not have to seek out specialized programs outside their home community - they can participate in their neighborhoods with family and friends. This project seeks to equip consumers and recreation providers with access to assistive technology and the training necessary to achieve quality community recreation participation.

Description of the community

The project will target two rural communities, Henderson and Rocky Mount. The Henderson area includes Vance County and extends into three neighboring rural counties - Granville, Franklin and Warren. Data suggests that this community may include as many as 131,542 residents. U.S. Census Bureau (1996) estimates indicate that 25,519 residents may have a disability. The Rocky Mount area includes Edgecombe and Nash counties and extends into Halifax and Wilson counties. For this community state data shows 267,063 residents and U.S. Census Bureau estimates 51,809 residents with a disability.

Analysis of the problem

A lack of knowledge of recreation opportunities is one of the most common barriers to recreation participation among people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities simply don't know where to look for recreation opportunities, how to ask about accessibility or programs and when and how to assert their rights. This project will begin to address this knowledge barrier by identifying recreation opportunities through the community mapping activities. Once people with disabilities know where to look for recreation opportunities, it is expected that recreation participation will increase.

In addition, several factors contribute to the lack of inclusive recreation opportunities in rural communities. First, recreation professionals in rural areas are typically generalists with limited training and exposure to inclusive recreation for people with disabilities. Though it may seem that these professionals show less initiative to address the needs of people with disabilities and include them in community programs, it is often a lack of training and awareness of these needs that is the barrier. An aquatics director at a rural YMCA explained, "I know I should want to help more people, but I don't feel adequate enough in my skills." Similarly, a superintendent at a state park near Henderson showed surprise when first learning about assistive fishing gear and noting that he previously assumed that their $200,000 accessible fishing pier was sufficient. Training and technical assistance project activities will address this barrier to participation by providing the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to support inclusive recreation opportunities.

Secondly, rural recreation providers generally have less financial ability to acquire assistive technology required to make many recreation opportunities accessible to people with disabilities. Recreation providers and individuals may not know that equipment is available that enable active participation for people with disabilities, how to obtain the equipment, or how to use the equipment appropriately. Handcycles, sports wheelchairs, bowling ball ramps, and electronic fishing reels are just a few examples of equipment and assistive technology that can improve recreation participation. Funds provided by this project will bring the financial resources into these rural communities to purchase assistive technology for recreation that they would not otherwise be able to afford. This equipment will remain in the community and benefit the community for years to come.

PROJECT VISION, MISSION AND OBJECTIVES

Project vision and mission

The vision of the Rural Community Recreation Project is to increase recreation participation among people with disabilities.

The mission of the Rural Community Recreation Project is to eliminate barriers to recreation participation for adults with disabilities living in Henderson and Rocky Mount and surrounding areas by increasing awareness and access to recreation through assistive technology and training.

Objectives

Overall objectives for the project include the following:

An increase in the awareness of existing community resources and the benefits associated with participation in traditional and nontraditional recreational opportunities and increased participation rates;

An increase in the number of community recreational opportunities that are accessible, inclusive and have necessary adaptive equipment from which residents with disabilities may choose;

An increase of knowledge by community recreation providers, resulting in more responsive and inclusive service provision to consumers with disabilities;

An increase in the availability of assistive technology for recreation activities with increased recreation participation by individuals with disabilities;

The development of community commitment to sustain project outcomes through the maintenance of assistive technology at community sites and website.

METHODS

Targets of change

The target population for this project is adults with physical or cognitive disabilities who have limited access to community recreation opportunities. Recreation providers are also a target population.

Mobilizing human and material resources

The human and material resources are gained primarily from the lead project organization, the project staff and collaborators. Together, they will implement the project. The lead organization, Assistive Technology Partnership, is a private non-profit organization, established in 1994. It operates with a 13-member board of directors. Board members include individuals with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities in addition to representatives from state agencies, businesses, and the medical and education community. Having provided services in 100 counties, ATP has state-wide reach. ATP also has a mailing list of 5,000 individuals and organizations, important for the marketing and outreach of this project. ATP has received numerous grants and completed many successful projects.

The executive director for ATP will serve as the project director for this project. Responsibilities will include budget oversight; hiring of inventory surveyors; marketing of the project including preparation of PSAs, newsletter articles, and presentations; coordination of site trainings; liaison with community network groups; oversight of contract employees; dissemination of information and reports; preparation of required reports; and coordination and oversight of AT mini grants. The community mapping coordinator will be responsible for the community mapping process including the training of surveyors, developing the survey instrument, developing format for the community resource web page, oversight of the programmer, data entry and web developer. The third member of the project staff is the training coordinator. Responsibilities of the training coordinator include identification of training needs based on community mapping results, identification of potential trainers, assisting with specific and generic training, reviewing training materials and serving as a liaison with existing community recreation providers.

Numerous key stakeholders have been identified as collaborators in the project. Much of the success and sustainability of the project depends on these collaborators. An initial list of collaborators and their role in the project is as follows:

Kerr Lake State Park has already begun building accessible facilities and has agreed to be a pilot site for training and placement of assistive technology.

Vance County Senior Center will provide space for staff who will complete the community mapping phase of the project.

Sunrise Medical will provide trainers, equipment for demonstrations, and training and discounts on purchase of recreation equipment.

Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Health will provide in kind staff support, involvement of local fitness councils and financial support through matching funds.

Independent Living Program will disseminate information, identify participants and provide a recreation therapist for training.

Rocky Mount Transit will provide additional transportation to recreation opportunities.

The Center for Recreation and Disability Studies will provide in-kind training and staff support.

Vance County Tourism will disseminate information.

Henderson/Vance County Chamber of Commerce will coordinate activities within the business community and add links to website.

STRATEGIES FOR INTERVENTION

The project activities will take place in four phases with each building upon the other to achieve the project goals.

Phase 1: Community resource mapping. Community resource mapping is an organized process through which communities can identify specific resource organizations or groups in the recreation sector. Approximately 50 resources will be identified in each community. Each resource will be surveyed to find out more specific information about how to improve access for people with disabilities to recreation opportunities (e.g., through training, modifications and assistive technology). The surveyors will be community citizens, three at each site, who will be hired and trained to collect information from identified recreation providers. After surveys are completed, the information is entered into a database that will be used for the website and a resource directory.

Phase 2: Training and technical assistance. Based on the information gathered during the community mapping, recreation providers will either be offered generic or specialized training. Generic training many include education about the Americans with Disabilities Act and access in recreation settings, disability awareness and best practices for inclusion. Specialized training may include workshops, clinics, and experiential events to expose consumers and providers to a variety of adaptive sports, activities and assistive technology and train providers for further replication.

Phase 3: Assistive Technology Mini Grants. Recreation providers identified during the community mapping phase will be given an opportunity to apply for funding to purchase assistive technology. Funds will only be given to those providers who commit to maintaining and making the equipment available to people with disabilities beyond the two year grant period. Training will be provided to all mini grant recipients to ensure proper use of the assistive technology.

Phase 4: Information Dissemination. Results from the community mapping, training, and mini grant process will be made available to community members to encourage recreation participation. A searchable database containing community recreation information will be placed on a website and a computer will be placed in each community in a central, accessible location. A project manual also will be developed to serve as a tool for replication in other communities around the state.

ACTION PLAN

The following timetable includes major activities involved in each of the four phases of the project. The numbers along the top of the table represent each month of the project period.

EVALUATION

The evaluation process will be initiated at the onset of the project and conducted throughout the two-year period to measure: (1) the effectiveness of project methods, (2) timeliness of services, (3) consumer satisfaction, (4) accomplishment of specific outcomes, and (5) replication potential. Several evaluation strategies will be used including choice response and open-ended questionnaires in pre/post evaluation at all trainings, log of website usage, quarterly evaluation of use of assistive technology after community placement, and a review of record keeping. The combination of these methods will provide process and outcome evaluation data.

Plan for financial sustainability

The involvement of collaborating organizations, specifically the involvement of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Health, is the long-term plan for sustainability and replication of the project. The project fits within the long range goals of the Council and its plan to increase funding to support similar projects.

BUDGET

Budget justification

Staff and fringe benefits are for the Project Director (calculated at .40 FTE). Responsibilities include budget oversight; hiring of inventory surveyors; marketing of the project including preparation of PSAs, newsletter articles, and presentations to diverse audiences; coordination of site trainings; serving as a liaison with community network groups, overseeing contract employees, dissemination of information and reports, preparation of required reports, coordination and oversight of AT mini grants and consumer and family stipends.

Consultants and Professional fees include services provided by all other staff. This includes the community mapping coordinator and evaluator who will work 300 hours in year 1 and 200 hours in year 2 at a rate of $30 per hour. Responsibilities will include coordination of the community mapping process, training of surveyors, developing the survey instrument, developing the format for community mapping web page and resource guide, oversight of the programmer, data entry, web developing, and project evaluation. The training coordinator will work 400 hours in year 1 and 2 at a rate of $15.50 per hour. Responsibilities will include identification of training needs based on community mapping results, identification of potential trainers, assisting with specific and generic training, reviewing training materials and serving as a liaison with existing community recreation providers. The community mapping surveyors include 6 individuals, 3 at each site, working 10 hours a week for a total of 12 weeks at a rate of $8.00 per hour. Clerical support is based on 8 hours per week. The web developer's rate is $65.00 per hour for a total of 50 hours in year 1 and 20 hours in year 2. Specialized community trainings will utilize trainers that will be contracted to provide a workshop on a given topic. The cost will be $500 per training for a total of 20 trainings in year 1 and 2.

Travel is calculated at $ 0.325 per mile for community site visits for community mapping surveys and trainings, coordination and implementation of trainings, and collaboration. Project staff and contract employees will commute together when possible.

Equipment is for the purchase of "high cost" assistive technology items. Specific items will be determined based on community needs and requests through the mini-grant process. A computer also will be purchased and placed at each site so consumers and families will have increased access to the project website and Internet resources.

Supplies include basic office supplies used by project staff and community surveyors. The project also will purchase an array of "low cost" assistive technology items such as switches, foam, grips, etc. for use in each community as determined by specific needs.

Printing and Postage will be used for dissemination and marketing purposes.

Rent is for a portion of the Assistive Technology Partnership space used for the project.

Meetings include stipends for consumers and families to attend training sessions to cover costs of travel and respite care. This amount also covers costs of refreshments at training sessions.

Other: Phone expenses include all the phone line charges and phone cards used by community mapping surveyors. It also includes phone use for project staff. Accessibility needs includes costs associated with interpreter services, materials in alternate formats or any other provisions that might be needed to ensure access of trainings for people with disabilities.

Analysis of the problem

A lack of knowledge of recreation opportunities is one of the most common barriers to recreation participation among people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities simply don't know where to look for recreation opportunities, how to ask about accessibility or programs and when and how to assert their rights. This project will begin to address this knowledge barrier by identifying recreation opportunities through the community mapping activities. Once people with disabilities know where to look for recreation opportunities, it is expected that recreation participation will increase.

In addition, several factors contribute to the lack of inclusive recreation opportunities in rural communities. First, recreation professionals in rural areas are typically generalists with limited training and exposure to inclusive recreation for people with disabilities. Though it may seem that these professionals show less initiative to address the needs of people with disabilities and include them in community programs, it is often a lack of training and awareness of these needs that is the barrier. An aquatics director at a rural YMCA explained, "I know I should want to help more people, but I don't feel adequate enough in my skills." Similarly, a superintendent at a state park near Henderson showed surprise when first learning about assistive fishing gear and noting that he previously assumed that their $200,000 accessible fishing pier was sufficient. Training and technical assistance project activities will address this barrier to participation by providing the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to support inclusive recreation opportunities.

Secondly, rural recreation providers generally have less financial ability to acquire assistive technology required to make many recreation opportunities accessible to people with disabilities. Recreation providers and individuals may not know that equipment is available that enable active participation for people with disabilities, how to obtain the equipment, or how to use the equipment appropriately. Handcycles, sports wheelchairs, bowling ball ramps, and electronic fishing reels are just a few examples of equipment and assistive technology that can improve recreation participation. Funds provided by this project will bring the financial resources into these rural communities to purchase assistive technology for recreation that they would not otherwise be able to afford. This equipment will remain in the community and benefit the community for years to come.

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