For some people a disability can be devastating and for others it becomes a challenge, but with the help of People on Wheels Encouraging Responsibility (POWER), changes can be made.
Judie Moffet, executive director and cofounder of POWER 10 years ago, says its goal is to get people living, not just existing.
Moffet suffered a spinal cord injury which left her in a wheelchair. Now a single mom and a graphic designer for her day job, she said she wants to help others with disabilities get a positive attitude.
“The biggest obstacle is fear,” said Moffet. “People are afraid to try new things, or being judged by others. Our organization wants to help people with disabilities build up their self-esteem and give them more confidence.”
Every year POWER puts on an annual Sports Fest, which enables people with dis- abilities to participate in water and land activities.
“This event is for people of all ages and disabilities,” said Moffet. “These activities are adapted where needed and professional service providers ensure a fun and safe family event.”
The Sports Fest is held in September, but all of the events put on by POWER can be viewed on its Web site, www.powerincorporated. org, said Moffet.
Being in East Texas limits some of the different activities that can be provided, Moffett said, and that is why POWER networks with other organizations throughout Texas to make more activities possible.
“These activities are not just to get people more active. They are a way to get people out and meet other people who have the same or similar types of disabilities,” she explained. “We are like an informal support group in many ways, and we also have a lot of fun.”
Like any non-profit, Moffet said one of the biggest problems is finding people who are willing to help.
“Help comes in many shapes and sizes,” said Moffet. “POWER can use donations such as wheelchairs and other like equipment which can be distributed to people who are eligible or in financial need.”
Donations also come in the form of time — time people are willing to take out of their busy schedules to act as mentors, or help people relate by sharing experiences they have had with others, she said.
POWER can also use people to help plan and coordinate activities such as the one held here Thursday night at Chandler Street Church of Christ — just a small get-together to enjoy a meal, have some activities and meet new people, said Moffet.
Don Hudson, from Mt. Pleasant, said this was the first time he had attended a POWER get-together.
Moffet said she is also looking for new ideas because, as with any organization that has been around for a while, things can become stale, so she welcomes people who call and give her new ideas.
Two different organizations at the activity on Thursday night were CR Medical, a company out of Hurst that makes equipment for people with spinal cord injuries, and Longview AMBUCS, a group that distributes bikes and trykes for children with disabilities.
CR Medical donates a portion of their profits to non-profits like POWER, to provide free outdoor adventures for physically challenged kids and adults.
Some of the events POWER will be participating in for the upcoming year include a bowling night, miniature golf, billiards, barbecues, a family day and a river float camp challenge. All event times, locations and contact telephone numbers are posted on the POWER Web site.
POWER has a chapter in Longview and Texarkana, so anyone wishing to get involved, donate or just help out can call Moffet at (903) 295-0926 or Chris Alford at the Texarkana Chapter at (903) 793-1715.
By LESTER MURRAY