Moving Forward – Northern Nevada Disability Resources

Presentation at 1MC-Reno

I am a proud parent of an intellectual challenged young man. 8 years ago, my son inspired me to create a resource website to connect disabled, seniors and veterans to find service providers.

We are not paid for the work we do. I spent countless hours gathering information, interviewing service providers, maintaining the website and posting to our social networks.

On November 30th 2017, we partnered with a non-profit organization Family Support Council of Douglas County.  FSCDC is supporting NNVDA as our fiscal agent. This allows us to apply for grants/funding. Our goal is to become our own non-profit. 

Within the first year, we promoted our site, presented to community events, and improved our website.

The hard part is inputting the information into the database. Lot of work. The outcome is knowing that one family or person has connected to a provider and who has helped them.

We love our community! Support your local service providers.

Northern Nevada RAVE Family Foundation

Respite and Volunteer Experiences of Northern Nevada (RAVE) provides respite care for families to children with developmental disabilities. Child ages range from 3 months to 6 years old.

Before any family starts the respite, they must register.  Once approved, the families can schedule a tour of the center.  During the registration process, the staff will go over all the details about their center.  They offer several programs: Respite Voucher, Teen RAVE and Jr RAVE, and a Family Center.

The director carefully trains and screens the caregivers, mostly teenagers who are responsible, CPR trained, and receives careful hands on experiences to prepare them for future employment with special needs children.

RAVE is a non profit organization. They started in 1995. We are not sure of the story of how they started, but you should contact the center for details.  RAVE announces their yearly fundraiser to help support this amazing program. However, funding usually comes from private donations and grants from the community to keep the centers’s doors open.

To register for their services contact Northern Nevada RAVE


Seniors in Service/Caregiver Respite/Foster Grandparent

Mary Brock is the executive director of the Seniors in Service, Foster Grandparent Program of Northern Nevada, and the Senior Respite Program. Their office is located in Spark just 1 mile of E. McCarren Blvd and Greg Streets. Mary spends the majority of the time educating volunteers and the caregivers. She also is responsible for the fundraising aspects because they are a 501(c)(3) non profit entity.

Mary explains the Foster Grandparent Program is a senior volunteer service. The volunteers must be 55 yrs or older and pass federal and state background checks. The Foster Grandparent Program provides at risk children to be engaged in school to reduce drop-outs leaving the educational community. They also help provide academic standards to educational achievements.

The Senior Companion Program is a basic social supportive living to seniors 60 years and older. The guidelines are volunteers meet required state and federal background checks and should be 55 yrs and older.  The support provides the senior who lives alone or needs respite care. This is to support their ability to live independently with a caregiver providing assistance such as bill paying, grocery shopping, transportation to doctor appointments, or just visiting for a few hours to help with non medical duties around the home.

Find out more


Consumer Direct Nevada

When you think of medical self directed support who would you turn to in Northern Nevada? Consumer Direct Nevada is supported by Medicaid, workers’ compensation insurance, private insurance, veteran’s benefits, or out-of-pocket payments.

I had the opportunity to meet the director of Consumer Direct Nevada, Laura Coger. Laura retired as of February 2016. Now, Eva Medina maintains her title as Regional Coordinator. She oversees the entire agency.

Visit to read more about their services.

Northern Nevada Center For Independent Living

The Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living started in 1982 composed of several disabled individuals who wanted to help others without the stigma of their disabilities.

The Center for Independent Living is located in Sparks, Nevada. When you drive into the parking lot, there are several parking spaces designed for handicapped.  Be sure to look out for occasional RTC Access buses who drop off clients on a daily basis.  An accessible ramp for wheelchair or scooter bound individuals.  Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living (NNCIL) has operated since 1995.

When you first walk into the center you are greeted by a receptionist who will assist you.

Here is just a basic list of services :

  • Telecommunications Equipment distribution program,
  • Independence through Employment,
  • Technology aids training
  • Transportation training
  • Educational peer groups
  • Classes on braille basics
  • Cooking classes – New
  • Money management
  • life skills – New
  • Vision impairment program
  • Rural outreach
  • minor home modification
  • and many more programs coming soon.

Find out more

Nevada Outdoorsmen in Wheelchairs

Nevada Outdoorsmen in Wheelchairs was created for any individual wheelchair bound to experience antelope hunting.

Chad Bliss, injured his spinal cord in a motorcycle accident and later became an amputee.  His passion for hunting kept his mind motivated to get back to what he loved best, Antelope hunting.

Chad Bliss started Nevada Outdoorsmen in Nevada located in Elko, Nevada in 2008. Now, they have an amazing collection of board members all inspired to help individuals live out their dream to be hunters without the challenges of being held back by their disabilities.

Matt Murray, the current president, shared his experiences.  Matt explained how they provide an exciting five (5) day long Antelope hunting event for selected wheelchair-bound individuals.  The selected person must complete their hunter’s education and license to participate.   Once their application is complete,  they schedule the 5 day excersion based on availably and funding.

Each participant is accommodated at a disclosed ranch to spend a relaxing day of fishing in between the hunting sessions. Hunters enjoy hunting, camping, fishing, and other educational activities.

Nevada Outdoorsmen in Wheelchairs purchases equipment, tags and supplies to provide the most memorable event for the individual 5 day hunting experience.  You can donate toward their program for future expenditures.

Visit the website

Northern Nevada Hopes

I was cheerfully introduced with Chris Fergert, the Development Officer of NV Hopes.  Ms. Fergert began the tour of the Nevada Hopes campus.  The main administration center offered a welcoming array of staff busily organizing their work answering phone calls or entering data into their computers.

 We sat at the big conference table to talk more about their programs and answer questions. I was quite impressed with the center .  I was also surprised to learn how the center has grown over the years.  It was amazing.

Chris explained to me that they are a nonprofit organization relying on donations and some grants to help them keep the doors open and pay their salaries.

When they first opened their doors in 1997 it was a community health center and support to those managing HIV/AIDS. Now the center has a full service health center offering medical care to wellness and nutrition counseling.  They also have a team of specialist to provide case management, housing assistance, and other various community based services. They also have a pharmacy, social services and behavioral health included once you become a client of their center.  On the first and third Tuesday of every month they have a New Beginnings Support Group there at the center.  Also Latino support group is available as well.

They require an eligibility intake appointment. Your appointment will take some time filling out forms and meeting with the intake specialist to answer questions.  You will need an ID card, insurance card, utility bill and a recent pay stub.  they won’t turn you away if you do not have any of these documents. But it does help to speed up the process.

Keep in mind that NV Hopes is not strictly servicing those with HIV conditions, but also provides services to the community. They will also help you apply for the Affordable Care Act through the Nevada Health Link.  I was also surprised that they offer STD/HIV/Hepatitis testing in a safe, confidential environment. Where else in Reno can you get those services? Northern Nevada Hopes.

On March 15th 2016, Northern Nevada Hopes opened Stacie Mathewson Community Wellness Center.  The center offers health clinic, pharmacy, laboratory, behavioral health, primary care, pediatric health, and LGTBQ Healthcare, and many others. Best to visit their website.

For more information contact NV Hopes 

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy

Laurie Roberts, co-founder and Bambi Spahr, co founder of N.E.A.T (Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy).   NEAT is an equine (horse) therapy center for children, teens, adults with mental and emotional disorders, ADHD, and autism spectrum clientele. They recently implemented a senior program. They also offer group sessions. 

NEAT is a Medicaid based program. Like most services,  an intake appointment is required for eligibility requirements.  Laurie and Bambi care for their horses and have hired caretakers to assist in their care.  They are dedicated to providing excellent equine therapy to all of their clients.  

In early September they moved to the UNR Equestrian Center on Valley Road.  The ‘ranch’ offered a clubhouse, tack room, feed room, and several arenas for the therapy horses and clients to work.  NEAT is now located in Washoe Valley, Nevada just 30 minutes from Reno. 

Since my son has been a client of NEAT,  he started from being shy and withdrawn to now an expressive and helpful.  He is still learning how to adjust his behaviors when he’s having a rough day.  

Thanks to N.E.A.T. this provider inspired my son to develop new skills, gained confidence, and most of all be respectful of others.  

Visit the website Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy.  Make an appointment to see the center for your child’s equine therapy. You won’t be disappointed.

Veteran’s Guest House

Located directly across from the Veterans Hospital is a two story building. From the outside it resembles an eclectic building. Once you walk up a short flight of stairs, you’re stepping into a warm, inviting ‘home away from home’ feeling.  Linda Grace smiles with an extended firm handshake then we proceed to the ‘living room’ to talk about what the Veteran’s Guest House is all about.

It was started by two veterans who were literately sleeping in their cars because they had no where to stay.  These two men collaborated with the #veteranshospitalfoundation to build their first guest house.  The doors opened 1994.

I was given a full tour by Ms.Grace, who has been working as a program manager for over 1 year. Linda is primarily in charge of fundraising, but she also manages the day to day activities for the guests.
The house serves up to 100 square miles as far away as Hawthorne, Bishop, Northern California, Chico, Grass Valley, Alturas, Willits, etc).  They charge $25 a night, but will not turn anyone away if they can not pay.  VGH is a non-profit organization so they rely on private donations.  Linda tells me they usually provide a Continental breakfast every morning with fresh coffee, sweet rolls, etc.  They often receive donations of food from local community.  A local church brings them a home cooked meal on occasion.  They have a full kitchen so their guests can fix their own meals.  For guests who have accessibility issues, they offer an elevator to their rooms and back down to the main level.  One thing I got out of this tour is its really a home away from home.
They have a Facebook page and a website