Group Assisting Brain-Injured Minnesotans Seeks Public's Help for New Van
If you're fighting over who gets the car in your house, listen to this: 219 people in the Twin Cities are sharing just THREE vehicles!
They'd like another one.
They all belong to a group called Restart Inc., a non-profit that helps people who've endured brain injuries become more independent.
They live in residential homes and apartments across the Twin Cities but, as you might imagine, it's hard for Restart's staff to get 219 people to work or school or to the doctor in just three vans.
On Saturday, August 4th, Restart becomes eligible for a fourth--but whether they get it or not could depend on YOU.
First, though, some background:
Inside a quaint single-family house in a South Minneapolis neighborhood lives a family of a different kind. Greg Schey and Josette Van Arnam reside with two other adult roommates. They cook and clean, laugh and hang together. Yet getting around town, away from this home--well, that's a struggle sometimes.
"We need a car to grocery shopping," says Josette.
"To go to places like the mall," adds Greg.
"You know. that would be nice," Josette adds.
"I think it would help people get out more and do the things they want to do," Greg concludes.
According to Jim Jasper, Restart's executive director, "There's a great need."
Restart runs a total of seven homes like the one Greg and Josette live in, serving 49 people total. Another 170 who live elsewhere are also under Restart's oversight.
The brain-injured folks who seek help from the agency were injured due to seizures or near-drownings. "There are certainly car accidents, there's other violence that happens," Jasper says.
Restart's needs seem to increase every year, but its state funding is a different story. "It's pretty much all about cutting," Jasper says. "The last two years in a row we've had a two and a half percent cut."
So that's where Toyota comes in.
The automaker is giving away 100 cars to 100 non-profits over the course of 100 days. The campaign is called "Toyota: 100 Cars for Good." Each day five different groups are eligible to win.
Saturday is Restart's day to compete. It hopes to garner enough on-line votes to win a van, even though it means beating out the other four worthy non-profits (none of which are from Minnesota). Among its competitors: a group that supports abused women, and one that offers free dental care to the poor.
"We're up against others, just like we are when we apply for a grant," Jasper says. "Everybody's in need."
Bottom line: a win for Restart would mean easier access to church, or maybe the YMCA, for Greg and Josette.
"Wouldn't that be nice!" Josette exclaims.
The one-day-only on-line voting process begins Saturday morning (August 4th) at 9 a.m. Restart says it hopes to know the results by early next week.
Click here to vote.
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org