Modified Handicap Van for Tami

Thank you for the opportunity to request support for Tamara Turner's need of a handicapped modified vehicle, which will assist Tamara with her employment and independence.

Tamara Turner's History, Goals, and Major Accomplishments

Tamara Turner is an accomplished, well-educated, woman of great determination and resolve to live successfully and independently, despite living with a physical disability and the challenges she faces.  At the age of 17, Tamara sustained paralysis due to a gymnastics accident.  Her body can be medically defined as quadriplegic, but her mind and spirit are strong, creative and vibrant.

Before Tamara's paralysis, she was very involved in many extra curricular activities, including acting with PCPA Solvang Theatrefest, participating as a majorette with The Santa Maria Batonettes Baton and Drum Corps and Santa Maria High School Marching Band, an equestrian member of Santa Maria Roping and Riding Club, a Most Valuable Player with the Santa Maria High School gymnastics team where she also qualified for CIF, and an officer/member of Job's Daughters.

After her injury, she was determined to continue her acting career and pursued roles across the nation.  Tamara became involved with Access Theatre of Santa Barbara. She acted and sang the role of Cora, a mermaid, in the original musical LEGEND OF THE CRYSTAL WATERS at the Lobero Theatre and then toured to multiple cities with this production. Tamara received critical acclaim for her character portrayal of Cora. Ms. Turner continued her acting career by playing Adrienne in ASK MAX, a Disney Sunday Night Movie.

After training at The Professional Actors Conservatory, she played the role of Bridgett in SWEET CHARIOT at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC with VSAarts. Later, Tamara and eleven playwrights wrote PH*reaks, a play about the history of the people with disabilities, for The Mark Taper Forum New Works Festival in Los Angeles. Ms. Turner also performed in the production of PH*reaks.

More recently, Tamara graduated with a Masters of Science in Child Life from the University of La Verne. With her degree, her goal is to provide intervention services for children and their families in a healthcare or children's services setting.

Need Statement

Tamara Turner has worked exceptionally hard at achieving her degree and becoming an active and vital person with a disability in her community. Tamara values her independence immensely. She is not one who thrives at remaining in her home continuously. Ms. Turner flourishes when being involved with programs to enhance her community and to better the lives of families. To have the ability to continue her goal of employment and independence, she is greatly in need of a handicapped modified van.

The van will allow Tamara to have much needed independence for travel to work, purchasing supplies, participating in community outreach for the healthcare or children's services facility, to take care of her personal needs  that include medical appointments, grocery shopping, attending church, leisure activities, and veterinary appointments for her much loved companion Acacia.

Tamara is an experienced driver with a strong track record since 1982. She has recently been evaluated for The Scott Driving System touch pad console with tripins for steering, acceleration, and brakes on 4/7/2012. She requires a vehicle with a lowered floor, lift or ramp, power doors, lift/ramp/door switches, elbow operation switch type for turn signals, horn, cruise control, high beams, & windshield wipers, rubberized texture flooring, permolock securement for her Permobil wheelchair, quick release set for able bodied driver seat, driver's seat securement, armrests, and a battery cut-off switch.

Tamara looks forward to a vehicle so that she may help children and their families improve their life situations. She also hopes to continue being visible in society to educate others about disabilities, which in turn will break down attitudinal barriers. In the near future, Ms. Turner also plans to volunteer for a non-profit organization, such as Domestic Violence Solutions Inc., CASA, and for children's theatre.

Unfortunately, Ms. Turner is financially incapable of purchasing a used handicapped modified vehicle. She receives a monthly payment from SSDI. Her fixed income allows her to pay for housing, attendant care, and medical and household bills.

Child Life Specialist

Due to Tamara Turner's own healthcare experiences, she realized the need to provide optimal developmental & psychosocially appropriate care for pediatric patients & families, thus, her strong motivation to complete her degree and become a Child Life Specialist.  Ms. Turner understands the misconceptions and fears that accompany a hospitalization. She is able to be empathic toward children and their families while giving back to her community. The Child Life Specialist (CLS) implements and maintains therapeutic activity programs, which facilitates patients in their efforts to integrate and adapt to their healthcare or children's services experience. This individual is responsible for medical procedural teaching, and assessing patient's development level and emotional state daily through observation and interaction, directing conversation, encouraging patients to express reactions to healthcare or children's services experience, acknowledging patient's point of view to clarify misconceptions, and providing bereavement intervention. The CLS assists patients, siblings, and families to cope with illness, injury, or syndrome. Also, the Child Life Specialist plays a vital role in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about the needs of children under stress.

Total Handicapped Modified Vehicle Costs



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A new handicapped modified vehicle, with the necessary accessible equipment, would cost from $100,000.00 to $150,000.00. A new Scott Driving System, not including a van, would cost approximately $80.000.

Funding a Life, a Future and Benefits to the Community

Tamara Turner's mission is to participate fully in her community. She believes her vision of supporting children and their families, with interventions and coping mechanisms, during an illness, injury, disease, syndrome, or a loss will result in a healthier life outcome for children and their families.

 Unfortunately, most children will experience a health condition. By providing supportive services for children, they can master their skills and learn to have some control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation. In turn, the skills will facilitate children to succeed in life. Ms. Turner can reach her goals of becoming a Child Life Specialist and retaining her independence, if she has a modified van.

Thank you for your time and careful consideration of this request.  We look forward to hearing from you. 

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