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Accident Disabled Mother Of Two Seeks Housing Grant For New Family Home

by Rachael Casalena
(Phoenixville, PA, USA)

Me and my two children

Me and my two children

In 2002, I was in a motor vehicle accident that left me with a T8 SPI and a Complete Brachial Plexus Injury.

While I spent several weeks in a drug-induced coma to relieve the pressure in my head, the doctors worked on each any every emerging problem.

I was 24 at the time with two young children and a husband. After four months in the hospital I came home and the doctors told my husband and my family that I would require around-the-clock care.

I was not satisfied with that answer so I worked very hard to teach myself how to dress, tie my shoes, change a diaper, and cook.

Needless to say, my husband didn't "sign up for this" and he left me. We've been divorced for nearly five years and we haven't seen or heard from him since.

So I am asking for a grant so I can move out of my parent's basement with my, now 14 and 9 year old, children.

My greatest problem is my only income comes from SSDI and since I am wheelchair-bound and unable to drive, I need to stay close enough to my family in case something happens and I need help.

I would love to be able to look out a window and know if the sun is shining or the rain is falling because I have zero windows and it gets quite depressing.

I am currently putting myself through school trying to get a degree that I can use to get off of Medicare and raise my children by way of a job.

For now, I have just entered my 3rd of 5 years and my current neighborhood is filled with older couples so my children must sit in the house and play video games for entertainment.

I want them to be able to play outside with friends, like I did as a child. My son, unfortunately, is suffering from a few mental issues that require psychiatric care and medicine that has put him over the healthy weight limit.

I believe if he could get out playing more that would help him mental and health issues.

I would like to think, with a grant, I could get help to either buy a small house or help me pay rent on an apartment.

Any money for school would be amazing but that is a far after-thought to getting my children out of this basement and "under the thumb" of my parents.

I do not have a specific number of financial help in mind but I do live in Chester County, PA and I know life is not cheap or very wheelchair accessible with their apartments around here, so any dollar amount that you could help me with is greatly appreciated.

I thank you for your time listening to my story.


Rachael Casalena, Phoenixville, PA

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Mar 30, 2010
Scholarships for Adult Women in College
by: Katina

You have such an upbeat persona, what a story! I was so inspired by reading it; I have saved it to read again. You?re an excellent writer. What are you majoring in?

On the positive, you have family support and a place to live. That's a great foundation to start from, and you're more than halfway through with your degree program. Hats off to you and your children for the work you've put into it.

I have one suggestion that you may not have considered before; it has to do with speaking engagements at local middle and high schools. Maybe even at your university.

For many people who become wheelchair bound, they suffer or have suffered with bouts of depression, and hopelessness. Since you have worked very hard to reach this place in your life, and have these outstanding goals in place, I believe the benefit to speaking about overcoming adversity, or the importance of offering housing that is accessible to county commissioners/other, may be something worth checking into.

You may not have the time, or inclination to become a symbol of hope for others, but you are an inspiring woman/mother/and student. With the need for financial assistance, it may be something worth looking into.

I remember when I was in middle school way back in the day, how children socialized or didn't include other children who were deemed different, because they had vision problems, walked with a limp, or were paralyzed. I think if young people could be more exposed to meeting others who have disabilities, or in your case, super mom abilities :), it would be a real gift in their life.

It's okay if this is not for you, and it isn't for many. I couldn't stand up in front of a crowded room and I'm okay with that, as long as I have something to write with it's all good.

There are NUMEROUS scholarships available for a woman returning to college, those already in schools and especially for disabled women needing assistance for college. I mean A LOT of scholarships!

Type into a search engine: apply scholarship (your city/state), for the first search. This will give you a lot of initial links to check out. To narrow your search, you can focus on some keywords such as: disabled or disabled woman grant scholarship (your city/state).

Learning how to search is key to "finding" the grant or scholarship opportunity. The hardest part of the job is the actual writing, which is certainly not going to be a problem for you. You are a wonderful writer.

Maybe writing about your life before / after the accident would benefit your life and that of your children. Writing is a hard and often lonely life, but for some it is more about healing.

Good luck!


Katina from Accessible.org

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