Open Doors Organization

January 2013 News

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I know we at ODO enjoyed our break and have started the new year off with a bang!  As some may know, ODO is working on a revolutionary way to dispatch accessible taxis and we have made it to the finals of an RFP for the City of Chicago. If we are awarded the opportunity, we hope to be up and running by spring!  We have never given up our goal to make transportation accessible in every city across the globe. Now it seems as though people are ready to listen and see the benefits of helping people with disabilities get out of the house. We’ve also been busy putting the final touches to our new Aviation Access Certification Program, designed to improve and standardize wheelchair service in our nation’s airports. The kickoff date is early March when we will train and certify trainers from Gateway Group One so they can begin rolling out the training to over 1500 frontline staff nationwide. Hats off to Gateway for being the first to sign on!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

ODO Demo A Hit At UMA!

Godfrey LeBron and Constantine "Gus" Zografopoulos, shown above, drew a crowd at the recent United Motorcoach Association Expo in Orlando. More than 85 delegates gathered on the show floor to learn about their obligations under the ADA and how to improve service for passengers with disabilities of all types. This ODO presentation was sponsored by UMA and Global Repair Group.

ADA Bus Training

This popular ODO program is off to a great start in 2013 with 4 sessions in 4 new states already on the books. We hope to eventually extend coverage to all 50 states. Whether you’re a state association or an individual carrier, ODO can tailor the training to your needs. For details and pricing, email Laurel Van Horn, Director of Programs.

ADA Motorcoach Training Flyer

Next Trainings:
Ruckersville, VA
Feb. 18, 9am – 5pm

Best Western Plus Charlottesville Airport Inn & Suites
Sponsored by Virginia Motorcoach Assn.
For details, email
Linda Morris

Hot Springs, AR
Feb. 22, 9am – 5pm

The Arlington Hotel
Sponsored by South Central Motorcoach Association
For details, email
Linda Morris

Birmingham, AL
Feb. 28, 9am – 5pm

Thrasher Brothers Trailways
6400 First Ave. South
Sponsored by Alabama Motorcoach Association
For details, email
Linda Morris

Grantville, PA
April 24, 9am – 5pm
Holiday Inn Harrisburg Exit 80 Off I-81
Sponsored by Pennsylvania Bus Assn.
For details, email
Elaine Farrell

Pool Lifts Now Mandatory

The ADA compliance deadline for pool lifts, extended to Jan. 30, 2013, despite the protests of the disability community, is finally here. An article in Pool & Spa News speculates whether a string of lawsuits will now ensue. While other provisions of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design came into effect last March 15, the Dept. of Justice twice granted extensions for pool lifts in existing facilities. Pools with less than 300 linear feet must now provide one means of access, either a pool lift or sloped entry. Larger pools must include one additional means of access.

New Z Life Program

ODO's new Z Life Program for consumers has already begun leaving its mark in the community. We donated 1,500 bags of Mellos' Popcorn to the Dreams For Kids' Holiday for Hope 2012. We also provided lunch for the 2013 Lincolnway Special Recreation Association's (LSRS) Tournament of Champions. Much is in store in 2013 as we plan for the "Beyond the Waters" Beach Party where more than 500 kids and adults with disabilities will gather for kayaking, biking and fun in the sun.

Aviation Access Certification Program

ODO's new certification program for airline service employees will include video clips of older travelers and people with a variety of disabilities. Chriss Buckley, shown above with Mozart, took part recently in the filming at JFK. Special thanks go to Jet Blue for hosting us in their new and beautiful Terminal 5.
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24 Jan Thanks to everyone who came to Godfrey & Gus's bus demo in Orlando! They had over 70 attendees and Gus was rushed after like a rock star!!

23 Jan  Here they are! 
23 Jan Co-sponsored by UMA, Godfrey & Gus in Orlando for ADA Demo: how to properly use lifts, handle mobility devices, communicate w PWDs.
16 Jan Gr8 CRO class @ LAX ODO luvs Avianca/taca Philippine Air & G2!!
15 Jan Check out Eric's "Industry Insider" piece on promoting accessibility in airports! 
14 Jan Eric is at LAX this week, call 7733888830 to schedule time!! Flyin Virgin America very excited
13 Jan Kevin Durant Responds To Tweet, Visits Fan In Hospital For His Birthday (VIDEO)  via @HuffPostSports
11 Jan Access Certification Program … 
10 Jan Great job, British Airways! 
9 Jan  We think NYT missed the real problem. Let us know your thoughts! 
7 Jan TSA is doing more training this week with ODO. Eric in Denver Laurel in FL
4 Jan Eric & kids @ CCM to see Faces Family Album, honoring Eric & Brittany for helping develop the Play for All program.

Accessible Travel & Tourism

The Accessible Travel for Persons with Disabilities  Discussion Group on LinkedIn has been very active of late, a great way to share best practices and information as well as to generate business globally.  Sign in if you haven't already.

Disability Horizons continues to regularly post destination pieces by travelers with disabilities, most recently Navigating Through Toronto In A Wheelchair.

Accessible Tourism Conference, March 12, 2013, Edinburgh, Scotland.  Hosted by VisitScotland, this event takes place during Scottish Tourism Week and focuses on two key areas: improving customer service and providing the right information.

Open Doors Organization (ODO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois was founded in 2000 for the purpose of creating a society in which all persons with disabilities have the same consumer opportunities as everyone else. We aspire to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market, while simultaneously empowering the disability community.  more...

2013 CRO Trainings:

New York: March/April, Dates TBA shortly.  Call 773-388-8839 for details.

Stay tuned for 2013 training announcements in our next newsletter

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