After over two years in the works, the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of United Spinal is off and wheeling. The chapter introduced itself to the world on Sept. 12 with a handcycling and barbecue event held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports.
Almost 60 people showed up for a fun afternoon of handcycling, food and learning about the chapter’s vision and plans. “I think everyone had a really nice time and there seemed to be a lot of interest in the chapter and what we’re trying to do,” says Alysse Einbender, the chapter’s vice president.
Einbender says recruiting new members and tapping into the local community has proved more difficult than the chapter’s board had anticipated, but they are optimistic they are on the right path. To improve its outreach efforts, the chapter partnered with Beautiful Social, a “digital media research collaborative” consisting of students and faculty at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Based out of the university’s communications department, Beautiful Social works with nonprofits for no charge — a key for new groups like the Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
The chapter knew of Beautiful Social because of a project it had done for another local disability organization. It invited the team to the inaugural event with the goal of producing a video and material the chapter could use to market itself. The students took photos, video and conducted interviews at the kickoff event and then assembled a two-minute video which can now be viewed on YouTube or the chapter’s Facebook and web pages. “The video turned out really well,” says Einbender. “We’re hoping it will help us introduce us to the people we’re trying to connect with.”
To find out more about the Greater Philadelphia Chapter, visit the website at unitedspinalphiladelphia.com or find its Facebook page at facebook.com/unitedspinalphila. You can watch the video mentioned above at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mszuSneP9vg