The Advocacy Team are a group of individuals committed to improving the quality of life for others, to guide the way to greater independence through advocacy. Areas of focus are:
- Connecting people to resources
- Peer mentoring and support
- Promoting access and independence
- Connecting with organizations that offer activities of interest
- Event planning
- Sharing of information on upcoming events
The Advocacy Team has a strong connection with our community hitting the streets and engaging in quality conversation that allow them to determine what needs are not being met, what obstacles are still in the way so that we as an organization can advocate to get those needs met and to break down the barriers that we sometimes still face in our day to day journey towards independence and a better quality of life.
Advocacy Team, Leader
San Diego County
James "Jim" Weber is a C6/7 quadriplegic who was injured in an auto accident here in San Diego in 1985. He was 19 years old at the time and just 4 months into his Navy career. Jim was a passenger in the vehicle when the driver fell asleep at the wheel. He spent 6 months at Sharp Rehab, receiving intensive rehabilitation before being discharged and settling in El Cajon, California
The first few years he spent rediscovering himself and figuring out what his body was capable of and basically figuring out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. In 1994, at the coaxing of family and friends, he decided to go back to school and enrolled at Grossmont College to earn an associate's degree in computer science. Jim now works in the computer industry building and repairing computers, creating websites, and is a graphic designer. His hobbies are video gaming, photography, reading and now, blogging.
In 2018 Jim decided to become a peer mentor because he wanted to show other people with spinal cord injuries that they can not only survive, but thrive and have a long fulfilling life. He didn’t have a peer mentor in the early stages of his recovery and understood how valuable peer mentors can be to the newly injured. Jim created a YouTube channel where he creates and posts videos that are geared towards helping other people with spinal cord injuries, showing tips on wheelchair transfers, pressure relief, dressing, etc.
Jim attends the men's SCI group at Sharp Rehabilitation and volunteers his time visiting some of the patients there as well. Jim became a member of Spinal Network so that he could become more involved in helping elsewhere within the SCI community. He is looking to start a coed spinal cord injury group in east county in the not too distant future, stay tuned and we’ll let you know when and where the meetings will be.
Ania is the newest board member and the chapter advocacy representative. Ania represents the spina bifida community. She grew up in San Diego and attended the San Diego Adaptive Sports and Recreations summer camp as far back as 1992 and has since made the transition to counselor/mentor.
Ania recently completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and entered into a graduate program, both at SDSU.
Ania's passion is dancing, specifically fitness dance. She is a certified World of Dance (WOD), U-Jam dance instructor and has plans to start an all-inclusive dance fitness WOD U-Jam program. Ania will inject a new level of energy into Spinal Network.
San Diego County
San Diego County
In September 2003, at the age of 44, Martin became a member of the spinal cord injury club, a club with no waiting list. A car accident resulted in a C-7 spinal cord injury. At the time, he worked as a financial analyst having received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University in 1988. Later in 1998 he received a Juris Doctorate from USD School of Law.
Since becoming injured, Martin spent many years adjusting to his new life. In 2010, he began attending the Challenge Center in La Mesa, to continue his rehabilitation with work-outs and therapy on a stationary bike using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). His insurance-sponsored rehabilitation was at Sharp Rehabilitation October through December 2003.
Regarding his personal life; Martins beautiful wife, Marie and he married in 2012. They met at several events sponsored by Sharp Rehabilitation and hosted by Richard Green, a social worker at Sharp Rehab. They have been involved with the United Spinal Association since attending their first Roll on Capitol Hill (R.O.C.H.) in 2017. They also attended R.O.C.H. in 2018. During the summer of 2018 Martin and Marie spent six weeks exploring the country on the drive to and from Washington, D.C. They have four grown children, and five grandchildren (from a previous marriage).
Martin has been working four months a year as a tax preparer with H & R Block since 2016. Getting more involved with Spinal Network to help those newly injured by helping them achieve a better quality of live, is his objective.
Ysais brings his expertise and understanding of the SCI world and the impact on family and friends. He has had a positive impact on Spinal Network and the Spanish speaking SCI community.