501-362-7526 info@maysmission.org 604 Colonial Drive, Heber Springs, Arkansas 72543

Interacting with people who have disabilities

We get asked a lot for help in this area, especially in workplaces, so here are some quick points to always remember:

Don’t make assumptions about people or their disabilities. If you have a question about what to do, how to do it, what language, or terminology to use, or what assistance to offer, ask the person.

Do not assume that a person with a disability is disabled in all areas of life.

Before you help someone with a disability, ask if they’d like help. In some cases, even a person who appears to be struggling is fine and would prefer to complete the task without assistance.

Look for potential obstacles for people with mobility or sensory limitations in your workplace. Identify how you might have those obstacles removed.

When writing or speaking about people with disabilities, use “people first” language: “person with a disability” versus “disabled person.”

And, as always, focus on ability, not disability!

Thank you for your support! For more information call us, message us, or email us at info@maysmission.org for a free, no strings attached copies of our brochures ‘Making Your Community More Accessible’ or ‘The Americans With Disabilities Act’ to help advocate in your community. These brochures were produced by employees with disabilities right here at Mays Mission.

Thanks for your support!

Helping John

We recently helped John ‘Indian’ Sparks, a double amputee, get off the streets. John was homeless and in a wheel chair when a local ministry told us about him. He had no one else left to turn to and no where else to go. We found a hotel for him until more permanent housing could be found.

Finding a wheelchair accessible hotel room for a few nights until more permanent housing could be found proved difficult. One would assume that over 30 years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), access and design of modern buildings would be accessible to all. But, alas, that is not the case. In instances like this, I strongly encourage you to eagerly and politely advise the establishment of the inconvenience they have caused and ask that it be corrected sometime in the near future.

While we were helping John find a place to stay we also picked up food from a local food bank for him and eventually John was able to find more permanent housing and get off the streets thanks to Mays Mission’s wonderful donors.

If you would like to advocate on behalf of people like John we have free brochures we can provided you like ‘The Americans With Disabilities Act’ and ‘Making Your Community More Accessible’ that can help. These brochures were printed by employees with disabilities at Mays Mission.

We took John to the Doctor while he was waiting for more permanent housing.

Accessibility is for everyone!

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed over 33 years ago but there are still accessibility issues being faced by disabled individuals everyday. Recently A quadriplegic Denver City Council member made headlines when he had to crawl on to a stage with no ramps due to inaccessibility. The Councilman said he felt “humiliated.”

The councilman, Chris Hinds, said “My thought process was, I have to participate in this debate or end my campaign.”

After struggling to get onstage and several people trying to lift his chair on to the stage, eventually organizers agreed to have the debate on the main floor so Hinds could sit in his wheelchair.

Accessibility is still one of the most sought-after solutions to people with disabilities, especially in urban and rural areas.

Let city and county officials, as well as business owners, know the crucial need for accessibility in these areas. There are literally millions of people with disabilities and elderly citizens who would benefit from it!

Email us at info@maysmission.org for some of our brochures like “Making Your Community Accessible” or “The Americans with Disabilities Act” free of charge. These brochures were produced by individuals with disabilities. Share these brochures in your community and let them know accessibility is for everyone!

Thank you for your support and everything your donations make possible for people with disabilities!

Helping them soar!

Mays Mission’s scholarship program for disabled students is one of our favorites, because, through it, we meet the most extraordinary young women and men … and then get to watch them shine and soar!

These kids have often faced and overcome challenge after challenge for their entire lives. They are strong and resilient. They can adapt to almost any situation and have incredible fortitude. But what they are usually lacking is funds, resources, and opportunities to grow, prove their worth, and gain independence. Thanks to our donors these kids prove themselves time and again.

If you would like a free copy of our brochure ‘Preparing for College Grants and Scholarships’ just call or message us. These brochures are produced by disabled employees right here at Mays Mission. Applications for our scholarship can be downloaded here:

Thank you for your support. Don’t forget to like us on Instagram and Facebook. And if you would like to donate to programs like our scholarship program you can click the ‘donate’ button on the home page of our website. We appreciate our donors so much!

Disability is Ok!

I once wrote about my pastor’s son going to St. Louis for some specified surgery to relieve spasticity related to cerebral palsy (CP).  He is doing very well and the doctors are extremely pleased with the outcome. Pastor said something about it in one of his sermons which sincerely hit home with me. In preparing to make the trip from Searcy, Arkansas to St. Louis, my pastor asked his son if he was still feeling good about the pending surgery. The response was positive and then further explained: “You know daddy, I’m really not that disappointed with the life I have now.” Dad was dumbfounded!

Those not having to deal with disability in the first-person (they themselves afflicted), often try to push or force “cures,” “healing processes,” or the latest technologies on to those they care for.  For certain, this desire to see a son, daughter, brother or sister cured of their disability stems from a deep, sincere love.

Sometimes though, as stated above, people with disabilities are satisfied to live the life that has been dealt them.  It’s not that bad.  Our desires to see improvements in the quality of life of others are good, commendable and probably natural, especially in the eyes of loving parents.  And, even though parents often know what’s best, it is a good idea (most of the time) to include “everyone” in the decision-making process.

Discuss disabilities with loved ones.  If they are comfortable with life the way life is, it may be best to simply love them like you always have and leave well enough alone.  Just some food for thought!

Thank you for your support. Feel free to call us or email us for copies of brochures like “The Spirit of Volunteerism” or “Faith In Action Caregivers Alliance” that were produced by employees with disabilities right here at Mays Mission.

Warming Up

“Old Man Winter” is packing up his bags and heading out the door again.  For myself, and many other people with disabilities, the winter months make it difficult to get out and exercise.  Seeing the grass greening up, the bright blue skies and the temperatures getting warmer, thoughts of getting active again can brighten the day.

Exercise is good for everyone.  We’ve heard for years that exercising on a regular basis not only leads to a healthier life, but possibly a longer life as well.  As with most everything, exercise should be done carefully and with moderation. And remember to consult with your physician or healthcare provider prior to beginning an exercise program.

It’s always a good thing to warm up prior to getting into the full swing of your routine. Begin by slowly stretching and moving about.  This increases blood flow to your muscles as well as tendons and joints.  Starting too fast or strenuously may cause damage. Take it easy!

Whether it’s walking, dancing, aerobics or a sport, know your limitations.  Take breaks and remember to drink plenty of water.  Water not only cools the body down, but keeps the muscles and joints stay hydrated.  Without proper hydration, you will tire easily and could begin to cramp.

Exercising with a friend is usually more fun and statistics show that you may actually exercise longer with a workout partner.  Doing your routine is also safer, just in case there is a problem. Now, get outside, soak up some sunshine and have fun!

If you would like a free copy of our brochure “Recreation Is For Everyone” just call us or email us at info@maysmission.org and we would be glad to help. Thanks for your support!

Planning Ahead

It’s always a good, no – make that a great idea – to plan ahead when doing most anything. My thought in this edition though is for building or buying a home when people with disabilities and the elderly are involved – especially with arthritis. What’s described below is not consistently true, but it’s a good rule to follow.

In 1994 we decided to build a 1600 sq. ft. home. Being in a wheelchair for 23 years at that time, I knew very well what I wanted to include and what things to avoid. Obviously, stairs, steps and a wheelchair do not mix. That meant either build on a concrete slab or be prepared to build a ramp. Next, we wanted the home easy to navigate. We made all our doorways 3 feet wide. The only exceptions were linen closets, broom closets and the like. In our hallway, we added another 6 inches (42” total) so that the turning radius into any room was adequate without scuffing or tearing off trim and molding. One bathroom had a roll-in shower with a handheld shower head.     

Now, what I’ve said so far may not sound like any big deal. But what a few “able-bodied” people have commented on when they come to visit is “your home is so spacious. I don’t feel cramped at all.” “You have so much room.” Even the people who make deliveries comment on the width of the doors making it much easier to bring in furniture and appliances.

These are just a few ideas that can make life easier for those of us who have trouble getting around. Think of these when building or look for them when buying. For more ideas request our free brochure, “Making Your Home User Friendly,” by calling us at 1-888-503-7955 or email us at info@maysmission.org today. We are all aging one day at a time. Looking ahead and planning when making one of the biggest investments of our lives may be the best thing we’ve ever done!

And if you have any experience with this subject please feel free to share in the comments section. Thanks!

Our founder’s mission and his dream

The late Ewing W. Mays founded Mays Mission, a non-profit organization…

…in order to give help, encouragement and guidance to the physically and mentally disabled.
As a double amputee (he lost both of his legs during World War II), Ewing knew all to well the anguish and heartache of being disabled. He was only 25 years old when he lost his legs.

For two years he lay in a hospital bed at McCloskey General Hospital in Temple, Texas undergoing one operation after another before being fitted for artificial legs.

Not once did a person with a similar disability ever visit him. No effort was made to offer him encouragement or to help him understand how to overcome his disability.

He found himself wishing for a peaceful death.

He just couldn’t stand the torture, pain and worry of being a burden to his family – of never being able to live as a whole person again.

But God knew his needs better than he did, and He answered Ewing’s prayers with a vocation and a dream…

…to use his disability as a way to help others like him to build a place where disabled people could rebuild their lives. Ewing worked hard at his spiritual and physical therapy, and, with the help of two artificial limbs, was soon able to walk as well as anyone.

In 1951, God opened new doors to him and, as National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, he toured the military hospitals of Korea and Japan.

His mission was simple – to visit the wounded servicemen, both American and South Korean…
…more than 80,000 men who were facing amputations and had no one to understand their grief or despair.

As he moved from bed to bed, his mind began recording things that seemed to impress those young men with crippled bodies.

And this set the course God had planned for the rest of Ewing Mays’ life.

Year after year, he toured military hospitals across America giving encouragement and stressing back in 1967:

“It’s ability, not disability, that counts.”

During one hospital visit, Gerald D. Schroeder, another young double amputee, asked Ewing how much pressure he could take on the stumps of his legs.

Ewing simply lifted the soldier from his wheelchair, held him for a few minutes and replied, “That’s how much!”

Letters soon began pouring in from hospitals he had visited, requesting that he return…

…newspapers featured articles on the effectiveness of his special brand of therapy and explained how it was changing the lives of “hopeless” young people.

That’s when he started dreaming about building the New Hope Center – a facility where, in addition to offering physical, emotional and spiritual support, training could be provided in various types of work. And we’ve been able to do just that since our opening in 1982.

Unemployment is one of the most profound issues facing the disability community. Only 17% of people with disabilities report being in the labor force, compared to 64% of non-disabled adults. People with disabilities remain twice as likely to drop out of high school, henceforth no skills. In fact, the employment rate for all people with disabilities has remained relatively constant since 1986.

That is why our on-the-job training is so important.

If you would like more information on our On-The-Job Training program call us or email us at info@maysmission.org and we will be glad to provide you with some of our free brochures to hand out to employers in your area and let them know that hiring the disabled is smart business! Thank you for your support!


Our founder Ewing W. Mays accomplished many great things in his life as a disabled veteran. Initially he toured with a group of disabled veterans and sold war bonds and recruited employees for defense plants. Later he worked tireless hours with the Disabled American Veterans and toured overseas to bring hope to young men who had suffered similar losses. But the accomplishment he was most proud of was founding Mays Mission for the Handicapped in 1972.

Mays always said, “The greatest satisfaction of my life has been the establishment of Mays Mission for the Handicapped which provides jobs and job training for so many handicapped folks. Our objective is to apply good, sound Christian ethics and principals to help our handicapped employees achieve economic stability and independence in their lives.”

Currently over half of our production team consists of persons with disabilities and we are so proud of their accomplishments. But we can’t continue these accomplishments without your help. If you would like to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities and help encourage employers to hire the disabled we have some free brochures that can help you spread the word. Just email us at info@maysmission.org or call us today and we would be glad to help you out.

Thank you for your support of people with disabilities.

Your Faith in Action

Mays Mission for the Handicapped supports several programs which are all designed to help the disabled, frail or elderly.  One of our programs, the “Faith in Action Caregivers Alliance,” gets its name from the national program “Faith in Action” originated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey. 

The concept of Faith in Action is simple: volunteers of many faiths, working together to care for their neighbors who have long-term health needs.  Through our program, as in hundreds of others throughout the nation, frail or elderly neighbors are given assistance by volunteers from their community.  This assistance will hopefully enable the recipient to remain independent and more self-reliant.  Because these volunteers do what they do, many people are able to stay in their own home and not have to move in with family or even relocate to a nursing facility.

The question is often asked, “Whose faith is being put into action?” 

Is the disabled or elderly person who needs help putting their faith into action by trusting that the aid of a volunteer will enable them to stay independent in their own home?  By all means!

Is the volunteer activating his or her faith by believing that the help they provide will be instrumental in someone’s life being more meaningful and fulfilling?  Without a doubt!

Do we at Caregivers Alliance put our faith into action by believing that the volunteer services we support are doing a valuable and worthwhile thing within our community and across the nation?  Definitely!

Do the loyal supporters of Mays Mission for the Handicapped put their faith into action by trusting that their financial support to us will enable this program and all the others we offer to continue to reach out to the disabled, the weak or the elderly?  A resounding YES!

No one can deny that our supporters are willing to put their “Faith in Action.”  We see it every day.  It is the active faith of those who support us that enables Mays Mission to do whatever we can for those we serve.  It is our supporter’s faith that enables us to help someone find a caregiver.  It is our supporter’s faith that enables us to help a disabled college student attend school.  It is our supporter’s faith that sends us out to visit nursing homes and veterans homes to give hope and encouragement.  It is our supporter’s faith that helps us provide meaningful employment for disabled men and women.

We thank God for the faith of our loyal supporters.  This is faith, your faith, in action. If you would like a copy of our free brochure “Faith In Action – Caregivers Alliance” email us at info@maysmission.org and let us know what you think by leaving a reply below. Thanks!

You Never Know…

Today I met a woman who had what I thought was a very interesting story.

Cindy is a woman in her mid fifties and is native to the beautiful New England states.  She was here to visit her daughter and son-in-law and her lovely fifteen-month old granddaughter.  She and her husband intend to move to the south soon to be nearer to their family.

Unbeknownst to me, Cindy is legally blind since birth and has a myriad of medical problems that keep her from holding a job.  She gets around fine, does housework and is a very fine cook, so I am told.  Cindy is unable to drive due to her limited vision.

As we were talking about the potential move, she had already anticipated where she wanted to live.  It’s a small subdivision close to a market and strip-mall that has a clothing store, pharmacy and all the sundry items and staples one needs for everyday life.  There is also a small park where she could take her granddaughter while babysitting.  The hope of finding an affordable home in this area is lofty to say the least.

What I didn’t know is that Cindy has always lived in a rural setting and never in her life has been what you and I would call “independent.”  She either relied on someone for a ride to town or had to ask someone to do her shopping and “running around” for her.

So many times we just don’t know how good we have it until we meet someone in a more dire predicament. 

Transportation is one of, if not the most sought after solutions to people with disabilities, especially in urban and rural areas. 

Alert city and county officials to the crucial need for public transportation in these areas.  There are literally millions of people with disabilities and elderly citizens who would benefit from it!

Email us at info@maysmission.org for some of our brochures like “Making Your Community Accessible” or “What is an Assistance Dog?” free of charge. Thank you and please feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share.

Help us make this year a great year!

Another year has passed and some good questions might be “What have we accomplished? Are we better off in any way than we were 365 days ago? “What can we do in the coming year to improve our lives and the way we live?” Better yet, what can we do to improve the lives of others, especially those with disabilities? The dictionary describes an “advocate” as one who publicly supports or suggests an idea, development or way of doing something.

Here at Mays Mission, our primary goal is to aid and assist people with disabilities. Yes, putting to work those who may have difficulty finding gainful employment is one facet of our purpose yet there is so much more.

Public education regarding the abilities and capabilities of people with disabilities is of utmost importance.  You see, through our various programs and direct mail, we have the opportunity to inform and educate the public throughout the country that given the opportunity, people with disabilities can becomes productive citizens.

We have seen scores of people with a variety of disabilities get a variety of on-the job training, while others have chosen to stay with us. It’s heartwarming to know that some have bought their own homes, learned to drive and purchased automobiles, while some have moved on to bigger and better opportunities. Seeing people succeed and become more independent where at one time hope seemed to be lost, is an indescribable feeling.

We have set our goals for this new year to aid and assist people with disabilities. Won’t you please join us? 

Email us at info@maysmission.org or call 1-888-503-7955 to learn more about our programs and see how you can be an advocate for people with disabilities this year.

Encourage employers to hire the disabled. It’s smart business!

Mission Goals for 2023

In sports such as football, basketball or tennis the object is to reach the goal and score. The football team tries to run over or pass over the opposing team to reach the goal line. In tennis the goal is to hit the ball over the net and past your opponent.

Like these games, our goals at Mays Mission do not change. We will continue to work hard to provide the types of programs that serve the disabled. We will continue to offer meaningful jobs and job training to help those who might not otherwise be given such an opportunity. We will continue to speak out on the wide variety of issues and problems faced by the disabled in our country and to encourage employers to give the disabled a fair chance at a job. We will continue to serve the frail elderly through a volunteer caregivers program. We will continue to help deserving disabled college students with scholarships. We will continue to help disabled of all ages attend summer camps to enjoy God’s great outdoors. Also, it gives the hard working parents an opportunity to get some much needed rest.

With the continued help of our faithful supporters and continued blessings of God we will work diligently to make sure these programs of support for the disabled are continued for many years to come. That is a goal we can all be proud of reaching.

For more information on Mays Mission and how to help individuals with disabilities, please go to our website at www.maysmission.org, email info@maysmission.org, or call 888-503-7955. We would like to wish you a happy and blessed new year. Thank you!

Giving The Gift Of Hope

Giving gifts at Christmas is a tradition based of course, on the greatest gift ever given to mankind-the gift of a Son by his Father to a world in desperate need. The celebration of Christmas is a reminder to all of us how blessed we are to have been given such a precious gift of hope.

Here at Mays Mission we are blessed over and over by the gifts we receive from our faithful and loyal supporters.  Gifts we pass on to those we serve each day.  One of those most precious gifts is hope.  Through our jobs and job-training program we are able to pass on the gift of hope for a brighter economic future to our disabled employees. Hope for a more secure future that might not otherwise be given if they did not have their jobs here at the Mission.  We pass on the gift of hope to disabled college students who might not otherwise be able to continue their educational pursuits and dreams.  We pass on the gift of hope to disabled kids who want to go to summer camp and enjoy the fun and thrills of being in God’s great outdoor arena.  We pass on the gift of hope to frail elderly through volunteers who share their time and talents to help someone remain independent.  And we pass on the gift of hope through visits to veterans and others who must spend their golden years in a nursing home.

Passing the gift of hope from our supporters to those we serve is an honor and privilege we do not take lightly here at Mays Mission for the Handicapped.  We have been able to be a part of this wonderful gift giving process for over thirty-five years.  With God’s continued blessings as He works through our faithful supporters, we will continue to pass on this gift.  What better way is there to say “Merry Christmas” than to give someone the gift of hope?

For more information or ideas on ways you can help call us or email us at info@maysmission.org today. We here at Mays Mission wish you a very merry Christmas!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” 

Christmas is a time for family and friends to do so much together and for each other.  Some start planning a year in advance for the next celebration.  We plan festive meals and holiday parties.  Sometimes we gather up the family to watch one of those classic movies like It’s a wonderful life or A Christmas Carol.  And often we plan a trip to see Handel’s Messiah or The Nutcracker.

While these cheerful events and celebrations draw the family together for Christmas, probably the most thought about event is that of gift giving.  Some like to get this portion of Christmas done soon.  Others, like me, are last-minute procrastinators!  Nonetheless, it’s always interesting and fun.

It’s said in Acts 20:35 that Paul told us “… to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

With this verse in mind, many take the opportunity to give a little extra of both time and money to donate to charities that assist the less fortunate this time of year.  Still others volunteer their time to bring a smile to the faces of the elderly and disabled.  A visit here and a Christmas carol there make for warm hearts and grins from ear-to-ear, a blessing for both the giver and receiver! Whether through donations or in person help spread the gift of love this holiday season!

The greatest gift of all, though, was given by God, our father.  The birth of Jesus, our lord and savior, cannot be topped.  To those who accept and receive this gift we have the promise of eternal life with God (John 3:16).

With all this in mind, the staff here at Mays Mission hopes that you take the time to celebrate with family and friends and that you spread the gift of love this season.  And we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a most blessed New Year. And if you would like more information on volunteering in your community call us or email us at info@maysmission.org for a free copy of our brochure “The Spirit Of Volunteerism” today. Thank you.