BAIN, Inc. highlights service to community at Rotary

Published 3:39 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rotary President Melinda Taylor speaks with BAIN Inc. Manager Julie Ouzts looking at ways the Rotary Club can assist BAIN in their needs.

Although BAIN, Inc. has maintained a presence in Bainbridge for a number of years, some may not know what the organization stands for, or how it serves those in the community who have physical disabilities. Those who do know about BAIN, may not realize it changed locations recently. It is no longer on the corner near First Port City Bank, but is now at 711 East Shotwell Street, near Regional Therapy and the Scott Street intersection.

Julie Ouzts, project manager of BAIN, spoke to Rotary this week and detailed the services they provide for those who have physical barriers that prevent them from doing ordinary things, such as living independently, or enjoying a good quality of life.

Ouzts elaborated on the four core services provided in the eight centers in Georgia.

They provide information and referrals, as necessary, to help people find the particular help they need. It comes in many formats, and the goal is to make information accessible to all who need it.

Peer support is the second service provided. Staff and Board members must be made up of 51 percent members with some form of disability. The goal is to provide  workers with an understanding, those who can share experiences and provide encouragement to each other. There are regular meetings at the office and they provide transportation when needed.

By providing advocacy, they help clients understand their rights, individually and in the community. They help them register to vote, making sure people know how to register. Advocacy includes addressing issues of accessibility. Ouzts gave as example, a certain business that had what she believed was a very unsafe ramp for someone to walk on, let alone try to access by wheelchair. To prove her point, she went there in a wheelchair to test it out. She made the business aware and they corrected the problem.

They also offer consultation as needed. When the library in Cairo was preparing renovations, they called BAIN,Inc. to get advice on what needed to be addressed to assure accessibility and be in compliance with the American Disability Act (ADA).

They also go into homes and offer suggestions to make homes safer and more accessible. They provide help to those transitioning from nursing homes to be able to live at home independently and safely.

There is a loan closet containing various articles of medical equipment, such as portable ramps, and wheelchairs. They maintain a Braille machine for use of the blind and a TTY machine for those who cannot communicate orally. An eyeglass program offers prescription glasses at low costs. There is even a supply of used and refurbished computers for sale at reasonable prices for those who need access to a computer in their home.

Ouzts stressed that they provide services, no matter what the disability is. They value diversity and there are no income or age requirements. BAIN Inc. welcomes volunteers, but at least one person in a group must meet ADA specifications.

“We do not charge for our services; but we do encourage donations so that we can help more people.”