May 23, 2013
Dear Friends and Family,
Today is Riley’s birthday and we are celebrating her spirit by launching Out of Step, (www.outofstep.com) a new tool for people with disabilities.
This project is a labor of love, dreamed up while navigating the disability world and watching Riley’s determination to strive farther. Riley had a laundry business. You can see more about it in the “About Riley” tab at the bottom of the website. She was amazing.
Out of Step is an online marketplace and platform where people with disabilities can sell products, offer services or post a resume. Our goal is to help people with disabilities shape their employment and find economic success. We’re just beginning on this exciting journey. Please share our email to help these wonderful folks with disabilities get going.
We are so proud of what we’ve accomplished. Anyone can use Out of Step's marketplace to discover great items, service providers or employees, so please do.
Please explore the site and share any feedback. We hope to create amazing new opportunities together.
Check out the first exciting products and services you will find on Out of Step:
Koch's All Natural Detergent, Idaho
Penny's Palette, Washington
Concrete Hole Cleaning System, Washington
"Living with a Disability: Finding Peace Amidst the Storm", Idaho
Custom Embroidery and Digitizing, Alaska
Motivational Speaking, Missouri
Vet Industrial, Inc., Washington
C. Leah Gray Fine Art, Idaho
Estate Sale Services, Washington
Troy B., Washington
Stacy P., Pennsylvania
Georganna M., Washington
Nikki, Eric and Maxwell
SPECIAL NOTE: I first heard of Out of Step during a visit to the Coffee Cult a few weeks ago.
Nikki Hawkins Zimmerman (Sandpoint High School Class of 1984) was there visiting from the Seattle area with her mother Joan.
Yes, Nikki and her husband Eric are former students.
While teaching, I knew Nikki through her work on the SHS Monticola yearbook. A very creative mind, she had, along with an empathy for other students who may be considered by their peers as slightly out of step.
I vividly recall how, during her high school years, Nikki embraced one particular student, who was viewed as dancing to a different drummer and made all the difference in the world in his life. I found that trait in her very admirable.
Eric and Nikki's daughter Riley was born with disabilities, inspiring Nikki to use her creative talents and determination to fight the good fight in Riley's behalf. In fact, you can learn more about Riley from Nikki's book A Life with Riley (www.amazon.com).
A summary: A Life with Riley is a heartbreaking story of parental desperation and a heart-warming story of familial love. It is a study of the power of maternal instinct - how fighting for her child can transform a somewhat meek woman into a ferocious warrior who bucks the educational system, fights her way through medical quagmire, overcomes her prejudice against alternative medicine, psychics and astrologers and learns to let go of the importance of being "normal".
It is a book that conveys the ultimate irony - a brilliant breakthrough in scientific diagnosis that offers little in therapeutic relief to the person diagnosed. It is also a story with broader consequences.
A Life with Riley offers a close up look at the weaknesses in the very systems we value most - education, medicine and community - and a warning, at this time when the nation is at on the edge of funding the fabric of our social systems that these systems are badly broken and must be improved before positive changes can occur.
Out of the Zimmerman family experiences has come this remarkable program. So, this morning, in Riley's memory and in behalf of Nikki, Eric and Riley's brother Maxwell, I simply ask that you devote your time to learning more about Out of Step.
Should you have ideas of individuals, groups or businesses or corporations that may benefit from this wonderful resource of talent, please pass the word.
I believe Nikki and her team have embarked on a very noble cause which should do wonders for those with disabilities seeking an avenue to share their talents.
Best of Luck, Nikki, and all those associated with Out of Step.