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Rochester’s Hickok Center for Brain Injury Wins Xerox Office Makeover


"We’re going to make this office productive, stimulating and inviting!’ says Brice Cooper of HGTV’s ’Design on a Dime’

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 04, 2006 -- Every month, the Hickok Center for Brain Injury Inc. helps nearly 100 people in Rochester develop the skills needed to live and work again following an accident, stroke or disease. Now, it’s the center’s turn to receive some help.

Judges have selected the organization as Rochester’s most outdated nonprofit office and winner of Xerox Corporation’s (NYSE: XRX) “Helping Hands” Office Makeover Contest. The prize: a document technology and design refresh worth approximately $15,000.

Putting its own technology and design needs on the back burner to focus on its program members, the Hickok Center for Brain Injury provides a resource center for adult survivors of brain injury. Through a peer support system aimed at developing social and cognitive skills, members encourage one another to take part in the daily operation of the center alongside the staff. In addition, one-on-one training focusing on living skills helps members become more independent in their daily lives.

As winner of Xerox’s “Helping Hands” Office Makeover Contest, the center will receive an office technology assessment; Xerox Phaser™ color printers; software; and a Xerox WorkCentre™ digital multifunction system, which prints, copies, scans and faxes. The nonprofit also receives design services from Brice Cooper, host and designer of HGTV’s popular show Design on a Dime, and office furniture from The HON Company.

“Our members use the reception area to develop vocational skills such as writing letters, placing orders, filing and answering the telephone, but participants using wheelchairs have little access because the old furniture and clunky technology gets in the way,” says Elaine Comarella, executive director, Hickok Center for Brain Injury. “This makeover will boost morale, improve efficiency and provide an inspiring environment where more members can learn how to live independently again.”

“Obsolete technology, drab surroundings and worn-out furnishings don’t reflect the warm and supportive atmosphere the Hickok Center for Brain Injury provides its members,” says Cooper. “We’re going to make this office productive, stimulating and inviting!”

Struggling with outdated and inefficient document technology has impacted the office’s productivity. The organization’s old copier routinely breaks down when the staff produces its eight-page quarterly newsletter, and the project must often be finished off-site. If anything needs to be collated, workers spread the documents on top of filing cabinets and do it manually, wasting valuable time and adding to their workload. Slow printers make it a chore to produce invitations and response cards for the annual fundraising auction. “It took us days to print all of the materials,” says Comarella.

“By implementing the right mix of hardware and software, we’re going to find ways for the Hickok Center for Brain Injury to operate better,” says Al Varney, vice president, Xerox’s North American Agent Operations, a locally based organization that serves small and medium size businesses in the U.S. and Canada. “The makeover will serve as an example of how small changes in technology and design can result in big boosts in productivity for other nonprofits and small businesses.”

The HON Company will replace the nonprofit’s mismatched furniture with desks, chairs and storage systems designed to make the office more comfortable and efficient.

The Hickok Center for Brain Injury was started nearly 20 years ago by parents whose children sustained brain injuries. Since then it has grown to serve adults age 18 to 75 at its Rochester location and at a satellite location in Newark, N.Y.

The makeover will be completed in late October. For more information on Xerox’s “Helping Hands” contest, visit


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