The REST (Respite Education & Support Tools) program recently played a consulting role with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation as it prepares to offer a new grant program, beginning March 6.

REST Program Director Lois Sheaffer assisted the New Jersey-based Foundation in developing the grant, which will fund non-profits across the U.S. that provide episodic respite care services to families living with paralysis.  Sheaffer will return to Foundation headquarters in May to review applications and help choose grant recipients.

The grant cycle takes place between March 6 and March 31, 2017. Grant submission guidelines can be found at

The new initiative is part of the Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants Program, which awards financial support to nonprofit organizations that serve the disability community. Pioneered by the late Dana Reeve, the Quality of Life Grants Program recognizes projects and initiatives that foster community engagement, inclusion and involvement, while promoting health and wellness for individuals living with paralysis and their families.

Since the program’s inception in 1999, more than 2,800 grants have been awarded throughout the U.S. and beyond, totaling more than $20.6 million.

Sheaffer has more than 30 years’ experience in respite work, and has played an instrumental role in the development of the REST program.

“The Reeve Foundation’s partnership with REST can assure that caregivers have access to quality respite care for their family member or loved one,” Sheaffer said.

For example, the Reeve Foundation episodic respite grant program requires that family members, friends, neighbors and other respite workers take the REST Essentials online course, if they have not previously undergone respite-care training.

REST is an evidence-supported train-the-trainer program that equips individuals, called REST Companions, to provide respite for caregivers who are caring for people with disabilities and health care needs across the lifespan. This allows caregivers to step away to refresh and recharge, knowing their loved ones are in capable hands.

The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

Lois Sheaffer is available for media interviews.  You can contact her at, or by calling (630) 397-5655. For information on REST, visit