image15

What is a center for independent living?

Dream Big!!!

"A CL's independent living programs work to support community living and independence for people with disabilities across the nation based on the belief that all people can live with dignity, make their own choices, and participate fully in society. These programs provide tools, resources, and supports for integrating people with disabilities fully into their communities to promote equal opportunities, self-determination, and respect."   https://acl.gov/programs/aging-and-disability-networks/centers-independent-living


A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The common misconception is that these centers only offer services for people with physical disabilities. However,  they also help people that have mental health challenges. I have been a consumer  at one of the centers up here in Alaska for the past 10 years.  


From the time that I started at the center till now I have made leaps and bounds.  My super hero Mike, he is the first person that started to teach me about disabilities.  Prior to coming in I was diagnosed, the only supports that I had was my Psychiatrist and my Therapist. I didn't know at that time that mental health challenges were considered  a disability.  I was working at the time and my challenges started to really affect me on the job. I came in one day and started talking to Mike and he told me to check out www.askjan.org Ask JAN is a website that assists people with disabilities that are working, to find job accommodations.  


This is just one thing that I've learned from being apart of a CIL There is so much more you can learn and things that you can accomplish by being apart. The sky isn't the limit to achieving your dreams and goals. Dream Big!!!


Ten years ago I never thought I would ever be doing the things that I'm doing now.  Not only have I accomplished my own goals that I have set, but I also advocate for others. I advocate for better services, and to bring awareness for the need for service dogs for mental health challenges.   I'm also now the Board President of the CIL that I'm a part of.  Life does change.  It doesn't mean that my challenges are gone, it means that I've learned and I'm still learning how to incorporate my challenges into my life.


To find a CIL in your community check out this link.  https://www.ilru.org/projects/cil-net/cil-center-and-association-directory



 Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson