WCICIL is a Center for Independent Living (CIL). It is a not-for-profit advocacy center funded by state and federal grants to provide services to people with disabilities. The mission of the Center is to promote, increase and improve opportunities for independent living and lifestyle for persons with disabilities within the six-county service area: Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Pike, and Schuyler. A Board of Directors, of which 51% of the members must have a disability, governs the Center, and an Executive Director manages WCICIL.
The Director is responsible for the direction and management of WCICIL program and service operations consistent with the policies and plans of the Board of Directors. His responsibilities include personnel management, budgeting and fiscal management, public relations, and systems advocacy to promote accessibility and inclusion for all persons with disabilities.
Data & Compliance Coordinator
Amanda is the center’s point-person for consumers as well as the general public, assisting with administrative and day-to-day office functions. She coordinates the Equipment Loan Program, the temporary loaning of assistive devices like manual wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes.
Information & Referral Specialist
Sam assists individuals with disabilities find resources that help them live more independently in the community. Sam is also SHIP certified and works with individuals to access and maintain benefits like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Benefit Access.
Independent Living & Transitions Advocate
As Transitions Advocate, Ben is responsible for assisting eligible individuals move out of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities back to the community-based living of their choice. Ben also assists individuals to access and maintain home services, as well as provide independent living skills training.
Independent Living & Home Services Advocate
Kelli’s primary focus is on home services and personal assistants recruitment and training. Kelli works closely with individuals with disabilities to access and manage in-home services from personal assistants or home health agencies, and also trains people who are interested in being hired as personal assistants. As an Independent Living Advocate, Kelli also assists with peer counseling and independent living skills training.
Independent Living Advocate
As an Independent Living Advocate, Martina assists individuals achieve their goals to live independently through life skills training, advocacy, information & referral, and peer mentoring. Independent living goal areas include housing, transportation, education, employment, assistive technology, and health care. Martina serves as the primary contact person in WCICIL’s satellite office located in Macomb Illinois.
Program Director & Youth Advocate
Elizabeth is the Center’s Program Director and provides youth advocacy services. This program provides parents of children with disabilities services to ensure that they receive the most appropriate and lease restrictive education possible. Elizabeth attends school conferences to assist parents and students to better understand their options and educational rights, and provides training to assist parents in becoming advocates for their children. She also assists youth with the transition to post-secondary life.
What Is Independent Living?
The Independent Living Philosophy is based on the premise that, regardless of a person’s disability, all individuals have the right and the responsibility to make life-controlling choices, which determine the direction of one’s life. That includes full and meaningful social participation as equal members of the community — free of any unnecessary physical, attitudinal, communication, and employment barriers. Our goal is to promote the overall visibility of persons with disabilities as well as encourage meaningful involvement in community life.
History of Centers for Independent Living
In 1972, the first Center for Independent Living was founded by disability activists, led by Ed Roberts, in Berkeley, California. Ed Roberts (1939-1995) is unfailingly cited as a pioneer in the movement by persons with disabilities for legally defined rights and control over their own lives. No longer content with limited life opportunities, nor willing to be defined solely as medical patients, disabled people in several cities nationwide shared the willingness to challenge authority, discard inherited prejudices, and effect social change that was the hallmark of the 1970s. Blue-curb parking spaces were to become ordinary sights within years.
In 1990, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) finally became a reality in a nation designed for equality. We have now come, again, to a new chapter in this evolution of living with a disability, and how much can be done with one.
About CILS Wordwide
Independent Living, is a philosophy, a way of looking at disability and society, and a worldwide movement of people with disabilities who proclaim to work for self-determination, self-respect and equal opportunities. As citizens in democratic societies persons with disabilities have the same right to participation, to the same range of options, degree of freedom, control and self-determination in everyday life and life projects that other citizens take for granted.