VOLUME XI ISSUE 4 Fall 2002
From the Executive Director Mary Margaret Moore
On October 16, 2002 from 5:30 to 7:15 PM at the Center we will have our Annual meeting. This is an opportunity for ILCNSCA members and supporters to gather with the Board and staff for election of new Board members as well as review of prior fiscal year performance. On page 7 you will find an ILCNSCA member-ship form and an RSVP for this meeting along with a listing of folks running for the Board. Please complete the membership form and RSVP for return to ILCNSCA by October 10. We look forward to your presence at the ILCNSCA main office, 27 Congress Street, Suite 107 on October 16th.
Over the summer a number of independent living issues arose. Of prime importance to many persons with disabilities who are MassHealth insured citizens was the threat of loss of local access to filling of prescriptions. The Governor, responding to the pharmacies threats to immediately stop filling all MassHealth prescriptions when the legislature cut reimbursement to pharmacies by 12%, initiated a rate setting hearing for pharmacy reimbursement for September 5 and an agreement that the pharmacies would know the new rate, not the legislatures decrease rate, by October 3. We worked with other ILC's and disability advocates for presentation of petitions and testimony at that hearing. As this newsletter goes to press we are still waiting for the results from that September 5 hearing. Check out the ILCNSCA website, www.ilcnsca.org, for updates on this important access to services issue.
The Center had a wonderful Barbecue this year down at Winter Island Function Hall, Salem, MA. We thank all of you that assisted and received positive responses from all that attended. We hope you come next Summer to a wonderful afternoon by the ocean with good food, and great company.
To enhance our funding for this year we again are selling the Entertainment Book. Please come by the Center to pick up your copy of this wonderful array of discounts for restaurants, movie tickets,museums, etc. The cost is $20.00. They will be on sale until mid-December.
Lastly, your vote for Governor, U.S. Representative, State senator and representative is important. I hope you are carefully analyzing the candidates. As the economy slumps and tax revenues are lower, the first items cut by government are usually human services. Be wise with your vote and make sure that you vote!
Massachusetts Olmstead Plan Released
After almost a year of meetings and hear-ings as well as sub-committe reports, the Olmstead Task Force appointed by Governor Jane Swift work has completed phase one.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services recently released the report titled Enhancing Community Based Services. It is availbe in PDF form from the www.masscares.org web site or on the Statewide Independent Living Council webpage, www.masilc.org.
This report is a first step in defining how the Commonwealth will plan for insuring that there are community alternatives for those currently or at risk of entering institutions and who choose to live in the community.
It is imperative the we who support inde-pendent living become familiar with the Commonwealth's plan to address this Supreme Court ruling as well as Presidential Initiative. I urge you to read this report and share with us at ILCNSCA your thoughts.
If you would like to become involved in advocating for modifications to this report there is an Advocacy Subcommittee of the Statewide Independent Living Council that will be addressing this issue during the next year. Let Joe Tringali, new Chair of the SILC, know of your interest by calling the SILC office at 508-620-7452. You can also contact the ILCNSCA Director of Access and Advocacy, Shawn McDuff at 978-741-0077, x.12 v/tty. This plan will shape independent living for decades. It is does not go far enough.
Exciting New Workshop at ILCNSCA Mindfulness
A Path to Well Being Would you like to try a new approach to physical and mental well-being? You can explore the possibility of mindful awareness and a new way of being. This can result in positive changes in your heart and mind.
The workshop will involve three ses-sions, which will teach new ways to deal with what goes on in our minds and provide opportunity to share and review our experi-ences with other participants. You can learn how to get in touch with your deep inner capacity for self-healing and living a happier more balanced life. To be held on Wednesday November 6, 13, 20 1:30-3:00 pm. To sign up for the workshop (all three sessions) contact ILCNSCA by October 30, 2002.
Jean Costello, M.A., Workshop leader, trained in numerous traditions of meditation and a practitioner of meditation for many years has also provided this type of training for past few years at BU and North Shore Community College. She has also worked extensively in the rehabilitation field. Hope to see you there.
Update On Housing Advocacy
On April 2002, ILCNSCA was informed that the Lynn Housing Authority & Neigh-borhood Development (LHAND) Initial Allocation Plan (IAP) was being revised to designate as elderly-only a large portion of M. Henry Wall Plaza, a federally funded mixed population development in Lynn. ILCNSCA wrote a letter supporting the LHAND Plan of allocating 80% of the hous-ing units at the M. Henry Wall Plaza Devel-opment for elderly tenants only if the Lynn Housing Authority provided increased alternate housing options for non-elderly people with disabilities and did not evict any of the existing tenants who are non-elderly and have disabilities. In August LHAND informed us that the final decision from the federal government on this revision is to designate one hundred and twenty-three one-bedroom units for elderly tenants only, and fifty-three one-bedroom units for non-elderly disabled tenants at the M. Henry Wall Plaza Development.
The LHAND original allocation proposal recommended designating one hundred and thirty-two units for elderly tenants only and forty-four units for non-elderly disabled tenants only. Although this difference results an additional 9 units for non-elderly dis-abled tenants, ILCNSCA feels that there is still a great need for more accessible, af-fordable and available project based hous-ing units and rental subsidy vouchers for persons with disabilities in Lynn as well as throughout the North Shore and Cape Ann. ILCNSCA is working with Paul Dejoie, of LHAND to increase affordable, available, accessible housing opportunities in Lynn. If you are interested in learning more about advocating for additional housing contact Zoyla Galice, 978-741-0077 x.21 v/tty or firstname.lastname@example.org
The findings of the third round of surveys of restaurants in the ILCNSCA service area has been completed as part of the Restaurant Accessibility Survey Project (RASP) funded by the North Shore Self-Help Group. Restaurants were surveyed and are rated for accessibility in the following categories: external access, entry/exit, internal access, restrooms, service, and alternate communication means. Restaurant survey ratings range from a score 1 to 6 with 6 being the highest.
Route 1 North, Danvers, MA
Offered handicap parking that was close to the entrance and featured a van accessible space. The level front entrance leads to a spacious vestibule but the doors would be difficult to open for persons with mobility limita-tions. There is a fully accessible unisex bathroom. There was no issue with seating or maneuverability in the dining area. Overall, the ILCNSCA would recom-mend this disability-friendly restaurant, but keep in mind, there were no menus in Braille, large print or cassette. There was a staff member who can sign (ASL) but was not ASL certified. Rating: 5
Sylvan Street Grille
12 Sylvan Street, Danvers, MA
Handicap parking and a van accessible space with proper access aisles are available. The parking was close to the ramp leading to the accessible entrance. The front entrance offered easy passage for someone in a wheelchair. The restrooms were fully accessible. Much of the seating is located in an accessible area, but wheelchair users cannot access some tables. This restaurant has large print menus but none in Braille or cassette and no ASL inter-preters on their staff. ILCNSCA considers Sylvan Street Grille as a disability-friendly restaurant. Rating: 5
55 Boston St., Lynn, MA
Had 2 handicap parking spaces with only one space having an access aisle; no van accessible parking. The entrance had a threshold was higher than one inch posing difficulty for a person in a wheelchair. The outer door was heavy. The dining area was maneuverable for wheelchair and had many non-fixed tables that had sufficient knee space. An unmarked door with an inacces-sible doorknob leads to a somewhat acces-sible unisex restroom. Although the service was pleasant, the ILCNSCA recommends caution when choosing to visit this restau-rant that has no menus in Braille, large print or cassette. Rating: 2
Humphrey St., Swampscott, MA
Offered handicap parking that was close to the entrance but no van accessible space. The front entrance was level and the doors posed no difficulty to open for persons with mobility limitations. The men's restroom offered accessible fea-tures inside although the door seemed nar-row. The women's restroom was narrow and would not easily accommodate a person using a wheelchair; it's wheelchair stall lacked grab bars. There was no issue with seating or maneuverability in the dining area. The service was decent and respectful. There were no menus in Braille, large print or cassette. Rating: 3
Salem Beer Works
278 Derby Street, Salem, MA
The small parking lot had a handicap parking sign but the designated space had no access aisle, thus no van acces-sible space. The ramp had adequate handrails but the ramp surface slanted from left to right, contributing to the doorway's awkward-ness to manage for people using wheelchairs. Restrooms were accessible except for a difficult to reach sanitary disposal box. The majority of the tables were non-fixed for wheelchairs with sufficient knee clearance. Although there are some access barriers (and no menus in Braille, large print or cassette) Beer Works personnel were very accommodating and aimed to please disabled patrons. Rating: 3
Route 114, Danvers, MA
Offered handicap parking that was close to the entrance, but the parking space that meets the van accessible size/ access aisle requirements needed a sign designating it as such. The front entrance is level but the door was a little heavy for someone using a wheelchair. The restrooms were mostly wheelchair accessible except for soap and paper towels that couldn't be reached. There was no issue with seating or maneuverability in the dining area. Overall, the ILCNSCA would recommend this disability- friendly restaurant, but keep in mind, there were no menus in Braille, large print or cassette. There was a staff member who can sign (ASL) but was not ASL certified. Surveyor Charlie R. loved the Bloomin' Onion. Rating: 4.
Stay tuned for a rating increase. Outback management pledged to work with ILCNSCA's Community Access Advocacy Team to improve any access barriers.
Mexico Part I
My name is Donna Garber. I volunteer for the Independent living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann, Inc. I have probably spoke to some of you on the phone or met some of you at the Center. I just came back from Playa Del Carmen (about 40 miles South of Cancun). It is also known as the Mayan Rivera, the Mexican Riviera. While there, I took a day trip to Tulum (too-loom). Tulum is one of the sites with Mayan ruins. I was greatly im-pressed by the insight of the relationship of the Sun to the Earth which the early Mayans had. Things like spirituality and death (they had a buriel tomb in the house for the dead) and simple things like nature and water intrigued the Mayans. Because of the nature of the lay of the land (rocky, hot & humid, on a cliff), it wasn't exactly the easiest place for a wheelchair to travel through.
I also went to Xcaret (Ex-care-et) which is really similar to a water park. There were several lagoons that one could dive into or swim in. Although it was more accessible than Tulum, the signage there was poor and it got very frustrating. Above the lagoons were ledges and on these ledges were re-creations of ancient Mayan rituals to the Gods (I'm not sure which Gods). I got lost in the underground, Mayan, caves for about 2 hours. I got out just in time to watch the dinner show. The show was a history of the different cultures in Mexico. It showed the early forms of the sports that were played. A form of soccer where the hip was used instead of the feet. To score you had to get the ball through a hoop about 3 feet off the ground. Another sport featured was a form of hockey where balls of fire were used instead of a puck. The show also portrayed different rituals that were performed by the different regions. It was very interesting.
I am making an educated assumption when I say I think Mexico is not as aware as the USA when trying to give the disabled equal access. The resort I stayed at was accessible; however, the accessible features were not regulated. The ramps were too steep. You took you're chances with bathrooms. One bathroom in the airport, which was supposed to be accessible, was just a bigger stall. Another was beautiful. It was spacious, with grab bars and a sink. Again, at the resort, it was a crap shoot with the accessible bathroom. The bathroom in my room got me very irratated. The door opened inwards so I couldn't get to the mirror or sink without figuring out how to get in to close the door first. The grab bar was about two feet long, on the wall behind the sinks and behind and to the left of the toilet. You needed to be a contortionist to get on or off the toilet. It did have a walk-in shower with a tub-stool; although, the controls were not in the reach of the person taking the shower. The other bathrooms around the resort were either too small for a wheelchair to fit in or had no grab bars that were in a "user-friendly" place. There were many automatic doors. The country, as a whole, has not yet embraced the disabled community. Too many narrow door and aisleways, cobblestone streets/sidewalks or just gravel streets. I saw no handicap park-ing spots. For a country that is full of historical (Mayan Ruins) sites and has no accessible regulations, I give them an B+ for realizing and attempting to make things available for all to see.
My pictures are not developed yet but I will print pictures, of my trip, in the next newsletter (MEXICO PART II).
ILCNSCA Received 16 Ada Day Proclamations
In an effort to raise awareness about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its requirement that all communities be fully accessible and not discriminate against people with disabilities, ILCNSCA requested from the 20 cities and towns in its service area the issuance of a proclamation to recognize July 26 2002 as "Spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act" Day. Sixteen cities and towns willingly obliged this request and ILCNSCA is energized and ready to work with cities and towns to help them to comply with ADA. ILCNSCA received proclamations from the following:
City/Town Certifying Signature(s)
- City of Beverly: Mayor Thomas M. Crean
- City of Gloucester: Mayor John Bell
- City of Lynn: Mayor Edward J. "Chip"Clancy, Jr.
- City of Peabody: Mayor Michael Bonfanti
- City of Salem: Mayor Stanley J. Usovicz, Jr.
- Town of Danvers: Martha R. Swindell, Chairman, Board of Selectman; Board Members: Ellen Graham; Kenneth W. Brown; Michael W. Powers; Randall S. Sparkas
- Town of Essex: David L. Folsom, Chair, Board of Selectmen
- Town of Hamilton: David G. Neill, Chair,Board of Selectmen
- Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea : Richard W. Southgate, Chair, Board of Selectmen
- Town of Marblehead: Jeffrey N. Shribman, Chairman, Board of Selectmen; Board Members: William M. Purdin; William L. Woodfin, II; Judith R. Jacobi; Harry C. Christensen, Jr.
- Town of Nahant: Robert A. Frary, Chairman, Board of Selectmen
- Town of Rockport: Jonathan Weaver, Chairman, Board of Selectmen
- Town of Rowley: Atilio J. Paglia, Dionne Levasseur, Board Members
- Town of Saugus: Janette Easano, Chairman, Board of Selectmen; Board Members: Christie Ciampa; Anthony Cogliano; Michael Kelleher; Susan Raiche
- Town of Swampscott: Reid J. Cassidy, Chairman, Board of Selectmen
- Town of Topsfield: Boyd R. Jackson, Chairman, Board of Selectmen: Joseph C. Iarocci, Board Member
ILCNSCA and all supporters of access and rights for persons with disabilities appreciates the commitment of the above municipal leaders and the municipalities. Together we are changing the world and making the dream of an accessible world for all a reality. Thank you.
Kickin' It Up In NYC
By Shawn McDuff
This summer my wife and I decided to go to New York City for a few days for vacation. Figuring that New York City was only a 5 hr. drive and a new destination for us to experience together, we said "why not." Not to mention it would be interesting to see Ground Zero. In the spring I researched accessible hotels and attractions in the City. One website I found helpful, for previous vacations also, was Access Able Travel Source at http://www.access-able.com/. I also searched my Entertainment 2002 Book that I purchased as part of ILCNSCA's annual fundraiser. I made some calls and found a hotel, The Roosevelt, on Madison Ave. and 45 th St. that claimed to have a wheelchair accessible room with a king size bed and a roll-in shower. Perfect!
We made the drive that was extended by 1.5 hours of traffic near the Bronx. Finally we arrived and checked in and found that the hotel reservationist made some mistakes. The only accessible rooms with roll-in show-ers had full size beds. Because I've experienced this episode before, I negotiated with the manager and got 1 accessible room with a king bed plus an additional room with a roll-in shower. Not ideal, but workable.
As for access within the City, we found that the New York Metro bus system was the best bet other than walking/rolling around. All buses are accessible and the bus drivers were knowledgeable and friendly toward riders with disabilities. Driving around and using the subway were not viable options. Ninety-five percent of the curbs had curb cuts, which improved since I visited New York City in high school in the late ‘80s. We found accessible attractions such as tours of NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden; we also dined at Hard Rock Café, ESPN Zone and B.B. King's Lucille's to name a few. We went to see Elton John's play Aida in Times Square, which was great, reasonably priced and mostly accessible considering that the theater was older. We also took a bus to lower Manhattan and viewed ground zero. The day before we left we noticed that the double-decker Gray Line tour buses offered accessibility.
The highlight of the trip was our encounter with Chef Emeril Lagasse, my favorite TV personality. Friday morning we got up early and went to Bryant Park for a Good Morning America (GMA) concert featuring The Bangles, thinking that Emeril may be there cooking as he usually does. When the park opened the accessible entrance was locked and we got the security's attention and they opened the door. I asked the GMA Staff where the best wheelchair seating would be and she promptly escorted us to the side of the concert stage, a prime seating area. Sure enough, Emeril was there to appear on GMA. The stage manager asked me if I could see the stage and I said, "Yes, but I'd like to meet Emeril." Two minutes later, Emeril came jogging over and my wife and I were in our glory meeting him, shaking hands and getting a picture with him (see photo). He was friendly and warm hearted. I asked about getting tickets in the future for his Emeril Live show, and he invited us to go to his studio for a live taping of Emeril Live later that day. Then his assistant helped us plan our bus route to the studio. We had a great time and sampled some trout and chicken that was kicked up a few notches.
Update On MRC-IL Assistive Technology
CLASS, Inc. has been working with ILCNSCA to bring assistive technology to MRC defined eligible people. CLASS is funded by MRC to provide a full range of assistive technology services for people with disabilities. Recently, MRC issued new eligibility criteria as well as prioritization guidelines. The long and short of these new rules is that it is more difficult to access this resource unless you are determined by others that you are impaired in one or more major life activities and the benefit from Assistive Technology (AT) is defined by others as reducing or eliminating your disability. On top of that criteria, you also have to be ineligible for AT services from any other source. There is a financial review as well as priority categories. Call ILCNSCA for additional information. We will assist you in understanding if you meet this new set of rules for these resources. We will also assist you in looking for other resources for AT.
MASSTRAN SPECIALIZED TRANSPORTATION
For All Of Your Corporate, Luxury, Airport And Wheelchair Travel Needs.
1-800-768-1110 or 1-781-581-8382
Tell them you saw their ad in Independent News!!!
Easy stand 5000 standing machine for sale. Hydraulic lift—stands persons with disabilities who cannot stand or have difficultty standing. Ideal for relieving pain due to pressure or orthopedic stiffness. New model. Asking $2200. Call Jeanne 978-745- 8304.
Jazzy Mini for sale. Only six months old with very little use. Purchase price was $5000. Exellent turning radius. Golf ball size toggle switch. 18" x 18" cushion. Asking $3500. Call Jeanne 978-745-8304.
Get Great Deals And Help ILCNSCA To Raise Funds Purchase An Entertainment 2003 Book
The Entertainment Book 2003 is packed with hundreds of two-for-one offers and 50% discounts on goods and services for almost everything you like to do or need to do – dining, travel, shopping, movies, theater, sports, auto repair and more. It's your ticket to save money now and next calendar year. The 2003 Entertainment Book costs $20.00 and the coupons are good from the day you purchase the book through October 31, 2003. Come on by the Center for your copy. We appreciate your help with this fundraiser for the Center. For additional information or to purchase a book call (978) 741-0077 v/tty or stop by the Center Monday-Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Sales end on December 13, 2002.
ILCNSCA Held its Annual Summer Barbecue
We held our annual Summer Barbecue on Thursday August 15, 2002 at Winter Island in Salem. Over 80 supporters of ILCNSCA enjoyed the sun, food, entertain-ment and each other's company. Staff and volunteers worked hard to serve up a wonderful day. And once again Greg Levis got out his cooking utensils and toiled over hot coals to dish up a delicious lunch.
Local entertainers January Germano and Greg Gallo provided entertainment that day and the Radio Disney Hood Ice Cream truck donated desserts. Claudia Chuber, Ward 1 Councilwoman from Salem, was in attendance showing her strong commitment to independent living.
This year at the registration table we made available a petition regarding maintaining the current rate of reimbursement that Massachusetts's pharmacies receive from MassHealth. Many in attendance took the opportunity to let their voice be heard by signing the petition. We also had tickets available for a 50/50 raffle. And the lucky and very generous winner, Sally Chisholm, donated 70% of her winnings back to the Center! Thank you Sally.
If you were unable to attend this event you truly missed a good time. Hope to see you at our next event.
Access Art Moves On
Art Daignault, Access Art, for over four years the Peer Advocate/Access Specialist of the Independent Living Center of North Shore and Cape Ann, has left his position to become the ADA Coordinator for the City of Beverly. Shawn McDuff, Director of Access and Advocacy, will be the point person for access advocacy and access technical assistance until a new Peer Advocate/Access Specialist is hired. Feel free to call or email Shawn McDuff with your access questions or complaints at 978-741-0077 ext. 14 V/TTY or email Smcduff@ilcnsca.org.
Accessible Pool at Salem YMCA
By Shawn McDuff, Director of Access & Advocacy
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Salem YMCA, located at 1 Sewall St. in Salem, to see the accessibility improvements made to their swimming pool. Earlier this summer the Salem YMCA installed a ramp made from sturdy plastic and PVC pipe going from the edge of the swimming pool extending into the water. The ramp has a non-slip surface with handrails on both sides for persons walking down the ramp into the pool.
The Salem YMCA also purchased a swimming pool wheelchair made from PVC pipe that has a mesh seat and backrest with swing away arm rests to make transfers into the wheelchair easier. People with disabilities can get into this swimming pool wheelchair that is made to be immersed in water and roll into the pool. This special wheelchair can also be used in the shower. The Salem YMCA has a fully accessible unisex family bathroom/ shower room that has a roll-in shower stall.
For more details and information about membership and aquatic programming, contact Beth Dezotell, Assistant Aquatic Director at Salem YMCA at (978) 744-0351 or by email at email@example.com
The Gillette Stadium
If you are a sports or entertainment lover and are thinking of attending an event at the new Gillette Stadium, we have this first hand update for you. The new Gillette Stadium is a state-of-the-art sports stadium and is completely accessible. Shawn McDuff has been giving his input along with others on the design of this stadium. Our Director of Services Elaine O'Donnell went to visit it just before it opened.
The Gillette Stadium Guest Services center provides assistive listening receivers & headsets, which are available at no charge and alternative format materials such as Braille and large print. The brochure can be obtained in alternative format through Guest Services. The stadium also provides ramps and public elevators that are located through out the stadium at entrances. Restrooms are all accessible and are located on every level in the building. All of the concession stands are accessible to patrons with disabilities and Event Staff are available to provide assis-tance in the food service areas to anyone who needs help. Accessible telephones and public TDD's/TTYs are located on every level in the stadium.
ILCNSCA Staff Attends Conference
On July 27 2002, I, Zoyla Galice, Peer Advocate, had the opportunity to participate of the "National Training Workshop for New Leadership", sponsored by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the U.S. Department of Education for people with disabilities. I had the privilege to be selected from one hundred applicants around the country and the only participant from Massachusetts. The Training- Workshop took place in Crystal City, Virginia. It was organized and conducted for cultural diverse communities. After my participation in the workshop-conference I will be working in an out reach project for people with disability in the Spanish community. It was great to share my learning experience for four days with thirty-two other participants.
Rossi's Family Cleaning
Member Salem Chamber of Commerce
978-740-4574 or 978-740-4575 FAX
On Call 24 hours a day Bonded & Fully Insured
Say you saw their ad in the Independent Times!!!
Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann
ILCNSCA follows the federal standards as an independent living center (ILC). We are unique in the arena of human service agencies as all ILC's are consumer controlled and community based. Persons with disabilities control agency decision-making and operations. Fifty percent or more of the Board of Directors must be persons with disabilities as must also be the Executive Director and any staff responsible for direct services. Directors and staff provide leadership and also serve as role models of successful Independent Living (IL) for others to follow. ILCNSCA provides direct services to empower individuals with the essential skills and self-confidence to achieve their IL goals. It also seeks positive change in the broader community to ensure rights and opportunities for participation in all areas of life and the freedom to pursue dreams.
Programs and Services
ILCNSCA serves the following cities and towns of the North Shore and Cape Ann: Beverly, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester, Marblehead, Melrose, Middleton, Nahant, North Reading, Peabody, Reading, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Saugus, Stoneham, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wakefield and Wenham. In keeping with federal standards for ILCs, the ILCNSCA offers the requisites of Independent Living Skills Training, Peer Counseling, Information and Referral, and Advocacy. Peer Support Groups, Social/Recreation activities, topical Workshops, and Community Access Advocacy Groups are also offered.
Information and Referral (I&R;)
The Center provides information continuously to individuals with disabilities, their families and friends and representatives of human service agencies and cities and towns regarding services throughout the North Shore and Cape Ann Service Area. I&R; keeps people informed about IL possibilities, expands awareness about the mission and activities of the Center, and reinforces the fundamental IL principle of participation in already available services in the mainstream to the fullest extent.
Independent Living Skills Training
IL Skills teach a person with a disability all of the essential skills necessary to function in today's complex society. Topics covered include household maintenance, meal preparation, nutrition, health maintenance, emergency medical procedure, housing search, landlord/tenant relations, financial management, transportation, civil rights, individual advocacy, and Personal Assistance management for those who will need assistance to meet daily needs which the nature of their disabilities prohibits them from doing. Working with a Peer Guide, a Consumer will determine his/her own goals for independent living, which will in turn determine the skill areas for training. The Consumer will then master these skills through a combination of visits with the Peer Guide, written practice, homework and actual hands-on experience at the market, on the bus, in a social setting or at a relevant community setting.
For success in IL, it is necessary to have confidence, to understand how to cope with being "out there" in society and being constantly viewed as "different." Family issues, sexual identification, as a man or woman with a disability, and assertiveness in social and business situations are common areas of concern. The same Peer Guide providing IL Skills will also assist the consumer on these personal issues. Learning to cope with challenges is equally important for success in Independent Living as any practical skills training.
Advocacy and Education
The Center brings together its Members and acts in collaboration with other organizations such as the Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council, Independent Living Centers, and social justice organizations to eliminate barriers to full social participation by individuals with disabilities in society. Advocacy may take any one of several forms including information in the Center's newsletter, technical assistance on laws and regulations to other organizations to assist them to take informed, appropriate individual or group action to improve access to their activities and services, or education of elected and appointed local and state officials on rights and benefits of participation by persons with disabilities.