CILNCF’s Marion County HSHT Program receives Able Trust Award!

Each year, the Able Trust awards the statewide High School High Tech (HSHT) sites for excelling in various program areas. We are so happy to announce that the CIL’s Marion County HSHT Program was recognized for excellence in Family Involvement, one of the HSHT design features!

CONGRATULATIONS to our HSHT Senior Staff Program Coordinator, Arlene Jennings, who runs our Marion County Program, for helping your student’s families get connected to services in the community and providing consistent communications! Thank you so much for your continued hard work and dedication to HSHT!

CIL Virtual Art Showcase Results!

The CIL Virtual Art Showcase was a great success! People with disabilities from all over the state of Florida submitted their original artwork, such as drawings, paintings, sculptures, mosaics and photography. Throughout the process, we received artwork from 11 participants, exhibited a total of 45 pieces of artwork and had a total of 2,815 likes in just 8 days of the contest! Many thanks to all those who took some time to check and vote for their favorite artwork! Check out the winning participants and their artwork below!

Rural Food Distribution at the ARC of Hernando County another success!

The ARC of Hernando County was such a pleasure to visit during the CIL’s second rural food distribution. The CIL was able to come in with such a welcoming and supportive staff, that it made the new service of providing food an ease. Our new consumers were happy to have us, as they were taking pictures and building relationships with conversations about life and future opportunities. We definitely enjoyed the outreach, and we look forward to building more services with the ARC of Hernando County in the future!

Special Thanks to UF Disability Resource Center for volunteering at the CIL!

This holiday season, the CIL welcomed seven volunteers from the UF Disability Resource Center and one CIL intern, who all helped the CIL prepare for our ILS group holidays! They assembled 14 craft bags of ILS activities for the month of December, and we are so grateful for all of their hard work and support!

December is the month we learn the importance of giving to others and how much more thoughtful it is to give someone a gift made from our hearts, rather than just buying something! Because of our wonderful volunteers, our consumers were able to make their own craft gifts, wrap the gifts, and prepare them to be given to friends and family. They were also able to celebrate the holidays with a party, play some fun on-line games, and receive some special gifts from the CIL.

Thank you so much again to all of our amazing CIL volunteers and interns! You truly help us continue to make a difference and provide the needed services to our consumers, especially during these challenging times!

The Amazing Give 2020!

We are less than ONE week out from The Amazing Give!

The CILNCF will be participating in The Amazing Give, a 24-hour, online fundraising event, that is hosted by the Community Foundation of North Central Florida. The donations we receive through this fundraiser are an essential part of supporting our organization!

We would like to highlight one of our youth programs, High School High Tech (HSHT), one of the youth programs that will benefit from your donation!

“Although the HSHT program had a difficult time this year because of COVID-19, it still had a very high graduation rate for its seniors! 99% of students graduated this spring, and 90% of them have decided to pursue their dreams through post-secondary education. While there are many excellent success stories about these students, we wanted to highlight Nelson Williams a 2020 Palatka High School graduate from our Putnam County HSHT Program. Nelson has earned a full scholarship from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, and he will be playing football for them in the fall. We are very proud of him and we will continue to encourage him to shoot for the stars even after he has completed his time in the HSHT Program!”

Your generous donations will go directly into our youth programs, and our Wheelchair Ramp Building Program!

The event lasts 24 hours starting August 19th at 6pm and ending August 20th at 6pm. This year, we are setting a goal of $10,000 and we need your help!

If you are interested in donating and supporting our amazing youth and ramp building, please visit our Amazing Give campaign page: The Amazing Give: Center for Independent Living

Please also help spread the word to those who might be interested! Thank you so much for your support!

Remembering Rose

The CIL recently received some devastating news. Sadly, our dear Rose lost her brief battle with COVID last week. She was part of our CIL family for over 12 years. Rose had a caring heart and provided excellent service to our consumers. Even during these unusual times, Rose used her personal phone to assist consumers with what they needed. She had a wealth of knowledge about the community and services available and was always learning more.

In addition to assisting our consumers, Rose was very helpful to our CIL team. She was always willing to assist where she could in between her receptionist duties and was especially helpful in the ADA Paratransit process. Rose went out of her way to help staff, the center and our consumers. The office will never be the same without her.

Rose had a large family and she was especially excited about the recent birth of her twin granddaughters. All of us here at the CIL are sending many thoughts and prayers to her family during this very difficult time. It is hard for us to imagine not seeing her wonderful smile and hear her infectious laugh and encouraging words. We will miss you always Rose!

CILNCF Community Outreach still going strong

This past month, our Community Outreach Specialist, Shera Curtis, continued to distribute food to those in need, and also worked with the Supervisor of Elections! The first photo shows Darryl Williams, one of our CIL consumers. After receiving his food, Darryl stayed to assist other residents who did not have a basket or cart to bring food to their homes. He also helped out by encouraging other residents to sign up for assistance, who weren’t signed up prior. He was a pleasure to work with and truly an asset to his community.

The second photo shows Thomas “TJ” Pyche, the representative from the Supervisor of Elections. TJ assisted several consumers with registering to vote and also completing a mail-in ballot. He was amazing to work with and was there to help with whatever was needed from beginning to end!

CILNCF Celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the ADA!

Sunday, July 26th marked the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act! Here is a word from our Executive Director, Tony Delisle, about what the ADA means to him!

“The ADA is for all people because nearly everyone is touched by disability. The ADA provides access to a door where people with disabilities can enter to achieve their full potential. It is up to us as individuals, communities, and organizations to go through this door together and live up to the ideals of the ADA by creating a society that is just for all.” – Tony Delisle

CILNCF Emergency Kits available for consumers

The CILNCF is distributing Emergency Kits to our consumers in need! The kits were put together by Kevin (pictured below), Shera and CIL interns, and include first aid supplies, masks, hand santizer, a File of Life card, and a special gift from St. Leo! Special thanks to the following regional coalitions! Through funding from them, we were able to include first aid supplies in each of the kits:
North Central Healthcare Coalition
NE Florida Healthcare Coalition
Coalition for Health and Medical Preparedness (CHAMP)

Special Thanks to our community partners!

All of us at the CIL would like to give a huge THANK YOU to the following organizations and individuals who have so generously donated PPE supplies during this past month:

Eric Dresser, Diane Owens and the entire UnitedHealthcare Team for the donation of 500 reusable masks and 50 small hand sanitizers!

The Florida Department of Health, as well as Alexandra Boswell with the Department of Emergency Management and Peter Newman with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation for the donation of 22,000 masks! Wow!

Carla Lewis-Miles, Khadijah Camps and another woman who would like to remain anonymous, for making masks that were distributed to the CIL, the Greater Duval neighborhoods and throughout Gainesville where there is the most need!

As we continue to work day by day to re-open our doors to consumers, the CILNCF will be in crucial need of PPE supplies, so we are extremely grateful for these donations and community partnerships! Thank you all for helping keep our consumers and community safe and healthy!