Innovative Partnership Developed | CROTHALL HEALTHCARE & CIL

CIL staff Donna Waldron and Linda Butler (left) join Tonja Smith, Raul Lopez, Serguei Rakov, and Isaac Johnson

The Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida honored Crothall Healthcare, a member of Compass Group PLC, for being a community leader in developing employment solutions for individuals with disability.

Crothall, which manages support services at Shands at the University of Florida, has been a leader in Gainesville opening up positions for on-the-job training and employment opportunities.

Serguei Rakov was one of the people that Crothall reached out to help. After trying for several years, Rakov was discouraged that he could not find a job to support his family of four. He got his chance through an on-the-job training opportunity initiated by Isaac Johnson, Resident Regional Manager and Raul Lopez, Assistant Director of environmental services with Crothall. The State of Florida reimbursed Rakov’s wages during training, and Rakov used his talents to enhance the services provided by Crothall at Shands UF.

“You could not have picked a better person,” said Johnson. “His personality, demeanor and all around posture is refreshing. You want the job to fit the person and the person to fit the job. This is a perfect fit.”

The Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a consumer driven, private nonprofit organization headquartered in Gainesville with a history involving 30 years of community leadership by people with disabilities, for the benefit of people with disabilities. Its mission is to empower people with disabilities to exert their individual rights to live as independently as possible, make personal life choices and achieve full community inclusion

Crothall Healthcare was founded in 1991 to meet the unique needs of the health care industry. Today, they serve over 1,200 health care clients in customer-focused support services such as environmental services, patient transportation, laundry and linen services, facilities management, and clinical equipment services.

In making the award, CIL officials said individuals with disability have faced greater barriers to employment during the current economic downturn, ruling out many capable individuals who would otherwise be very productive and dedicated. Crothall is an exception to the rule, with Johnson and Lopez opening their doors to individuals with disability by identifying strengths and matching individuals with jobs; individuals who often would otherwise be facing the need to rely on government assistance programs.

Employers wishing to take advantage of on-the-job training benefits through the State of Florida can contact:  Linda Butler, Program Director at the Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida (352) 378-7474.

CIL & University of Florida Campaign for Charities

The Center for Independent Living’s 2011 UFCC # is 3025

Each fall, UF sponsors the UF Campaign for Charities (UFCC) to raise money for nonprofit, health and human service oriented organizations in Gainesville and surrounding areas. The campaign allows employees to give to one or more campaign charities through payroll deduction, cash, check, or bank card.

100% of all funds donated to the Center for Independent Living through the campaign are used to:

  1. Build wheelchair ramps at NO COST for people who cannot afford to have one built themselves.
  2. Provide assistance to people with disabilities wanting out of nursing homes, by providing financial assistance for such things as rental application fees, rental deposits, utility deposits, etc.

Imagine needing to rely on a wheelchair for your daily mobility.  Now imagine that your home is not accessible and because you live on a fixed income, you are without the financial means to afford the cost of having a wheelchair ramp built (Average cost is approximately $1,500).  How are you going to get in and out of your own home to access the community in which you live?  How will you go to school, work, shopping, etc.?

For far too many people, living right here in Gainesville and Alachua County, this is their reality.  It should be unacceptable for even one (1) person to be living in such a circumstance.  However, right now the Center for Independent Living has nearly 100 people on our waiting list for a wheelchair ramp.  

When a person is without the ability to enter and exit their own home as easily as anyone else, many side effects arise… none of which are good.  One of the more concerning effects of such inaccessibility at home is isolation.

Pictured is an example of the real, positive & significant impact your contribution can have on the life of someone. 

When the Center for Independent Living applies your contribution toward the cost of building a wheelchair ramp all (100%) of your contribution goes toward the cost materials needed to build the wheelchair ramp.  We then join with partnering organizations to mobilize volunteers who generously give of their time and expertise to provide the labor to build the ramp.

Join us, and together we can make a REAL DIFFERENCE in the life of a REAL PERSON. 


via University of Florida Campaign for Charities.

Stroke Motor Recovery Study at UF

Consumers can earn $100
If you have trouble using your arm and hand because of a stroke, then you may qualify to be in an AHA sponsored study UFIRB # 2011-U-0616).  This study provides: 

(a) an evaluation of arm movements,
(b) 6 hours of cognitive and motor therapy,
(c) 6 hours of arm and hand rehabilitation,
(d) $100 to each participant who finishes,
(e) concerned researchers and therapists. 

For additional information, please contact:
Jim Cauraugh, Ph.D.
Director, Motor Behavior Lab
Phone: 352-294-1623


National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2011 — Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities

National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2011To celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services OSERS is highlighting projects and initiatives funded by the Office of Special Education Programs OSEP, the Rehabilitation Services Administration RSA and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitative Research NIDRR that improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, including transition-aged youth.Building on a strong education foundation is the key to launching the future success of young people with disabilities. Thank you for all you are doing to support and encourage individuals with disabilities as they work towards realizing their career and life goals.Sincerely,Alexa Posny, OSERS Assistant Secretary

via National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2011 — Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities.

2011 Raffle Fundraiser a BIG Success

Raffle winner Dr. Mike Moorehouse, UF College of PHHP

The Center for Independent Living would like to acknowledge and thank the following list of amazing local businesses and business leaders who gave so generously in support of our 2011 Raffle fundraiser! We raised nearly $4,000 which all goes toward our youth programs.


A Touch Of Heaven & Andrea Sylvia
A1 Tree Services, Inc. & Howard Moses
Alter Ego Fitness, Kyle Gold & Ronald Ballatore
Amelia’s & Andy Fass
Best Western Gateway Grand & Ron Gromoll
Cake Classics & Janelle Blackwelder
Carmen Cowart, LMT
Carrabba’s & John Barli
City Crepes, Andi & Keidi Melengu
CILNCF & Debbie Scoggin
Conestoga’s & Rick Robertson
Floating Lotus Spa, Victoria Golden & Ms. Rainsberger
Susie Frinfrock, LMT
Nathalie Fosse, LMT
Gainesville Health and Fitness & Linda Cirulli-Burton
Gator Cinemas & Rami Badawi
Gator Tree Service & Anthony Dobosiewicz
Great Outdoors & Carol Doherty
Hippodrome State Theatre & Kara Winslow
Manuel’s & Marco Chavez
Mildred’s, Stephanie Comstock & April Williams
Napolatano’s & Ginger Nappy
Premium Travel Pro Kit
Red Mango & Jon Austin
Satchel’s & Teresa Zokovitch
Secret Garden Bakery & Sharon Tugman
Nancy Smith, LMT & N’Touch Therapy
Spa Royale & Mary Davis-Grant
Splitz at Funworks & Katie Connolly
Stonewood, Monica Deel & Matt Miller
The Fresh Market
Zell’s Hardware & David Flanders


Our Gracious Business Donors


Ocala Office Benefits From Day of Caring

Described as “one of the most exciting ways to make a difference in Marion County”, United Way of Marion County’s Annual Day of Caring is a way for community members to take part in a one-day event designed to partner resources and volunteers with local non-profits & social service agencies.  The activities of the day include mobilizing citizen volunteers to work with selected organizations that could use some fix-it-up, clean-it-up help and more.

This year our office in Ocala, Florida was selected and volunteers gave the office a “facelift” by restriping the parking lot, cleaning out the flower beds, putting in new mulch and more!

CIL Open House a HUGE Success

This year we paired our Open House with an Emergency Preparedness information session. William Kennedy, CILNCF Executive Director opened the day’s activities, welcoming all in attendance and thanking our expert panel members who had volunteered their time to help educate consumers on how people with disAbilities can best prepare themselves for certain emergency events.

 Jeff Feller, Chief Operations Officer for WellFlorida, our local health planning council took over from there, guiding the morning presentations and assisting with the question and answer portion of the session.

The Expert Panel Members were comprised of professionals and leaders from their respective fields and included:

Opening remarks from expert panel members

Chip Wilson, Statewide Disability Coordinator Emergency Management
David Donnelly, Emergency Management Director of Alachua County
Brad Caron, Health Preparedness Planner Alachua County Health Department
Jeremy Gallman, Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness, NFR Medical Center
Al Sandrik, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A lunch presentation was also arranged; Al Sandrik, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provided a stimulating and comprehensive lunch presentation about weather tracking, and the impact of hurricanes and additional inclement weather we experience in Florida.

Several phone calls and e-mails were also made to invite assorted vendors to attend our event:  Vocational Rehabilitation, University of Florida (FL Office on Disability and Health, Right to Know Campaign, FL Senior Safety Resource Center), American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Association, MV Transportation, Elder Options, A-1 Tree Services and Alachua County/City of Gainesville Equal Opportunity offices.

Marketing for the event consisted of creating and mailing flyers to agencies with consumers that could benefit from the emergency preparedness workshop, kits and plans, as well as contacting local media for public service announcements and community calendar posts.

Arrangements were also made for the printing of flyers, posters and forms, as well as for sign language interpreters to be present throughout the workshop and lunch presentation.  Packets were developed for workshop participants that included the agenda, CIL brochure, our Executive Director’s business card and the emergency preparedness plan.  Vendor tables were set up throughout the Center, as well as display tables featuring various CIL programs.

On the day of the Open House, a sign-in table was available and staff assisted throughout the day with participants, directions, questions, crowd control, setting up for lunch, monitoring tables, distributing the emergency preparedness kits, and breaking everything down when the event was complete.  During the event, participants with disabilities were encouraged to fill out a personal information sheet, detailing their disability, in order to receive an emergency preparedness kit.  Green canvas duffle bags with zippered compartments were provided and filled with a variety of emergency supplies that included:  an emergency Mylar blanket, PVC “Easy Tear” duct tape, 2” x 10 yards, 33 piece first aid kit, flashlight with 2 D cells, 9 piece multi tool knife, leather work gloves with a safety cuff, 2 piece light stick set, rain poncho, 6 water packets, USCG approved, signaling whistle, handy pouch kit with toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, soap, shave gel, razor, tissue and shampoo, and a radio/siren combo.

Two local TV stations attended the event and a staff member worked with them to set up the requested interviews with two participants/consumers, a member of our panel and our Executive Director.  Our event was featured on both TV 20 and GTN that evening during the 10pm local news.  Overall, it was a very successful event with over 200 people in attendance!  The CIL staff was happy and satisfied to have served so many individuals with disabilities in our local community.