Memorial Day: Honoring Our Fallen Heros

Today, we pause to remember and honor the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Their courage and dedication ensure our freedom and safety, and we are forever grateful for their sacrifice.

As we commemorate this special day, we also recognize the strength and resilience of veterans with disabilities who continue to inspire us with their unwavering spirit. At The CIL, we are committed to supporting these heroes and providing resources and programs that empower them to live fulfilling, independent lives.

Join us in paying tribute to our fallen heroes and supporting those who have returned home with disabilities. Let’s come together to ensure they receive the respect, care, and opportunities they deserve.

How You Can Help:

đź’™ Donate: Your contributions enable us to offer essential services and support to veterans with disabilities.

đź’™ Volunteer: Join our community of dedicated volunteers making a difference in the lives of our heroes.

đź’™ Spread Awareness: Share this post and help us reach more people who can join our mission.

Thank you for honoring those who have given so much for our freedom. Wishing you all a safe and meaningful Memorial Day!

ID: Graphic had a navy blue background. On the right is a watercolor drawing of a flower with red petals and a green stem. A watercolor American Flag is displayed on the bottom left corner; underneath the flag reads, “Memorial Day” in bold white text. Directly under this text reads, “Remember & Honor”. A thin red line runs directly under the text.

Langley Health Services Annual Emergency Drill

The CIL was invited to participate in the Annual Emergency Drill that Langley Health Services puts together in Sumterville. This year, the CEO & Safety Officer asked us to be part of it. CIL staff Brandon attended and here are his thoughts about the drill.

I, Brandon, was given a briefing of the schedule in the conference room of Langley; which was integral for the results of the drill. After that, we were placed in the “Code Blue” area of the drill where people at the scene would be acting out their characters. Mine of which was a character with my own disability (legally blind) as well as Dementia. I came up with plenty of ideas to throw at health care constituents but was well watched over and was not allowed to wonder, as I hoped. It was still fun. After the paramedics got the injured and fallen out of the “Code Blue” area, the supervisor categorized those who were remaining by color “designation” on their character cards. We were then brought outside for the paramedics to review. There was a hot wash to review how everything went during the drill, and there were many compliments on how the staff managed through this emergency response. Several additional comments were made and the drill was concluded.

Having the CIL and CIL staff involved in these types of drills is so important for local health care facilities and businesses that work with people with disabilities. The community gets to learn more about what an emergency would look like in real time, and CIL staff can give a real take on what it would be like for people with disabilities to react to a disaster when it arises.

ID: Graphic has an abstract design with dark blue on the top half and light blue on the bottom half. “Annual Emergency Drill Langley Health Services” is written in white on the top center of the graphic. Directly below is a group photo of all those who participated in the Annual Emergency Drill. Underneath the group photo is 3 photos spaced evenly and horizontally across the graphic, showing participants involved in various drills.

Annual Staff Retreat!

Last month, the CIL team had a great time at our Annual Staff Retreat in Ocala at the beautiful Silver Springs State Park! We were able to participate in a fun glass bottom boat tour with our funny and joke-filled tour guide on the Silver River, which was such a perfect way to start off our day. Afterwards, the team gathered at Bear Hill Pavilion, and we enjoyed several games and activities such as Silver Springs Trivia, Staff Bingo, a group Scavenger Hunt and various Minute to Win It games. Everyone also appreciated the yummy lunch, a taco bar with all the fixings, catered by Mojo’s. It was a day filled with adventure, comradery, laughter and much needed relaxation. Our CIL team had a wonderful time being away from the office for a day, enjoying the gorgeous weather, and taking a well-deserved break from all of our hard work!

ID: Graphic is a collage of 9 photos taken from the Annual Staff Retreat event. The background of the collage is a bright green. The photos shows staff partaking in various retreat activities under a wooden pavilion. Staff are also shown taken selfies with each other from the event.

7th Annual Marion County Emergency Preparedness Expo RECAP

The 7th Annual Marion County Emergency Preparedness Expo for people with disabilities was a huge success! Over 150 participants gained valuable insights from various presentations and 27 different vendors throughout the day. Everyone had the opportunity to learn about home safety, special needs shelters, how to build a go bag for your home or vehicle, how to create an emergency preparedness plan, emergency protocols before, during and after a storm, and a new program from MCFD, Paramedic Program, where teams come to your home, cutting down trips to the hospital. UF groups were also in attendance, providing participants access to update their vaccinations if needed. Refreshments and lunch subs donated by Publix were provided. Attendees and vendors were thrilled with this event, and some were already asking about attending next year!

Thanks so much to our dedicated CIL team for attending and providing their support, and special thanks to CIL staff Kevin Towles for all of his hard work in organizing, planning and implementing such a valuable community event for people with disabilities in Marion County. Kevin was instrumental with bringing this expo to the community 7 years ago. He knew the need was there, but did not realize how big it would become over time. He is very proud to provide his community up-to-date, relevant, emergency preparedness resources for people with disabilities, and his number one goal is to make sure everyone is safe and informed.

Sam’s Club
Dunkin Donuts

Center for Independent Living; Disability Rights Florida
Ocala Electric Utility; Kat Cammack US congresswoman
MCSO; Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
Heart of Florida Health Center; College of Central Florida
Marion4care LLC; Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST); Encompass Health & Rehabilitation
Marion County Medical Reserve Corps
Ocala Police Department; SunTran; Agency for Persons with Disabilities
American Red Cross; Langley health Services; Human Potential Healthcare
The Arc of Marion County Florida; Marion County Fire Rescue Community Paramedicine; 
Champions for Champions
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Elder Options; Marion Senior Services; AdventHealth Ocala

Welcome from Congresswoman Kat Cammack (Rep)
American Red Cross & United Way of Marion County
Marion County Fire Department
City of Ocala Utilities

ID: There are two graphics, one with a light purple background and the other with a light blue background. Each graphic contains 12 hexagonal images in a variety of different sizes and configurations. Each hexagon is a photo of the various vendors tabling at the 7th Annual Marion County Emergency Preparedness Expo.

THANK YOU Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille!

The CIL would like to give a big THANK YOU to @Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille for being a champion for our youth!

We all know that positive change takes a village, and Spurrier’s stepping up as a community partner made a world of difference for our young people. Thanks to their generosity, they helped raise an additional $500 for our High School High Tech program and Youth Social Group. Our youth programs are all about empowering young people with disabilities by showing them amazing career paths, giving them top-notch education, and helping them build awesome friendships in a supportive environment.

We’re truly grateful to Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille for believing in our mission and for being part of the journey to create real opportunities and impact for our youth. Together, we’re making a difference, one bright future at a time!

ID: Image is the front facade of Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille from Celebration Pointe’s promenade. There are individuals seated around around a fire pit, with string lights are hung above the promenade. “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You” is written in white, one stacked on top of the other in the center top of the photo. “For Your Support’ is written in white cursive directly underneath. The CIL and Amazing Give logo is displayed on the bottom left corner.

Thank You Anonymous Donors!

We are incredibly grateful to the seven anonymous donors who generously contributed to our Amazing Give campaign. Your support is like a beacon of hope, guiding our youth with disabilities towards brighter futures.

To our silent heroes, your impact is immeasurable, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Together, we are creating a world of possibilities for our youth with disabilities.

ID: Graphic is blue with abstract designs in each corner in colors of light blue and green. A photo of 8 students are jumping in a field. Thank You is written in large white text above the photo. Beneath the photo reads, “to our anonymous heros!” The CIL logo is displayed on the bottom right corner.

Happy Birthday Clara & Cammeron!

We can’t believe it’s already May! We hope everyone is having a wonderful spring season. Please join us in saying a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to CIL staff members who celebrated birthdays in March and April! We hope you all had fabulous birthdays filled with joy, hope and new beginnings!


ID: The first image is a picture of Clara in the Gainesville CIL conference room. She is standing behind the end of a brown table adorned with her birthday cake. Her cake is a white frosted sheet cake, decorated with colorful icing of purple, pink and light blue roses just at the top, with green leaves. Purple, pink and light blue icing borders also adorn the cake, with purple at the top, pink in the middle and light blue at the bottom of the cake. “Happy Birthday Clara” is written in purple icing towards the middle and bottom of the cake. There is one red candle at the top middle of the cake that reads, “Happy Birthday” with yellow lettering, and two balloon shaped candles on the left and right side of the cake. The balloon candle on the left is blue with colorful stripes on the front, and the balloon candle on the right is orange with colorful polka dots. Clara is smiling with her arms straight and hands resting on the table. Her hair is pulled back and she is wearing a white, short sleeved top with dark colored pants, gold- hooped earrings, and reading glasses sit on the top of her head. The photo has a turquoise background.

The second image is a picture of Cammeron in the Gainesville CIL break room. He is sitting at a round table covered with a blue tablecloth, colorful birthday plates, colorful birthday napkins, and his birthday cake is in the middle. His cake is a white frosted sheet cake, decorated with white icing borders and 5 colorful roses of yellow, red, orange at the top left, and purple and blue at the bottom right, with green leaves. “Happy Birthday Cammeron” is written with blue icing in the middle and there are 5 blue candles at the top right of the cake, and a large colorful candle at the top left that reads, “Happy Birthday”. Cammeron is smiling and holding up a blue candle that is lit and he is wearing a dark yellow polo shirt. Behind him on the light blue wall is a colorful banner that reads, “Happy Birthday”. The photo has a purple background.

Thank You Amazing Give!

We are thrilled to announce that with your incredible support, we have surpassed our goal of raising more than $10,000 through The Amazing Give campaign! This is the most we have ever raised, and it’s all thanks to you.

Your generosity directly impacts the lives of our youth, enabling us to continue offering vital programs like the High School High Tech Program and Youth Social Group. These programs provide invaluable opportunities for education, career development, friendships, and skills enhancement for individuals with disabilities aged 14-24.

We extend our deepest gratitude to our community, supporters, advocates, and staff for their unwavering support in this effort. Together, we are creating brighter futures filled with opportunities and growth for our youth with disabilities.

Thank you for making a difference and empowering our youth, and for for being part of this journey and for making a real difference in the lives of those we serve!

ID: Video shows Tony standing out front of the CIL Gainesville office, next to the CILNCF sign, and in front of a rustic colored, brick wall. Captions on the screen read, “Hello everyone! The center for Independent Living wants to thank you for helping us to help youth with disabilities to be empowered to live their dreams and goals for an independent life. This year, you helped us to surpass our goal of raising more than $10,000. This is the most we ever raised through the Amazing Give campaign, and we could not have done it without you.”

$9,620 Donated!

#TheAmazingGive has come to an end with donations totaling over $9,620 dollars!!

We appreciate our donors so much for going above and beyond. You’ve helped our community and have made a huge difference in the lives of our youth with disabilities. On behalf of the CIL staff and consumers, thank you so much!!

Also, if you missed the giving day, don’t worry! Our donation page will remain open for donations until midnight on Sunday, April 28th! So, there is still time to make an impact by visiting our page link below!

CIL Amazing Give Page Link:

ID: graphic has a photo of our High School High Tech Students with a light blue overlay at 30% opacity. There is a white square outline in the center of the graphic. In the middle of the outline reads, “$9,620 Donated” written in white. Beneath that is “Thank You” written in black with a white background. The CIL logo is displayed on the bottom center.

We are down to the final hour of #TheAmazingGive!

Thank you for considering a donation, and for continuing to spread the word in the final hour! You can support us and youth with disabilities by visiting our Amazing Give page link below!

CIL Amazing Give Page Link:

ID: Graphic has a photo of the CILs High School High Tech students on a field. There is a purple overlay with 30% opacity for the photo to show through. Large white text in the center reads, “1 HOUR TO GO”. Directly beneath is a white rectangular text box that reads, “Your donation helps young people build brighter futures filled with possibilities and growth!” The CIL and Amazing Give logos are display on the bottom of the graphic.