Happy Veterans Day from the CIL!

Happy Veterans Day to all those who served and currently serve bravely in the U.S. Armed Forces!  Everyone here at the CIL is so grateful for your service and sacrifice to our country, and we are proud to serve you with our programs and dedicated staff. We have a variety of services that benefit veterans with disabilities, such as Employment, Wheelchair Ramp Building, Advocacy, and Housing.  Please check out our website today to learn more about how we can help!

ID:  Background of a field with orange flowers with a person standing in the middle foreground, holding and spreading out the American flag behind them. The person is facing away from the camera.  White, capitalized text across the middle says, “Happy Veterans Day”, and smaller white capitalized text below that says, “Thank you for your service.”

CILNCF Tropical Storm Nicole Update!

The CILNCF will be closed Thursday, November 10th due to the impending storm, and Friday, November 11th for Veterans Day. As much as possible, our team will continue to work remotely and provide CIL services throughout the storm. We will re-open our doors on Monday, November 14th.

Please check out our Hurricane Preparedness page on our website for any resources you need:

Stay safe and please reach out to us if needed by calling 352-378-7474 or e-mailing

The FAAST Program strikes again!

Last month, the CIL FAAST (Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology) Program attended the Oak Run Health Fair at the Palm Grove Club in Ocala.  FAAST is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Floridians with disabilities by increasing access to assistive technology through empowerment and collaboration. 

CIL staff members Claudia Avendano, Assistive Technologies Specialist, and Brandon Palermo, Consumer Specialist, met with several Marion County community members throughout the day, and discussed the variety of assistive technology equipment we have in stock at the CIL!    

Special thanks to Claudia and Brandon for continuing to attend these community events and spreading the word about FAAST services and the AT that is available to individuals with disabilities!  If you, or anyone you know, needs AT equipment to live a more independent life, please be sure to contact Claudia Avendano at or 352-378-7474.

ID:  Picture of Claudia (left) and Brandon (right) standing behind our CIL table at the health fair.  The CIL banner is standing to the right of them.

High School High Tech students are moving along FAAST!

Our Levy County High School High Tech students had a high tech guest speaker from the FAAST Program at a recent workshop last week! Claudia Avendano, CIL Assistive Technologies Specialist, provided a great presentation all about FAAST at Bronson Middle/High School, and demonstrated the amazing assistive technology that is available to them if needed!

ID: Pictured from left to right are Rebecca Hood, ESE Teacher at Bronson Middle/High School, Drew Dees, HSHT Program Coordinator and Claudia Avendano. They are in front of the main office doors outside of the building, and in the background is a picture of their mascot with Go Eagles.

Happy Halloween from the CIL!

We hope everyone is having a spooktacular day!

ID: Image includes four pictures. Top left is Destini sitting at the front desk with cat make-up on her face. Top right is Tony holding up a sign in his office that covers his face below his eyes, that reads, Happy Halloween! Bottom left is Clara kneeling outside of her office beside a decoration of a child trick or treating as a ghost, with white crepe paper hanging off of the arms. And bottom right is a close up shot of chocolate cupcakes with alternating orange, purple and white frosting, as well as fun Halloween decorations with sprinkles on top.

Join us for CIL classes in November!

The fall season is well under way, and the CIL has been celebrating!  We are so excited that in-person classes have been BACK at the CIL, so please join us this November!  We are still offering one online class per week for those of you who prefer that option.

Independence Hacks (ILS) classes will be on Tuesdays in Ocala, Wednesdays on Zoom, and Thursdays in Gainesville.  All classes will be from 10:30am – 12pm.

Youth Leadership and Social Group classes are still on Tuesdays from 3:30-5pm.  So far, they will continue to be conducted online until further notice. 

For every online class, the meeting username is 352-378-7474 and the password is cilclass!

Please be sure to share this with anyone who would like to participate, and contact Terri Poucher at 352-378-7474 or with any questions.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Image Description: Dark brown, wood floor background with the CIL logo at the top left and to the right of the logo is an orange text heading that reads, “November Calendar”.  Underneath to the left are pieces of pumpkin pie with dollops of whipped cream with “Tuesdays”, “Wednesdays” and “Thursdays” inside, in white text.  The class titles and meeting times are to the right in bright orange text, next to their corresponding weekday, and the meeting ID and password is written in bright orange text at the bottom of the image.   

CIL Engaging Rural Communities in October Events!

CIL Team members have been busy tabling and spreading the word about the CIL this month at a variety of community events! 

Mid-month, Kevin and Sada attended the Union County Public Library Fall Festival in Lake Butler, speaking with community members and families who wanted to learn more about the CIL.  Andrea attended the Lake/Sumter Transition Fair at Lake Sumter State College, in collaboration with the Lake County Interagency School.  She met with several parents and transitioning students to explain services offered by the Center.  Additionally, Sada attended the Resource Fair at Santa Fe College for their Disability Awareness Week, where she connected with students with disabilities.

Special thanks to everyone for helping us get the word out, and informing our surrounding communities and rural areas, about how much of a resource the CIL can be for people with disabilities!

ID:  Image is of three pictures.  Picture to the left is of Kevin (left) and Sada (right) standing behind their table filled with brochures at the Fall Festival, picture to the top right is of Andrea standing behind the CIL table filled with brochures and giveaways at the Transition Fair, and picture to the bottom right is of Sada standing behind the CIL table filled with brochures and giveaways at the SFC Resource Fair.

Join us at the Ocala CIL for a Free AT Training Event!

Please join us for a training event at the CIL in Ocala on Tuesday, November 1st at 10am!  The “Florida Visually Impaired Assistive Technology Training” is a collaboration with the Florida Visually Impaired and Blind Services, and the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) Program.    

This training will cover Assistive Technology that helps accommodate for reading small print, seeing distances, and more!  Space is limited, so if interested, please call Brandon Palermo at 352-368-3788 to reserve a seat!

ID:  Image is a flyer for the event, containing all of the information mentioned above, with light blue borders on the left and right sides.  The FAAST logo is at the top of the image to the left and the Florida Visually Impaired and Blind Services logo is at the top to the right.  The CIL logo is towards the bottom.

Fall and Halloween season at the CIL!

We are officially in the Fall and Halloween season, and our Ocala office is getting ready to celebrate with these fun and festive decorations around the office!  Have a great weekend everyone and stay warm! 

ID:  Two images with pictures of Ocala staff and Halloween decorations. 

The first image contains five pictures, top left is a wooden sign of a purple witch’s hat, with orange belt around the base, and yellow buckle.  Spider webs are at the top and on the bottom left brim, with a spider hanging down from the tip of the hat.  Below the hat, there is a sign pointing to the right that says, “Happy Halloween” and “In”.  Top right is Andrea’s face in the middle of a spider graphic.  Bottom left is Colleen’s face in a bat graphic and she is upside down hanging from a tree branch; in the middle it says, “Boo!” and at the bottom it says, “Have a scary Halloween!”  Bottom middle is Lauren’s face in a wicked witch of the west graphic, and bottom right is Amanda’s face in a ghost graphic.

The second image contains four pictures, top left is a picture of Kevin’s face in a Frankenstein graphic, top right is a picture of Lucinda’s face in a purple cat graphic with a witch hat, bottom left is a picture of Brandon’s face in a skeleton graphic, and bottom right is a picture of various Halloween trick or treat buckets and decorations on a table.

Join us at the CIL for Bingo in October!

The Independence and Opportunity Network of Gainesville (ION) is having their next Bingo Night for young adults with disabilities this Friday, October 21st from 7pm – 9pm, at the Center for Independent Living, 222 SW 36th Terrace, Gainesville, FL!  Cost is $5 at the door and includes pizza, drinks, dessert, prizes and karaoke!

Special thanks to the event volunteers:  HEROES from UF and additional CIL volunteers. We couldn’t do this without all of you!

Please note, there will not be an online option this month, however, ION is exploring this option for future events.

To RSVP or for more information, please contact Trish Thoburn at or call at 352-339-6278, and feel free to share with other young adults who might be interested.

ID:  Bingo flyer that includes all of the information listed above, with a colorful border containing bingo cards in the bottom left corner and numbered bingo balls in the remaining corners. The ION logo is centered up top, the CIL logo is to the upper right, the HEROES logo is towards the bottom left, and a small Karaoke Party graphic with microphone is in the middle towards the bottom.