From Access Magazine, December 6, 2010
The Ann Arbor CIL is “On a Roll!” When our local, state, and national economies took a nose dive last year, our staff, volunteers, board members and donors rolled up their shirt sleeves and went to work!
Why? Because the Ann Arbor CIL is made up of a majority of individuals with disabilities. Because we are mission-based and passionately dedicated. And because we want to do everything we can to empower children, youth and adults with disabilities to be successful at home, at school, at work, and in the community.
It takes more than “a village,” it takes “a movement” to make things happen, and together we are helping individuals with disabilities in our community gain new knowledge and skills, and expand their personal and professional networks, that will propel them toward success.
In response to the economy, we issued our own “call to action,” and we rededicated ourselves to the fundamental beliefs that formed the foundation of the independent living movement and the founding of the Ann Arbor CIL more than thirty-three years ago. These beliefs embrace the notion that each individual is different and unique; that people with disabilities are the most knowledgeable experts about our own needs and issues; and that programs serving individuals with disabilities should be designed to serve all disability groups with peer support as a cornerstone. In independent living terms, a peer is someone with a disability who is a role model, a support person, and a friend who shares a common experience.
This 20th Anniversary Edition of Access Magazine is filled with the real life experiences of individuals with disabilities in our community. They share their successes, supported in very tangible and real ways by the extraordinary contributions of our staff, volunteers, board members, donors, and funders. These stories represent the spirit and what is best about the independent living movement.
Through the storm of the economic downturn, the Ann Arbor CIL is coming out stronger, and more exciting than ever before. I hope that reading about our work and the accomplishments of the people we serve results in your own “call to action.” We invite you to become part of the independent living movement and share in the vibrancy of the Ann Arbor CIL.
President & CEO