Creating Inclusive Communities for All

Last month, the ARC of Illinois hosted their 68th annual ARC Conference. From April 25-26, service professionals, educators, and many others came together to discuss how we can “Unite, Empower, Act” to create an inclusive society with all opportunities available to individuals with disabilities. Coming together united, attendees were able to share new tools, new ideas, and best practices for supporting individuals.

Additionally, the conference offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to share their stories, complete with struggles, successes, and dreams.

Center for Independent Futures staff pose after attending and presenting at ARC ConferenceCenter for Independent Futures staff made two presentations at this year’s conference. The first panel, titled “Creating Housing Solutions Through Community Partnerships,”shared information about our New Futures Initiative™ training. This program highlights our current work with family groups supported by a grant from the Coleman Foundation. The panel presentation featured families, service providers, developers, and supportive technology providers who shared how this collaborative approach can help families create new community housing solutions.

The second panel, led by Change Champions Project Director Kathy Lyons, focused on creating inclusive communities. Members of four diverse communities shared how they are creating inclusive communities for all, including individuals with disabilities. The Change Champions project, funded by a grant from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, illustrates what happens when we make inclusion a priority.

We would like to thank the ARC of Illinois for the opportunity to present our innovative solutions to problems facing the disability community today at the ARC Conference. If you would like more information about housing training or the Change Champions project, call us at (847) 328-2044.

Are You Ready to Unite, Empower, Act?

ARC Illinois logo, ARC Conference theme is "Unite, Empower, Act"What does it mean to “unite, empower, act?” At this year’s ARC of Illinois Annual Conference, from April 25-26, leaders in the field of disability inclusion and advocacy will consider what actions unite our community, empower us, and inspire us to act.

Center for Independent Futures staff are delivering two unique presentations at the conference. Make sure to catch both of these sessions for an inside look at how we are building community living options and fully inclusive communities.

First, on the 26th, Executive Director Ann Sickon is hosting a panel on our New Futures Initiative. In this discussion, you will have the opportunity to learn about our housing solution planning process from our agency partners, family group representatives, technology support providers, and developers. Discover what you can do as you look toward the need for alternative housing solutions. Ann and our panelists will tell you what individuals, families, and agencies are doing to support new community housing solutions.

When communities are fully inclusive, the entire community benefits — and that means we all need to work to include individuals with disabilities. In the afternoon of the 26th, Change Champions Program Director Kathy Lyons will present a panel featuring several Community Connectors. In this panel, titled “Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Need to Include Us,” attendees will hear from our partners in the Chicagoland community. During this presentation, you will learn about how organizations from four diverse communities are creating more inclusive cultures.

If you are attending the ARC of Illinois Conference, be sure to make time to learn about these creative initiatives. At Center for Independent Futures, we envision a future where all individuals can have an independent, full life. We are committed to innovative solutions toward that goal.

Still need to sign up for the conference? Register here to reserve your seat today.

California, Here We Come!

Logo for Club 21 in red with blue and green people illustrations to the left.With the bitterly cold weather hovering over the Chicago Area, three of the Center for Independent Futures staff will cheerfully head off to sunny California to present at the Annual “Tools for the Journey” Conference sponsored by Club 21 Learning and Resource Center. Club 21’s mission is to provide the educational tools and resources that enable individuals with Down syndrome to be fully included. Founded in 2009, the organization offers a variety of services for individuals and their families designed to support, educate, advocate and celebrate.

Meeting with Club 21

In April 2017, a phone call from Nancy Litteken, Club 21’s Executive Photo of Club 21 ED Nancy LittekenDirector, began our relationship with this eight-year-old California non-profit. We discovered very quickly that our values are the same, and that this organization has made incredible strides to support individuals and families in their area. As our conversations continued, Nancy and her team immediately saw the value of our Full Life Process™, and they are piloting the online application in California.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to bring our work to the west coast,” remarks Ann Sickon. “Nancy and her team are creative and innovative, and we anticipate a long relationship that will benefit both of our organizations.” Presentations at the “Tools for the Journey” Conference will focus on Center for Independent Futures’ Full Life Process™ online application, the Bridge Builders & Community Connectors Project to foster Community Inclusion, and our New Futures Initiative Training to create community-based housing solutions.

For more Conference information and registration, visit Club 21’s website.

Success Stories

wed17jul4:00 pm5:15 pmVolunteer Club

wed17jul6:30 pm7:30 pmBike Club

fri19jul6:00 pm8:00 pmLadies' Night

sat20jul3:00 pm5:30 pmHeARTwords Workshop

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