Independent Living doesn’t mean doing everything for yourself. If that were the case, many of us would be unemployed – auto mechanics, plumbers, furnace repairmen, tax accountants, and so many more.
Independent Living means making decisions about the things that affect your own life, and securing the resources to take care of things you don’t have the time, skills, or ability to do. The resources might be people to do specific jobs for you, like fixing your car, preparing your taxes, or mowing your lawn. Resources might also be learning new ways to do things – like grabbing a reacher instead of kneeling to pick up dropped keys.
The Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living (JACIL) provides many services to residents of Morgan, Scott, Cass and Mason counties. Everything we do focuses on making it possible for people who have disabilities to effectively control and direct their own lives, and to have maximum independence and also participation in the community.
Each of us is an individual with our own plans, dreams and goals. JACIL staff work with each person to help them determine the goals they want to work towards, and figure out ways to achieve those goals.
Federal guidelines describe five core services we must offer: Advocacy – learning to speak up for oneself and advocacy for groups of people with disabilities (think accessible parking spots); Independent Living Skills Training like managing a budget or looking for a job; Transition services – to help young adults navigate the world as new adults, to help people avoid moving to a nursing home or to move from a nursing home into their own apartment; Peer Mentoring – people with disabilities, including JACIL staff, sharing what they have learned about maintaining their independence; Information and Referral ( I & R) – about a huge variety of disability-related topics, provided to anyone.
Our full range of services includes orienting individuals to facilitate the independence of people with disabilities in their own homes, providing folks 55 and older who have low vision with equipment and training to maintain their independence, providing amplified phones for those who have trouble hearing, helping parents with the IEP process for their child, helping with searches for affordable and accessible housing, and other individualized training and advocacy services for any disability.
JACIL offers KIP Café training for people with disabilities, (KIP, short for Knowledge is Power, and Café because we serve a light meal). Upcoming sessions include computers for the visually impaired, self-advocacy and self-determination , and cooking and nutrition.
JACIL also provides disability awareness activities for community groups. Most activities provide participants with a chance to “try on” a certain aspect of a disability, to learn that people with disabilities are not unable to do things, but learn to do things in a different way.
JACIL is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We welcome you to stop in or give us a call at 217-245-8371, because independent living is important to us all.