2012 Global Challenges tour
Global Challenges of Youth with Disabilities International Study Program tour CALIF and learn about our services.
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CALIF Founder & Executive Director
Welcome to our CALIF website! On one hand, we are only one of about 333 Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in the United States and its territories but on the other hand, we are the only independent living center that covers Central and South Los Angeles.
You’ve probably gotten to our site either through a deliberate search on Google that was disability related for yourself or for someone else in the family or among your friends; or you could just have chanced upon us. Either way—a hearty welcome again and I hope that you find what we have here useful to you in some way. You will find that what we have to offer as an independent living center are advocacy services, programs and information that foster, promote and support living independently at home.
Things like affordable and accessible housing, benefits advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills training, information and referral, systems change advocacy and personal assistance services are basic services. To enhance independent living, we have Assistive Technology, Transition Services, a food support program and the micro-business project. CALIF is here as a resource for all who experience any form of disability directly or indirectly. The disability experience is a gift offered in painful wrapping-- it is as challenging as it is enriching to those willing to embrace it as a fact of life. I personally live with it for I survived polio as an infant, paralyzed from the neck down. Yet today, I work a full-time job and buzz around the office and around town on my power wheelchair, I get around on paratransit and the public bus, occasionally, I fly to places for conferences and important conventions, I pay for my own personal assistance services, own my own home, am supporting a family and I pay taxes. How I got from there to here in my life and career journey had to do with my fruitful connection with the Independent Living Movement and my judicious use of the resources of the ILCs. I want the same and more for you if you want it.
My wish is that as you explore our website, as a person with a disability or not, you will experience hope and an excitement for the future not only because of the programs we have here but the possibilities they bring toward speedy or incremental progress toward greater mobility, peer to peer mentoring and group interaction, social and political engagement, economic participation and real mainstream participation. We are here not only as your advocates but truly as your mentors, your partners, your brothers and your sisters. Because our bodies wear out and can get hurt, disability happens but disability should not be a lonely, isolating experience. It can and must be a positive experience of loving interaction between and among the disabled and their families, friends and communities. This gift in painful wrapping is after all, the one life experience that truly tests the virtue and ingenuity, resourcefulness and heart of the one and the many, the personal and the social, the local and the global mettle of humanity.
Lillibeth E. Navarro
Executive Director and Founder
Communities Actively Living Independent & Free
Please click on link to read Memo: Our Homes, Our Voices from National Low Income Housing Coalition website. Click here to read article
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