Photo taken in December 2019 during the social event “Somos” celebrating consumers, peers, allies, and community partners that took place at Ball and Chain in Miami.
The Independent Living Philosophy proposes that people with disabilities know their needs best and have the right to be in control of their lives.
One of the most common misconceptions of this belief is the idea that independent living can only be achieved by some persons with disabilities and with help from able-bodied people. But truth is – anyone is capable.
In the wake of the Hurricane Andrew devastation of 1993, the Center for Independent Living of South Florida was established to serve the unmet needs of those with disabilities in the community. One of 16 centers in Florida, all of our services are available for individuals of any age and any disability, including visible and non-visible disabilities, at no cost.
Serving Miami-Dade County and beyond, our social programming and initiatives are designed to create a fully integrated community with core services including: Information and Referral, Peer Support, Advocacy, Transitions (into post-secondary education, community living, workforce, etc.), and Independent Living Skills. These services are critical as they increase the income-earning potential of persons with disabilities and reduce their reliance on social service programs and institutional care.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our services have evolved to address the needs of those we serve – and as a result, since March we have been offering all our services virtually, in addition to hosting virtual events to keep our community engaged.
For those seeking to strengthen their independent living skills or simply in need of peer support – we can help! It does not matter what your goal is, we can help to connect you with the best service for your needs and aspirations! In fact, over 50% of our team are people with disabilities and can share experiences and tips that can guide you in achieving your independent living goals. In 2018, Centers for Independent Living across Florida peer mentored 3,080 individuals.
For more information on the Center for Independent Living of South Florida, please visit www.cilsf.org.
Alison Dos Santos is the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Center for Independent Living of South Florida.