Angie Tenorio, Coordinator for our Deaf & Hard of Hearing Department and Billy Allen, Board Chair for The Independence Center, accepted the Susan J Elliott award for Outstanding Service from the Colorado Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Thursday evening.
The Independence Center is humbled by this award and so proud that our CEO, Patricia Yeager, our Board of Directors, and our Deaf & Hard of Hearing Department have made services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Community a priority at The Independence Center. As we know, our entire community benefits from this, not just those who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Way to go and congratulations! ]]>
The IC Fund saw nearly $75,000 awarded to five organizations. Funds were given to support community projects in line with The IC Fund goal of increasing independence for people with disabilities.
Community members will benefit from these projects through ongoing accessibility in recreation, transportation and jobs. Additionally, veterans with a disability who are living in a substance abuse treatment facility will now have the dignity of showering in nicely remodeled accessible showers.
A brief description of the impact of each award is described below.
Amblicab received $25,000 towards funding their new “Engage and Explore” program. This program aims to regularly transport people with disabilities to fun, recreational activities. Specifically, a wheelchair accessible minivan was purchased and is being used to get people to birthday parties, karaoke, religious services, concerts, and more.
Blue Star Recyclers, an award winning social enterprise that employs staff almost entirely made up of people with disabilities, used their award of $20,200 to purchase a hard disk drive shredding system. The new system allowed for employment of two new staff members with disabilities. This hard disk drive shredding system is the only local solution for data destruction in the Pikes Peak region.
Friends of El Paso County Nature Centers was awarded $20,000 to repair the boardwalk of the popular Songbird Trail located at the Bear Creek Nature Center. The new Trex planks, railing and signage made the trail easily accessible to wheelchair users, seniors, and visually impaired visitors.
Lake George Community Association used their $3,875 award to install an ADA accessible family picnic pavilion, which has made Lake George Community Park picnic area now accessible to wheelchair users.
Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition utilized their $5,000 award, coupled with an additional $10,000 from The Independence Center home modification fund, to fix five showers in disrepair at The CVRC’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans and Substance Abuse Treatment Program. The grant paid for the showers on the first level to be made more accessible for those with physical disabilities.]]>
Kudos are due for legislative work that ensures that people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or deaf-blind will have access to accessible telephone communications in coming years.
The Independence Center was instrumental in lobbying for HB 1414, the Disabled Telephone Users Fund, which will be signed into law by the Governor at a signing ceremony on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. In addition, HB 1414 includes new program funds requested by the Colorado Deaf Blind Task Force for additional services for people who are deaf-blind.
Our hats are off to The Independence Center Board of Directors. Our board supported the vision for change to engage in the political process to keep telecommunications accessible across the entire state. We’d like to acknowledge the hard work of our lobbyist, Edie Busam; Senator Pat Steadman and Representative Bob Rankin, bill sponsors; and the entire Joint Budget Committee for working to put a funding structure in place that keeps pace with changing technology and telecommunication trends. The telecom industry also deserves a big “thank you” for working with the bill sponsors in support of the community.
If you’d like to read more about the issue The Independence Center lobbied on, read our issue brief here]]>