02.12.2009 Services Center for Independent Living No Comments

San Gabriel Valley and Pomona Valley Disabled Residents Gain Resources for Independent Living

Services Center for Independent Living serves many disabled adults in the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys. By moving to a larger location, it will be able to offer them more resources.
Dr. Lee Nattress, executive director of Services Center for Independent Living

(CLAREMONT, Calif.) Disabled residents of the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys, including veterans, senior citizens and children, have greater resources to help them live independently, as the Services Center for Independent Living moves to new offices in Claremont.

Services Center for Independent Living invites the public to its grand opening at its new offices Friday, Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  It is moving to a new, larger suite in the Spring Street Center in Claremont, 107 Spring St.

“Our new location has a community room that will allow us to hold group trainings, meetings, and discussions,” said Dr. Lee Nattress, executive director of the Services Center for Independent Living. “In addition, our staff will have private offices where they can meet with our consumers.”

To attend the grand opening, call Lorraine Mercado at (909) 621-6722.  Disabled users of videophones or teletype phones may call (909) 445-0726.

Services Center for Independent Living consumers also have access to four computer terminals at this new location, instead of a single terminal at the old location. Additionally, the new location has a large laboratory where the organization provides hands-on demonstrations of various tools for living the organization assists the disabled to acquire.

Services Center for Independent Living provides free resources to people with disabilities. Primarily, it provides them with a “safety net,” to make sure they are connected to the programs and services that can help them live productive and independent lives.

“We focus on the needs of the disabled,” Dr. Nattress said. “We, together with each disabled person we serve, determine goals for independence, whatever that means to each individual, and develop a plan to achieve them. We also help families, significant others, and the community to assist the disabled in achieving their goals.”

Services Center for Independent Living offers workshops on a wide variety of disability-related topics for consumers, schools, businesses, and other community organizations.  Topics range from life skills to sensitivity issues; accessible housing to accessible transportation; Social Security eligibility to health care.  

In addition, Services Center for Independent Living maintains a registry of in-home attendant care providers, a list of affordable and handicap-accessible housing, and referrals to other agencies that can help with disabled people’s various needs.

It also assists consumers to obtain wheelchairs, prosthetics, specially programmed computers, and items that make it easier to perform basic tasks like eating and bathing.

Services Center for Independent Living also can help disabled people obtain free cell phones for use in emergencies, It works with another agency that accepts donations of used cell phones, refurbishes them and redistributes them to give to the disabled.

Since the phones do not have service contracts, they can only be used to call 911 for help during an emergency, and 211, which provides referrals to non-emergency public services.

“Calls made to 911 by persons with disabilities achieve the same results as those made to 911 by others.” said Dr. Nattress. “The ability to quickly summon help during an emergency can make the difference between independent living and reliance on others.“

The disabilities Services Center for Independent Living consumers live with are wide-ranging, including deaf, blind, brain injured, amputees, learning disabled, diabetic, obese, paraplegic, auto immune compromised, and recovering from mental illness.

Services Center for Independent Living is a non-profit organization, primarily serving the cities of Arcadia, Azusa, Bradbury, Baldwin Park, Claremont, Covina, Diamond Bar, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Hacienda Heights, Industry, La Puente, La Verne, Monrovia, Pomona, Rowland Heights, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, Walnut and West Covina. It is one of 29 resource centers for the disabled in California, including six others in Los Angeles County.

More than half of Service Center for Independent Living’s staff and board of directors are adults with significant disabilities. The 12-member board of directors includes four disabled

young adults (ages 18-35), two of whom are college students and two who are established in careers.

On the nine-member staff, two are deaf, two are recovering from mental illness, one is blind, one is learning disabled and two, while not disabled, are senior citizens. One of the seniors is Dr. Nattress, who has more than 60 years experience in health care management, in both non-profit and educational settings at the national, state and local levels.

Many of the disabled staff members are specially trained to provide peer support. They also carry out Services Center for Independent Living’s advocacy programs, which currently include advocating against cutbacks to the state In Home Support Services program that is crucial to many disabled people’s ability to live independently.

Also, disabled youth who are transitioning from school to employment can work at internships with the Services Center for Independent Living, where they learn skills transferable to other jobs, and where the disabled adults who work there can mentor them.

Services Center for Independent Living is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, established in 1980 to meet the needs of San Gabriel Valley and Pomona Valley disabled residents. Services include training in independent living skills, advocacy, helping to acquire tools to assist with mobility and other basic needs and providing information and referrals.

For more information, call (909) 621-6722.  Disabled users of videophones or teletype phones may call (909) 445-0726.

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