It is intrisically rewarding being a volunteer with Independence First. The organization empowers individuals with disabilities to live with dignity, have control over their lives, and to make decisions. As a volunteer, I have interacted with indviduals who have overcome challenges with grace and dignity. I do not see these individuals any different than myself. They are capable of doing the same project but just perform the project in a different way. Independent First provides people with the disabilities to participate in the communityby assisting with devices that provide them the mobilty to get around the community.
The first day I volunteered, I saw the cohesiveness with the staff and volunteers. I don't know many people who could say that about the company or business they work for. All anyone wants is to be respected and acknowledged for the work they do each day. You can definitely see how much Independence First values the contribution people with disabilities bring to the community.
As a board member I am proud to serve this organization. Services that are provided and directions to aid the disabled are outstanding. Staff are sensitive to the needs of all. They go above and beyond their regular duties. We are very fortune to have an organization within our communities with high standards.
Independence First makes a large differance in the lives of people with disability's and low income, through our CRP we can give individuals a computer at no cost to them.The computer refurbishing program has grown from giving out 25 computers a year to over350 per year in the time I've been 2x a week voulnteer at Independence First in MIlwaukee. When we give a free computer to someone with a disability it has been noted over and over the computer is used by all the family and others in the neighborhood. So one computer helps the grandkids who do not have to go in early to school to use a computer to finish their homework, and the uncle who is looking for work and cannot travel to the unemplyment office due to a lack of money,
I have been on the board for 12 years and just finished two years as Chairman. In my years of Association with the agency, I have been extremely impressed with the staff's determination to ensure that the work they do supports the tenets of social justice. Individuals coming to independencefirst for help, will always get the support they need and will be treated with respect.
I live in Texas and for a few years, I have "followed" Independence First via Twitter to keep abreast of IL topics. In the summer of 2010, I reached out to IF with the idea of bringing a CIL to our area. I did not know Lee or any of the staff at IL personally at that time. In the true spirit of peer mentorship, resource development, etc. Lee was very instrumental in helping me refine my ideas and giving me technical assistance. Our CIL was born October, 2010. Since that time, I have visited IF twice, continually learn from Lee and his staff and have recently been the recipient of some "mighty fine" peer mentoring services from his staff related to fiscal management. I'm looking forward to growing our center over the next several years and consider IF to be a flagship CIL that I am proud from which to learn! Thanks! Jackie Pacha, M.A., CRC, Executive Director, Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living.
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be a member of the IndependenceFirst Board of Directors for the past four years. IndependenceFirst is an incredible community resource. In the cause of Social Justice they provide daily assistance to members of our community with varying degrees of disability so they can live normal lives, go to work, live in their own homes and participate in all social aspects of life in the Greater Milwaukee Community. We are also a resource for other CIL's (Centers for Independent Living) and they are always looking for opportunities to collaberate with other organizations to make Milwaukee a better place to live!
As the director of the National Council on Independent Living, I can tell you without hesitation that Independence First is a true leader in Social Justice in our nation!
I have had the distinct pleasure of working with IndependenceFirst over the past 5 years. I run a similar organization in San Diego County and consider IndependenceFirst to be the preeminent organization off it's type in the country!
As a board member I am impressed with the work the organization does for the people within the community. We cover many facets of needs, for the disabled they are provided with contacts, direction, and support. Staff acts as mentors and family. Until I became a member of the board was I aware of this caring organization. When in need there only one place to go, INDEPENDEENCE FIRST.
As a board member of this organization for the past 2 years I have been exposed to the fantastic work this group does to help the communities. The work that the employees & volunteers do is outstanding. I don't believe the public understands to what degree and lengths this organization works to provide services to the disabled.
It has been a great learning experience to say the least. More people need to become involved, so that they would understand the complexities of this organization.
This group is #1.