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Success Stories

With the 45 years that the Independent Living Resource Center has been serving the community, we've been touced by stories heard and seen from our consumers in how we served them. We like to share some of our most memorable ones with you.

Computers are crucial to connection

"Because of this program, he feels his overall well-being has drastically improved; he now has a connection with the outside world that he did not have prior to receiving his computer."

Mr Romero received his computer in January and has been using it for a month. Before COVID 19, he did not have a use for a computer, just his phone. He could go and meet people in person. Now, he uses the computer to join meetings with other veterans and join classes with other service providers. He called his computer my ’best friend.’ Mr. Romero is so grateful that he is able to share this life experience with friends. He suggests our programs to other people with disabilities in need. Because of this program, he feels his overall well-being has drastically improved; he now has a connection with the outside world that he did not have prior to receiving his computer.

Testimonial from M. Romero, a Simi Valley resident and consumer of Jaydon Gaines - Community Living Advocate 

Connection to technology is essential

ILRC's Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program provides peace of mind during precarious times

"ILRC has restored a previously lost sense of security to my daily living!"

I'd like to thank you very much for the Personal Protective Equipment and backup battery the ILRC provided for me and my family. You and your awesome Disability Disaster Access and Resources program have provided much needed peace of mind during precarious times. For that, I’m humbled and very grateful. Thank You!  

Prior to contacting the ILRC, I was genuinely concerned about what I'd do if the power ever went out at my home. However, it wasn't until recently that it was announced there were going to be scheduled rolling "blackouts," that my concern significantly escalated. I've been a CPAP user since 2010 after suffering viral congestive heart failure. My life literally relies upon its use while I sleep. I began researching options and priced various systems, but ultimately couldn't afford them or concluded they weren't feasible for my home. The backup battery (also a power inverter) ILRC provided allows me to power my CPAP.  It can also charge important electronics such as cell phones, tablets, rechargeable flashlights, and laptops. I have incorporated my new backup battery into my family's disaster preparedness planning and feel confident we would persevere through most short-term events.    

I'm a U.S. Air Force veteran with a service-connected disability and also a medically retired (broken back) law enforcement officer of more than 30 years. I live on a monthly fixed income, which makes large purchases difficult. The ILRC has restored a previously lost sense of security to my daily living! I'm genuinely humbled. Lauren's patience, compassion, and smooth facilitation throughout the entire process has been a Godsend! I'm forever grateful and thankful.    

 

Anonymous, Consumer of Lauren Utterback, Independent Living Advocate

Consumer, Jheng-Han, talks about how working with ILRC has helped him

"You can do anything with your power and you can do it with your will and just try to be yourself and don't be afraid to tell people you have a disability"

Jheng-Han | Independent Living Resource Center from Cage Free on Vimeo.

We are a preparedness team!

" I now know I have a team I can go to for anything relating to preparation and safety among a list of other services they provide. "

“Moving into my own place for the first time in two years I may have forgotten the importance of being ready for any possible disaster that may arise and unfortunately a little unprepared. The teachings of safety and preparedness from my own parents went over my head as I was more focused on moving into my place than the dangers that can always come up unexpectedly. I was thankful to have ILRC with a team of well-prepared and knowledgeable staff to help cover the things I had forgotten.  Lauren Utterback went out of her way to bring me extra face masks and gloves during this uncertain time amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With her help I was able to leave my home with a feeling of being better prepared to stay safe and healthy. Also, her help with putting together a list of emergency contacts and doctor information is now easily readable and hangs on my fridge for anyone that may need it in a hurry. Her suggestions for putting together an ‘emergency preparedness kit’ and the items to include helped me tremendously through a process I started to feel overwhelmed by. I now know I have a team I can go to for anything relating to preparation and safety among a list of other services they provide. 

"Thank you, Lauren, and thank you ILRC”

-Nathan Lungu, Consumer of Lauren Utterback, Independent Living Advocate 

Involving family in emergency planning reduces anxiety

How has the Disaster Access and Resources Program changed your life?  

It’s made me realize I could be better prepared. Even with past training it’s good to update and change things. It’s important to start if you don’t have a plan especially with everything going on right now. If an emergency happens I want to make sure I have everything I need. I’m very appreciative of the plan. Once we sit down with our family members and friends we want them to all sit down and disaster plan too.

How do you feel about how ILRC has helped you prepare for disasters and emergencies? How did you feel before? 

I feel more than I expected. I didn’t know you offered these types of things. I thought I would have to do research but it was easy to do it with one person and one agency. Especially for someone with anxiety issues researching multiple agencies can be overwhelming for somebody. 

I was not ready but now I am. 

-Dominique, Consumer of Lauren Utterback, Independent Living Advocate 

ILRC's Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response services bring peace and security

"ILRC isn't like a government agency it's like people helping people. It's real help by real people."

How has the Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program changed your life?  

Ever since the Thomas Fire this has been in the back of my mind being worried about the electricity going off and all of a sudden PG&E referred me to you and there was an overwhelming amount of peace. It gives you a deep peace to know you’re not subject to the whims of the weather. You can never tell about the unknown factors. You can watch the weather all you want but the reality is you need to be prepared. 

How do you feel about how ILRC has helped you prepare for disasters and emergencies? How did you feel before?   

It's like a miracle happened to me. That's the way I feel. In the beginning I couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it for the first week or so. It's wonderful, I don't know how to describe it, it's beyond words at times. Before planning with ILRC there was nothing and I explored everything to find assistance. Unless I had $5,000 to buy a battery there was nothing for me and I felt frustration that the winds could make them turn the power off. It's nice to be able to do something about it. Before planning it made me feel powerless. It gave me power in this situation to get the planning.  

What is different now that you have the backup battery and disaster plan?

It's peace of mind I guess. It's being proactive instead of waiting for the situation to happen and seeing what help you can find. This program is safety and gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

"ILRC isn't like a government agency it's like people helping people. It's real help by real people."

-Michele, Consumer of Lauren Utterback- Independent Living Advocate

Consumer shares how receiving a Chromebook has changed her life

"Now I am able to get my prescriptions, to see my doctor, and to see my kids which I am so grateful for"

 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has shifted most services, appointments, and social gatherings to take place virtually, and having access to a computer has become more important than ever. In the above video, one of our consumers talks about how essential having access to a computer is for her and how receiving a Chromebook through ILRC has benefitted her. 

ILRC's AT Coordinator assists a consumer with obtaining a toilet riser

 

ILRC's Assistive Technology Coordinator, Tamarr Paul, assisted one of our consumers, Beth, in obtaining a toilet riser. Check out the video above to hear Beth speak about how this is going to assist her. 

ILRC's AT Coordinator assists a consumer in obtaining a wheelchair ramp

"I feel like I can get outside and enjoy this beautiful city that I live in"

ILRC's Assistive Technology Coordinator, Tamarr, helped one of our consumers to get a wheelchair ramp for her front door. Since she moved into her house about 3 months ago, she has been unable to leave and has relied on the support of friends and family due to access issues. Check out the video below to learn more about how this ramp has changed Monique's life!