When Roda came out of her home to see her new ramp, tears of joy formed in her eyes.  "I never thought someone would do something like this for me.  Thank you all - so much!"  This year's RAMPAGE was nothing short of spectacular.  Over 200 volunteers came together to give the gift of independence for an individual with a disability.  Volunteers braved heavy rains and harsh weather conditions that did not make for an easy day; but they did it with smiles on their faces and enthusiasm!  For people like Roda, it meant the world to them to be given a ramp that will change their lives.

This year, 14 ramps were built for Central Florida residents whose disability kept them from being able to leave their homes safely or without assistance.   Though each have a unique story and varying disabilities, they all said they felt isolated in their homes prior to their ramps being constructed.  One ramp recipient, Velma, said she couldn't even get her mail because she was unable to leave her home without assistance.  "I feel like a prisoner," she stated as she recalled how much she enjoyed being outside and tending to her garden prior to her disability keeping her indoors most of the time.

Thanks to donors, sponsors and volunteers, RAMPAGE can continue the great tradition of providing safety, accessibility, and freedom for our Central Florida community members in need.  Thank you to everyone involved who helped make this event successful once again!

Special THANK YOU to the following


Gold Level Sponsors: Publix Charities, Home Depot Foundation, Simpson Strong Tie

Silver Level Sponsors: Legacy Construction, Centennial Bank, Quickrete Cement & Concrete Products

Bronze Level Sponsors: First United Methodist Church of Winter Park, Qubty Financial, Williams Company, Rotarty Club of Orlando and West Orlando Rotary

In-Kind Donations

  • Mellow Mushroom - 11680 E. Colonial Dr.  Orlando, FL 32817
  • Pizzeria Valdiano- Winter Park Villages.  510 N. Orlando Ave Site 103.  Winter Park, FL 32789
  • Subway Restaurants - 6457 S Chickasaw Trail, Orlando, FL 32819
  • Chick-fil-a-  2448 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803; 8673 Summit Centre Way, Orlando, FL 32810; 143 Landings Blvd., Winter Haven, FL; 6350 South Semoran Boulevard Orlando, FL 32822; 7891 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway Kissimmee, FL 34747
  • HoneyBaked Ham - 9581 West Colonial Drive, Ocoee Fl 34761
  • Firehouse Subs - 421 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751
  • Olive Garden Restaurants - 300 West 436, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714; 11882 E Colonial Dr. Orlando, FL 32826
  • Porkies Original BBQ - 256 E Main St, Apopka, FL 32703
  • Papa John’s Pizza - 4401 Curry Ford Rd.  Orlando, FL 32812
  • Tony Roma’s  -  7015 S. Semoran Blvd. Orlando, FL 32822
  • Zaxby’s - 6747 N Church Ave, Mulberry, FL 33860
  • Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-b-que - 3611 U.S. Hwy 98 N, Lakeland, FL 33809
  • Tijuana Flats - 4796 S Florida Ave, Lakeland, FL 33813
  •  Winn-Dixie - 2415 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
  • CVS Pharmacy of Winter Park – 839 N Orlando Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789
  • Walgreens - 550 S Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL, 32789
  • Publix Supermarkets – Jacksonville Division
  • Target - 325 N Alafaya Trl.  Orlando, FL 32828-7012
  • WalMart - 1700 S Orange Blossom Trail. Apopka, FL
  • Coca-Cola – Orlando Distribution Center

Volunteer Groups

Allan and Conrad   Brasfield and Gorrie   Cuhaci and Peterson   First United Methodist Church of Winter Park   Florida Southern College - Girls Lacrosse   Fuller Center for Housing   Gleaner Heart of Florida Arbor   Home Depot - Altamonte Springs   Home Depot - Casselberry   Home Depot - Lake Mary   Legacy Construction   McKesson Corporation   RC Stevens   RLF   Rotary Club of Orlando   RS&H   The Williams Companies, Inc.   Villas of Grand Cypress   West Orlando Rotary Club

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Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, Inc. and Darden Restaurants Partner to Advance High School High Tech

The Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, Inc., a local not-for-profit that assists individuals with disabilities in achieving their goals of independence, today announced it has been selected to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Restaurants Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants. The grants program, now in its third year, empowers each restaurant in the Darden family of brands to help award a $1,000 grant to support local community programs. The donation will benefit the High School High Tech program; which enables CIL to provide high school students, with all types of disabilities, the opportunity to explore jobs or postsecondary education leading to technology- related careers.

Darden’s Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House brands participated in the program. Many restaurants and brands worked together to award one nonprofit organization with a larger grant and make a greater impact in their community.  Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden’s three key focus areas: education, preservation of natural resources and hunger relief.

CIL Lakeland Site Director, John Hurt, says, “The grant from Darden Restaurants Foundation will allow students in the High School High Tech program to explore different career opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.  Interacting and visiting with organizations will inspire these students to complete their education and get them excited to enter the work force.”

“We strive to make a positive impact in all the communities our restaurants serve,” said Gene Lee, Darden’s president and chief operating officer. “Our employees are incredibly passionate about getting directly involved in their local communities, and our Restaurant Community Grants program enables each of our restaurant teams to make a difference right in their own backyard.”

CIL plans to use this grant to help fund an educational trip to a local, Central Florida theme park, where students will get a behind the scenes tour that will give them a first-hand look at how technology is used within the theme park.  This experience will allow students to gain a better understanding of career opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

For more information about the Darden Foundation, please visit www.dardenfoundation.com.


About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate over $8.5 billion in annual sales.  Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 200,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row.  Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us.  Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want.  For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

The Darden Foundation
The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Darden Foundation’s mission is to maintain a spirit of service and community engagement as defining characteristics of Darden’s family of restaurants – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $71 million in grants to leading nonprofit organizations that align with its mission and community priorities: Recipe for Success®, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor grants. Through the Darden Harvest program, Darden Restaurants has also donated more than 66 million pounds of food to hunger relief agencies across the U.S. and Canada. In 2011, the Darden Foundation introduced the Restaurant Community Grants program that is dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities where we live and serve. For more information, please visit www.dardenfoundation.com.

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Able Trust supports High School High Tech Program in Lakeland

Thanks to support from The Able Trust, CIL will be giving students with disabilities at George Jenkins High School the opportunity to be a part of High School High Tech; a program that helps students with disabilities explore career paths that fit their skills and interests, pursue post-secondary education and secure employment, with a focus on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.

The Able Trust presented a check for $30,000 in support of High School High Tech to the Center for Independent Living at a recent kick-off event. In addition to supporters and students, Sen. Kelli Stargel and Representative Seth McKeel attended the event to meet the students and learn more about how the program will have a positive effect on students and their communities. This program boasts that students rarely drop out of the progam, setting them up for a higher chance of success in the future.

Students and Supporters at George Jenkins High School

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TD Charitable Foundation Grant to Benefit Housing Program

CIL was awarded a grant from TB Bank for $5,000 in support of the housing program.  Since it's inception in 2002, TD Charitable Foundation has contributed over $115 million in grand funding to not-for-profits in their communities.  CIL is pleased to have support from the TD Charitable Foundation and continue to offer programs and services to assist those in finding affordable, accessible homes.

For more information on TD Charitable Foundation, visit their webiste at http://www.tdbank.com/community/our_community.html


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Stroll ‘n’ Roll 2013

What a great time we had at Stroll 'n' Roll this year!  With the sun shining on October 5th in Orlando and October 12th in Lakeland, hundreds of walkers came together to celebrate diversity and inclusion.    This year was nothing short of a large success for CIL.  With the combined efforts of both the Orlando and Lakeland venues, Stroll 'n' Roll had over 300 participants and raised over $36,000; a number which is steadily rising as pledges continue to come in.

Stroll 'n' Roll sets itself apart from other walks by giving each team that registers the opportunity to use a manual wheelchair.  This eye-opening aspect provides a unique look at what it might like be to have a physical disability.  Many participants commented that the use of the manual wheelchair provided a challenge they weren't expecting and they now have a new understanding of the obstacles that are faced each day by a person with a disability.

The money raised through Stroll 'n' Roll will make an immediate impact on Central Florida residents, as the money goes directly to support programs and services offered by CIL.   This event does so much more than just raise funds for much needed community initiatives, it provides the life-changing gift of independence to an individual and their families.  Funds raised during Stroll 'n' Roll will allow us to continue to offer quality programs and services that will make Central Florida a great place to live - for all members of society.

This event couldn't happen without the support of our Central Florida community.  Thank you to all the participants including the following team:


Accelerate    Brown & Brown    Burr & Forman    Byerly Clan    CenterState Bank - Orlando    Central Florida Top 5    CVS Pharmacy     Digital Risk    Everglades University    F.I.T. Team    Fast & Rollin    FH Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine Team    FOP Lodge #25    Kubariko Team    Lakeville Elementary    LWP Class XXIV    Orlando City Soccer    Orlando Health    Rosanne Care    Sara Huff    Saucy Sallys    Seacoast National Bank    Step Up For Love    Sweet Home Oladipo    Team Advanced Diversity Consulting    Team Boomerator    Team IBG


ABWA- Lakeland Downtown    CenterState Bank - Lakeland    Deese Scrubs    Douglass Screen Printers    Jones-Sanchez    Lakeland Business Leaders    Old Navy Lakeland    Pi Kappa Phi Florida Southern College    Stacey Franzen    Theta Chi FSC

Thank you to the following volunteer groups: 

Pi Kappa Phi, Eta Psi (University of Central Florida)

Pi Kappa Alpha, Delta Delta (Florida Southern College)

Rotaract Club (Florida Southern College)

Thank you 2013 Sponsors
Presenting Sponsor: Integrated Business Group, partnering with Just in Queso Foundation

Platinum Sponsor: CenterState Bank

Gold Sponsors: SeaCoast National Bank, Orlando Health, Everglades University

Silver Sponsors: WellCare, Park Avenue Insurance, DC's Sports Bar and the Socialite, iVenture Solutions, City of Orlando: Families, Parks and Recreation

Bronze Sponsors: Burr & Forman, Advanced Diversity Consulting, BankFirst, M Paul General Contractors


To see some of our favorite memories from the event, check out this video!  We look forward to seeing you there next year!

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Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living to present in Gainesville, Florida


Gainesville, Florida – September 9, 2013 - The Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living will present at the American Advertising Federation – 4th District Summer Conference in Gainesville, Florida.


Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are private, nonprofit corporations that provide services to maximize the independence of individuals with disabilities. CILs are guided by the Independent Living Philosophy: a worldwide movement working for self-determination, self-respect and equal opportunities. Since their charter in 1973, CILs can be found throughout the world.  In Florida alone there are 15 CILS that support more than 30,000 people with disabilities every year.


The American Advertising Federation (AAF) 4th District is comprised of 21 local federations throughout Florida and the Caribbean representing nearly 1,500 members. Each year, The AAF 4th District selects a charitable organization as the adopted public service initiative. AAF professionals devote countless hours of volunteer time and top-level resources to better our communities. This year Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are the public service initiative of the AAF 4th District.


Susan Waldeck, Governor of the AAF-4th District “Our District is thrilled to provide resources and hands on service to Centers for Independent Living. Having personal experience with Jacksonville’s Center, The ILRC, I have seen the immeasurable difference these Centers are making in the community.”


St. John & Partners, a full service customer experience advertising and public relations agency based in Jacksonville, Florida, is spearheading this initiative by creating a promotional “rally” video featuring the efforts of Centers for Independent Living. The agency plans to launch advertising toolkits to CILs, later this year.


Jeff McCurry of St. John and Partners, “The SJ&P staff is eager to bring awareness to an organization that changes so many lives for the better.  One visit to a local center and you see the positive impact these programs are having on the lives of people with disabilities. Our goal is to give Florida CILs the tools they need to rally more community support.  We are proud to be contributing to this effort.”


Martina Brawer, Executive Director of the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living, “We are ecstatic to have great people picking up and becoming champions for the IL movement. These CILs work each day to help people with disabilities and this is tremendous, needed and very appreciated. People with disabilities have benefited immediately from this partnership.”


You can find your local Center for Independent Living by visiting www.floridacils.org

Contact: Tyler Morris

P: 904.327.0774   E: TylerM@theILRC.com


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Grant from Bank of America to Benefit Housing Program

Center for Independent Living received a grant for $10,000 from Bank of America in support for CIL's housing program and services.

Through one-on-one sessions and group workshops, we share information and resources that help our clients achieve stability, whether they’re first-time homebuyers or prospective renters. One key element of counseling is helping clients understand their protections under federal and state Fair Housing laws.

  • Federal and state Fair Housing laws
  • Assistance for the homeless
  • Budgeting
  • Credit
  • Down payments
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage defaults
  • Loss mitigation
  • Handling foreclosure

We also counsel clients about how to avoid bankruptcy, predatory lending and mortgage scams. And we can connect you with resources, like Florida Hardest-Hit Fund (HHF), which helps provide mortgage assistance to qualified Florida homeowners.

The grant we received is part of a $23 million philanthropic investment by Bank of America to build and rehab affordable housing, offer foreclosure prevention services and homeowner counseling, and provide other services intended to invigorate and rejuvenate neighborhoods.


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Community Foundation of Central Florida Grant to Help CIL’s Nuring Home Transition Program

We are excited to be the recipients of a grant from the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Winter Park Community Foundation to aid in our Nursing Home Transition Program.   As part of the Aging in Place program, CIL helps keep adults, ages 18+, with a disability, independent and living in their own homes rather than in nursing facilities.   This includes building wheelchair ramps, bathroom modifications, creating emergency plans or providing assistive technology, such as an amplified phone.   These are a few examples of how a person can continue to live independently in their own home, where they feel most comfortable and safe.

As part of this grant, CIL has a goal of helping four individuals residing in Winter Park to make this type of transition.  Over the next year, we look to continue to build strong community partners with assisted living or nursing home facilities, construction organizations, and community members to help us attain this goal.  CIL is proud to be part of the Winter Park community and looking forward to the opportunity to help our neighbors.  Be sure to visit our Facebook and Twitter sites or sign up for our newsletter for progress on this great initiative.

This project was funding by a grant from the Rex V. Stevens and Dulciza Stevens Fund of Winter Park Community Foundation held by the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Inc., one of more than 400 charitable funds established since 1994.

To learn more about the Community Foundation of Central Florida, you can visit their website at www.cfcflorida.org

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Disney Helping Kids Shine Grant Awards CIL $15,000.00

Center for Independent Living in Central Florida, Inc., is happy to announce the receipt of a grant from Disney Helping Kids Shine in the amount of $15,000.00.

CIL provides programs and services for children with disabilities, and their families, in helping them with their self determined goal of independence.  Part of this grant will go towards funding a Leadership Camp for Deaf Students.  This week-long day camp will allow middle and high school students the opportunity to:

  • Develop leadership skills
  • Learn how to overcome communication and attitudinal barriers related to their disability
  • Develop the skills and confidence to more fully engage in school and the community
  • Learn teamwork skills
  • Become role models and leaders to other deaf students when they return to their schools

For more information about this Leadership Camp, Click Here

As part of Disney Helping Kids Shine Grants program, Disney awarded more than $1.5 million to 59 local organizations and school districts that have a positive impact on approximately 70,000  thousand children in our community. Disney supports programs that inspire creativity, encourage compassion and promote the health and well-being of families.



Grant from the Darden Foundation

Center for Independent Living was recently awarded a grant from the Darden Foundation, on behalf of Olive Garden #1275 located at 665 N. Orlando Avenue, Winter Park.    The grant for $1,000 is in support of CIL's programs for Middle and High School Education Transition for Deaf Students.

Through-out the year, CIL partners with area schools and their transition services to provide information and life skills for children with disabilities.  Deaf students at local schools take advantage of the visits from CIL staff who work with them on a regular basis.

One student, Maggie (pictured below), always tries her best, works hard and makes excellent grades in all the mainstreamed classes, despite her disability and medical condition.  She has benefited a great deal from the teaching in the areas of self-advocacy and social skills.  She has learned to advocate for herself and to express her needs and wants.  In the words of one of her teachers, “Maggie is friendly and gets along with her peers.  She has a wonderful attitude and is respectful to teacher interpreters and her peers.  In class, she is focused and works diligently in all the academic areas.  She always participates in classroom activities”

Maggie is just one example of a student who makes improvement and progress at school, with help from the services provided by CIL.  This program not only provides a much need service for these students, but also makes them aware of community resources available to them when they graduate from high school.  Many will want to go on to college, get jobs, and live independently on their own and won’t be sure how to best accomplish that goal.  Having CIL as a partner, they have achieve their self-determined goal of independence.

Thank you Darden for the support!

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