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The Independent Life

The Independent Life

By Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida
The Independent Life is a podcast where we explore the services, issues, ideas, and people who will empower you to become the best version of yourself imaginable, attain your goals for Living Independently, and to serve others to your fullest potential.
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Connecting To Why with Gerry Altamirano
 
01:04:42
September 30, 2022
Disability Dojo: Preparing For The Fall Harvest
On today’s dojo, Tony reflects on the Autumn Season and the lessons it can bring us as it related to preparations and harvest. The fall season is rich in examples. Tony takes this time to reflect upon the things he’s planted in the days, weeks, and months leading up to this season that would allow for an abundant harvest. If you’re listening to this episode, Tony’s hope is that you can take stock of what’s around you and the changes in the air. Take time thinking about areas in your life that you’re benefiting from today that is a direct result from what you planted in the days, weeks, and months leading up to today. Take the time to ask yourself, “What could you be planting that you’ll be benefiting from in the future?”
16:54
September 26, 2022
A Force For Good And Changing The System From Within With Jane Johnson
Joining us on today’s episode is the one, the only, Jane Johnson. A dear friend and true champion of the Independent Living Network, we welcome Jane back onto the podcast to discuss legislative updates that includes new leadership, new funding opportunities, and keeping the end goal in mind. The Independent Living Network is currently in an expansive phase with opportunities on the horizon that could see tremendous impact within the community for people with disabilities. Diving straight into the current changes that have already happened at the state level, Jane expresses an opportunity have a great fresh start with new leadership, sensing a much more open communication style and willingness to partner towards efforts that will improve the IL Network and the impact on CILs within their catch-men areas. They talk in depth about the recent pilots with the Florida Department of Correction, a program conducted with inmates who are incarcerated, to provide an accessible employee readiness program. Through collaboration efforts, a trauma informed curriculum designed and developed for students with disabilities. This tremendous effort would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment from Lindsey Telg, Dr. Jacob Atem, Tony, and Jane to trail blaze this initiative to where it is today. Collectively, they worked to develop this training that every inmate is required to receive prior to being released. The pilot received overwhelming positive feedback from the department of corrections, as well as from the inmates who took the class. As a result of such great outcome, they’re now looking at taking the pilot to the next phase and expanding the program throughout the state. See below for episodes resources related to the creation and impact of this effort. Jane has also been fundamental in supporting the efforts of the independent living network. She works tirelessly to ensure proper funding to operate initiatives, such as Adult Transitions, which helps to get people out of institutionalize care or prevent them from entering into institutionalized care by providing the necessary services in order to help keep them in the community. This effort also manifests into a lot of different services at Centers For Independent Living. Jane exemplifies how to be a force for good and how to do this by not getting lost and selling out to the system but instead to be better because of it. She shares how she doesn’t allow herself to be associated with certain legislators or political parties but rather to be associated to the cause, which is independent living. For Jane, that is the one thing - supporting people disabilities to live as independently as possible. For her, that is a constant that doesn’t change no matter who she’s talking to or making a funding request from. The needs are the same: serving at risk and underserved populations. In closing, Jane talks about how diligence is the mother of good luck, that things don’t just happen; its the right time, right place, right people coming together and willing to work together for an outcome. Episode Resources: Occupational Therapy with Lindsey Telg: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5EsAHhJH4LXnLgmzB3jhWa?si=lSfBD9AlTbOQYov2tRPwKg Taking Back The Pen and Rewriting Our Story with Lindsey Telg: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3vCwrV3CLVSz96LHPOEtoJ?si=WTOFeXP4Q3SMRLYKTrDqXA Choice, Freedom, and The Independent Life with Dr. Jacob Atem: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0NFGGPUub489wk6HMepgHQ?si=EzjahpHLQm6djCzz6I_4CA
52:02
September 22, 2022
Disability Dojo: The Four Philanthropists
On today’s dojo, Tony talks about having a growing awareness and frame of reference for how to best serve others. He reflects on his recent conversation with Eric Davis, sharing how he has been impacted by him and his work, without prior communications or correspondences. As a result, Tony expresses how it has influenced the way he sees the world. Eric’s openness was so authentic and illuminating during their conversation; his vision on how to serve people to the maximum, and his idea and vision, has Tony feeling entangled in his world. Tony also shares his reflection through the story of The Four Philanthropists. He examines the importance of meeting the concrete needs of people and how Centers For Independent Living and agencies like St. Francis Home provides food, water, and temporary shelter for people that are homeless. He drives home the message that this is the first place we really need to start when working with people because if don’t have those physical and physiological needs met, its much more challenging to help in the other areas. Episode Resources: Becoming of Maximum Service To Others With Eric Davis and Mark Brisbane: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1rwHkkQ6kJSRzWWOkIzi17?si=E5F2eVBSToOcSULpKWUttw Dedicating Their Lives To Creating a Change: With Eric Davis and Mark Brisbane: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0Abya6M0YdOqU0A3odUjAf?si=XFXsPJhnTXKlhkC66nMGWw The Four Philanthropists: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16121550-the-four-philanthropists
20:15
September 19, 2022
Dedicating Their Lives To Creating A Change With Eric Davis and Mark Brisbane
On part two of Tony’s conversation with Eric and Mark, he dives right into talking about systemic, policy-based changes and how we can really come up with solutions to affordable housing. They talk about humanization for both sides of the equation; noting how oftentimes property owners are demonized for their role due to a lack of understanding of what property owners may be going through, as people who is also working to operate a business. They emphasize the importance of the property managers’ role in finding a solution to address affordable and accessible housing. Eric shares that what makes him effective when it comes to executing his role and his job, is that he truly understands both sides: the people they serve and that of the property owners. They also get into a discussion about things that Eric has seen on a individual level that he’s been able to work with people on; things that they’ve been able to gain that have allowed them to put themselves in a position where they have been able to get housed and be a part of the solution. Some of the things that are needed when working with individuals is coming from a place of non-judgment, a place of humility, having an attitude of gratitude; coming from a heartfelt place is a way that we can help individuals, to inspire them to go above and beyond what they think they’re capable of. Collectively, they express that this issue is one that is bigger than any of us. Eric shares real life stories and situations to illuminate the type of situations that people are in, in hopes of shedding light and empathy towards those who are currently living in very challenging situations. Collaboration on this issue is key; working together on this situation helps to humanize the individuals we serve. Developing and cultivating a relationships with property owners is a real and effective piece of addressing the issue of affordable housing; they get to see firsthand the impact they can have on someone’s quality of life. They discuss the need to allocate more resources, more money, more people to ending homeless and focusing on the real solution, which is housing. It takes people who are willing to dedicate their life to creating a change. Episode Resources: Becoming of Maximum Service To Others With Eric Davis and Mark Brisbane: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1rwHkkQ6kJSRzWWOkIzi17?si=Jp8wULVzTsiKnmjTlL3oUA St. Francis House: https://stfrancishousegnv.com/ CIL Housing Program making a difference!: http://www.cilncf.org/meet-mark-brisbane/
49:57
September 15, 2022
Disability Dojo: What Kind Of World Do We Live In?
Albert Einstein said, "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." On today’s dojo, Tony explore’s this question. He shares real life examples and scenarios, some which he has experienced himself and others from those he knows within the community. He examines and dissects the nuances of how each situation could sway anyone one way or the other. Based on his lived experiences and those of others, Tony shares his perspective and asks for us to reflect on our own vision of how we view the world.
20:34
September 12, 2022
Becoming of Maximum Service To Others With Eric Davis and Mark Brisbane
On today’s episode, Tony gets into an authentic and heartfelt conversation with Eric Davis, Director of Housing at St. Francis House and Consumer Specialist Mark Brisbane, who oversees housing efforts at CILNCF. Together, they work to get people into affordable, accessible, and safe housing. Eric joins us today to share how he operates first and foremost, from a place of humanity, and from a place of light and of love. He emphasizes the importance of speaking directly to the people that he serves and not just listening to what others may say. Eric opens this conversation by speaking with vulnerability about his own lived experiences, which he believe is essential to include, as it is a part of who he is and a part his story. Eric shares what its like to have schizophrenia, what it’s like to be addicted, and to be challenged with mental health conditions. He also talks about what its like to overcome those situations and to be transformed by those situations; to be someone whose mission in life is to maximize service to other people, especially in the arena of affordable housing and working with people who are challenged through the same things he has experienced. Eric expresses the importance of making the issue of homelessness, something that can resonate with all people, sharing stories that illustrates how anyone can find themselves in a situation where they’ve become homeless. For those listening who may not understand homelessness or have ever met someone in this situation, Eric brings a level fo humanity to this conversation, in an effort to make it relatable to those of us who don’t have the lived experiences he’s had. He talks about some of the causes of homelessness, adverse childhood experiences, and how important this issue homelessness is. Eric goes on to share his vision of a better day, in terms of addressing the affordable housing issues. Episode Resources: St. Francis House: https://stfrancishousegnv.com/ CIL Housing Program making a difference!: http://www.cilncf.org/meet-mark-brisbane/
01:02:58
September 08, 2022
Disability Dojo: Reflecting On Labor Day And Employment For People With Disabilities
On today’s dojo, Tony takes a brief look into the history of Labor Day, as it is important to know the purpose and intention for it’s inception. Until preparation for this dojo, Tony himself had a vague understanding of the history and origins for Labor Day, which always falls on the first Monday in September. It’s origins point to the year 1882 and began in New York City, where people organized in Union Square on the first Monday of September during the industrial revolution, in the reconstruction era. The focus for Labor Day was to celebrate workers and to have some leisure time but during this time, working conditions were becoming what we would consider deplorable and there weren’t any protections in place for working people. Many young children at this time were not going to school; they were working in factories and in harmful working conditions. Part of the protest was to protest the working conditions, better wages, the right to organize, and child labor. Within a few years, this caught on to other states, where they began organizing and advocating for more fair working conditions. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland, made Labor Day a national holiday. It wasn’t until 1938 that Franklin Roosevelt passed the first federal protection for workers. In these federal protections came the 8 hour work day, 5 day work weeks, and the end of child labor. Shifting gears from the history of how Labor Day, Tony reflects on how in his position as Director of CIL, he is constantly needing to stay up to date with labor laws. Some of the ones that stand out to him and that he thinks is very important, especially as it pertains to people with disabilities, is that we can’t discriminate based on disability, race, ethnicity, age, or how people identify themselves. In tony’s most recent conversation with Allison Chase, they talked about how the unemployment rate is 2-3 times greater in people with disabilities than without disabilities. Tony describes the interesting employment market we’re in today and shares his hope that it will provide a unique opportunity to close the gap in the inequities between the employment rates of people with and without disabilities. Episode Resources: Building Trust and Lasting Relationships With Allison Chase: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5q4Fl05pcmfGsUro4FRIP0?si=XBJV7XKgSm6k9PTZK-ic8g History of Labor Day: https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history
25:59
September 05, 2022
Building Trust and Lasting Relationships with Allison Chase
With more than twenty-five years’ experience, Allison Chase has dedicated her career to the employment of people with disabilities. As President & CEO, Chase is committed to ensuring The Able Trust is the leading expert in Florida for disability workforce inclusion, providing valuable resources to businesses, employment service providers, communities and Floridians with disabilities. Chase has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors giving her a 360-degree perspective of the field.  She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Rehabilitation Services, and completed the National Executive Leadership Institute for rehabilitation leaders at the University of Oklahoma. The mission of The Able Trust is to be a key leader in providing opportunities for successful employment for Floridians with disabilities. The organization was created by the state legislature in 1990 as the Florida Endowment for Vocational Rehabilitation, as a direct supporter of vocational rehabilitation efforts by state agencies and community organizations. Operating under the dba of The Able Trust, the organization has helped to put thousands of individuals with disabilities to work, and has supported employment-related efforts in all counties of Florida. Episode Resources: The Able Trust: https://www.abletrust.org/
01:00:16
September 01, 2022
Disability Dojo: Principles For Living The Good Life
On this dojo, Tony reflects on celebrating the 7th anniversary since he’s joined The Center For Inpdendent Living of North Central Florida, as the director. Tony recalls well-known author and motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer having passed away on the same day he came onboard at CIL. This event has Tony reflecting on Dr. Dyer’s teachings and expansive work in self-development, to which Tony is constantly learning how to implement into his life. On this episode, Tony shares Dr. Dyer’s principles on how to live the good life. Episode Resources: Dr. Wayne Dyer: https://www.drwaynedyer.com/
35:00
August 29, 2022
The Impact of High School High Tech with Drew Dees
High School High Tech is a free program for high school students with disabilities. The Center For Independent Living works to get students into the program as early as their freshmen year, to help guide them through the process from the beginning of their high school years to the end. The main purpose is to prepare students with disabilities for life after high school. This effort helps students to figure out what it is they want to do after high school, whether that’s going straight into the workforce or if they want to explore the post secondary education option. What Drew expresses enjoying the most about the program is how students are able to explore and try new things and the opportunity for them to get hands on, real world experience. The High School High Tech program is designed for students to learn and explore what their special interests are, then a program is created around those interests. Students get immersed in the actual field they’re interested in, to confirm whether or not it’s the right field for them. Participants are connected to hands on experiences, such as job shadowing, internships, field trips, and workshops. Students get to learn life skills, such as financial literacy, resume building, and skills that are needed whether they’ll be choosing to take the route of going into the workforce or into post secondary education. High School High Tech also provides interactive and engaging special projects for the participants, such as encouraging entrepreneurialship and tapping into the imagination that students have about creating products or services that can make the world a better place. This is an exciting program especially at the start of a new school year. Enrollment is year round, for any school year. Two workshops are held monthly and are designed to interest of the students; the program takes significant efforts to meet students where they are. Drew has seen first hand and have heard from both students and parents how much of a difference this program has made. One of the most impactful aspects of this program is that it offers students in high school a role model and mentors who help to encourage and show students that they are capable of achieving what they want out of life; believing in students when they most need it. Drew leads by example, by overcoming challenges and barriers in his own life and he’s now eager and inspired to show others how they can lift themselves up to live the independent life. Episode Resources: Transitioning Into The Real World and Cultivating Human Connection with Drew Dees: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2jOuduiaH7SJ2bihiN6TTJ?si=JPICXJd9R7iRmC8J1GUGLw For more info about HSHT:  Able Trust-High School High Tech Link:  https://www.abletrust.org/high-school-high-tech/ HSHT contact: Dr. Niusha NazarKazemi - HSHT Program Director and Alachua County Program Coordinator: nnazarKazemi@cilncf.org Drew Dees - Alachua Rural and Levy County: adees@cilncf.org Celine Shameer - Marion County: cshameer@cilncf.org Pepper Anderson - Putnam County: p2anderson@my.putnamschools.org
46:18
August 25, 2022
Disability Dojo: How Present Moments Can Impact The Future
To kick off today’s episode, Tony takes us through a story about a teacher who initially misjudged one of her students and made assumptions about them before taking the time to learn about the student’s full story. He shares this story to provide an example of how our interactions and treatment of someone in the present moment can impact their future. This story serves as a reminder to how many of those in the disability community are misjudged before they’re given the opportunity to truly be seen for who they with consideration to their life circumstances. From his life experiences, Tony has seen firsthand how everyone has their own challenges and are going through something that we may not have the privilege to yet see. Unlike the teacher, we don’t have access to their files but if we did, perhaps we could also experience enlightenment that could explain why this person may be the way they are. Though we may not have someone’s file to review prior to interacting with them, what if we just treated people with more compassion, with better communication, and with more encouragement? What if we didn’t take things so personally and reached out to find understanding? What if we had the courage to take a step beyond our own thinking? Maybe it could change the course of their future but also, our own future. As a takeaway from today’s dojo, Tony invites you to think of all the people currently in your life who may have a backstory that you know nothing about and how you can change the way you see and interact with them. How can you interact with them better, how can you conduct yourself better in the present moment? How can you endeavor to imagine transforming yourself and perhaps even transforming them and maybe both parties will be met with unexpected success. What we do now will impact our future and the future of other people. You’ll never know how much impact we have on somebody in the present moment and how that impact will shape their future. If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
19:57
August 22, 2022
Finding Your Purpose In Community Outreach With Sada Ahmed
On part two of Tony’s conversation with Sada, she chronicles her experience at CIL. She started with the Center For Independent Living during UF practicum internship where she began working in Paratransit Services to ensure needs were met for the area that CIL serves. She later came back as a COVID specialist working to ensure people who are homebound get the resources and vaccinations that they need. As a Community Outreach Specialist, Sada wears many hats on a daily basis to provide and help meet the needs of the of those within their catch-man area. Whether she is working to ensure community events are accessible or helping people to get the proper Gerbil medical equipment or putting her efforts into accessible and affordable housing - she’s doing it all with passion and with a smile. On this episode, Sada really drives home the message by sharing her perspective on equity, diversity, and intersectionality. She shares her dedication for working to get people the essential resources they need to live and to meet their basic needs; she is passionate about providing experiences for people to feel included. On her journey to find and discover herself, she has found a calling and a purpose by working to improve the lives of others. If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
01:19:17
August 18, 2022
Disability Dojo: Is Our Past Teaching Us Or Taking Us
On today’s dojo, Tony reflects on how our memory of the past can be something that captivates our consciousness and can take us away from being fully present in the moment. He poses this question: When we reflect on the past, are we doing it to relive that moment, which takes us away from the moment we’re currently in or are we doing it in order to learn from it and helping us to instill a level of gratitude that gives us more appreciation to be in the present moment?
28:17
August 15, 2022
The Journey To Discovering Disability with Sada Ahmed
Sada came to the Center For Independent Living during her sophomore year while attending The University of Florida, to complete her practicum. She then came back as an intern, and once again to take on a temporary position as a COVID specialist. Today, Sada is a Community Outreach Specialist at CIL, supporting multiple roles and wears many hats on any given day. On this episode, Sada takes us along on her journey to discovering that she has several different types of diagnosis. Sada shares how this discovery came about and provides insights and advice to those entering a new school year. She talks us through her personal experience and how to examine and reflect on whether something may be a personality trait or perhaps an underlining symptomatic diagnosis. She also talks about how to face and lean into the stigma that individuals might have as they uncover and may begin to question their diagnosis. Tony and Sada partake in an important conversation regarding mental health challenges that young adults may be going through today. They also dive a discussion on success; how society defines it compared to how Sada has come to define it for herself. All of this has impacted her decision on what she has ending up studying at UF and ultimately leading her to where she is today at CIL.
01:01:30
August 11, 2022
Disability Dojo: Changing The Narrative On Ageism
Tony recorded this episode on the cusp of his 53rd birthday, which propelled him into reflection of his age, this time in his life, and what it means to approach senior citizen status. But moreover, the timing allowed him to question his own stereotypes about what it means to be an older adult. On today’s dojo, Tony takes us through vast perspectives that we, as a society, have on age. He talks about the linear relationship between age and disability; the older we get, the more likely we are to get a disability. He reflects on the messaging that seems to worship and promotes youth over aging, and the over exposure we have to that messaging. And what the research shows is that people who are exposed to aging messaging, have elevated levels of cortisol and blood pressure. The World Health Organization sites ageism as a major public health issue. Their research has shown that older people experience more discrimination when it comes to housing, employment, getting approved for certain financial situations, and all kinds of discrimination that tends to happen. Why does this matter? More research is pointing to how when younger or middle aged adults are exposed to anti-aging or discriminatory ageism messaging, that when they become older, they are more likely to have a cardiovascular event than people who are reporting less exposure to anti-aging messaging. In wrapping up his reflections, Tony talks about looking to other cultures, regarding how age is seen and respected, and how this could be helpful to abating a lot of the issues that are around ageism. Episode Resources: Becca Levy, Ph.D: https://ysph.yale.edu/profile/becca_levy/
28:14
August 08, 2022
ADA Advocacy With Christine Woodell
As a person with a disability, Christien Woodell grew to learn that she had rights, and that law and policy were critical to allowing her to have the opportunity to have a full life. Not only was her life affected, but also the lives of her children, grandchildren, family and friends. She realized that what she had learned during her life allowed her to influence others to understand why compliance with the laws was critical. Christine Woodell is the State Affiliate for the Southeast ADA Center. On this episode, Tony partakes in a powerful conversation with Christine about the importance of The Americans With Disabilities Act. Christine shares what life was like for her growing up with polio, decades before the ADA was passed and the critical role of having a parent who is willing to teach and adapt to the circumstances of having a child with disabilities. She also talks about the necessities our current generation needs to take to continue the work of the ADA, who were born into a time when the ADA has always existed for them, as well as, other laws that ensure equal access and inclusion for people with disabilities. Christine talks about what it was like to be an active member, participating in the civil rights movement that brought us the ADA. During this time she met some of the legends, such as, Ed Roberts who was instrumental in starting the Independent Living Movement to Judy Heumann who is recognized internationally as a leader in the disability community. Christine shares her role as an ADA advocate, her ongoing trainings, and educates us on the ideals and spirit of the ADA. Most importantly, she talks about the humanity and the humanitarianism that is connected with having a disability; how we should be seeing disabilities and interacting with people who have disabilities, how its not just about laws and enforcing those laws, but more about connecting with people’s hearts and the union that comes from this collective humanitarian experience that we all have around disabilities. Episode Resources: Contact Christine Woodell: cwoodell5@gmail.com / 228.257.7003 Southeast ADA Center: 800.949.4232 / www.adasoutheast.org Webinars, trainings and events that will enhance your knowledge of the ADA: https://adasoutheast.org/training/ ADA Anniversary Tool Kit: https://adaanniversary.org ADA National Network: https://adata.org Disability Webinars – Hosted by the Southeast ADA Center: https://disabilitywebinars.org Christine's ADA Learning: Courses on Disability, Inclusion, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) from the Southeast ADA Center: https://courses.myadalearning.org/courses
01:05:22
August 04, 2022
Disability Dojo: Parenting and Being Present
On this dojo, tony reflects on being a parent and furthermore, being a parent with a disability- from his perspective and experiences. As a parent with a disability, he shares challenges that he faces and the virtues he’s learned from his adversities. Tony acknowledges how having a disability has taught him how to be adaptable, resilient, to persevere, and how to not concerning himself with what others may think of him. Despite the evolving difficulties of having a disability, he finds gratitude in the opportunity to gain virtues he may not otherwise would’ve been able to receive. As a result, Tony makes a conscious effort to drive these virtues home to his children in different ways, teaching them to understand privilege and disability. He shares his efforts to impart both a growth mindset and limitless mindset upon his children, teaching them that they shouldn’t have any limiting beliefs about what they can achieve. And he notes that perhaps the greatest gift as a parent that he can give to his kids is being fully present when he is with them because these moments.. they go by fast. If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
29:13
August 01, 2022
32 Years of The Americans With Disabilities Act
July 26 marks the anniversary of the ADA, The Americans With Disabilities Act, and this year we celebrated it’s 32 years of passage. To commemorate this anniversary and celebrate Disability Pride month, Tony invited CIL staff and colleagues to share their thoughts and reflections on the ADA. On this episode we are joined by: Sada Ahmed: CIL Community Specialist Dr. Vijay Vasudevan: Associate Data Scientist at Autism Speaks Chair of the Disability Section of American Public Health Association Emily Bernt: COVID-19 Vaccine Specialist Kevin Towles - CIL Emergency Preparedness Brian Russell - Emergency Management Coordinator For Disabilities Rights Florida Episode Resources: Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (https://www.netflix.com/title/81001496)
29:09
July 28, 2022
Disability Dojo: Americans with Disabilities Act
Happy Anniversary to the Americans with Disabilities Act! On July 26, the ADA celebrates 32 years since it was passed in 1990. On today's dojo, Tony reflects on the history leading up to the passing of the Americans with Disabilities ACT, those who were involved and who've made it possible, and what the ADA means to those are need it and to those who may not yet need it but that may benefit from it within their lifetime.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. Episode Resources: What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): https://adata.org/learn-about-ada Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act: https://www.ada.gov/
23:25
July 25, 2022
Choice, Freedom, and The Independent Life with Dr. Jacob Atem
Jacob came to the United States as a Lost Boy, fleeing the Southern Sudan Civil War. He has made some incredible choices that set him on a path to getting his Ph.D and founded a nonprofit organization. At the time when Tony and Jacob reconnected, CIL was in need of someone to fulfill a position with unique qualifications. The Independent Living network was collaborating with Florida’s Department of Corrections to run a pilot program for inmates who are incarcerated with disabilities. Lindsey Telg, a friend of the podcast, worked with CIL to create an innovative curriculum for inmates with disabilities that would prepare them to be in a position where they can be employed when they got out of prison. More importantly, it would provide these inmates with the foundation to not go back to prison. With this innovative curriculum in hand, they were now in search of an individual who could relate to prisoners, who knew what independent living was, and who could really help to connect with them. Jacob became that person who could fulfill this role. With the pilot program now complete, Dr. Atem shares his his experience of delivering this unique course to the inmates and the insights he has gained.. On today’s episode, Jacob and Tony debrief on his experience in the prison, what he learned, his experience with the inmates, and what life will be like for them when they get out. Episode Resources: Disability Dojo: Freedom and Independent Living With Dr. Jacob Atem: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0LyK2TbfgD9CuR9Z1jmRZz?si=-JhHX64iQD6lIwTEk4WErA Surviving Civil War and The Journey of a Lost Boy with Dr. Jacob Atem: https://open.spotify.com/episode/5yUBptKEAtpbYStB0SmLH3?si=NXlXEJE6QQ29QCeDkVq5LA Resilience In The Face of Adversity with Dr. Jacob Atem: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3Gs8QoINIW2ShC5iad35wQ?si=zeC_iQiDSQaO0poSrWslGg Taking Back The Pen and Rewriting Our Story With Lindsey Telg: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3vCwrV3CLVSz96LHPOEtoJ?si=hmehMK9FQL6XNTHQKfjpHQ
01:22:35
July 21, 2022
Disability Dojo: Freedom and Independent Living with Dr. Jacob Atem
Today on the dojo, we have the privilege of having Dr. Jacob Atem join us to share his perspective on the freedom of choosing to be a better person and who himself chooses to do the work that gives people the freedom to make choices for themselves to be better people. Be sure to tune into our weekly long form interviews this Thursday for our follow up conversation with Dr. Jacob Atem. Episode Resources:  Surviving Civil War and The Journey of a Lost Boy with Dr. Jacob Atem Resilience In The Face of Adversity with Dr. Jacob Atem
28:26
July 18, 2022
Inspiring Leadership with Sarah Goldman & Whitney Doyle
Whitney Doyle is the Executive Director for the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, Inc. (FAAST). Whitney is passionate about creating a reality in which all people are equal and have equal access. Her disability advocacy work started in 2008 when she joined the Florida Youth Council and became a volunteer at the Florida Youth Leadership Forum. Being inspired by others who have disabilities has led her to become an active member on the Board of Directors for three national organizations: the Association of Youth Leadership Forums, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, and the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Whitney’s leadership and involvement with these organizations have provided an opportunity to experience examples of best practices to bring to Florida. At the state level, Whitney is a long-time volunteer with the Florida Youth Leadership Forum and Treasurer of the gubernatorial appointed Florida Independent Living Council. Whitney has a Bachelors of Applied Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics from St. Petersburg College, a Masters in Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida, and is a Certified Prosthetist (CP). Sarah Goldman is the Director of Administration and Youth Initiatives at the Florida Independent Living Council. Having previously worked as a legislative aid and being a voice for people with disabilities, she talks about her experience and journey in advocacy. Sarah unpacks what it takes to be an advocate for people with disabilities, the challenges she’s faced and how its helped to shape her into the best version of herself so that she can better serve others. Sarah provides us with a lens into what its like to be young with a disability. She talks about how having a disability has given her a strong foundation for resiliency, the ability to adapt, and having an open mind. Sarah is an advocate for youth leadership and talks discusses the importance for self-advocacy for people with disabilities at a younger age. For more information about FAAST: https://faast.org/ The Youth Leadership Forum: https://www.floridacils.org/youth-leadership-forum
01:15:58
July 15, 2022
Disability Dojo: Diversity
Today on the dojo, Tony continues the thread on freedom and independence, sharing his thoughts on how freedom is not free from responsibility and obligations. He talks about how the ability to make our own choices for ourselves is an important philosophical principle for the liberties for people with disabilities, which also includes the freedom to make wrong choices. Tony also dives into the freedom of our minds and the thoughts he may have. The inner voice we have within us can be the worse critic and become an unhealthy aspect of our lives. It takes conscience effort to have the awareness to redirect our thoughts and that we don’t have to accept all the thoughts that pop into our head. He touches on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how the highest level on that hierarchy is is self actualization. Tony reminds us of Epictetus and how our chief task in life is to identify those things that are up to us and those which are out of our control. To Tony, this points directly to freedom: the freedoms you have are the freedoms you have control over. Centers For Independent Living strive to provide the options and opportunities for people to make decisions to better their lives; opportunities that were not available before coming to the centers to receive the services they need. CILs empower their consumers to make choices that could increase their independence but that they have the freedom to make whatever choice they deem is most suitable for them. Independence is about choice, making choices for ourselves. Episode Resources: Statue of Responsibility Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
31:49
July 11, 2022
Advancing the Independent Living Movement and The Future Of Leadership with Noah Russell and Zach Staubitz
On this episode, Tony shares an inspiring conversation with Noah Russell and Zach Staubitz. Both are currently in college, working full time jobs, and are involved in service based volunteer projects to further the advancement of the independent living movement, representing the future of leadership for our youth. Both Noah and Zach serve on The Florida Independent Living Council’s Youth Committee, providing insights on how we can do better in the independent living movement to connect with the younger generation and ways on how they can be encouraged to get involved. Noah is also involved in The Associates Program For Rural Independent Living, a very important piece of the independent living network because so many people with disabilities live in rural areas and it can be very challenging to meet some of their needs. They talk with Tony about youth leadership, the different types of councils they’re both on, and share their experience with the Youth Leadership Forum, which is coming up at the end of July 2022. The Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is a unique leadership-training program for high school students with disabilities. Students participate in a multi-faceted series of online leadership training, role playing, mentoring, job preparation, career exploration and activities to build social and communication skills. Tapping Into The Power of Being Hyerfocused with Zach Staubitz To learn more about The Youth Leadership Forum, visit: https://www.floridacils.org/youth-leadership-forum Listen to our episode on YLF: https://open.spotify.com/episode/12c8hPKqa5VlXwxgLBhNCc
01:14:23
July 07, 2022
Freedom And Civil Rights For People With Disabilities
Happy 4th of July! On today’s dojo, Tony talks about freedom, liberty, and the consensus around fear of our freedoms being taken away. He talks about how freedom is the foundation on which our country was founded on and currently, a lot of people are feeling that it is being threatened. However, he hopes that we may be able to celebrate this day as a unity the people. Tony also uses this opportunity to tie in the struggle for civil rights for people with disabilities. He takes us back to a time not too long ago, when people with disabilities were institutionalized; it wasn’t until the 1973 Rehabilitation Act that people with disabilities finally had laws to help ensure that they can live in the community to whatever extent possible and not to be institutionalized against their will. Many things had to happen before that freedom was gained. On this dojo, Tony takes us back to the time of Crip Camp, where campers and camp counselors found freedom and liberty to be themselves when they created a community that supported each other: free from stigma, free from tyranny. Through that bonding and through that freedom, many of those campers and camp counselors went on to be to be revolutionaries in the civil rights movement, some of which helped to pass the 1973 rehabilitation act. Freedom takes time, it takes a lot of people to fight for it, and wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the ideals signed into a resolution and declared a long justification, known as the Declaration Of Independence. These ideals were fought for in our civil war and taken up by Ed Roberts, who wanted to go to Berkeley California but it wasn’t accessible. He had to fight for it, which started the independent living movement, giving birth to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.
25:02
July 04, 2022
Universal Design and Growth Mindset with Mira Gaitanis
On this episode, we welcome back a force of nature! Mira Gaitanis joins us this week to give us a life update, as she’s getting ready to graduate from Florida State University and planning for law school. She talks with Tony about universal design and why its critical not just for education but also to extrapolate outside of education into areas like transportation, the workforce, etc. They dive into what it would mean if we could work towards implementing universal design throughout the world and making cities fully accessible. In this inspiring conversation, Mira shares with us her vulnerabilities, such as, internalized ableism- how its impacted her and how she’s used music as cathartic means to work through her challenges and difficulties. They talk about representation and what its like for her generation to be living through these times, in regards to what’s going on in the world and the movements that are happening in between the great resignation and the anti-ambition movement. Mira continues to share her vulnerabilities and what it means to live with a growth mindset. Resources: Mira Gaitanis | linktree Mira Gaitanis | Instagram Mira Gaitanis | Facebook Flat Moon Theory | Spotify Flat Moon Theory | Youtube Self Advocacy and Vulnerability with Mira Gaitanis  NPR Tiny Desk Concert: Gaelynn Lea Steal Like An Artist by: Austin Kleon We’re Not Really Strangers
57:59
June 30, 2022
Disability Dojo: Courage and How To Overcome Fear
In the last dojo, Tony talked to us about fear and the importance in identifying and recognizing the different types of fears, especially as it pertains to disability. On today’s dojo, he dives into how to we can face our fears and work through them with courage and bravery. This comes from Tony’s personal experience from what he’s seen in his life and what’s worked for him, as well as, coming from a place where he recognizes he still has a lot to learn. His hope is to be able to share with you some of the things he’s found useful in his life and experiences. Do you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners? Leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
38:04
June 27, 2022
Autism Speaks with Vijay Vasudevan
Vijay Vasudevan is the Associate Data Scientist at Autism Speaks. He joins us today as a result of reconnecting with Tony through work related to promoting the COVID-19 vaccine in populations with people with disabilities. His work in the disability community is extensive and together, they dive into conversation about such topics as how to work towards efforts that can be made to destigmatize disability. They also talk about the medical model of disability, regarding how people in the clinical settings view disability, and how the preparation and training of medical students and other healthcare professionals impact people with disabilities’ access healthcare. Tony also talks to Vijay about Autism Speaks as an organization and community, and the needs they have within this community. Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. They do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Resources: Austism Speaks
01:20:36
June 23, 2022
Disability Dojo: The Undercurrent Of Fear
What is fear and why is it important for us to understand what it is? On today’s dojo, Tony talks to us about fear. In his experience, he is witnessing the undercurrent of fear being the root cause of much of the suffering challenges, and increased anxieties that we’re seeing- and that we may be experiencing ourselves.
31:55
June 20, 2022
Communicating Science And Addressing Vaccine Concerns With Dr. Vincent Venditto
Dr. Venditto joins us back on the podcast to share his wealth of knowledge and expertise in the efficacy and effectiveness of vaccines, and how they impact the spread of viruses, specifically of COVID-19. As a communicator of science, Dr. Venditto also talks about the limitations when it comes to the vaccine, sharing facts about science in a clear and concise way. He shares his take on the life cycle of COVID-19, where we are in the timeline of the pandemic, and how long we’ll be in it for. Centers For Independent Living have been charged to promote the vaccine among people with disabilities and Tony shares his experience with common reasons for why people are hesitant to get the vaccine. To help address concerns and answer consumer questions, Tony gets Dr. Venditto’s take on how he would respond to people who don’t want to get the vaccine or who are on the fence about getting the vaccine. Additionally, as a concerned parent, Tony gets Dr. Venditto’s feedback on getting young children vaccinated. Dr. Vincent J. Venditto is an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky. He received training in vaccine design and immunology and continues to investigate vaccine strategies to better understand how the immune system works in disease progression. He obtained a BS in chemistry from Gettysburg College and then worked for two years at the NCI, NIH as a cancer research trainee before attending graduate school. He obtained a PhD in chemistry from Texas A&M University and worked on vaccine development as an NIH postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Francisco. Students and fellows in his lab come from diverse backgrounds with interests in chemistry, biology, drug delivery and experimental therapeutics, but a common goal of exploring novel methods to modulate the immune system. Students and fellows in his lab are encouraged to utilize their skills to advance projects while learning new skills to better appreciate the various aspects of designing novel immunotherapies.
53:48
June 16, 2022
Disability Dojo: How Eastern Philosophy Can Help To Keep Us Grounded During Challenging Times
This episode is a continuation of recent dojos, regarding how we can best cope with the challenging things that are going in our lives. Tony shares how philosophy can help us to ground us and how we can use utilize philosophy to help mitigate the challenges and suffering that may be present in our lives. Philosophy is important in terms of anchoring ourselves during difficult times. It has become a pillar that Tony relies upon and one that can be put into daily practice to help him become the best version of himself. On this dojo, Tony provides a broad overview of his understanding of eastern philosophy and how it pertains to his life, as someone with a disability and perhaps, how it could relevant to others who have a disability. If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
30:30
June 13, 2022
Courage To Lean Into The Uncertainty With Kaley Mayer
Kaley Mayer is the Community Resource Specialist at Epilepsy Alliance Florida. On this episode, Tony talks to Kaley about her journey from clinical setting to community work. She joins us today to provide us with information about Epilepsy and a window into what it’s like for people who live with epilepsy and those who care for them. Epilepsy touches millions of people, just in Florida alone. It’s a condition with unclear treatments and those who are diagnosed, live with the unknown on a daily basis. Kaley talks about the courage embodied by those who have epilepsy, to lean into the uncertainty of not knowing when they might have an episode but continue to work and live their life despite it. Epilepsy Alliance Florida is dedicated to supporting those impacted by epilepsy by confronting the spectrum of challenges created by seizures. Established in 1971 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), Epilepsy Alliance Florida (EAF) is the principal agency for epilepsy programs and services sponsored by the State of Florida, servicing over half a million Floridians who live with the condition. For most of our history we were known as Epilepsy Foundation of Florida but in July 2018 we formally changed our name as we co –founded Epilepsy Alliance America, a nation-wide network of community-based epilepsy organizations. EAF also serves as the lead advocate for the rights and needs of people with epilepsy and seizures at the local, county, state and national level. Resources: Epilepsy Alliance Florida Contact Kaley Mayer: kmayer@eafla.org Epilepsy Alliance Florida Services Video
52:34
June 09, 2022
Disability Dojo: Learning How To Move Through Negative Emotions In A Way That Serves Us
On today’s dojo, Tony continues the thread from the last few dojos, connected to the topic of how we may be going through more difficult times and how our emotions affects us through this journey. He walks us through how to lean into our emotions and not away from it, in a way that teaches us in how we perceive life. Tony references the research and book by Dr. Susan David, Emotional Agility, the process of being in the present moment when emotions arise. He unpacks the 4 steps in the emotional agility process: Showing up Stepping out Walking your why Moving on Tony talks about how make better choices for how we speak, how we behave, and how we conduct ourselves. He shares how negative emotions can be he best teachers for us, in living the independent life and being the best version of ourselves. Resources: Emotional Agility, by Dr. Susan David
40:22
June 06, 2022
Believing In Something Positive with Alex Cavalcante
On this episode, Tony continues his experiment on wisdom that transcends time. The intention he hopes to provide, is a philosophical foundation on wisdoms that have stood the test of time and how that can serve as an anchor to help guide us. In his conversation with Alex, they reflect upon a poem that can serve as a counsel for the ages. Together, they discuss deep and powerful principles and values, and how to work those into a conceptual framework that may fit into today’s times. They share their ideations on how we can integrate this wisdom into practice and become better versions of ourselves; with the idea being that if we can become better versions of ourselves through understanding these wisdoms, then we can be better for those in our lives.
01:09:26
June 03, 2022
Disability Dojo: How Are You Doing? How Is It Going? How Are You?
On today’s dojo, Tony gives us a peek into the world of psychology, through the lens of his lived experiences. He shares how psychology has helped him to process things throughout his life, such as his emotions and going through adversities. So what does psychology have to teach us about how to have a strong inner citadel? Having knowledge about psychology can help us to process things like our emotions. From his personal perspective and experience, Tony has found emotions to be one of the most powerful dimensions of the human condition. He reflects on how emotions have been a driver in many of the decisions he’s made throughout his life. Psychology can help us to arrive at a place where we can lean into our emotions with courage and be curious to learn why we’re having them. Understanding how to process our emotions can help us to be resilient when we encounter suffering and hardships.
31:35
May 31, 2022
Putting The Practice of Values and Virtues Into Our Daily Lives With Alex Cavalcante
Over the next couple long form interviews, Tony and Alex discusses knowledge and wisdom that has been shared through the ages. These next couple episodes are also connected to the recent dojo episodes where Tony has talked about how we are all going through am amplified level of anxiety and stress. In these conversations, Tony shares the importance of being anchored in age tested wisdoms and how that anchoring can provide a solid foundation for staying centered and grounded during uncertain times and experiencing extra challenges in our life. On this episode, Tony will be taking us through some ancient wisdom and sharing that wisdom with Alex. Alex has been working with CIL NCF for a few years, in areas of employment to help consumers with finding jobs. More recently, he is now on their leadership team as a project manager. Alex helps to lead the workforce incentive program and assistance program, as well as, runs the youth leadership forum, helping our youth to obtain the social and leadership skills that are needed to help them succeed. Resources: A prayer of St. Francis of Assisi I Am, Directed by Tom Shadyac Prayer of Saint Francis, by Sarah McLachlan Prayer of Saint Francis, by Oracão de São Francisco
52:45
May 26, 2022
Disability Dojo: Resilience and Fortitude During Adversity
On this dojo, Tony talks about about how philosophical principals that were founded centuries ago, like Stoicism, still apply and resonate with the adversities we face today. Many of the philosophies were founded on misfortune but it shows us how we can find meaning and purpose through suffering. On this episode, Tony continues on the thread of suffering and shares the philosophies he finds helpful for when we go through difficult and dark times. If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
39:35
May 23, 2022
Social Etiquettes and How To Communicate Effectively With People With Disabilities, Part 2
This episode is part 2 of the collaboration between Centers For Independent Living and The American Red Cross, coming together to help educate volunteers, staff, and supervisors about meeting the needs of people with disabilities during disasters. The phenomenal folks who work within these organizations dive deep into a conversation about how to communicate with people with disabilities during disasters and discuss ideas on how they can help with accommodations while sheltering. Coming out of the recent conversation Tony had with Deborah on the previous episode, we learned that there are approximately 200,000 volunteers that work for the Red Cross, so getting the proper communications and training to each of them can be quite a heavy lift. It is imperative to help educate people, especially those with limited experience in helping to serve people with disabilities. Through collaboration, The American Red Cross has become a wonderful partner in helping to facilitate opening the door for Centers For Independent Living to connect with their volunteers and staff. This is a special episode in that you get a peak behind the scenes of what its like when high level collaborations occur, resulting in trainings that are helpful to volunteers who work to ensure the safety of the community is met when it is needed most. Resources:  Look For The Helpers With Deborah Koch For all things Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/ Volunteer Opportunities: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html#step1 Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/inclusive-preparedness-resources.html
01:27:13
May 19, 2022
Disability Dojo: The Inner Citadel
On this dojo, Tony talks about what can we learn from those who have an impenetrable inner citadel and how we can work towards building one for ourselves. The inner citadel is a powerful concept for Tony to adapt into his life. Continuing the conversation from the previous dojo about suffering, this episode talks about the inner citadel being a tool that can help us make sense of suffering, so that we can become better through that suffering. So what is the concept of the inner citadel? Tony came across the inner citadel through his studying of the stoics and stoic philosophy, which is meant to be put into practice for the purpose of helping us to become better people. The inner citadel is an inner fortress and inside that fortress is the true essence of who we are. According to the Epictetus, if we have a strong inner citadel, then our true self can never be harmed. This fortress which protects the true essence of who we are is something that according to the stoics, we are not born with; we have to create this inner citadel to protect our true selves. And not only do we need to create it, but we have to cultivate it, foster it, nurture it, maintain it, and sustain it over time.
32:08
May 16, 2022
Look For The Helpers With Deborah Koch
Deborah (Debbie) Koch) [pronounced kotch] leads the American Red Cross Greater Miami and the Keys Chapter as the executive director. Debbie served as the president of the Junior League of Miami in 2018-2019, an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. In her 10 years with the League, she previously served as executive vice president, vice president of community and in several chair positions. Prior to the Red Cross, Debbie served as marketing director for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, covering the east coast of the U.S. She joined J.P. Morgan following a decade at Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust where she helped grow the bank from four to seven offices and nearly doubled deposits to over $1 billion. She began her banking career at BankUnited, rebranding the bank from a small local company to a state-wide institution. Her previous experience was in marketing and public relations for nonprofit arts organizations. She is active in the community, serving as a member of the United Way Financial Stability Impact Council and Women United. She sits on the Boards of the Miami-Dade Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) and FRIEND, Inc, the County’s long-term recovery agency. An art lover, she is active as a Friend of the Pérez Art Museum Miami and serves on the Prizm Art Fair Advisory Board. In June 2021, she received the Monsignor Walsh Human Services Professional Award from the United Way of Miami-Dade which recognizes a human services professional who has dedicated his or her career to helping others. In February 2022, she received the Jewish Community Services Community Champion Award. Debbie received her MBA from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Florida. She is an avid Gator fan, and enjoys yoga, reading and traveling. Resources: For all things Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/ About our Founder, Clara Barton: https://www.redcross.org/about-us/who-we-are/history/clara-barton.html Volunteer Opportunities: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html#step1 Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/inclusive-preparedness-resources.html
58:14
May 13, 2022
Disability Dojo: Finding Meaning In Suffering
In today’s dojo, Tony talks about suffering. For the purpose of this dojo, suffering is being used as a catchall word that could mean a variety of feelings many of us may be feeling: it could mean anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness.. it could mean a lot of different things. In this episode, Tony’s intent is to have a discussion of thoughts that he has had around suffering, especially when we zoom out and take a look at such aspects like inequality, economic challenges, world events taking place today, etc. As the center is picking back up with serving more people and reconnecting with consumers in person versus virtually, what Tony has seen more recently is that they’re meeting people who have more complicated needs than ever before and on levels they’ve never seen in the past. With the passage of time, Tony has been able to reflect and see how these experiences have helped to fortify and put him in better places in his life had he not gone through them. That suffering lead to him being in a better place and giving him values and knowledge that he wouldn’t have had otherwise. Tony also shares how there may also be the opportunity to find meaning and purposes through the suffering that we experience. Resources: Viktor Frankl Boundless Heart by Christina Feldman
23:35
May 09, 2022
Journey To Self Advocacy and Leaning Into Fear with Sarah Goldman
Sarah Goldman is the Director of Youth Leadership at The Florida Independent Living Council (FILC). On this episode with Sarah takes us through her journey into advocacy, what she’s learned along the way, how she leans into her fears, and the important of empathy and resilience. She shares about how her father taught her the importance of never taking no for an answer and if someone says no, you work to figure out a way to do it. Sarah shares her specific activities that she does in her role with FILC and talks about the Youth Leadership Forum, which will be held summer 2022 in Tallahassee. She talks about how YLF has a formula for empowerment, helps to solidify a unity and community of people with disabilities, and how it provides access to resources and opportunities. Tony and Sarah have dive into the issues that are important to the younger generation today, such as employment and disability benefits. They also discuss the pandemic, social isolation, and both the advantages and pitfalls of social media. Together, they share an important conversation regarding personal care assistance and how it plays a key role in providing independence for those with disabilities, as well as, the issues regarding high quality personal care assistance to help people maintain their independence. Sarah is truly an inspirational individual with a lot of heart and a lot of knowledge and experience to teach others about how to live an independent life and to live a life of unity. To learn more about The Youth Leadership Forum and how to apply, visit: https://www.floridacils.org/youth-leadership-forum Florida Independent Living Council, Inc. 1882 Capital Circle NE. Suite 202 Tallahassee, Florida 32308 Phone: 850-488-5624 www.floridasilc.org Listen to previous conversations with Sarah: Self Advocacy and Youth Leadership with Sarah Goldman Florida Youth Leadership Forum
01:08:14
May 05, 2022
Disability Dojo: Sleep and Recovery
On today’s dojo, Tony continues the series on energy, as he dives into the importance of sleep. For Tony, physical activity, nutrition, and sleep are 3 pillars that we can conduct to maximize our energy level. It’s important to keep our energy levels up to ensure we’re functioning on an optimal level, and to have each of these pillars integrated optimally. In his own experience, Tony has found that people either have a sleep disorder or have disordered sleep. Simply put- it’s quite rare to find someone who is getting the recommend 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. On this episode, he shares the health benefits as it relates to sleep because it is so important in terms of being restorative to our brain activity to optimize our brain functioning. Tony’s wish if for all of us to have more energy in our days and for us to be the best version of ourselves possible.
29:09
May 02, 2022
Taking Back The Pen and Rewriting Our Story With Lindsey Telg
On part 2 of our conversation with Lindsey, we go deep on trauma informed care, the powerful utility of describing the story of who we are and approaching it in a way that is therapeutic and healing. Lindsey talks about her struggles with anxiety & depression, how she has coped with it and ultimately how its been a good teacher and lesson for her in order to overcome the stigma associated with it and leaning into that vulnerability with courage, being able to tell her own story, and doing it in a way that allows her to still be a productive and high achieving individual. About Lindsey: For Lindsey, this is more than a profession. She has personally walked the same path many of her clients face. Lindsey is an adoptive Mommy; the parent of a child who has overcome severe feeding aversion. She has struggled with her own chronic health conditions. Lindsey really “gets it”. She has been an Occupational Therapist for 7 years working with children and adults across a variety of settings. She’s also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida and enjoys sharing her passion for this profession with students. And she loves living in Gainesville! Lindsey works very collaboratively with her clients. Together, she makes sure her clients are the very best version of themselves. She has specialized training in feeding therapy, mental health and trauma-based interventions. Her goal is to make sure that kids and adults are able to participate in all the activities that are meaningful to them, in a way they can feel proud of. Resources: LCS Occupational Therapy
46:50
April 28, 2022
Disability Dojo: Healthy Nutrition
Continuing the thread of having energy and vitality in our every day lives, Tony expands onto the importance of cultivating healthy and sustainable energy, especially for those with disabilities. On today’s dojo, Tony walks us through how to achieve healthy nutrition with what we eat and put into our bodies. The world health organization says that nutrition is attributable to nearly 95% of the chronic diseases that are the top causes of death. We make the decision every day, regarding what we choose to eat or not eat. The behaviors that are related to nutrition is very skill and education based. Tony shares some of the things that are important to know about nutrition and how it impacts people with disabilities, as it pertains to health outcomes and every day life. Nutrition is a factor that is attributed to being able to improve such things as our academic performance and our ability to focus. They’ve seen this in schools where they access the nutrition of students and the evidence is pointing towards the fact that when students and those in learning environments are eating healthy, the brain works more optimally. People’s productivity also tends to be connected to what they are eating and when they are eating, so these are very impactful factors to be considered for health, academic learning, work performance, and quality of life. If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
39:13
April 25, 2022
Occupational Therapy with Lindsey Telg
For Lindsey, this is more than a profession. She has personally walked the same path many of her clients face. Lindsey is an adoptive Mommy; the parent of a child who has overcome severe feeding aversion. She has struggled with her own chronic health conditions. Lindsey really “gets it”. She has been an Occupational Therapist for 7 years working with children and adults across a variety of settings. She’s also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida and enjoys sharing her passion for this profession with students. And she loves living in Gainesville! Lindsey works very collaboratively with her clients. Together, she makes sure her clients are the very best version of themselves. She has specialized training in feeding therapy, mental health and trauma-based interventions. Her goal is to make sure that kids and adults are able to participate in all the activities that are meaningful to them, in a way they can feel proud of. Resources: LCS Occupational Therapy
42:21
April 21, 2022
Disability Dojo: Physical Activity
On today's dojo, Tony talks to us about physical activity- the importance of moving and being active on a regular basis in our daily lives. Tony has a wealth of experience in adaptive physical activity, teaching people with disabilities how they can be physically active no matter what kind of disability you may have. The amazing thing about adapted physical activity is that we can modify movements that are based on people’s capabilities and skills. He also breaks down the principles of fitness to help us stay consistent along our journey of implementing physical activity into our daily lives, which include: the principle of overload, progression, recovery, specificity, and variety. Tony also discusses the importance of being in line with your why and aligning yourself with the right motivation to go the extra mile in adhering to physical activity in order to take care of your body and overall health. If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
44:25
April 18, 2022
Building Ramps, Building Lives, and The Amazing Give with Mark Brisbane
The Center For Independent Living North Central Florida's Wheelchair Ramp Building Program continues to make a difference in people’s lives, improving their quality of life, emotional well-being, and their ability to live independently and have adequate access into the community. People needing wheelchair ramps are often without the financial means to have one built themselves. In Florida, there are very limited resources to assist individuals with disabilities in building a ramp at their home. Having a wheelchair ramp is not a luxury, but a necessity that many people are living without, and there continues to be an overwhelming amount of requests for wheelchair ramps to the Center, almost every other day. Imagine not being able to access your own home or enjoy going out into your community any time you wish. Imagine being so dependent on others and being carried in and out of your own home when you have appointments or simply want to go shopping. This is the daily reality for so many people, such as Mark, a wheelchair user who recently shared his story of needing a wheelchair ramp years ago and the difference it has made. For three years, family and friends had to carry or pull him in and out of his home for doctor’s appointments, errands or simply wanting to enjoy the outdoors. After a long wait, Mark eventually had his ramp built, and he is thrilled that he has access to the community, and is living a more independent life! Mark Brisbane is the program manager for one of the five core services that The Center For Independent Living offers. He’s also the Director for CIL’s Building Ramps, Building Lives program, which installs wheelchair ramps into the homes that do not have the financial means to obtain a wheelchair ramp. On this special episode, Tony and Mark aim to raise awareness and to raise funding for this prevalent issue faced by too many people in our community: access to a wheelchair ramp so they can go to and from their home safely. To Donate: https://www.theamazinggive.org/organizations/center-for-independent-living-of-north-central-florida For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
43:28
April 13, 2022
Disability Dojo: Energy, Vitality, and Health
Riding the continual momentum of the spring season, on today’s dojo, Tony talks about how we can be in alignment with this time of the season. The season of spring is vibrant with energy and vitality. He shares his that he often struggles with feelings of not being able to meet the demands of everyday life with a certain level of energy. Tony’s goal for the next few dojos is to share about how we can maximize the energy systems of our body, mind, and spirit. Resources: Disability Dojo: Preparation Disability Dojo: Creating Your Own Mission Statement and Finding Inner Peace Disability Dojo: Cultivating Unconditional Love For All Disability Dojo: To Be Of Service To Others Disability Dojo: The Resistance Behind Behavior Change Disability Dojo: How The Resistance Manifests in Our Lives Disability Dojo: How to Beat The Resistance If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
19:34
April 11, 2022
Leadership and Opportunities with Deidra Simon
Deidra Simon is the Executive Director at Gainesville Opportunity Center. Her passion for serving persons with disabilities has allowed her to operate in fulfilling roles. Deidra has had the privilege of providing accessible communication, employment services, and direct case management to the disabled community. These efforts have led to the reduction/removal of barriers, allowing persons with disabilities to live more independent lives. Additionally, Deidra has earned a Bachelors degree in Public Administration, which supports her passion for leadership in the nonprofit sector. She enjoys connecting with individuals who care about professional development and providing life changing support and services to others. Resources: Gainesville Opportunity Center
56:21
April 07, 2022
Disability Dojo: Spring Renewal
Spring is a time of renewal and blossoming of life. On today’s dojo, Tony shares how he sees his life occurring in seasons and just like the onset of spring- the new season ahead allows us to be renewed with fresh energy and inspiration. He talks about how we can integrate spring and the newness of it, into advocacy. At Centers For Independent Living, just as in life, there will always be issues that will never fully be solved because these issues will long outlive all us. Spring has a way of offering a sense of renewed energy, enthusiasm, and motivation to address these ever present and infinite issues that will always be a cause for work to be done. While routine is important to the ways we operate, variety is also necessary to really change things up and, to see and do things differently. While ongoing issues may seem familiar, there is a newness and freshness to these issues with a new season because there may be new eyes now be present to see the situation from different lenses and provide different perspectives. It is important to have a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration to tackle these ever present issues that will be with us for a long time. Spring brings newness to provide a burst of renewal for continuing on the path to always improve upon ourselves and the organization we serve, helping us to achieve our goals.
25:57
April 04, 2022
Florida Disability and Health Programs with Claudia Friedel
Claudia Friedel managed the University of Florida’s portion of the Florida Disability and Health Program (FDHP) for over 11 years. The FDHP was one of 19 CDC-funded, state-level Disability and Health grants working to make evidence-based health promotion programs accessible to persons with disabilities. Claudia first came to work for the FDHP after receiving her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Florida. Her past experiences interacting with children and persons with disabilities fueled her motivation to make the program a success. The FDHP coordinated with several programs to ensure they were being inclusive of children and persons with disabilities by working closely with the Florida Department of Health and various other state-wide and National disability programs to implement adapted evidence-based programs with inclusion in mind. The FDHP implemented adapted school health programs at several Florida elementary schools and adapted Diabetes Prevention Programs in several counties, as well as training healthcare providers on the importance of being disability competent. Claudia now works for a private healthcare company and enjoys spending her time with her husband and two young boys.   Resources: UF Office on Disability & Health Dr. Nicole Maslow University of Florida Reports and Publications   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
01:00:54
March 31, 2022
Disability Dojo: There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk
Alex Cavalcante joins Tony on this special dojo to share his perspective on a simple, yet deeply insightful poem written by Portia Nelson that beautifully describes the stages of transformation in a simple and concise way. “I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost... I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in the same place. But, it isn't my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It's a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. I walk down another street.” ― Portia Nelson, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery
21:13
March 28, 2022
Emergency Management with Kevin Towles
Emergency Management Specialist, Kevin Towles joins us to talk about emergency management and how centers for independent living are involved in emergency management. Also, why are they involved in emergency management? People with disabilities tend to be most impacted by disasters and are most vulnerable before, during and after disasters. Centers for Independent living is in the business of keeping people with disabilities in the community. When disasters like hurricanes and pandemics occur, people with disabilities tend to be more susceptible to being institutionalized. Their mission is to divert any institutionalized care from happening in the first place and to ensure that people stay in their community to whatever extent possible. Kevin works hard to ensure those in the community are ready; that they’re prepared and are able to respond to any disaster that might happen.   Register for the Emergency Preparedness Expo in Marion County and Alachua County below:   5th ANNUAL MARION COUNTY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EXPO English: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/5th-annual-emergency-prep-expo-for-people-with-disabilities-tickets-183672026977 Spanish: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/5ta-expo-anual-de-preparacion-para-emergencias-personas-con-discapacidades-tickets-203802728447   ALACHUA COUNTY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS EXPO English: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/emergency-preparedness-for-people-with-disability-in-alachua-county-registration-185091091437 Spanish: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/preparacion-para-emergencias-para-personas-con-discapacidad-en-el-condado-d-tickets-203789408607   For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
50:18
March 24, 2022
Disability Dojo: where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going
Two years ago in 2020, shut downs began to happen all over the world as a result of COVID-19. On this dojo, Tony reflects on these past two years in terms of the changes that have occurred, the shifts that we’ve been forced to make, and the lessons we can take away from this to ensure we live our lives to the best of our ability. When confronted by our own mortality, how can be best take care of ourselves and how can we be there for others and lift them up?   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
32:58
March 21, 2022
Never Give Up Advocating with Jane Johnson
The 2022 legislative session has been quite the roller coaster ride. Jane joins us once again on today’s episode to share an update to the end of the legislative season. While the process may be messy and feel discouraging along the way, making an impact requires consistent effort to yield progress over time and to allow continual movement forward. The election in November will bring new faces to the senate so it is important for CILs to get to know their legislators and meet their elected officials so they can see the good work being done in the community. There is always work to be done; a lesson to take away from this legislative season is that its never over until its over and to never give up advocating.   For helpful general information and links to the House and Senate websites, statutes, the Florida Constitution and a directory of Florida lobbyists visit: Online Sunshine You can also visit: Florida House of Representatives The Florida Senate The Florida Channel
43:31
March 17, 2022
Disability Dojo: Death
Death is part of the human condition. It’s something we will all experience and go through. On this dojo, Tony talks openly about how short and fragile life is- we never know when we will go, so how can we spend the time we have in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling. There is so much we can learn from death- how we process it and how important it is to implement those lessons into our lives. Tony’s hope for those listening to this dojo is for death to become an important teacher for us and to start thinking about how we can process death in a way that helps to serve us.   Resources: Five Stages of Grief by Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler
27:18
March 14, 2022
A Conversation on Mortality with Mark Bennett
On today’s episode, we welcome back Mark Bennett, who joins Tony in a vulnerable conversation about death and losing loved ones. Mark shares the lessons that he’s learning from death and also, how it relates to organizational growth. Mark conveys how organizations need to prepare with coming to terms with letting go of old habits or patterns of doing business, and how we need to let go of the notion of returning to how things were before the pandemic. He dives into how organizations can grow from deaths of certain aspects that may be holding the back their progress. Mark also offers advice on how to reconcile relationships within a organizations or within families. Mark brings tremendous value on this episode. On a personal level- we are all going to experience the passing of loved ones, and learning how to move through that process helps us in our personal lives. On an organizational level- how can we be apart of an organization in a way that helps it grow and achieve its mission, especially now when we are challenged in ways we’ve never been challenged before and how we can live to be our highest purpose every day.   Mark D. Bennett is the principal of Uniting by Design LLC, a consulting firm with a mission to help leaders unite organizations that deliver superior results, earn ethical reputations, and adapt to change.  He left the practice of law for graduate study in counseling psychology and family therapy. Then, he began to work with a wide range of organization disputes as a full time mediator. These disputes included staff, leaders, and boards of businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and international organizations. Twenty five years ago, he shifted his focus from cleaning up organizational problems to promoting organizational health. He serves as a workshop presenter on leadership, teaming, conflict resolution, values-based decision making, and creative collaboration. He is also a leadership coach and facilitates collaboration, wise planning, and critical decision making.  He has written three books: Uniting by Design: the Architecture of Creative Collaboration (2021) - a practical guide to building collaboration in organizations, leadership teams, work teams, alliances, and partnerships. A Field Guide to Good Decisions: Values in Action (2006) – the practical steps of ethical decision making to make difficult decisions with integrity, accountability, and credibility. The Art of Mediation, 2d edition (2005) – the skills of conflict resolution and principled negotiation to help people bridge differences, make agreements, and make peace.   Episode Resources: Mark Bennett | Website Mark Bennett | Email Mark Bennett | LinkedIn Mark Bennett | Book   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Li
01:09:29
March 10, 2022
Disability Dojo: Humility in Learning, Society, and Personal Growth
In the previous dojo, we talked about what humility is and what it isn’t. On today’s dojo, Tony is going to dive into humility as it pertains to learning, society, and personal growth.   Resources: Think Again, by Adam Grant
39:10
March 07, 2022
Early Steps with Marisol Rose
Marisol Rose is a State Parent Consultant for the Early Steps Program at the Florida Department of Health. She joins us today to share her experiences with having a son and daughter with a disability. Marisol talks about accessing Early Steps, a phenomenal resource that helped her our along her journey in raising her two children with disabilities, and how she came to work for the agency. Early Steps is Florida's early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers, age birth to 36 months, who have or are at-risk for developmental disabilities or delays. Early intervention supports families and caregivers to increase their child’s participation in daily activities and routines that are important to the family. Positive early learning experiences are crucial for later success in school, the workplace, and the community. Research shows that children’s earliest experiences play a critical role in brain development. 15 Local Early Steps (LES) throughout the state receive referrals from various primary referral sources. Infants and toddlers are assessed in the following developmental domains to determine eligibility: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional and adaptive. Each child receives an Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP) that meets his or her unique needs. Families also receive support to develop the skills and confidence needed in helping their child learn and develop. Services will support children in their communities where they live, learn and play. There is no income requirement to qualify for the program and although families may choose to allow access to insurance or Medicaid benefits, families are not charged for services.   Resources: Early Steps Marisol Rose | Email
01:10:46
March 03, 2022
Disability Dojo: Humility
On today’s dojo, Tony talks about what he considers to be one of the highest virtues and values that we as humans, can embrace: humility. What is humility, what is it not? The Oxford Dictionary defines humility as a modest or low view of one’s own self importance. Another definition of humility that Tony has found to be more fitting for himself personally, is that humility is freedom from pride and arrogance. On this episode, Tony talks through the life lessons he’s learn, especially in regards to disability through the lens of humility and providing services. He shares that often times, his entryway into humility is going through an experience where he feels vulnerable, when he’s needing to ask for help- and in doing so, he’s leaning into his fears and insecurities. When he is then in a position where others are asking him for help, it provides him a life experience to draw upon and have empathy for others that he recognizes are coming from a place of vulnerability and perhaps just needing some assistance. A valuable lesson he’s learned is how humility provides an opportunity to be grateful for the things you have and to be of service.   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
38:02
February 28, 2022
Legislative Update with Jane Johnson
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” -H.L. Mencken We are back with Jane Johnson this week, as she provides us with an update for the current legislative session. 'Tis the season of legislators positioning themselves for future re-elections! So, what does this mean? This means we are in a legislative season where we can expect a lot of red meat issues that really pander to the base and can be very divisive. The issues that Jane and Tony cover on this episode, however, aren't those red meat issues that typically get overblown in the media. Instead, the issues we’re advocating for as a Florida Association For Centers For Independent Living are real issues that affect real people. Some of these issues are related to funding that will allow people to stay in their homes, to provide home modifications, durable medical equipment, and assistive technologies, to name a few. One of the most fruitful parts of today's conversation is to help us, the residents of the state of Florida and for anyone who follows politics, to not be bamboozled by issues that are meant to distract us. They also talk about what we can do to not buy into the issues that are intentionally meant to be illusive in order to create fear, division, and keep us polarized.   For helpful general information and links to the House and Senate websites, statutes, the Florida Constitution and a directory of Florida lobbyists visit: Online Sunshine You can also visit: Florida House of Representatives The Florida Senate The Florida Channel      
50:49
February 24, 2022
Disability Dojo: Salvation Through Suffering
Salvation comes from finding purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in life. In our previous two long form interviews, we had the privilege of having Jacob Atem, who shared his story of survival, resiliency, and adovacy. In this dojo, Tony takes the opportunity to reflect upon the lessons and takeways he’s received from knowing and talking to Jacob: Perspective Resilience Overcoming Inequities Unity Love wins   Listen to our Interview with Jacob: Surviving Civil War and The Journey of a Lost Boy with Jacob Atem Resilience In The Face Of Adversity With Jacob Atem   Resources: Jacob Atem Imagining A Journey: Jacob Atem at TEDxUF Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization How A Lost Boy From Sudan Found His True Calling In The U.S.
23:08
February 21, 2022
Resilience In The Face Of Adversity With Dr. Jacob Atem
Jacob was six years old when his parents and several of his siblings were killed by northern Sudanese Arab militias waging war on southern Sudan. The militia entered his village, killed men, kidnapped women and children and burned homes to the ground. Jacob was in a nearby cattle field during the attack. He ran to the forest with his older cousin to escape danger when he saw the smoke rising from the village. That day was the beginning of a thousand-mile journey for Jacob as he searched for protection amidst war. During their journey, with northern forces closely behind, they often hid during the day and walked all night. With lion attacks a constant danger, they made timetables to decide who would sleep while the other stood watch. They ran from lion attacks and swam through alligator-infested waters, and eventually they made it to safety in Kenya. Listen to Part 1 of our conversation with Jacob: Surviving Civil War and The Journey of a Lost Boy with Dr. Jacob Atem   Resources: Jacob Atem Imagining A Journey: Jacob Atem at TEDxUF Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization How A Lost Boy From Sudan Found His True Calling In The U.S. Jacob stayed in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya until he came to the United States when he was 15. He was sent to Michigan, where he lived with a foster family and received his high school and college education. Jacob traveled to the University of Florida to get his Ph.D. after he received his bachelors and master’s degree in Michigan. He currently lives in Florida with his wife, Linda, and his two kids, Samuel Dut and Theodore Yai. He graduated in December 2017 with his Ph.D. in environmental and global health, and he plans to use his education to help people around the world.
46:47
February 17, 2022
Disability Dojo: How to Beat the Resistance
On this dojo, we continue the dialogue on how we are all called to live our life’s purpose and it is our job to find what that purpose is. Unfortunately, many of us have an un-lived life because the of the resistance, an invisible force that can felt and heard, preventing us from living our calling. On this episode, Tony shares some strategies on how to beat the resistance, which aims to bring us down: Understanding and having faith that resistance is something that’s real Awareness and observing the resistance; being aware of the resistance and it’s negative voices and redirecting your awareness to more positive thoughts Be a professional; show up to do the work that’s necessary to not allow resistance to bring us down Having order and routine in our life to keep us on track and protect us against the resistance that will show up in our day to day lives Asking daily questions to set your mindset and intentions for the day: What can I look forward to, what do I need to look out for, and where can I bring the joy? Building a wall of virtue; what wall of virtue do we need to build to fortify ourselves against the resistance Patience; being able to have the patience with ourselves as we journey on this path of always having to face that resistance Self-love; loving ourselves enough to go live our calling Treating success and failure the same Be free from the opinions of other people Be inspired and not passionate; to be inspired is to be within our spirit Specific skill based strategies on how we can beat the resistance Memento Mori: Realizing our own mortality and living our life like this is our last day and living it to the best of our capabilities   Resources: Steven Pressfield: The War of Art The Resistance Behind Behavioral Change How the Resistance Manifests in Our Daily Lives Disability Dojo series on stress: Paying Attention to Stress Behavioral Techniques for Stress Cognitive Base Strategies to Deal With Stress in Healthy Ways  
29:19
February 14, 2022
Surviving Civil War and The Journey of a Lost Boy with Jacob Atem
Jacob was six years old when his parents and several of his siblings were killed by northern Sudanese Arab militias waging war on southern Sudan. The militia entered his village, killed men, kidnapped women and children and burned homes to the ground. Jacob was in a nearby cattle field during the attack. He ran to the forest with his older cousin to escape danger when he saw the smoke rising from the village. That day was the beginning of a thousand-mile journey for Jacob as he searched for protection amidst war. During their journey, with northern forces closely behind, they often hid during the day and walked all night. With lion attacks a constant danger, they made timetables to decide who would sleep while the other stood watch. They ran from lion attacks and swam through alligator-infested waters, and eventually they made it to safety in Kenya. Jacob stayed in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya until he came to the United States when he was 15. He was sent to Michigan, where he lived with a foster family and received his high school and college education. Jacob traveled to the University of Florida to get his Ph.D. after he received his bachelors and master’s degree in Michigan. He currently lives in Florida with his wife, Linda, and his two kids, Samuel Dut and Theodore Yai. He graduated in December 2017 with his Ph.D. in environmental and global health, and he plans to use his education to help people around the world.   Resources: Jacob Atem Imagining A Journey: Jacob Atem at TEDxUF Southern Sudan Healthcare Organization How A Lost Boy From Sudan Found His True Calling In The U.S.
01:03:57
February 10, 2022
Disability Dojo: How the Resistance Manifests in Our Lives
In this dojo, we continue the conversation on the resistance and talk specifically about how it shows up and how it manifests in our every day lives. Tony walks us through the different ways that resistance can manifest itself in our lives to prevent and distract us from being who we really are and from living our highest value: Procrastination Anything that would be addicting Self-help and healing used as distractions Consumer culture and shopping Ego Self-dramatization Unhappiness Self-Doubt Loneliness Resentment and grievances Guilt and shame Sorrow Victimhood Hypocrisy in others Fundamentalism Cruelty to others In today’s dojo, we discuss specific examples so we can learn how to beat this force that can kill our dreams and kill our calling. We are all capable of doing it but we have to first realize that it’s real and be able to define and describe it. Resistance doesn’t care about us, it cares about shutting down who we are called to be.   Resources: Steven Pressfield: The War of Art
39:59
February 07, 2022
Critical Thinking and Communicating Science with Dr. Vincent Venditto
We welcome Dr. Vincent Venditto back onto the podcast to talk about the recent updates regarding the COVID pandemic, vaccinations, and looking ahead to adapting to a brave new world. On this episode, Tony and Dr. Venditto dive into the importance of communicating science and understanding the scientific process. This conversation dives into understanding how science is a method- that there is no such thing as a perfect experiment when it comes to collecting data because there are things that we can’t predict or miss when originally designing experiments. This is why the peer-reviewed process is so important, as it serves to help authors identify the potential things that may have been missed when designing their experiment. Together, Tony and Dr. Venditto discuss how science can be communicated better, how we could start teaching critical thinking in early education and build that foundation at an early age, and how to have healthy skepticism about the information being given to us.   Dr. Vincent J. Venditto is an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Kentucky. He received training in organic synthesis and vaccine development. He obtained a BS in chemistry from Gettysburg College and then worked for two years at the NCI, NIH as a cancer research trainee before attending graduate school. He obtained a PhD in chemistry from Texas A&M University and worked on vaccine development as an NIH postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Francisco. Students and fellows in his lab come from diverse backgrounds with interests in chemistry, biology, drug delivery and experimental therapeutics, but a common goal of exploring novel methods to modulate the immune system. Students and fellows in his lab are encouraged to utilize their skills to advance projects while learning new skills to better appreciate the various aspects of designing novel immunotherapies.   Resources: Addressing Concerns and Resistance to the COVID-19 Vaccine with Dr. Vincent Venditto The Importance of COVID-19 Vaccinations with Dr. Vincent Venditto Dr. Vincent Venditto | UK College of Pharmacy  
54:38
February 03, 2022
Disability Dojo: The Resistance Behind Behavior Change
On today’s dojo, Tony gets into what he considers to be the biggest reason why many of us don’t live the life we’re meant to live. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about The Resistance, as described by Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art. In the subsequent dojo episodes, we’ll then talk about how it manifests in our lives and how we can go about beating this resistance. Why is this relevant to people with disabilities? People with disabilities face an even greater resistance in their lives and have more reasons and excuses to not live the life they’re meant to live. As we dive into the characteristics and identifying the resistance, Tony’s hope is that we’ll be able to see how it truly is a force that impacts everyone. The problem is most of us don’t even see it, acknowledge it, or realize that we’ve already or are currently being affected by it.   Resources: Steven Pressfield: The War of Art  
28:42
February 01, 2022
Transitioning Into The Real World and Cultivating Human Connection with Drew Dees
As someone who has a disability, Drew has 23 plus years of lived experience and 7 years of experience working with and advocating for people with disabilities. Since 2014, he has worked as a freelance motivational speaker and advocate giving talks to various organizations throughout the state of Florida. During that time, he has also served as the Media Relations Coordinator for the Gainesville “Night to Shine” Prom for people with disabilities sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. He recently graduated this past summer from the University of Florida with his Bachelors of Science in Telecommunication-News. During his time at UF he was heavily involved in advocating for disability rights through UF organizations, such as, Disability Ambassadors and serving as a student advocate for the Disability Resource Center on campus. Since graduation from the University of Florida, Drew has joined the wonderful CIL team serving as the High School High Tech program coordinator for Alachua Rural and Levy counties. In his role, he assist high school students with disabilities take their next life adventure after high school, with a focus on employment for people with disabilities. High School High Tech was created to empower young adults to pursue their dreams in areas including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through job shadowing, internships, and workshops. Being able to guide other people with disabilities like himself on their journeys to becoming productive members of society has been such a rewarding experience for Drew. “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” -Franklin D Roosevelt   Resources: Drew's News Podcast   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office) 
58:12
January 27, 2022
Disability Dojo: To Be Of Service To Others
As Tony concludes this dojo miniseries on life mission statements, he hopes it can serve as an example of why creating and having mission/vision statements for ourselves is important, as it can provide awareness and clarity especially during uncertain times. It might also serve as a compass for when we may not know where we’re going or it can help to keep us grounded. Service to others is what Tony finds to be his purpose. In reflecting on why and how he’s become involved in serving others, he has his parents to thank for leading by example  and giving him the opportunity to see life from different perspectives and circumstances. On this dojo, he breaks down the components of service, based on his personal life experiences with serving others and his community: Privilege: it is a privilege and an honor to be able to serve Vulnerability: being of service requires you to enter into a space of vulnerability Empathy: getting out of our own heads, being selfless instead of selfless Gratitude: having appreciation for being in a position where we can give back to others Sacrifice: service requires an important sacrifice   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
24:10
January 24, 2022
2022 Florida Legislative Session with Jane Johnson
It’s a new year, which means we’re in a new legislative session! On this episode, Jane talks about the culture and climate for the Florida 2022 Legislative Session. She provides an update on COVID, Re-districting, potential Gerrymandering, and breaks down FACIL’s legislative agenda for the year. Jane also highlights other types of legislative actions that are expected to take place, such as, changing the age in which students are considered to have developmental disabilities and eligible for educational services, and funding for the Florida Alliance For Assistive Services and Technology (FAST Program).  She will join us periodically throughout this legislative session to share updates and inform us on what may be coming down the pipeline. Jane’s continued efforts to provide knowledge on the legislative process and terminology helps to educate us on how the process works, which in turn, helps us to be better advocates.   For helpful general information and links to the House and Senate websites, statutes, the Florida Constitution and a directory of Florida lobbyists visit: Online Sunshine You can also visit: Florida House of Representatives The Florida Senate The Florida Channel  
45:48
January 20, 2022
Disability Dojo: Cultivating Unconditional Love For All
Love is a spiritual condition that helps us to find meaning and purpose in our lives. Today’s dojo is a continuation of the previous dojo where Tony talks through the importance of having a mission or vision statement for ourselves, to help guide us through another new year. On this dojo, Tony talks about unconditional love for all and shares how unconditional love breaks down for him, in his life. Today is also Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Tony takes this this time to talk about his message and his vision, and how love ties into a lot of what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for. And one of his most powerful messages is perhaps the message of loving one another. It is in this message of love that we need to look towards to in order to be united, to overcome our differences, and to create a harmonious society.   Resources: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It By: Kamal Ravikant
33:37
January 17, 2022
The Independent Life
This week we continue the message of gratitude and sharing the independent life from the perspective of our guests within the Independent Living network. We have had the privilege of interviewing guests from all walks of life, across all age groups, with vastly different experiences, and an abundant amount of life lessons to share. We hear from leaders who have dedicated their life work towards making a difference in their community, champions for the people who strive to advocate for those unable to advocate for themselves, artists who are forging the path for disability representation in the media, educators and researchers working to examine access and support for those with disabilities, students learning to navigate their way through the education system and gaining resilience through the journey, and established legal professionals who’ve left their corporate career to make a difference in nonprofit work. These perspectives and countless others is what makes the independent living network so impactful, powerful, supportive, and life changing. Join us in leaning into the experiences of those paving the way for advocacy for all.   Listen to the full episodes from our guests featured on this episode: Brian Johnson Brianna Chesteen Jose Morales Max Gastelum James Jones  Mira Gaitanis Zach Staubitz Shirley Bloodsworth Patrick Dodds & Mark Watson Dr. Consuelo Kreider 
18:04
January 13, 2022
Disability Dojo: Creating Your Own Mission Statement and Finding Inner Peace
A mission and vision statement is critical to the success of an organization. From this perspective, Tony thought about the benefits we could gain from creating a mission statement for ourselves, which gives us direction so that we can be successful in our lives. On today’s dojo, Tony shares with us his mission statement and his personal formula for achieving inner peace in his life: Awareness Clarity Non-reactivity Non-resistance Non-judgement Non-attachment Patience Forgiveness Gratitude   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
29:44
January 10, 2022
What Does The Independent Life Mean To You
A new year is upon us, with unlimited potential for how we can continue making strides towards being the best version of ourselves that we can be. On this episode, we take a look back at some of our guests’ responses to “What does the independent life mean to you?” It is through the different perspectives and countless experiences of others that we may broaden our understanding on what it means to live independently for those who have adversities and challenges in their daily lives.   Listen to the full episodes from our guests featured on this episode: Shera Curtis Beth Myers Linda Butler Terri Poucher & Mark Brisbane Drew Dees Tyler Morris Whitney Harris Kathy Elkins Bea Awoniyi  
19:36
January 06, 2022
Disability Dojo: Preparation
2022 may be a year where we continue to see adversity and continue to be challenged. As we enter into the new year, are we thinking about the importance of preparing for what’s ahead? Are we remembering that we have everything within our capacity and control to make sure that we overcome these challenges and to be the best version of ourselves that we can be by facing these adversities?   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
18:37
January 03, 2022
Social Etiquettes and How To Communicate Effectively With People With Disabilities
The American Red Cross approached the Florida Associations of Centers For Independent Living (FACIL) to learn to how they can better and more effectively communicate with people with disabilities during disasters. As we’ve discussed on previous episodes on the podcast, people with disabilities tend to be one of the more high risk populations during disasters and the folks that tend to serve people during disasters, such as those who work at The American Red Cross, were eager to learn how they can better serve this community. On this episode, various Directors within FACIL have a candid conversation with folks at The American Red Cross on social etiquettes, how to effectively communicate with people with disabilities, what are the recommendations in those communications with people, and collectively share lots of useful information and knowledge on how to better communication with people with disabilities.   What is a Centers for Independent Living? CILs are consumer-driven, non-profit organizations who support community living and independence for people with disabilities based on the belief that all people can live with dignity, make their own choices and participate fully in society. CILs provide tools and supports for integrating people with disabilities fully into their communities. ​​CILs serve all disabilities and all ages in every county in Florida.  All 67 counties in the state of Florida are covered by a center for independent living. We are a disability resource center with a mission to keep people with disabilities living in the community, independently. We serve all disabilities and all ages, proving a wide array of different services, free of charge.   Where are Flor​ida's Centers for Independent Living? Visit Florida Association of Centers For Independent Living to find a CIL near you.   Resources: Peter O’Connell is the Executive Director for The Center for Independent Living of South Florida, located in downtown Miami Center for Independent Living of South Florida with Peter O’Connell Ciawanda McDonald is the Executive Director of Disability Solutions for Independent Living, covering Volusia and Flagler County Brave Spaces with Ciawanda McDonald Carolyn Grawi is the team leader of the Center for Independent Living of Northwest Florida Dedication To Accessibility and Inclusivity with Carolyn Grawi Brian Johnson Chief is the Program Operator at the Center for Independent Living of Broward Ft. Lauderdale Believing You Can Do Anything with Brian Johnson Harvey Brooks is the Executive Director at Suncoast Center for Independent Living      
01:07:55
December 30, 2021
Disability Dojo: Time
As we approach the end of another year and look ahead to a new year, it is an opportune occasion to reflect on time. Time always seems like it has flown by too quickly when we’re looking back to reflect but when we look forward and when we’re going through it, there never seems to be enough time. And with the pandemic, it’s common to hear that time feels warped this past nearly 2 years. When we take a step back and look at time in the grand scheme of things, life is quick and fragile, and time is extremely precious and the older we get, the faster time seems to fly by. On this dojo, Tony reflects on time; what are we doing with our time? How are we spending our time? Are we working on improving ourselves or are we constantly worried about other things that are outside of our control. He talks about the now being the most valuable point in time; living in the present. He asks you to think about how much you may be sacrificing by not being present- by not thinking and living in the now. What are we doing in our lives to make sure that we’re choosing the right here and right now, to do what we need to do.   Resources: Cal Newport: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
25:48
December 27, 2021
Disability Through the Lens of a Family Member with Kathy Powell
What does the world of disability look like from the lens of family; a mother, a father, brother, sister? Kathy is a mother of two children who have disabilities, who are now young adults. She joins us on this episode to share her rich experiences in this role- what it’s like to receive an early diagnosis of autism for your 8 month old baby and what it’s like to process that information. She shares the experiences she had raising children with disabilities; how it impacted her friendships along the way and what parents with children with disabilities may need to learn about the friendships they have with others. She shares her perspective on teaching young people with disabilities how to be self-advocates. Kathy gives tremendous insight and specific experiences that her children have gone through and dives into what family networks in disabilities is all about. Kathy is also the Project Director for the Parents of the Panhandle Information Network for the Family Network on Disabilities. FND’s mission is to strive for complete integration and equity of people with disabilities in a society without barriers. They serve all persons with disabilities and advocate for inclusion, quality of life, and quality for individuals with disabilities. They serve families of students 0- 26 years. FND provides technical assistance to families and over 30 different workshops, presentations on individualized education programs. They hold 3 parent training and information (PTI) grants, funded by the US Department of Education.   Resources: Family Network on Disabilities Special Education Downloadable Resources: https://fndusa.org/esedownload/ FND’s Guidebook to Transition: https://fndusa.org/resources/transition-tool-kit-2/   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
01:22:39
December 23, 2021
Disability Dojo: Be The Change You Wish To See In The World
On this special Christmas dojo, Tony reflects on having a blessed life but mostly taking the time to remain aware and acknowledge that there are those who are not as fortunate- not just around the holidays, but year round. He reflects through various events throughout the years where he’s gotten the opportunity lend a hand, give his time, and simply just be in presence with those whom we can share our blessings with. Tony invites you to continue to reflect, count your blessings, and seek ways on how we can both pay it forward and give back. How can we be of service during this holiday season? How can we spread joy to those who may be going through tough circumstances? How can we make this world a better place? It all starts with us- giving kindness, supporting one another, lending a helping hand. We invite you to take a step out of your comfort zone, spend some time with those less fortunate, and see how it can change your world ..and heart.
18:31
December 20, 2021
Supporting Families and Raising Independent Children with Debra Saenz
Debra Saenz was born and raised in Gadsden County Florida, where she still resides today. She has been an L.P.N. for over 30 years and has worked in retail pharmacies, hospitals, pediatrician offices and the WIC program. Today, she is employed by the State of Florida in the Title V program as a Family Leader providing a family voice with stakeholders in the Big Bend area. She is the proud mother of 32 year old twin boys who have autism. Debra joins us on this episode to help widen the lens on the world of disability from the perspective of a parent, caregiver, and professional. She shares her experience on raising her sons, who are diagnosed with autism at an early age; attending school in the early 90s where there was very little to no support from teachers, administrators, or from the school system. Debra shares her journey of how she coped with this reality and how she navigated through the challenges to help her sons thrive in life. Her journey has helped her become the person she is today; it has allowed her a pathway into working with parents and families, helping them through these challenges, to give them the resources to be the best parents and support for their children that they can be.   Resources: To learn more about CMS, visit: www.cms-kids.com Partners in Policymaking Florida Children’s Medical Services (CMS) Title V Program Contact: Debbie K. Saenz LPN Phone: (850) 901-8639 Email:   Debra.Saenz@flhealth.gov  
57:57
December 16, 2021
Disability Dojo: How To Improve Our Lives
New Year Resolutions are easy to make but hard to keep. What can we do to be a better person and work towards being the best version of ourselves possible? On this dojo, Tony dives into the steps and various ways methods we can implement when we attempt to make a behavioral or habitual change in our lives. The How starts with ‘The Why’. Why are we doing what we’re doing? Ask yourself, “Why am I choosing this? Why is this so important for me to be doing and is it the right thing for me to do?” ‘The What’ is the mindset that we have and the specific strategies and habits that we have. What is going to be our mindset going into ur behavioral change? Mindset is crucial, so if we’re going to be doing something different, we have to believe that we can do it. And lastly, probably the most important thing as we go into this is our identity- who we identify ourselves as, as we go into this. By de-identifying ourselves from the behavior we want to change from and identifying ourselves with the new one we seek, it can help us get closer to achieving our goals because when we identify with our goals, it helps us to remain consistent and live up to our identity. Join Tony in this conversation as he covers the basics and the ‘how to adapt to a behavioral change: Setting the right goals Making sure we have the proper education and builiding necessary skills to enable us with confidence Utilizing resources Identify the barriers and create if/then plans Time management Managing social inputs Environmental controls Behavior rewards Being intentional in visualizing our behavior Assessment of progress Resources: Atomic Habits by James Clear   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
42:56
December 13, 2021
Dedication to Accessibility and Inclusivity with Carolyn Grawi
Carolyn Grawi is the team leader of the Center for Independent Living of Northwest Florida. She has a deep sense of commitment to our region’s nonprofit sector. She continuously works for the betterment of the community and has served nonprofits at all levels in program, fundraising, executive and leadership and has a breadth of perspective and experience. Since 1987, Carolyn has been engaged in and with the field of disability. Carolyn has been associated with the CIL of Northwest Florida since 2018.  Prior to the CILNWF, from 2004 – 2017, Carolyn served in a variety of roles as the Center for Independent Living including Executive Director.  Carolyn has over 30 years of executive planning, social work, teaching, administration, communications, and marketing experience in the nonprofit sector. She provides leadership and supervision to diverse teams; is an advocate for civil rights; communities’ relationship building; casework to develop reasonable accommodations for consumers in employment and housing; department activities, training, presentations; provides educational consultations on accessibility and sensitivity to city governments, libraries, schools, transit providers, builders, and developers; recommended and implemented policies in conflict management, and other issues. Carolyn is also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work, is a member of the UM School of Social Work Advising Faculty for the Online Certificate in Disability Inclusion and Accessible Design (DIAD) Program, and an adjunct instructor at the University of West Florida Department of Social Work. Carolyn has a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Certificate of Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Michigan Schools of Social Work and Rackham Graduate School. She additionally is a certified Americans with Disability Act Coordinator through the University of Missouri and the Great Plains ADA Center. She is also a Certified Mediator for Dispute Resolution Centers.  “I am dedicated to this work because it provides vital human services and cultural enrichment to our community. When we have inclusive and diverse opportunities, we strengthen our work teams’ effectiveness. When our communities are accessible and inclusive of ALL of us, everyone will have the support to live their life as their best self and increase both their own and others success. I am proud to be involved in so many journeys of success of people and community.” Presently Carolyn Grawi serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of the United Way of West Florida’s Agency Directors’ Association. She is a member of the Policy Committee for the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce (as the Co-Chair of the Economic Recovery Policy Committee and a member of the Quality-of-Life Subcommittee). She is a founding member of Pensacola Civic Con. Carolyn Grawi is a member of the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living Board of Directors and is part of the JP Pass Committee and the Legislative Committee. She is a member of the Florida Independent Living Council Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Carolyn is a member of the Florida Disability Rights Voter Accessibility Rights Committee. She is a member of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area. Carolyn Grawi is a member of the National Association of Social Workers in the Florida and Michigan Chapters and is licensed to practice in both Florida and Michigan.   Resources: Job Accommodation Network Center for Independent Living of Northwest Florida info@cilnwf.org 850-595-5566   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and lis
01:20:34
December 09, 2021
Disability Dojo: Onward and Upward
Tony’s signature sign-off for each episode -onward and upward- serves as a message to always aim for improvement; moving towards a better version of ourselves and recognizing that we’re all a constant work in progress. With the New Year on the horizon, now is a greater time than ever to reflect where we’ve been, assess what went well, and review what could we improve upon? Join Tony on this brain storming dojo where he talks through ideas, areas, and countless ways we can contemplate and learn to integrate our lives, so that we can continuously improve to better versions of ourselves, especially as we look ahead to a new year.   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)    
22:39
December 06, 2021
Elder Options and Services with Kristen Griffis
Since 2007, Kristen Griffis has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Options, located in Gainesville, Florida. Under her direction, Elder Options administers an array of programs and services designed to benefit older adults, persons living with disabilities and their caregivers. Ms. Griffis was raised in Lakeland, Florida and moved to the Gainesville area in early 2000 where she began her work with Elder Options. Prior to being appointed as the Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Griffis served as the Director of Planning and Outcomes Analysis, and then as Elder Options Associate Executive Director. In her more than 20 years with the agency she has seen many changes in the field of aging and has great passion for the work. Ms. Griffis also serves as the President for the Florida Association of Area Agencies on Aging and is a Board member for the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Ms. Griffis earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Central Florida in Public Administration.   Resources: www.agingresources.org Elder Helpline: 1-800-262-2243 The Elder Helpline, a service of Elder Options, is your starting point for seeking information and other kinds of assistance for seniors and their caregivers. The Elder Helpline is part of Florida’s Aging & Disability Resource Center network that provides callers with information, referrals, choices, and assistance in accessing the many services available to older adults, persons with disabilities, their caregivers, and family members.  
01:12:27
December 02, 2021
Disability Dojo: CIL Day at The Capitol with Jane Johnson
Jane Johnson joins us today on a special dojo to talk about CIL Day at the Capitol, advocating for policies supporting people with disabilities. Planned months in advance, the purpose of CIL Day serves as an opportunity for CILs to come to The Capitol, to meet with legislators and present awards of appreciation to the members who supported CIL issues last year. Jane catches us up on how CIL Day went at The Capitol- meeting with all the representatives, senators, and heads of departments and agencies. She also shares plans and what to expect from the upcoming 2022 legislative agenda, as we look ahead into an expansive time that will offer so many different opportunities to better serve people who are in need of living independently. The 2022 Legislative Session kicks off in January; be sure to join us for frequent updates!   For helpful general information and links to the House and Senate websites, statutes, the Florida Constitution and a directory of Florida lobbyists visit: Online Sunshine You can also visit: Florida House of Representatives The Florida Senate The Florida Channel
01:02:36
November 29, 2021
Giving Thanks
Happy Thanksgiving! On this special holiday episode, we are joined by staff at Center For Independent Living North Central Florida - many of whom have previously been a guest on the podcast - to share what they are grateful for in their lives. Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to remind one another of the many reasons there are to be grateful. The holiday season is more than the festivities; it gives us time to reflect upon what lessons we’ve learned and how we can spread happiness around, to look back at all the great memories and good people who came into our lives. At this time of Thanksgiving celebration, our thoughts turn gratefully to you with warm appreciation. May your blessings be multiplied this year and throughout all your life. We hope that you’re surrounded with the love of your dear ones on this festive season. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
22:32
November 25, 2021
Disability Dojo: Gratitude
As we enter into the holiday season and a week primarily centered around gratitude, Tony takes this time to peel back the layers of how we approach gratitude, while keeping a balance with allowing ourselves to feel the tough emotions that come with every day life. Steps to gratitude: Recognition: what are we grateful for and what could we be grateful for; think about what blindspots you may have in your life for the things you could be grateful for Appreciation: feeling gratitude takes reflection and helps you to understand why you feel grateful for something Acknowledgement: the expression of gratitude Tony also shares gratitude exercises you can utilize regularly, which has been shown to significantly increase overall happiness, satisfaction, quality of life, and wellbeing. Additionally, practicing gratitude has also been proven to improve our physical health and health enhancing behaviors, such as, eating better and getting better sleep. Join us in this reflection on gratitude and we invite you to practice these gratitude practices: Journaling: write down what you have to be grateful for and why The gratitude visit: think about someone in your life that has done something to benefit your life; write a letter to this person telling them what they did that made your life better, then deliver this letter to them What went well and why exercise: identify at least one thing in the day that went well and why Happy Thanksgiving and happy gratitude practicing :) If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
34:48
November 22, 2021
Teaching Mentorship and Patient-Centered Care with Dr. Consuelo Kreider
Consuelo Kreider, PhD, OTR/L is a Clinical Assistant Professor where she teaches in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program. Her clinical expertise is in community-based occupational therapy working with individuals and families with neurodevelopmental and psychosocial challenges. Dr. Kreider has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health for investigation of the development of skills, strategies, and supports for fostering the social functioning and self-management of individuals with neurodiversity who are transitioning to new adult roles and social contexts. Her work extends to examination of access to supports and services for rural Veterans with disabilities through the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center – Gainesville. Supports developed through her research have been adopted by the University of Florida and have been judged as an Institute of Education What Works Clearinghouse intervention for post-secondary educational settings.   Resources: Consuelo M Kreider, PhD, OTR/L | Email Graduate Faculty, Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers (VRHRC)   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
01:31:50
November 18, 2021
Disability Dojo: Happiness
On this Disability Dojo, Tony talks about the journey and process of happiness. He explores how the obstacles in life is the way towards happiness and how we learn values and virtues by going through the obstacles. Through this process, we are exploring the meaning of life and can we be happy as we’re going through these experiences, knowing that this process is giving birth to all that we need to learn.   Episode Resources: Dr. Martin Seligman, Father of Positive Psychology    If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
12:53
November 15, 2021
Accessibility Advocacy with Kevin McDaniels
Kevin McDaniel, Editor-in-Chief for Accessibility.com, is an ADA Coordinator and Certified Accessibility Professional, and has served in numerous roles as an advocate for persons with disabilities, including Disabled Services Division Chief, 508 Compliance Officer, and Accessibility Project Manager, and continues to serve on numerous boards and commissions that advocate for persons with disabilities. Kevin has been recognized by the Florida Council of the Blind for his work in improving access to information technology and the City of Jacksonville for his management of the city’s Project Civic Access transition to ADA compliance in coordination with the Department of Justice. He has also received recognition for his work in effective communication by the Independent Center of Northeast Florida and the State of Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. In 2021, the City of Colorado Springs received the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition’s Kathy Vincent Award of Effective Communication for his work in digital accessibility. Learn more about how you and your organization can become a catalyst for equal access to the physical and digital worlds, at Accessibility.com   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
01:26:40
November 11, 2021
Disability Dojo: Virtue
On today’s dojo, Tony dives into virtue. The stoics regard virtue through Summum Bonum- the pursuit of the highest good, which are: courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom. Tony takes us through an exercise where he shares a few stoic ideas for listeners to consider to use to have a better life.   References: Summum Bonum: The Pursuit of the Highest Good  Amor Fati: The Formula for Human Greatness  Premeditatio Malorum  Memento Mori    If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
23:26
November 08, 2021
Believing You Can Do Anything with Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson Chief is the Program Operator at the Center for Independent Living of Broward Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Brian has been involved in the disability advocacy field for the last 20+ years providing assistance to individuals with disabilities who are trying to become more independent in their community and access services that they are entitled to, and may not even be aware exist. Brian has served as a volunteer surrogate parent for foster children with disabilities, conducts independent living assessments, training in independent living skills, assistive technology, employment assistance, housing assistance, and advocacy (ADA and IDEA). Brian is a person with a disability (spinal cord injury), and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Philosophy from the University of Miami. Brian has been married for the last 17 years to his high school sweetheart, whom he has been with for over 20+ years. He is a proud father of two young kids, a 11-year-old son and a 8-year-old daughter, and he views his family as his greatest accomplishment.   Episode Resources: Brian Johnson | Email Center for Independent Living of Broward The Able Trust High School High Tech Program   If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
01:15:12
November 04, 2021
Disability Dojo: Philosophy
On this dojo episode, Tony gets into Philosophy, specifically stoic philosophy, as he feels stoicism is an ideal philosophy for disability. We all have philosophy and a philosophical way of seeing life. In the first few episodes of the Disability Dojo series, Tony spent an episode each asking, Who Am I?, Why Are We Here?, Why Am I Here? These questions allowed him to dive into and reflect on his philosophy on life- how he sees himself, how he sees the world, and how he sees his place in the world. This helps to drive his philosophy, which is always evolving and changing. References: Zeno: Founder of Stoicism  Stoic School  Mediations by Marcus Aurelius  Mediations by Marcus Aurelius: A New Translation (Gregory Hayes) Epictetus    If you have topics you'd like for us to discuss with our community and listeners, leave a comment or contact us at cilncf.org@gmail.com! We'd love to have guests participate with Tony on our Disability Dojos- so if that person is you, reach out and let us know! For More Information visit: Center For Independent Living of North Central Florida 352-378-7474 (Gainesville office) 352-368-3788 (Ocala Office)
26:30
November 01, 2021
Housing Equity with Mark & Patrick
Patrick Dodds has been the Director of the Continuum of Care (CoC) for the United Way of North Central Florida and the North Central Florida Alliance for the Homeless and Hungry since July 2020. Prior to joining the United Way Patrick was an attorney in private practice covering the areas of real estate and property law, contract law, and non-profit law. His work with the UWNCFL and the NCFAHH focuses on ending homelessness in the CoC’s five counties which include Alachua, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Putnam counties. Patrick is also a dad to two incredible boys and has lived in Gainesville since 2011. Mark Watson currently Manages a Homeless Street Outreach Program at Grace Marketplace. Mark is a Social Worker and Paralegal. He has worked with people living outside for the past ten years to assist them in obtaining resources, income, and housing. He has been a therapist, artist, pig farmer, house framer, and educator.  Mark has worked in the nonprofit sector for the last 18 years. He resides in Gainesville, Florida with his partner where they raise an ever-growing family of three kiddos, one dog and two cats.   References: North Central Florida Alliance for the Homeless and Hungry United Way of North Central Florida Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Federal program that provides funding related to housing The Continuum of Care (COC): The Continuum of Care (CoC) program promotes community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness. The program provides funding for efforts by nonprofit providers and state and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness. Public Housing Authorities (PHA): Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single-family houses to high rise apartments for elderly families. HUD-VASH: The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8: The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH): Permanent supportive housing is an intervention that combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of chronically homeless people. The services are designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and connect people with community-based health care, treatment and employment services. Rapid ReHousing: Rapid Rehousing is an intervention designed to quickly move families and individuals out of homel
01:43:38
October 28, 2021
EP12 - Disability Dojo: Housing
None of us are free from the potential of being homeless. On this Disability Dojo episode, Tony talks about housing. Centers For Independent Living are highly invested in ensuring that they work to find housing for people with disabilities by offering transition and diversion services, along with information and referral services. The number request related to these services is housing. Affordable housing is define as households that can pay for their rent or their mortgage and still have money leftover to afford other costs of living, such as food, transportation, healthcare, education, and all activities related to daily living. Safety is also a big consideration, as often times affordable housing units are in areas that have a higher prevalence of cr