Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

WVSILC 2016 Annual Report

Annual Letter from the Chairperson


SILC members and staff were saddened by the passing of our Chairperson, Cathy Hutchinson in December 2016 and I was humbled to be elected to fill her term as Chairperson. Cathy was a well-known disability advocate in West Virginia and worked tirelessly educating policymakers about Disability Issues. Each January and February she made the rounds during the legislative session in Charleston, visiting all her representatives and working with other advocates to teach them how to advocate for themselves and their communities. She was well known in Charleston as a determined advocate and quickly and easily made friends with new and seasoned legislators, receiving their respect and support on disability issues. Most recently she was the Vocational Director at Mountain State Centers for Independent Living (MTSTCIL), also serving as a Community Resource Advocate, as a Transition Specialist helping people in nursing homes to transition to living on their own and helping people to stay in their own homes, teacher of life skills classes, worked with consumers one on one, and worked with the Community Living Services Program. Known for her delicious cooking, for several years Cathy prepared dinner for the Pi Kappa Phi, "Journey of Hope" bicycle teams, who came through every year as part of their fund raising event to provide financial support for organizations with disabilities.

This was a busy year for the SILC with several projects and partnerships. The Disability History Essay Contest, a partnership with the State Rehabilitation Council and the Division of Rehabilitation Services, continued in FY 2016 with the topic: "The barriers for people with disabilities in my community and how I can make a difference." Open to all WV high school seniors, the number of entries for the contest was a new high of 156 this year. This contest is designed to provide WV high school seniors with an opportunity to showcase their writing skills, share what they have learned about the Disabilities in their community, use their ability to form and express opinions, and perhaps to earn some money! The awards were presented at the winners' high school senior award ceremonies in the spring. Meet the winners and read their essays in a special edition of the IL Edge coming soon.

As required, West Virginia wrote a new, three-year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) for federal fiscal years 2017-2019 (Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2019) and submitted it to the Independent Living Administration, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for approval in June 2016. The team that developed the SPIL included representatives from the SILC, all the centers for independent living (CILs) in the state, and the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services. Approval was received September 1st and implementation of the new SPIL began October 1, 2017.

This year was full of hard work and fun. In the future we hope to increase our state-wideness and diversity by adding members from more counties and areas of the state and adding more youth to the council.

Beverley Jones
WVSILC Chairperson


2015 Annual Report

WVSILC 2015 Annual Report

Annual Letter from the Chairperson


Once again the WVSILC is proud to report another productive year. This year we were able to recruit a great group of young people and add them to the already hardworking group of people on the SILC.

One of the biggest projects of the year was the Disability Caucus of which the first two days were reserved for youth with disabilities ages 16-26. People with disabilities, family members, and advocates statewide attended the Caucus and had the opportunity to develop skills, network, and develop strategies for addressing the issues facing West Virginians with disabilities.

The West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council was the primary sponsor of the Disability Caucus, through a generous grant from the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services. The Council gratefully recognizes the contributions of the steering committee, exhibitors, donors, advertisers, and additional sponsors.

The Disability History Essay Contest was also a big hit in FY 2015. This contest is designed to provide WV high school seniors with an opportunity to showcase their writing skills, share what they have learned about the Disability Rights Movement, use their ability to form and express opinions, and perhaps to earn some money! Seniors from all over WV were invited to participate. The awards were presented at the senior ceremonies in the spring and winners were recognized along with other award recipients.

West Virginia is required to write a new State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) every three years and submit it to the Independent Living Administration, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for approval. That process began during 2015.

The SILC established a team, including representatives from the centers for independent living (CILs) in the state, and from WV Division of Rehabilitation Services, to write the new SPIL for federal fiscal years 2017-2019 (Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2019).

One of the fun things the SILC helped with this year was a fundraiser for the Fair Shake Network called The Polar Express. During the Christmas holiday Fair Shake rented buses and decorated a church to let children have the experience of the real Polar Express. It was fun for everyone that came.

This year was full of hard work and fun. In the future we hope to add more people from different counties to the SILC. We also hope to add more youth to the council.

Cathy Hutchinson
WVSILC Chairperson


2014 Annual Report

WVSILC 2014 Annual Report

Annual Letter from the Chairperson


It has been an exciting year with the SILC. Some members attended national conferences to learn more about what we can do in our State to make it better for people with disabilities. Money seems to be the biggest barrier across our nation, to do what is needed. Transportation and housing are also top issues.

A highlight this year was the Disability History Essay Contest. All high school seniors in WV were invited to submit entries. The awards were presented at each winner's high school senior awards ceremony.

This contest is a collaborative effort of the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services, the Statewide Independent Living Council and the State Rehabilitation Council, with cooperation from the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.

We have been working hard on preparations for the 2015 Disability Caucus. A lot of hard work has gone into this and it is very exciting to see different agencies, organizations, and others work together for one cause. The Youth Caucus portion will be June 22-24, 2015 and the Disability Caucus for all ages will be June 24-26, 2015. All events will be at the Charleston Marriott Town Center in Charleston, WV.

I am tremendously proud of the communication and relationships that the SILC members and staff have with other individuals and groups, both inside our state and nationwide.

West Virginia is honored to have SILC members who are true to our mission, which is, "to ensure persons who have disabilities have access to community-based resources that promote personal choice and facilitate the achievement of their independent living goals."

Joyce Floyd
WVSILC Chairperson


2013 Annual Report

WVSILC 2013 Annual Report

Annual Letter from the Chairperson


I am pleased to present West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) 2013 Annual Report (October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013).

One of the many accomplishments during this time was the completion & submission of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL), a required federal document. The SPIL for 2014-2016 (Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2016) was approved by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and US Department of Education. This plan was developed jointly by the SILC, the centers for independent living (CILs) and the WV Division of Rehabilitation Services with input collected from the public during a series of community forums held around the state.

The SPIL is revised and resubmitted to the federal RSA for approval once every three years and outlines: goals and objectives for independent living services in West Virginia; outreach plans; funding priorities; staffing plans; collaboration and partnership activities; and information on the expansion of CILs when additional funding becomes available.

Another highlight this year was the first annual Disability History Essay Contest, a project of the SILC and the State Rehabilitation Council. This contest is designed to reinforce Disability History Week and to provide students with an opportunity to showcase their writing skills and to share what they have learned about the Disability Rights Movement. Open to high school seniors, the contest provides cash prizes including State Winner $2,000, Regional First Place winners $1,000 each and Regional Second Place winners $500 each. Funding for the contest was provided through a generous grant from the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services and awards are presented at each winner’s high school senior awards ceremony.

I am tremendously proud of the communication and relationships that the SILC members and staff have with other individuals and groups, both inside our state and nationwide. West Virginia is honored to have SILC members who are true to our mission, which is, "to ensure persons who have disabilities have access to community-based resources that promote personal choice and facilitate the achievement of their independent living goals."

Please enjoy our annual report.

Vanessa VanGilder
Chairperson


2011 Annual Report

WVSILC 2011 Annual Report

Annual Letter from the Chairperson


It is my pleasure to present the SILC 2011 Annual Report. It was with a sad heart that I took over as Chairperson, with the resignation and subsequent passing of our previous Chairperson, Bill Davis. This Annual Report is dedicated to him.

The SILC continues to partner with numerous disabilityorganizations throughout West Virginia as we strive to provide resources to ensure community integration for all people with disabilities.

The SILC staff continues to support the Council membership, ensuring meetings are organized and travel plans are well coordinated. Their specialties complement each other and the Council is that much better because of their organization and leadership.

As we close this chapter of our history, it is time to begin the process of developing the next three year State Plan for Independent Living which will begin in October of 2013. It is my hope that emerging leadership will be able to shine as they plan and implement that State Plan. The youth of our disability community is being encouraged to participate. They need to realize it is important to continue to advocate as their lives depend on it, because it still does! (Loosely borrowed from the late Justin Dart).

Since I served as the first chairperson of the SILC as it is currently structured, it has been a pleasure to serve again as chairperson and see the growth of the Council and staff over the years. I look forward to working with old and new Council members and the staff as we continue to improve independent living services in West Virginia.

Anne Weeks
Chairperson