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RILC Holds Breakfast Honoring Organizations, ADA

the staff of the Rockland Independent Living Center
the staff of the Rockland Independent Living Center Photo Credit: Risa B. Hoag

NEW CITY, N.Y. -- The Rockland Independent Living Center celebrated the 26 anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act with an event honoring several Rockland County residents, last Friday, July 22.

The breakfast, sponsored by M&T Bank and attended by nearly 150 individuals, was hosted for partner organizations and individuals served by RILC.

During the breakfast, RILC Executive Director Dr. David Jacobsen announced the introduction of BRiDGES, RILC's implementation of a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports system, to support and guide the advocacy services they provide to individuals with disabilities and veterans throughout Rockland County.

"RILC is the first Independent Living Center in the country to implement the concepts of PBIS, which is an evidence-based philosophy of system-change that emphasizes expected behaviors that define the character of an organization," Jacobsen said.

"BRiDGES provides a common language to discuss the characteristics of RILC: 'Building Relationships, Investing in Diversity and Genuinely Empowering Self,' which now guides all aspects of our organization."

Jacobsen took over the position of executive director on Feb. 29.

RILC hosts the celebration breakfast every year to recognize organizations and individuals in the community for their contributions in advancing autonomy for people with disabilities.

This year's honorees were:
  • Sen. Eugene Levy Memorial Independent Living Award -- Legal Aid Society of Rockland County
  • William H. Mullin Memorial Systems Change Advocate Award -- Michele Cayo, assistant parole services program specialist, Hudson Valley Region, DOCCS
  • Keith B. Hayes Memorial Spirit of Mentoring Award -- Michele Green, district coordinator for Workforce Development and Business Relations, ACCES-VR
  • Will A. Morales Memorial Award -- Scott Smith
  • Spirit of Recovery Award -- Edwin Shockley
  • BRiDGES Award -- Marie Quirk; this award, new in 2016, is presented to the RILC employee who exemplifies the agency's commitment to advocacy and leadership through building relationships, investing in diversity and genuinely empowering self.

The mission of RILC is to provide advocacy and leadership in the creation and development of an accessible and integrated community for people with disabilities, so that they may pursue lifestyles of their choice.

RILC is one of 41 independent living centers, or ILCs, operating in New York under the state's Education Department and Department of Health. Each ILC adheres to a national philosophy of independent living, that seeks to empower individuals with disabilities to make autonomous decision regarding all aspects of living.

For more info on RILC, visit its website.

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