Please contact your legislators!

The fact that the state of Illinois has been without a budget since July 1 is scary and now to hear Rauner indicate it could be November before the budget crisis is resolved? Please contact your legislators and Governor Rauner’s office and advocate for a responsible budget to be put in place for the state!

Thanks to Amber Smock at Access Living for keeping us posted on so many important advocacy issues:

In an interview with Crain’s Chicago Business, Governor Rauner indicated that he is prepared to hold out on resolving the budget crisis until after the November elections. That story is at this link:…/rauner-at-year-one-expect-…

In another interview, this time with the Belleville News-Democrat, the Governor stated that the State would like to “get out from under the consent decrees.” See the story at this link: Among the consent decrees at issue are the three Olmstead consent decrees covering different classes of people with disabilities: Ligas, Williams and Colbert. The State is also under a consent decree that covers children with Medicaid.

Politico’s Illinois Playbook featured a piece at this link:…/politico-illinois-playbook-rauner… about Illinois’ failure to comply with the Ligas consent decree, based upon the Court Monitor report which I shared with you earlier this week. Make no mistake, community based services for people with disabilities are distinctly at risk in this time of fiscal uncertainty; among other things, developmental disabilities providers are fighting to raise Medicaid reimbursement levels so they can stay in business.

At this point in time, we urge every disability advocate in the state to be in touch with your state legislators to make sure that they clearly understand the impact of the state budget crisis on our community. What will happen if we “have to hold out until November”? The people of Illinois deserve a budget delivered in a reasonable time, and enough revenue so that important programs can keep running. The priority in our state should be our PEOPLE. Find your state legislators using this link:…/districtofficialsearchby…. Your legislators work FOR YOU—tell them what you need!

Remember that Governor Rauner will deliver his State of the State message on January 27, and he will put forth his new budget proposal on February 17. Expect increased advocacy across the state over the coming month to raise awareness about the HUMANS affected by the state budget crisis.


Connect Transit Bus Orientation

Classes Now Offered

In association with Connect Transit, we are offering FREE Transit Orientation classes beginning in January 2016.

Orientations are geared towards community members who are curious about public transportation options in Bloomington-Normal, and those that may know public transportation is an option, but are not be quite sure how it works. The orientation will include a presentation and a question and answer period.

Attendees can expect to learn about both fixed-route, or “regular” bus service, and Connect Mobility, the ADA Paratransit service provided by Connect Transit. Topics to be covered include but are not limited to:

  • How to read the fixed route bus maps and plan a trip
  • How to ride fixed-route buses
  • Who may be eligible for Paratransit service and how to apply
  • Fares associated with each type of trip
  • Hours of operation, and more.

Orientations will be held at LIFE CIL’s Bloomington office (2201 Eastland Drive, Suite 1, Bloomington). Two orientations will be held each month in 2016 (subject to change). The following orientations have been scheduled:

  • Tuesday, February 9: 5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 27: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 9: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

If you would like to attend an orientation, please RSVP to Shannon Tarkowski, Transportation Specialist at LIFE CIL, via phone 309-663-5433 or email: email hidden; JavaScript is required. Each orientation is limited to 15 participants.

**To request an accommodation please contact Shannon at least 10 business days before the selected orientation.




The Mclean County Transition  Planning Committee (TPC) announces the Transition Expo will be held on February 10, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM at Heartland Community College in the Community Commons Building.

TPC has expanded the exhibitor room to accommodate everyone. They are inviting local school districts to bring high school students with diagnosed disabilities to participate on this day. During this time students and parents who wish to attend will have time to explore and talk with exhibitors. Their goal is to introduce all students with varying abilities to all possible avenues available after high school.


Dare to dream! Youth Leadership Summit 2016

LIFE Center for Independent Living (LIFE CIL) is hosting a Youth Leadership Summit from Friday, April 1st through Saturday, April 2nd, 2016 for youth with disabilities, ages 16 – 21. This program is designed to empower youth with disabilities to be the next generation of community leaders.

The Youth Leadership Summit will be an overnight conference style retreat with guest speakers and activities that encourage youth to advocate and become leaders in their community. Additional meetings will be offered to facilitate continued involvement and peer mentoring.

Youth with disabilities (of any type) who have transitioned, are either currently transitioning from high school or will soon transition are eligible to attend. They will learn about their future options in employment, education, and leadership and also learn a bit about disability rights and advocacy. We have a great lineup of speakers, including Steve Baskis from Blind Endeavors of Bloomington, who will speak on overcoming adversity.

This is the first year for this summit, which was made possible by a grant from the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC). A maximum of twenty (20) youth will be accepted to attend. Decisions on the applicant’s acceptance will be made by March 4, 2016 and applicants will be notified of the decision. The conference, hotel stay, and meals will be covered under the grant for youth whose applications are accepted.

Interested youth may contact Rickielee Benecke at 309-663-5433 or email hidden; JavaScript is required for an application packet.  Applications are due by February 29, 2016.




How might this affect ALL of us?

Families won’t be able to afford a college education because of higher tuition and fewer scholarship opportunities.

Working parents will be forced to quit their jobs because of cuts to childcare and after school programs.

Workers may not be paid their full salaries on time.

Women, children, and families will be denied services for mental health, addiction, autism, epilepsy, and breast & cervical cancer screenings.

Closed parks and historic sites mean local communities will lose tourism revenue.

Providers are already being forced to cut off families from essential services, lay off staff, and close their doors.  Lawmakers must choose revenue to STOP THE CUTS.

Tell your lawmakers to choose to stand up for Illinois by choosing revenue –not cuts to children, families, and communities– to close the budget hole.

Call your lawmaker toll free at 1-844-311-CUTS (1-844-311-2887). Tell them to choose revenue because Illinois families need a year-long, fully funded budget now.

—Responsible Budget Coalition



Date Set for Wheelchair Basketball 2016!

The University of Illinois Wheelchair Basketball Teams will be coming back to Kingsley Junior High School on Saturday, April 23 to play an exhibition game against a home team, representing LIFE CIL.  Please mark your calendars, we hope to see you there!  More details to come.



 Having Trouble Hearing on the Telephone?

LIFE Center for Independent Living may be able to help!  LIFE CIL is a selection center for the ITAC amplified telephone program.  If you are a resident of the state of Illinois, have a landline telephone and are hard of hearing, you could qualify for a FREE amplified telephone and be able to stay in touch with your family, friends and loved ones over the phone.

If you are interested in receiving an application or if you have questions about the program, please contact one of our offices and talk with either Brianne in our Bloomington office or Nicole in our Pontiac office.



Like us on Facebook!

You can click on the LIKE button to the right, or you can visit our Facebook page at  We are hoping we will be able to further assist the community through social media and keep in touch with those who want to know what LIFE CIL is up to!



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Upcoming Events
  • Tuesday, February 9: Transit Orientation 5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 16: Transition Planning Committee (TPC) Meeting 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 17: CEFT Meeting 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 25: Board of Directors Meeting 5:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 27: Transit Orientation 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, March 3: Low Vision Support Group at Westminster Village (2025 E. Lincoln, Bloomington) 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Friday, March 4: Illinois Imagines Meeting 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 8: Human Services Council Meeting 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 13: Board Development Committee Meeting 4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. & Community Relations Committee Meeting 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 9: Transit Orientation 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
  • Wednesday, March 9: Transportation Advisory Council (TAC) Meeting 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, March 14: Ability in Aktion Meeting 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 15: Transition Planning Committee (TPC) Meeting 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 16: CEFT Meeting 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 26: Transit Orientation 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, March 31: Board of Directors Meeting 5:15 p.m.
  • Friday, April 1: Illinois Imagines Meeting 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.