One of the original Independent Living Centers in New York State, WILC first opened its doors in 1981. WILC has a long history of providing services designed by, directed by, and, in most cases, delivered by qualified individuals with a wide range of disabilities. Programs reflect the requirements of WILC’s consumers and the demands of our evolving society. As people and needs change, so do WILC’s programs and services in order to fulfill WILC’s mission of supporting self-sufficiency and self-determination.
The Educational Advocacy Program is a program of WILC and its satellite office, Putnam Independent Living Services (PILS). Its purpose is to reach out to families of children (ages birth – 21) with special needs to aid in the advancement of their development and security of their future. It assists parents of children with special needs to make informed decisions about educational rights, choices, responsibilities, and long-term outcomes; provides on-going support navigating the Special Education system; and identifies and links parents with appropriate community resources.
MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY
WILC’s Mental Health Advocacy Program has been providing services throughout Westchester County, since 1991, that support the empowerment of individuals with a mental illness, including those with psychiatric and emotional disabilities, through Systems and Peer Advocacy. It was one of the first programs in New York State to embody BOTH the Independent Living Model and the Recipient Recovery Model to serve persons with mental illness. Joined together, these two models assist recipients to take control of their lives and actualize their potential for full inclusion in the community.
PARTNERS FOR SUCCESS
The Partners for Success Program is a work readiness/vocational & social rehabilitation training program designed and developed by WILC to provide information and supports that assist individuals with disabilities to better understand themselves, to successfully engage and participate in the vocational rehabilitation (VR) process, to obtain/retain employment, and to define and pursue a desired future, i.e., education, work, wellness, housing, etc. The program is based on 3 key tenets – personal awareness, personal responsibility, and personal empowerment.
WILC’s Minority Outreach Program works to ensure that Hispanic and African American persons with disabilities and their families have access to available resources and an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of community life. Services are provided in a culturally appropriate manner. Spanish speaking staff are available at WILC’s main office in White Plains, satellite office in Brewster, and outreach office in Yonkers. In 2012, WILC developed La Fuente – a unique coalition of organizations united by a mutual commitment to reach/better serve the Latin community in Westchester.
ACCES-VR PEER INTEGRATION DEMONSTRATION PILOT PROGRAM (PIP)
The goal of Peer Integration Demonstration Pilot Program (PIP) is to increase the success rate of ACCES-VR consumers in securing and maintaining successful employment.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) awarded Westchester Independent Living Center, Inc., the ACCES-VR Peer Integration Demonstration Pilot Program, a three year pilot program, effective July 1, 2016.
The PIP will provide ACCES-VR consumers with Peer Specialists who will work with consumers with peer support and assistance in removing barriers affecting their success with ACCES-VR. In addition, consumers will have access to 250 hours of consumer trainings per year. These trainings will vary as they relate to work readiness and will aim to enhance consumer’s chances of re-entering the work force, as well as increase independent living.
Additionally, WILC will provide 150 hours of professional trainings to ACCES-VR counselors and community partner agencies per year. These trainings are intended to enhance professional’s skills, awareness and skills working with people with disabilities. For a list of upcoming trainings, please review our training page: www.wilcnews.eventbrite.com
WILC’s Deaf Services Program provides information to and advocates for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Sign language interpreters are available. WILC and WILC’s satellite office, PILS, utilize a video phone. WILC’s Deaf Services Specialist also provides sign language classes to White Plains police detectives and officers.
WILC’s Community Outreach Program heightens community awareness and understanding of disability-related issues through presentations to schools, businesses, civic groups, agencies, faith-based organizations, health care facilities, etc. The program provides education and training for community residents, public officials, and local businesses on access, disability awareness, the ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act, voting rights, etc. Programs can be tailored to specific needs upon request.
ROLLIN’ KNICKS WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL TEAM
The Rollin’ KNICKS is a wheelchair basketball team co-sponsored by WILC and the New York KNICKS/Madison Square Garden. The team consists of individuals with varying physical disabilities. The team is in the championship division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. It practices in Queens, NY and plays in tournaments throughout the United States.