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ABOUT CBCIL

The Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living (CBCIL) is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are consumer-controlled, non-residential, non-profit and cross-disability oriented, providing core services of information and referral, advocacy, peer counseling, and independent living skills training.

We are a service organization designed specifically to assist people with cross disabilities who themselves have been successful in establishing independent lives. These people have both training and the personal experience to know exactly what is needed to live independently. In addition, they have deep commitment to assisting other people with disabilities in becoming more independent.

AT least 51% of the membership of the Board of Directors are persons with disabilities. Our Staff & Board reflect the ethnic make-up of the communities served within the Coastal Bend.

Mission Statement

Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living will exercise leadership by people with disabilities in promoting accessibility, equality, individual rights, and community integration for people with disabilities of all ages.

Vision

Communities in the Coastal Bend will value people with disabilities, respect diversity, achieve universal accessibility and community integration.

Values

  • Disability is a natural part of life and, as such, is treated with the same respect as all other aspects of life.
  • Universal accessibility assures barrier-free physical environments, programs, and services.
  • Individuals with disabilities have the right to make choices affecting their lives, to take risks, and to experience the successes or failures that may result.
  • Independent living services are grounded in the principles of self-help, self- determination, peer support, and equality.
  • Individuals with disabilities have the right to live in the least restrictive/most integrated communities.
  • Advocacy and education will advance the achievement of the Mission and Vision of this organization and the principles of Independent Living.
  • In maintaining its independence and striving for innovation, the Coastal Bend Center for Independent Living will recognize the ever-evolving needs and expectations of people with disabilities.

 

History and Philosophy of the Independent Living Movement

The independent Living Movement is an outgrowth of the Civil Rights fight for equality initiated in the 1960's.  The Movement sprang from a deep-seeded belief among certain activists that "those who know best the needs of people with disabilities, and how to meet those needs, are people with disabilities themselves."  This philosophy marked the beginning of a paradigm shift away from institutionalization and conservatorship toward community integration and person-centered services.

The new movement originated on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.  In the years from 1962 to 1969, a group of severely disabled college students lived together in Cowell hospital, a facility on the grounds of the university.  These students defied the norm and participated fully in the academic and social life of the campus.  The desire to shape and control their own destinies became so strong that they began to look for others in the community, who embraced this philosophy.   A core group of disabled persons formed with the intent of changing society's perception of disability.

These pioneers envisioned a service delivery system that would vastly differ from the, then prevalent, medical or social service approaches to assisting people with disabilities.  Their revolutionary concept was a program methodology built on the foundation of empowerment.  Services would be available to all persons with disabilities and not to an isolated disability group.  Those seeking assistance would be consumers, not patients nor clients.  Because many had been forced into institutions in order to receive assistive services, the new methodology would be based in the community and be non-residential.  Most importantly, individuals having disabilities would design, direct and deliver services aimed at facilitating independence and self-sufficiency.  This peer approach would draw from the knowledge and experiences of those successfully participating in community life.  Service delivery staff would assist by "working with" rather than, "providing for" disabled consumers. No longer would doctors, social workers, nor family members speak and act on behalf of disabled individuals nor force them into institutions against their will.

Referred to as "Independent living", the proposed ideology would be governed by the principles of self-help, self-determination, peer support, and equal access.  In 1972, the dream became a reality with the founding of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley.  Today more than 400 such centers blanket the United States and several others have been established outside the country.  The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 legitimized the philosophy and methodology of the Independent Living Movement and forever changed the national perspective toward citizens with disabilities.

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