Araceli Gonzalez - How Independent Living Center of Kern County gave her back her "wings"
Araceli Gonzalez, a consumer of Kern County Homeless Collaborative member agency Independent Living Center of Kern County (ILCKC), is challenged with Cerebral Palsy. She was involved in a car accident last fall that left her electric wheelchair (her “legs with wings” as the fiercely independent mother of two calls her mobility device) completely destroyed.
While Medi-Cal works to replace Araceli’s wheelchair, Independent Living Center’s Repair and Re-Use Program was able to loan her an electric wheelchair indefinitely and at no cost. Araceli was so grateful to Independent Living Center, that her words of praise for the Repair and Re-Use Program were a part of the 2011 Christmas greeting she mailed to family and friends.
“I was flying,” is how she described her feeling of regained mobility thanks to ILC's loan of a wheelchair. “God was giving me wings back to fly freely again! Independent Living Center let me borrow legs (that electric wheelchair) until I get mine back. In other words, they gave me my life back! Independent Living Center has a program that allows people to donate any type of equipment to help people in need so they can live independently, like me.
“Friends, one small request I ask of you: Please donate anything you don’t need or want to an organization of your choice, especially to one that would benefit the disabled population. Thank you Independent Living Center and staff for giving me my life back!”
Other services available from Independent Living Center, including services for the homeless, are:
· Independent living skills;
· Assistive technology laboratory;
· Communications assistance;
· Job development;
· Relocation from long-term nursing care to independent living (regardless of age);
· Peer-to-peer mentoring and group opportunities;
· Help locating personal care assistants and/or affordable housing; and
· Information and referral;
· Systems change advocacy.
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