The Ability Center Wins Advocacy Award

The Ability Center Wins Advocacy Award

Maureen Ryan, Executive Director
Wisconsin Coalition of Independent Living Centers, Inc.

Each year at the Annual Conference, the National Council on Independent Living elects individuals or organizations for outstanding advocacy efforts within their region.

We were awarded this honor through nominations from Services for Independent Living and the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council. Excerpt from nomination below.

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Under the leadership of Executive Director, Tim Harrington, the advocacy team at The Ability Center of Greater is recognized regionally and statewide for proactively addressing barriers faced by persons with disabilities. The advocacy team consists of Katie Hunt Thomas and Katie Shelley, two fearless and seasoned advocates. Examples of their work include increasing availability of transportation in the Toledo area through diligent work with the regional transit authority, the disability community, and other strategic community partners.

They have been a valuable partner agency in the Ohio Aging and Disability Transportation Coalition, helping to shape advocacy priorities and strategies to address barriers and raising awareness of the need for public transit in the state.

In addition to their work in transportation, they are addressing barriers to community based long-term services and supports such as EVV and provider wages on the state level.

The Ability Center has also launched a campaign called Disability Dialog, to engage the community to find out how Toledo can become the most disability-friendly community in the United States.

This is in addition to having worked with the University of Toledo to implement a disability studies major, work with the P&A on ensuring the state was fulfilling its duties, as well as working on individual advocacy with consumers.

The Ability Center staff regularly serve as resources to other Ohio centers for independent living and the SILC, helping their staff understand legislative initiatives and making recommendations for best ways to conduct system change efforts.

Their efforts have been tremendous at raising the level of advocacy across all CILs.