18 Gunia Drive, LaSalle, IL 61301
Voice (815)224-3126 (800)822-3246
TTY (815)224-8271/(866)822-3246
Videophone (815)410-9015

IVCIL Newsletter

Quarterly Newsletter



Striving to Enlighten the Path and Enrich the Journey for Persons with Disabilities

Volume 19, Issue 1, 2018




Brian M. Szuda, Executive Director

IVCIL has launched its annual winter fundraiser, the Snowflake Campaign. We are pleased that a state budget is in place. However, sadly, our governor still speaks of budget cuts to the state’s Human Services programs. The bottom line with this budget cut could be up to 5 million dollars. For IVCIL this budget cut would mean a 2.5% reduction.  IVCIL’s total grant funds minus a 2.5% cut in our funding would mean a loss of $10,500. With this potential loss in grant funding we are turning to the community for support for our programs.  As you may know, our consumers, as well as IVCIL, suffered greatly with no budget in FY15 & 16. A Snowflake donation would greatly help us make up for the loss in grant funds. So please consider giving so we can be prepared and continue to fully support our consumers with disabilities in the Illinois Valley. My heartfelt thanks to you for your consideration and a donation to IVCIL.

For more information on services, check out www.ivcil.com or ‘friend’ us on Facebook!

If you haven’t already donated, it’s not too late!  Complete the form below and mail your check to IVCIL, 18 Gunia Drive, LaSalle, IL 61301.




I am attaching my contribution to support the work of IVCIL:

  $100____   $250_____   $500___   $1000   Other ________



Phone Number:

E-mail address:

IVCIL is a United Way Agency member.

Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services.






Senior Health Insurance Program

By Sally Revell, CRP Coordinator

IVCIL just finished a very successful year with the SHIP program. Sally Revell, CRP Coordinator, is a certified SHIP Counselor. Approximately 40 consumers took advantage of this free program that helps to answer your questions about Medicare Part D, Medicare Supplement Insurance as well as applying for Extra Help from Social Security for prescription drug costs.

This service runs from October 16 thru Dec 7th every year. Keep us in mind for next year.

Also, throughout the year we can assist with Medicare Claims and Appeals and advocate for any of your Medicare or Medicaid issues. We can help you apply for Medicaid Benefits, also. We assist people with disabilities as well as seniors with Medicare.

Give Sally a call at 815-224-3126 for any questions or for any assistance. Please schedule an appointment.

Introducing IVCIL’s new Personal Assistant Coordinator

By Jenni Richards

Hello and Happy New Year to you! I would like to introduce myself as the new Personal Assistant Coordinator at the Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living.

My name is Jenni Richards and I currently live in LaSalle County. I started at IVCIL on November 6, 2017. My professional experience includes many years of working with the homeless population, people with disabilities and most recently, I worked in a prison as a Substance Abuse Counselor for almost 7 years. I am very excited about this change in my career path and the opportunity to serve our community and you in this way. Most of all, I am very excited to meet you and I am looking forward to working with you.

I plan on making visits throughout the month of December and January so that I can personally meet each one of my consumers and learn how to best serve you. We will also update your paperwork and set new goals during my visit, so please be thinking about some things you would like to accomplish in 2018.  I will be calling you soon to set up an appointment time. See you soon!

I can be reached at 815-224-3126 ext. 213, so contact me if you have questions, needs or would like to become a consumer and receive personal assistant services. I’m here to help.

 CMS Reveals New Medicare Card Design

By Seema Verma, CMS Administrator

As you may have heard, or perhaps you’ve seen a recent TV commercial, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will soon be issuing every Medicare beneficiary a new Medicare Card, without Social Security Numbers, to prevent fraud, fight identity theft, and keep taxpayer dollars safe, and to help ensure that they always put the needs of patients first.

It’s unfortunate that criminals are increasingly targeting people age 65 or older for medical identity theft, including when someone illegally uses another person’s Medicare number. An identity thief may bill Medicare for expensive services that were never provided or overbill for provided services. This can lead to inaccuracies in medical records, which can mean delayed care or denied services for patients and impacts taxpayer funding.

To help combat this, CMS will be sending all Medicare beneficiaries a new card with a unique, randomly-assigned Medicare number.  It will consist of eleven characters, a combination of numbers and uppercase letters.

Because it is randomly generated, there is no connection to any other personal identifying information. This new number will replace the Social Security-based number currently used on all Medicare cards, and it’s designed to protect the personal information of Medicare beneficiaries.

CMS will begin mailing the newly designed Medicare cards in April 2018, and will replace all cards by April 2019. If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, or soon will be, you don’t need to do anything, and you can start using your new card as soon as you get it.

When you get your new card, CMS will ask you to safely and securely destroy your current Medicare card.  Make sure you bring the new card to your doctors’ appointments, and always keep your new number confidential.  This will help protect your personal identity and prevent medical identity fraud because identity thieves can’t bill Medicare without a valid Medicare number. Additionally, you and your health care providers will be able to use secure online tools that we’re developing that will support quick access to your Medicare number when needed.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about this initiative in the coming weeks and months, and CMS will also help doctors and other healthcare providers get ready for the change.  They want to make this process as easy as possible for everyone involved. Above all, they want to ensure that people with Medicare and healthcare providers know about these changes well in advance and have the information needed to ensure an easy transition to the new card.

Community Reintegration Program- What it can do for YOU?

By Sally Revell, CRP Coordinator

IVCIL has a CRP or Community Reintegrated Program for people with disabilities under the age of 60 except for individuals with HIV/AIDS or a qualifying brain injury.

Eligible Criteria are as follows:

  • US Citizen or Legal Alien
  • Illinois Resident, Resident of a Long-Term Care Facility or Nursing Home for a least 90 days,
  • The disability is severe enough to last at least 12 months, qualify for long-term care as administered by the DON or Determination of Need assessment,
  • Must be eligible and apply for Medicaid, and in-home services must not be over the cost of Nursing Home care.

This program can assist with gaining and securing resources in your community to make a successful transition the nursing home into independent living, assists with determining what is needed for a successful transition, liaisons with the Nursing Home Staff, DHS, Housing, and families to gain the proper information needed to get approval for the move, assists with housing applications, Medicaid, SNAP, LIHEAP, and many other services.

The program can also offer assistive devises and equipment needed, as well as financial assistance for security deposits for rent, hook-up charges for utilities, furniture, linens, cooking utensils and appliances, and many other needs for your home.

 If you know of anyone in a nursing home who is within these guidelines call Sally Revell at 815-224-3126.



by Marla Michalak, Youth Advocate


May Teen Support Group/Social

On October 6, 2017, we had a Teen Social at Boggios in Granville. We began the night with everyone getting into rain

ponchos and heading out into the rain. Such fun! There was a break in the rain and we were able to use the pedal cars, the Apple Tree house slide, the tunnels and feed the animals. We moved on and we all piled on for a hayrack ride. After we returned from the ride we had an indoor picnic of hot dogs, chips, apple cider donuts, soda and apple cider. Then with our flashlights and glow bracelets we ventured out into the corn maze and brought back several pounds of mud with us when we found our way safely out. Of course, there was the usual people jumping out to scare each other, but we had lots of fun! Despite the poor weather, we all had a great time!

Parent & Community Training News

On November 16, 2017, we held the Parent/Community Training "Guardianship, Alternatives, ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts". Michael F. Gulo was the presenter and he spoke in depth about Guardianship, Power of Attorneys, Special Needs Trusts and the ABLE account.  It was very informative and we are so thankful that Mr. Gulo came out to talk to us on these topics! There were snacks provided and certificates of attendance were available.

Hospitals, No Interpreters….What To Do???

By Angela Botz, Chairman of Statewide Deaf Services Coordinators

There is an Illinois law called Language Assistance Services Act that oversees all hospitals in Illinois. If the hospitals do not provide effective communication (interpreters, CART, etc.) they could lose their licenses. The law also says that these hospitals must have signs posted for interpreter/CART requests.

If they do not provide or refuse to get the requested services, you can file a complaint by contacting Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). When you call or write, be sure to provide the name of the hospital, address, which department, and explanation. The IDPH will mail a letter to you notifying you that they will investigate that hospital.

For more information, or to file a complaint, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health: 1-800-252-4343 Voice, 1-800-547-0466 TTY, or dph.ccr@illinois.gov, Division of Health Care Facilities, 525 W. Jefferson St., 4th Floor, Springfield, IL 62761

View a video in ASL (American Sign Language) at www.deafillinois.com or type in the link below:


Contact IVCIL for more information about the Language Assistance Services Act or Contact: Lesley Gonigam at ad@ivcil.com, Angela Botz at botz@impactcil.org or Hershel Jackson at hershel@iicil.com.

 Advocacy Updates

Ottawa Strip Mall
by Cynthia Panizzi

In the beginning of November, I went to the strip mall in Ottawa which has Shoe Depot, Sally Beauty Supply, Country Brothers Supply and several other stores.  I noticed accessible parking spaces in each aisle, however each accessible parking space lacked the required signage.  Therefore, I contacted the Ottawa Code Enforcement Officer and requested the name and contact information of the owner of the strip mall.  I was informed half of the parking lot is owned by one company and the other half is owned by another company.  Thus, I wrote a letter to each company making them aware of the issue and the requirement for signage at each accessible parking space.  I also included an order form to attain the signage and requested they contact me by November 30 to inform me of their progress in becoming compliant with the law.

 Flying J Travel Plaza, LaSalle
by Cynthia Panizzi

In November I went to Flying J Travel Plaza in LaSalle and noticed there were several accessible parking spaces with signage.  However, each sign lacked the required $250 Fine Sign.  Therefore, I wrote a letter to the owner/manager informing him of the issue and the requirement for each accessible parking to have a fine sign.  I also included an order form to attain the signage and requested he contact me by December 14 to inform me of his progress in becoming compliant with the law.

 Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics, Peru
by Cynthia Panizzi

In late summer, IVCIL received a complaint regarding the weight of the door at Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics.  Therefore, I wrote a letter to the owner/manager informing him of the issue.  I suggested two solutions.  Either install a power door opener of which I provided a resource to obtain a power door opener or install a doorbell and instruct staff to assist opening the door when the bell is rung.  I received an email shortly after mailing my letter informing me the weight of the door had been adjusted after receiving my letter and it will be checked by push-pull scale and if it does not meet the requirement, a doorbell will be installed.

Ottawa Children’s Dentistry
by Cynthia Panizzi

In the spring of this year, IVCIL received a complaint regarding the weight of the door at Ottawa Children’s Dentistry office.  Therefore I wrote a letter to one of the dentists informing him of the issue and requested either a power door opener be installed or a doorbell for patients who need assistance from staff to open the door.  On November 3, I went to the office and looked at the door.  There was neither a power door opener nor a doorbell.  Thus, I wrote another letter to one of the dentists informing him I went to look and saw nothing had been done.  I received a voicemail very shortly after sending my letter informing me a doorbell will be installed by Thanksgiving.

 Mark Allen’s American Kitchen, Peru
by Cynthia Panizzi

A few years ago IVCIL received a complaint regarding the inaccessible entrance at Mark Allen’s American Kitchen.  Therefore I contacted the owner, made her aware of the issue and tried to assist in becoming accessible.  Because management did not initiate positive change, a complaint was filed with the Disability Rights Bureau.  Although it has taken a long time, IVCIL is very happy to say as of this summer they installed an accessible ramp and entrance with it and they do have a fully accessible restroom. Once weather allows they will add required accessible signage and striping and the required access aisle. Thank you very much to the Mark Allen’s American Kitchen for this wonderful change making them accessible to everyone!


 IVCIL Socials

 Join the staff for a pleasant time of fellowship and dining! 5:00 p.m. start time.

Call Lesley to confirm attendance at 815-224-3126 ext. 214 or email at ad@ivcil.com.

January---No Social

Wednesday, February 14, 2018---Denny’s, 343 Civic Rd., LaSalle, IL

Wednesday, March 14, 2018---El Zarape’s Mexican American Restaurant, 1246 13th Ave.,

Mendota, IL

Wednesday, April 11, 2018---Wise Guys Bar and Grill, 2205 N. Main St., Princeton, IL

Come help Lesley celebrate her birthday!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018Rip’s Social and Fundraiser for IVCIL, Ladd, IL 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018— IVCIL’s Annual Meeting, Dinner and Social, Peru City Hall,

1901 4th St., Peru, IL-5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018— Applebee’s, 1507 36th St. (Rt. 251), Peru, IL


Independent Living Events

  Young Adult Social

Join us for a fun and lively evening on Wednesday, February 21st at 5:30 p.m. as IVCIL hosts

Ben Fogel, a Fitness Director from Illinois Valley YMCA

who will discuss and demonstrate exercises for various ability levels.


Please RSVP by Monday, February 19th by calling IVCIL at 815-224-3126 (V or TTY).

 When calling to RSVP, please let us know if you need an accommodation.

The Young-Adult Social is for those 18-30 years old and out of high school. 

If the weather is inclement, we will meet Wednesday, February 28th at 5:30 p.m.


Winter Comfort Foods

Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

Participants will learn techniques to plan and shop for meals

so that they may enjoy healthy meals and save money.

The lesson will include a hands-on cooking experience, so come hungry!

Please RSVP by Monday, February 5th by calling IVCIL at 815-224-3126 (V or TTY).

When calling to RSVP please let us know if you need an accommodation

Personal Assistant Orientations

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

at Bruce Township Hall, 216 N Sterling St., Streator, IL

 Tuesday, January, 23, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at IVCIL

Wednesday, February, 7, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

at Wenona City Hall Building, 226 Chestnut St., Wenona, IL

 Friday, February 23, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at IVCIL

 Thursday, March 8, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Lacon - TBA

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at IVCIL


Youth Services Events

Quarterly Teen Social/Support Group


"Scavenger Hunt at the Peru Mall"

Friday February 16, 2018 from 6-8 p.m.

We will be meeting at The Fun Zone (by movie theatre)

Pick up at Didoughs at 8pm

There are forms which must be signed by you or your guardian, before attending.

Call Marla at 815-224-3126 ext. 223 to RSVP by February 2, 2018

to receive a reasonable accommodation (Personal Assistant).


Youth Services Quarterly Parent & Community Training

"Being Your Child’s Advocate"

Thursday February 22, 2018

In the IVCIL Conference Room

 At this FREE workshop you will learn about Use communication as a tool, how to decide when an evaluation is needed, sharing info about your child’s needs, understanding eligibility for special education or 504 accommodation plans, how to express parental concerns, understanding the IEP process, how to use techniques for resolving disagreements.

Presenter: Marla Michalak, IVCIL Youth Advocate

To RSVP call Marla Michalak at 815-224-3126 ext. 223 by February 12, 2017

IVCIL is a United Way Member Agency.

Reasonable accommodations will be offered upon request by registration deadlines.

“Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services”



IVCIL Thanks the following individuals, families, and businesses for their donations and /or memberships…

 September—December 2017


John Baima, Jr.

Susan Draper

Jeanne Manfredini

North Central Bank

Lori Ramey

Alvin & Lois Smith

James Stevenson

Lisa Wasilewski

Women’s Guild of Zion United Church of Christ


Maryann Barth

Donald & Myrtle Conner

June Pambianco