18 Gunia Drive, LaSalle, IL 61301
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IVCIL Newsletter

Quarterly Newsletter



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

Volume 20, Issue 4, 2018


“It’s Time to Get Out and Vote”.

It’s your civil right and Your Freedom so VOTE!

By: Brian M. Szuda

All people are unique individuals, however, people with disabilities, as a minority group in the United States, share some common ground and can often identify with one another on many issues, including civil rights and accessibility issues. This commonality can unify us as citizens, advocates and voters.

Vastly unrecognized, people with disabilities make up one of the largest minority groups in our nation. The 2010 U.S. Census estimated that for every five adult citizens living in the US, two of us has a disability. Yes, that means 20% of our country’s adult population has a disability. The number of people with disabilities living in this nation means we, as a whole, could be a political force to be dealt with if we voted and made ourselves and our needs known to those who establish local, state and federal budgets, policies and laws. Registering and voting is how we begin to strengthen our advocacy actions and help ensure our civil rights are protected. Unfortunately, people with disabilities have historically not been a strong or large voting group. This is no one’s fault but ours. We are only weakening our voices and power. But, we can change that this election year by voting.

If you are not registered to vote at your current living or mailing address, there is still plenty of time to do so before the November General Election. If you need help with voter registration or voter change of address, IVCIL can help. IVCIL has staff who are certified Deputy Registrars for several counties and are available—by appointment— to help eligible US citizens complete the voter registration or voter change of address process.

We cannot expect our policymakers to take our advocacy actions very seriously unless we do vote in large numbers. Voters are who elect those policymakers into office— not non-voters. What does it say about our level of commitment if we are not willing to perform our basic voter responsibilities?

QUICK FACTS                                                                                                 

: 20% of US citizens have a disability.

 : Voting changes things at the state and federal level which impact all American’s.

 : You can register at IVCIL or go to your county clerk and register.

 : You can vote early or contact your county clerk and request an absentee ballot.

 : Several staff members are Deputy Registrars and can help you.

 : We can do it together! So vote and bring changes that are or may be needed.

 People with disabilities should and must vote!

IVCIL’s 4th Annual 5K!

Brian M. Szuda

 On July 21th the Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living, IVCIL, had its fourth 5K fundraiser for the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act on the grounds of the St. Bede Academy. We once again had wonderful support from Dennis Summers and the St. Bede Academy and the St. Bede students that volunteered. Our event had great support from fantastic sponsors with monies or donated items in order to have a successful event. We also had support from volunteers, board members and IVCIL staff. For this year’s 5K we had nearly 40 participants. Many ran the 5K course and others could walk or wheel the 5K with their assistive equipment on a flat, level and accessible path around a St. Bede building a total of 6 times. The weather was just glorious, Mother Nature cooperated, and the temperature couldn’t have been more perfect. Next year’s 5K date and location is yet to be determined. We will notify you when everything is settled.


Beck Oil, Peru; Bernabei, Balestri & Fiocchi, LaSalle; Central Bank Princeton; Cookie Kingdom, Oglesby;

Creations Unlimited, Princeton; Culver's, Peru; Eureka Savings Bank, LaSalle; Facet Technologies, Pekin, IL; Ficek Electric & Communications Systems, Inc., LaSalle; Financial Plus Credit Union, Ottawa;

First Beverage/Euclid, Peru; Flying J, LaSalle; Graphic Electronics, Spring Valley; Hammers Hearing, LaSalle; Harvest Bakery, LaSalle; Heartland Bank & Trust Company, Peru; Henry Jay Knauf, Peru;

Illini State Bank, Tonica; Illinois Valley Community Hospital, Peru; LaSalle State Bank, LaSalle;

Machinery Maintenance, Inc., LaSalle; Magnum Auto Restoration, LaSalle; Mautino Distributing, Spring Valley; Peru Federal Savings Bank, Peru; Peru HYVEE, Peru; Shimkus-Helmer-Staab Funeral Home,

Louisville, KY; Ski Sealcoating & Maintenance, LaSalle; St. Bede Academy, Peru; St. Margaret's Health,

Spring Valley; Starbucks, Peru; Starved Rock Runners, LaSalle; TCI Manufacturing, Inc., Walnut; Town & Country Services, Tonica; Universal Asphalt & Excavating, Inc., LaSalle; Wal-Mart of Peru, Peru.

The Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living thanks each and every one of you. We hope to have your continued support!

News Release


Social Security Fast-Tracks Decisions for People with Severe Disabilities

Agency Expands Compassionate Allowance List

 Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced five new Compassionate Allowance conditions: Fibrolamellar Cancer, Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome (MMIHS), Megalencephaly Capillary Malformation Syndrome (MCAP), Superficial Siderosis of the Central Nervous System, and Tetrasomy 18p. Compassionate Allowances is a program to quickly identify medical conditions and serious diseases that meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits.

“For nearly a decade, the Compassionate Allowance list has helped us identify and fast-track cases where individuals have diseases that are most likely to be approved for disability benefits,” said Acting Commissioner Berryhill. “Social Security is committed to ensuring Americans with qualifying disabilities quickly receive the benefits they need.”

The Compassionate Allowances program identifies claims where the applicant’s disease or condition clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. Due to the severe nature of many of these conditions, these claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone. To date, over 500,000 people with serious disabilities have been approved through this fast-track policy-compliant disability process. The list has grown to a total of 233 conditions, including diseases such as pancreatic cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and acute leukemia.

The agency incorporates leading technology to easily identify potential Compassionate Allowances and make quick decisions. For disability cases not covered by this program, Social Security’s Health IT brings the speed and efficiency of electronic medical records to the disability determination process. When a person applies for disability benefits, Social Security must obtain medical records in order to make an accurate determination. It may take weeks for health care organizations to provide records for the applicant’s case. With electronic records transmission, Social Security is able to quickly obtain a claimant’s medical information, review it, and make a determination faster than ever before.

For more information about the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowances conditions, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

To learn more about Social Security’s Health IT program, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/hit.

People may apply online for disability benefits by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.

To create a my Social Security account, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Youth Connection

 by Marla Michalak, Youth Services Coordinator

 August Teen Support Group/Social

On August 24, 2018 we held the IVCIL Teen Social "Back to School Game Night". We began with a group game where everyone won something if only candy (which disappeared quickly) then everyone chose different games to play with different friends. Twister, Sorry, Kerplunk & Uno were some of the games played. Several new friendships began this night at this social support group. There were 12 teens in attendance. Snacks were served.

  Parent & Community Training News

On August 30,  2018, Marla Michalak, IVCIL Youth Services Coordinator presented the Parent/Community Training "Effective Participation in the IEP". At this training participants learned how to prepare for an IEP meeting, about the parental agenda, maintenance, organization and review of educational records, IEP meeting notices,
scheduling and team members, IEP meeting purpose, format and documentation, and development of goals and
objectives. Snacks were served and there was a time for questions and discussion.

Get Ready for

IVCIL’s 19th Annual Teen Summit

"Transition Western Roundup - Lassoing Life After High School!"

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

From 10 am—3 pm

At Centennial Courts Community Room, 2222 N. Tonti St., LaSalle

  Your New Personal Assistant Coordinator

By Ashley Purprua

It’s such a pleasure to be a part of the IVCIL team as your new Personal Assistant Coordinator and Independent Living Specialist (focusing especially on transition).  So far, even in the nine months I’ve been here, I have learned so much, and love working at IVCIL. A little bit about me, I went to College of DuPage for my first two years of college completing my associate’s degree in Fine Arts and Humanities. After completing my associate’s degree, I transferred to Illinois State University where I completed my Bachelors of Science in Biological Anthropology with my minor in Sociology. When I completed my degree I hoped to find a position much like this one centered on helping others and being able to apply what I learned and continue to learn and grow.

Adventurers Update

By Ashley Purpura

Hello Everyone!

It’s been a fantastic year so far and I’m so excited to continue to grow and create with you! I wanted to tell you a bit more about our Adventurers group.

For those of you who don’t know, the Ability Adventurers meet once a month with the goal of having fun while trying something new, and learning. On October 29, 2018 we’ll be learning about relaxation and meditation in nature from 4:30-6:30pm.

Upcoming events include:

 “Let’s Give Thanks!”

November 15, 2018 from 5-7pm

A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving in the IVCIL conference room.

Please bring a dish your family likes to enjoy!

Does NOT have to be “Thanksgiving Food”

Bring cupcakes, or bring lasagna, but whatever it is, bring something you like and be prepared to tell us about it as we get a chance to come together and have fun.

“Let’s Bake Christmas Cookies!”

December 13, 2018 from 5-6:30

We will meet at the University of Illinois Extension Education Center and Community Teaching Kitchen, 944 First Street in LaSalle. Sherry Todas will teach us about baking and safety tips to remember in the kitchen.

We’re always looking for ideas on what to do next, new people to join our group (though you must be out of high school), as well as volunteers. If you’re interested, please contact Ashley Purpura at 815-224-3126 ext. 218.

Volunteers Needed!

The Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living (IVCIL) in LaSalle is actively searching for persons who are willing to volunteer to assist with office duties such as filing, phone surveys, database entry, assist in preparing mailings, answering the phone, as well as helping with social events and craft type work, etc.  Volunteers will have the opportunity to create their own schedule of times to volunteer.

If you or someone you know is looking for something to do, we can help!

One requirement necessary to fulfill before becoming an IVCIL volunteer is to attend an orientation with the Volunteer Coordinator.

For more information and to schedule a volunteer orientation, please call IVCIL at (815)224-3126 (V or TTY) or 1-800-822-3246 (V or TTY) during the business hours of Monday-Friday, 8:30a.m. - 4:30p.m. and ask for Cynthia.

Volunteer Drivers Needed

By Terri Sparling

If you or someone you know has some extra time.... you could wisely invest that time helping people get their meals through our Mobile Meals Program. We need volunteer drivers for each weekday to drive one of our 4 routes delivering meals and doing wellness checks on older adults or persons with disabilities. Please call Terri at 815-224-3406 to sign up.

Upcoming Events

Youth Services Events

Quarterly Teen Social/Support Group


“Fall Fun Night”

At Boggio’s Orchard & Produce in Granville

Was held on Friday October 5, 2018 from 5-8 p.m.

Youth Services Quarterly Parent & Community Training

“Children Learning to Their Full Potential, Using the IEP”

Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 6-8 p.m.

In the IVCIL Conference Room

 At this FREE workshop you will learn how to:

Develop a better understanding of learning styles including your own,
How learning styles fit into Special Education,
Teaching styles and how they work together with your child’s learning style.

Presenter: Jessica Kreiser, Lighted Way Executive Director

To RSVP call Marla Michalak at 815-224-3126 ext. 223 by October 23, 2018

Reasonable accommodations will be offered upon request by registration deadlines.

IVCIL is a United Way Member Agency.
“Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services”

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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018- 101 Supper Club, 101 1st St., LaSalle, IL

Wednesday, November 14, 2018- Peru Pizza House Restaurant, 1702 4th St., Peru, IL

Thursday, December 6, 2018- Mark Allen’s American Kitchen, 1402 Peoria St., Peru, IL

                        IVCIL’s Christmas Party. Bring an ornament for the White Elephant exchange.

 January-No Social

 Wednesday, February 13, 2019- Cabin Fever Bar and Grill, 5220 Trompeter Rd., Peru, IL

Personal Assistant Orientations

Princeton Public Library     November 7th       9:30 am to 1:30 pm

Ottawa Public Library    To Be determined

IVCIL     December 4th      9am to 1pm

 Equipment Loan Program

 In case you didn't know: IVCIL has many different pieces of equipment to loan out from our equipment loan closet. You never know what we might have. We do require a $100 cash deposit on the more expensive items like wheelchairs, which would be returned to you when you return it to us in the same condition it left in. The items are available to borrow and use until you have a more permanent situation. We have wheelchairs, walkers, shower seats etc.

 Advocacy Updates

Stone Jug Barbeque, Peru
by Cynthia Panizzi

In August I wrote a letter to the owner of Stone Jug Barbeque expressing appreciation for being very accessible.  I then informed him of the lack of accessible parking and the requirement of the Illinois Accessibility Code for all public facilities to provide accessible parking for employees and visitors.  I am very happy to say he called within a few days and informed me the Peru City Council has agreed that he can use the parking lot east of his restaurant but it won't be ready for about a year.  He said he will order a parking and fine sign for the current parking lot.  He asked if he needs to have an access aisle.  I said yes so he said he will have one installed.

Cindy’s on 39, Oglesby
by Cynthia Panizzi

In September IVCIL was informed the accessible parking at Cindy’s on 39 in Oglesby needs to be updated.  Therefore, I went and looked myself.  I saw three accessible parking spaces.  Each space lacks an accessible aisle.  Two signs were not legible and the other sign lacked the required fine sign.  Therefore, I wrote a letter to the owner/manager informing him of the issue.  I also included an order form for him to obtain the required signage.

Mark Allen’s Restaurant

By Brian Szuda

After contacting management about their need for compliant accessible parking I provided them with the codes and several resources to have their lot stripped correctly. I pleased that it has now been stripped correctly and they have two accessible parking spaces with a shared access aisle. They still need to install their reserve parking sign and a fine sign which should be done soon.

A Community Reintegration Success Story

   Hi! My name is Doreen Smith and I entered the Community Reintegration Program back in December.  It was slow moving to start, a lot of information gathering, but in March, with the help of the CRP coordinator, things moved quickly.  This program is amazing!

I was well taken care of and made aware at all times of the hurdles and hoops that had to be jumped through to get me home and living independently with help from a personal assistant a few hours per day.  This is where I belong, not in a nursing home!  The nice thing was, we jumped through all of it together.

This program has helped me so much from identifying and submitting critical paperwork, advocating on my behalf with the housing authority, counseling, helping me set and reach goals, having a plan, to move out day, and beyond.   I can’t thank IVCIL enough, for the encouragement, the support, the motivation, and kindness every step of the way.  This program has helped me to gain back my life and make my own decisions.

Thank You! Doreen Smith

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

        July—September 2018


Larry Anderson

Anna Ballard

Mary Ann Goetz

Catherine Loebach

North Central Bank

JH Building Products, Inc.




Robert Mellen

Susan Reeland

Gary Schrowang

Anne Swingel






Medicare Open Enrollment


We are currently in the ‘Open Enrollment Period’ which is October 15 through December 7, 2018.  During these dates, you have the opportunity to make several changes to your current plan.  These changes will be effective January 1, 2019.
Here are some things to consider to assist you decide whether you want to change your current plan.




Your health

  • Do you want to keep your doctors or are you open to changing?
  • Do you have a preexisting condition?
  • Are you taking medications regularly?
  • Are you willing to change pharmacies?




Your home

  • Do you expect to travel around the country or abroad?
  • Do you plan to spend more time at your second home?
  • Do you live in a rural area?




Your costs

  • Are you worried about what you can afford, from premiums to out-of-pocket expenses such as copays, coinsurance and deductibles?
  • Are you eligible for Medicaid or other assistance programs?




Your coverage

  • Do you have health insurance through your job or are you covered by your spouse’s plan?
  • Are you insured through the Affordable Care Act individual marketplace, a retiree health plan, military plan or COBRA (the temporary coverage that people can buy when they leave a job)?



Find information on where to go for assistance reviewing and/or changing your current plan, please call IVCIL at 815-224-3126 (V or TTY) Monday-Friday, 8:30AM-4:30PM.

*Information taken from AARP website.