Celebrating 25 Years
It’s Been 21 Years of Fun
By Patty Hayne
One of my fondest memories from the past 21 years with Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) takes me back to the early bulk mail parties of the BEACON newsletter. We were known as the Springfield Coalition for Disability Rights back then.
Our very old DOS computer would print the labels, sometimes in zip code order and then sometimes not. Betty Claypool and I would label over 800 copies and then do the ‘round the room waltz’ to sort for bulk mailing.
As a secretary in the beginning, my desk shared the same space with our lobby, meeting room, activity room and all around workroom. Fortunately, we moved to the Cinderella Street office. We had so much space!
A few months later I took a new position of Independent Living Assistant (ILA) then a year later as an Independent Living Specialist (ILS) and helped started our program “Birds, Bees and May I Please.” The program introduced appropriate public behavior, dating and sex education to our consumers. We also offered cooking classes, bus training and other independent living skills training. With the support of parents and families of consumers, as well as local specialists and agencies, our programs became very popular.
We have accomplished so much for individuals with disabilities. I have so many favorite times that I could share! Everyone always enjoyed the center open houses and parties and other times that stand out vividly are when we got our first van “the grey ghost;” helping Frank Nease get a van; SCIL Summer Camp; the time that Betty picked up over 150 wheelchairs wheels from the Federal Prison Center (they donated because they considered the spokes in the wheels as weapons).
Over the years, the SCIL staff has grown and we have added many more programs to assist individuals with disabilities to remain independent in the community. I, like many SCIL staff have worn many hats and juggled multiple jobs; it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve especially enjoyed being part of the Day at the Range and Outdoor Adventure Fair efforts for the past eight years!