Road Trip Dispatch from Bloomington-Normal, Illinois


October 4, 2023 | by Amber Smock

Access Living friends and allies,

It’s time for an #ALOnTheRoad update! 

The Access Living road trip crew spent the day yesterday with our colleagues at LIFE CIL, our sister Center for Independent Living serving McLean, Livingston, Ford and DeWitt counties. LIFE CIL is headquartered in Bloomington, which is part of the Bloomington-Normal metro area. LIFE CIL serves people with disabilities living in a wide range of Central Illinois communities, including very rural areas. LIFE CIL staff are 100% all people with disabilities.

The Access Living and LIFE CIL group had a very lively day, discussing topics such as:

  • Dealing with the complexities of Bloomington and Normal are twin municipalities that each have their own city planning and services agendas
  • Advocating for accessible transportation options in a variety of situations, from the proposed transit hub in Bloomington to the dearth of transportation options for those living in more rural areas who need to see the doctor
  • Ensuring that consumers transitioned out of nursing homes have a safe and accessible place to live
  • Supporting young people with disabilities graduating from high school

LIFE CIL also treated us to a mini tour in Bloomington so that we could get a front-line view on the older part of town and accessibility challenges.

We loved getting out of the office and getting a real feel for their work. The Access Living crew lives with a wide range of disabilities, so we had lots of different perspectives to share.

A huge thanks is due to LIFE CIL Executive Director Rickielee Benecke, as well as Advocacy and Advancement Director Conan Calhoun, and the whole LIFE CIL team. We had an amazing time learning from you!

Next up, today Access Living is visiting Advocates for Access CIL in Peoria. It will be another awesome day. Don’t forget to look for our updates at @AccessLiving and #ALOnTheRoad!