Retirement Announcement
“It is with mixed emotions as President of the Board of Directors, I’m announcing that the Board has reluctantly accepted Mr. Steve Johnson’s decision to retire as Executive Director of the Endependence Center in Norfolk Virginia. Steve has decided to take steps in a new direction for him and his family. We are all happy for Steve’s decision and his much-deserved retirement.
Efforts to fill the position of Executive Director will not be easy considering the high standards Steve has set for the Center. Best of luck to you Steve in the future for you and your family.”   Mike Wang

Stephen Johnson,  Executive Director Endependence Center, Inc.

“My 36 years at ECI have been a wonderful and challenging experience. After many years in this position, I leave with mixed emotions. I will miss you all as you have been like family in many ways. ECI has impacted who I am and God has blessed me with a most rewarding career.  What could be more important than working in a civil rights organization that advocates for equality and opportunity for and with the disability community? Thanks to all of you for being an important part of my life. I will always consider you friends as well as family. There is still a lot to be done as we fight for full equality and integration into society, achieving education, housing, transportation, employment, and advocacy goals in our lives. I look forward to enjoying my retirement years, and I assure you, ECI is left in very good hands.”                            Steve

The position opening for the Executive Director can be found on our website at http://endependence.org/job-opportunities/

IL Support Group/IL Skills Training

“Communicating with Others”

May 1, 2018 at ECI from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

The IL Support Group will be part of the IL Skills Training on communication. Be here by 1:00pm and join in the discussion with Travis and Rena about communication with family and difficult people. From 2:00pm – 3:00pm we will be joined by students from the Occupational Therapy (OT) Class at Tidewater Community College. The OT students will have some fun learning activities and will share information. Some of their ideas will focus on talking and communicating with others, including handling our feelings when we communicate using a  bingo type game. Learn how to handle communication with strangers and how to start and end a conversation with people using skits. Please come and be a part of this great event. Light refreshments will be served.

Independent Living Day
On Wednesday January 31, ECI participants and staff members traveled to Richmond to meet up with other advocates on a mission to convince our state legislators to expand IL services across the state. With legislative summaries in hand, ECI advocates headed over to the General Assembly to keep appointments with Representatives and Senators. These advocates had a clear message and were actively involved in not only schooling the legislators on which bills will provide necessary services for people with disabilities, but which ones will also advance independent living philosophies, practices and values. It was a very successful day at the General Assembly.

The General Assembly adjourned March 10 without finalizing a budget. They will return for a special session in April.

One of the items they proposed would result in changes to Medicaid consumer-directed companion, personal care and respite services requiring consumer-directed staff to be hired through an agency. If the General Assembly passes this budget amendment, the Endependence Center will facilitate a statewide meeting about this topic. We will post information on the Endependence Center Facebook page, website, and the VaWaivers Yahoo Group. To join the VaWaivers Yahoo Group send a message to vawaivers@endependence.org.

Senate Bill 199 would have restricted when and how complaints about non-compliance with disability laws including the Virginians with Disabilities Act could be pursued. The bill was similar to harmful legislation passed by the US House of Representatives last month. Senate Bill 199 was defeated early in the General Assembly session.

Senate Bill 222 and House Bill 226 expanded current law that allows a physician to end life sustaining treatment over the objection of the individual. The most concerning language in these bills would have provided immunity from liability for the physician or others  involved in ending life sustaining treatment over the objection of the individual. The language about immunity was from the bills before they were passed.

Several bills were introduced this year to address the need for improved access to communication for deaf children. The deaf community worked hard to educate legislators about the need for better communication in early childhood. After significant testimony, the Senate Education and Health Committee decided to carry over the bills to give legislators more time to understand the problem and to try to reach consensus on how to address the problem.

Group for People Living in a Nursing Facility
Friday, May 18, 2018 ~~ 1:00pm to 2:30pm at ECI
This is a group that is ONLY for people who currently live in Nursing Facilities.
We will be discussing issues relating to your rights while you are living in a nursing facility, issues relating to moving out of the nursing facility and how to use paratransit services. You will be able to network with others who live in a nursing facility. We will cover topics  to help you reach your goals. For further information about this group or transportation, please call Rena Lewis at (757) 351-1578 or Travis Webb at (757) 351-1574. Bus tickets and para-transit tickets will be provided to this event.