Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living

Connecting People to the Power of Independence

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Riddle me this…. What is so special about a CIL?

hand held to the ear

hand held to the ear

Removing barriers, for people who have disabilities – and their families, and in communities – that’s what we do!  CILs provide people with disabilities

a)      the services they need,

b)      when they need them, so that

c)       they can obtain and sustain the lives they choose to lead.

a)      Providing services they need:

  • We’re are a part of – not apart from – the communities we serve.  We build, sustain, and offer benefit of expertise, relationships, and support systems that people who come to us haven’t known of or been able to access.  We stay locally current.
  • Because CILs are designed and operated by people who have disabilities, we offer services based on:
    • what people with disabilities who have faced barriers understand about what those barriers are and know how to overcome them.
    • what people with disabilities who face those barriers today tell us they need.
  • An array of services that build on strengths and needs our people and communities have.
  • Consumers are involved in identifying their needs and developing strategies through planning for getting their needs met.  The plans make the most of the expertise and relationships CILs have built while the consumer builds skills in planning and problem-solving.

b)      When they need them:

  • Many entities have waiting lists and / or delays in providing services.  In many cases, eligibility determination takes valuable time.  CILs offer services without delay.  Typically, CILs begin providing services at the time of intake.  Who else can make that claim?

c)       Obtaining and sustaining the lives they choose to lead:

  • We plan, carry out the plan, and followup with the consumer.  We help ensure that the plan “sticks” and works well for the person.
  • Case in point: Texas CILs have a lower level of recidivism for consumers relocated by a CIL (10%) vs when relocated by other entities (50%.)  Is it because of our followup?

Thank you Amy Kantoff with the Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living for your eloquent answer!


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The Brain Injury Awareness Campaign

BI Awareness CROP

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month! 

The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) is happy to unveil a new legislative campaign for brain injury awareness month. Please join us in raising awareness of brain injury.
BIA-MA’s goal this year is to raise visibility and awareness and increase access to state services for individuals with brain injury. There are currently more than 3,000 brain injury survivors on the waiting list for brain injury services through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC). The time has come to meet their needs by increasing budget appropriations and reinforcing policies.
Are you the mother, daughter, son, father, caregiver, service provider, survivor or rehabilitation specialist? What role do you play in brain injury? What is your relationship to brain injury? How has brain injury affected your life?
BIA-MA is looking for people to put a “face” to brain injury by sharing how they’re affected by brain injury through anecdotes and personal stories.
BIA-MA has developed a kit for you to advocate for survivors and increase awareness through this campaign. Check out the link below!

Brain Injury Awareness Campaign

Check out OUR pictures on Facebook:

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Beep Baseball is COMING SOON!

Beep Baseball cropped png

Attention Brazos Valley be on the lookout for the BCS Outlaws!! Beep Baseball is coming to Aggieland! Join us on 3/28 from 4-6 pm at Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living for an informational and to sign up for a team! More info to come!!

Beep Baseball png

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B/CS Transportation Challenge

Boarding the Bus

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. ~ Benjamin Franklin

The Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living (BVCIL) has been advocating for increased transportation options for people with disabilities in our community for a few years now.  Transportation affects every aspect of independent community living — employment, education, grocery shopping, healthcare, and enjoyment. At BVCIL, we meet people everyday who either have zero access to transportation or who spend an inordinate amount of time “commuting” in our community.

On February 15th, BVCIL will be holding our 2nd annual fundraising event, Dining in the Dark, to help raise funds toward improving transportation options in B/CS.  BVCIL understands the depth of this problem… we have “told” the community; we have attempted to “teach” the community; now we would like to “involve” YOU.

Here’s your challenge:

  • Pick one day and use the public bus system (not A&M bus system) to get to and from your job — if you don’t have a job, use it to complete another typical trip for you (groceries, church, bar — whatever).
  • Report on your experience — either post your reply here, email, tweet it @bvciltexas, put it on Facebook and tag Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living or if you are a media professional — “report” it in your own way.

Can you do it?  Will you try?



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TACIL – Now Hiring!



Job Announcement

Job Title: Executive Director

Hours: Full-Time, Salaried, Exempt Position

Salary: Commensurate with Experience


The Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living (TACIL) is a membership organization that represents 24 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) throughout the State.  TACIL serves as a forum for CILs to collaborate on statewide initiatives and share information and ideas pursuant to expanding independent living (IL) programs and services.  Our mission is to strengthen and build the capacity of the CIL network to meet the growing service demands of Texans with disabilities.

TACIL is seeking to hire an Executive Director who will be responsible for the general operations of the organization, which includes on-going resource development, fiscal and programmatic oversight, and effective communication with TACIL’s membership, grantors, advocates, policy makers and other community stakeholders.  The Executive Director reports to and is supervised by TACIL’s Board President.

Essential Tasks:

  1. Understands and subscribes to the philosophy and values of Independent Living.
  2. Implements and complies with policies and procedures approved by TACIL’s Board of Directors.
  3. Provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization’s philosophy, mission, strategic plan, and annual goals and objectives.
  4. Works at the state and federal levels on behalf of TACIL to achieve regulatory and administrative changes for greater access to home and community-based services.
  5. Maintains best practice knowledge in Independent Living and services for individuals with disabilities, to include housing, transportation, employment, technology, and advocacy.
  6. Maintains effective communication with the State Independent Living Council (SILC) and collaborates with the SILC on developing and monitoring the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).
  7. Assists TACIL in organizing monthly teleconferences, trainings, committee meetings and scheduled face-to-face meetings.
  8. Facilitates teleconferences, meetings and trainings of a statewide Consumer Advocacy Team (CAT).
  9. Assists with the development of TACIL position papers and policy statements.
  10. Develops informational and/or action alerts for dissemination to TACIL’s membership and CAT.
  11. Provides quality presentations on topics related to TACIL and Centers for Independent Living.
  12. Ensures that a comprehensive budget and subsequent revisions are developed annually and presented to the Board for review and approval.
  13. Reviews key monthly financial reports, including balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and budget comparisons.
  14. Ensures compliance stipulated by funding entities and other local, state, and federal regulatory agencies.
  15. Performs other duties and responsibilities as assigned by TACIL Board.

The previous statements reflect the general duties considered necessary to describe the principle functions of the job as identified and shall not be considered as a detailed description of all the work requirements that may be inherent in the position.


  1. Strong leadership, organizational, administrative and financial management skills
  2. Ability to travel statewide to various CIL locations
  3. Knowledge of current community challenges and opportunities relating to the mission of the organization
  4. Ability to develop and evaluate various projects
  5. Ability to analyze proposed legislation, regulations, budgets, policies and procedures for purposes of determining their effect on the lives of people with disabilities
  6. Knowledge and understanding of the Independent Living Movement
  7. Knowledge of state and federal laws regarding the rights of people with disabilities
  8. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing to diverse audiences and individuals at all levels of government
  9. Ability to maintain a professional attitude, particularly in stressful situations
  10. Knowledge and competence of computers and software applications, particularly Microsoft Office
  11. Ability to exercise good judgment, take initiative and work independently



Master’s Degree in Political Science, Business Administration or related fields, with experience working in an IL setting and directly with a not-for-profit Board of Directors are preferred; along with a minimum of five (5) years of management experience, knowledge of the issues and challenges faced by people with disabilities, and proven ability to supervise people, write grants, develop programs and raise funds; or, any combination of education and experience that, in the opinion of TACIL’s Board of Directors, qualifies the individual for the position.

If interested, please submit the following by January 17, 2014:

  • ·         A cover letter (no more than 1 page in length) that briefly addresses your interest in the position.
  • Three professional references.
  • ·         Proposed Salary
  • A current resume that clearly describes your experience, skills and/or knowledge related to the requirements of the position.  Include paid and volunteer experience.  Please limit resume to no more than 2 pages.

E-mail requested information to Michelle Crain, TACIL President, at or fax to (806) 795-5607.


*TACIL is an equal opportunity employer.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

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Poetry Contest for Adults Who Have Mental Health Disabilities

picture of human head full of gears

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Do you or someone you know have a mental health disability and a knack for expressing what that’s like in poetry? The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announces its Second Annual Statewide Adult Poetry Contest. Entries of 200 words or less submitted to by May 10, 2013, (or mailed to the DSHS office with postmark of the same) will be considered for prizes, certificates, and online publication.

Please visit the DSHS web site at for full contest rules, mailing address, and other contact information.

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Hiring: Sign Language Interpreter

Now Hiring

The Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living is dedicated to promoting the full inclusion and participation of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of community life through a combination of advocacy, peer support, independent living skills training and information and referral – all of which are consumer-controlled and community-based. Our employees enjoy a diverse work environment, opportunities for development and a real opportunity to make a difference!

Sign Language Interpreter, BRYAN, TX – (Open until Filled)                     

FT or PT – Negotiable                               Salary- Based on Qualifications

In collaboration with the executive director, the sign language interpreter will contribute to increasing communication access to BVCIL staff and our local community.  Key responsibilities include:

  • Providing accurate Sign-to-Voice and Voice-to-Sign interpretation for BVCIL staff and contracted community partners;
  • Assisting in developing and maintaining a current calendar of activities related to the Deaf community (ASL classes, Peer Support groups, etc.); and,
  • Providing community education and advocacy related to communication access.

Successful candidates will possess:

  • Fluency in American Sign Language (Note: we will consider non-certified applicants with fluency and ability to obtain certification in an agreed upon timeframe);
  • excellent interpersonal skills;
  • Willingness to promote the Independent Living Philosophy;
  • Willingness to be involved in local and state advocacy efforts;
  • Willingness to travel;
  • Computer skills including Microsoft Word and Excel preferred;
  • Strong understanding of Deaf culture;
  • Good working knowledge of interpreter code of ethics;
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills; and
  • Ability to exercise good judgment and work independently.


Applicants should view the full job description and send a completed BVCIL Application and cover letter outlining how they meet the specific requirements of the position to

While we sincerely appreciate all applications, only those candidates selected for interview will be contacted. Please note the selected candidate will be required to submit to a thorough criminal background check and a skills test.

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We Need Your Input!

BVCIL is considering starting a “Parents with Disabilities Support Group.” This would be a peer-to-peer group for people who have disabilities who have or are expecting children. We do not have one scheduled as of yet and we need to see how many of you would be interested in attending such an event.

Please respond by emailing me directly at and include the number of parents you would expect to come with you (for example, 2 for you and your spouse.) Thank you for your help!

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Free Thanksgiving Meals

There are many options available for people in the Brazos Valley to get a free Thanksgiving meal:

Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church


Date: Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time: 11:30 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.

Place: Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church

310 West MLK & Sims St.

Bryan, TX 77802

Cost: FREE


Come have a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. Open to any and everyone!
Twin City Mission


Date: Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time: 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

Place: 410 S.Randolph St.

Bryan, TX 77802

Cost: FREE


Twin City Mission will serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal out of their community cafe.
Epicures Catering

Date: Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time: lunch time

Place: Delivery to families


Cost: FREE



Epicures Catering in College Station plans to distribute 1,200 meals Thanksgiving. Anyone in need of a meal can call 695-0985.
B/CS Pizza Huts


Date: Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time: 2:00 P.M.

Place: All 4 Pizza Hut Locations in B/CS


Cost: FREE


All four Pizza Hut locations in Bryan and College Station will offer a free Thanksgiving meal Thursday at 2:00 p.m.


Salvation Army


Date: Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time: 9:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

Place: Salvation Army

2506 Cavitt

Bryan, TX 77802

Cost: FREE


The Salvation Army will have limited numbers of Thanksgiving food baskets to hand out between 9:00 A.M.- 11:30 A.M. Thursday. Be sure to get there early before they run out!



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Letter from Bruce Darling on voting issues that concern you:

The Center for Disability Rights [and all centers for Independent Living] works all year long to support seniors and people with disabilities living in the community.  As Election Day arrives, we think it’s important for everyone to know the facts about how both of the two major Presidential candidates would likely affect the right of people with disabilities to live in the most integrated setting.

Here are three major issues we need to consider: Medicaid, Olmstead enforcement and the Community First Choice Option.


Medicaid pays for long term services and supports, and when it comes to Medicaid, the difference between the candidates is dramatic.

The Romney-Ryan plan for Medicaid would block grant Medicaid and cut $810 billion out of the program over 10 years.  That means a Romney administration would cut one-third of Medicaid!  States are already dealing with their own budget issues by cutting vital Medicaid home and community based services, so with one-third less federal funding, home and community-based services would be devastated.

Although President Obama has proposed some cuts to Medicaid, we know that he is committed to the program.  President Obama has largely shielded Medicaid from cuts in budget negotiations with Congress.  His administration wants to combine spending cuts and tax increases on upper-income households to close the fiscal hole without fundamentally changing the government guarantees at the heart of Medicaid.

Civil Rights: Enforcing Olmstead

The Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision underpins much of our advocacy to support people with disabilities living in the community.  The Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, has done incredible and unprecedented work enforcing the Olmstead decision and assuring that states provide services and supports in the most integrated setting.  In the last few weeks DOJ demonstrated that addressing fiscal issues in the states does not necessarily conflict with Olmstead compliance.  In conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, DOJ brokered a deal where Washington State agreed to add an exception process to their personal care cuts that would prevent people from being forced into institutional settings.  Had DOJ not brokered this deal, Washington State would have appealed MR v Dreyfus to the Supreme Court and potentially undermined the entire Olmstead decision.    

Mitt Romney hasn’t said much on what the Department of Justice would look like if he wins the election, but he has criticized Obama’s DOJ, especially Attorney General Holder. During a New Hampshire campaign event late in 2011, Romney said, “There’s not very much that Eric Holder does that I agree with.”

Community First Choice Option

The Community First Choice (CFC) Option is a community-based Medicaid state plan service which includes hands on assistance, safety monitoring, and cueing for assistance with activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living and health related functions based on functional need, not diagnosis or age.  It was the result of over twenty years of work by the disability rights community which has advocated ending the institutional bias that forces people into unwanted and unnecessary institutionalization.

The Community First Choice Option was established as part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”.  It is well-established that President Obama supports the Affordable Care Act and his administration supports implementation of the Community First Choice Option.

Mitt Romney has been clear that he would the repeal the Affordable Care Act which includes the Community First Choice Option.  His plan for block granting Medicaid would also eliminate the CFC option and the incentives it created for states to rebalance their systems for providing long term services and supports.

The Center for Disability Rights [also applies to the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living]

The Center for Disability Rights is a non-partisan advocacy organization working for the full integration, independence and civil rights of people with disabilities.  We believe that as advocates, our first and most important job is to get informed and vote.

We’ve provided you with some information, but the rest is up to you.

So vote!


Bruce Darling

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