Serving the needs of persons with disabilities in our region and state

Of upmost importance toward the mental and physical health of our populous is provision of services to peoples with disabilities. In assuring this is possible, the Governors State Independent Living Council (SILC) exists.

The Council’s primary mission is to “ensure that all Texans with disabilities have access to quality independent living services by providing a framework for service delivery. The Council upholds the principles of the independent living movement; peer support, self-help, self-determination, equality, and positive systemic change.”

The State Independent Living Council envisions a Texas where people with disabilities “make informed choices and direct their own lives, have the opportunity to assess and incur risks, are viewed as individuals and not stereotypes; and live, work, and play in the least restrictive environment possible.”

The Council works closely with other state organizations and non-profit entities, to include a collaborative agreement with the Centers for Independent Living, of which there are about 27 regional Centers.

The Center serving our area is the Valley Association for Independent Living ((VAIL) located out of McAllen.

The SILC serves also as the “eyes and ears” of our citizenry, closely attending to issues of the Governor and State Legislation concerning issues under the Council purview.

The Board members, all appointed by the Governor, and serving at his pleasure; come from various regions of the State and are appointed for a 3-year term. I am most privileged to being the only person appointed from our Lower Rio Grande Valley Region to serve on the Council; now in the second year of my term.

As a board member of the Council (SILC) my wife (whom is not only my constant companion, but also my “attendant”) and I traveled to Austin this past weekend to attend our quarterly meeting of the Council.

We covered many, many issues…to many to write about in this article, to include budgetary funding requests, overall budget, etc.; and received many reports from other agencies; to include our advocacy subcommittee, SILC activities, Health and Human Services Report, the Texas Workforce Commission report, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs report, to name a few.

The Council board also received a two-hour training session on new rules and responsibilities for Independent Living Programs. Of particular interest was a presentation made by Mr. Mack Marsh, Board Member, and also Director of the Parking Mobility Organization; a non-profit organization of volunteers who provide education and enforcement designed to efficiently address accessible parking abuse in a community.

With a volunteer force of over 100,000 volunteers worldwide, their mission is to improve awareness in order to enhance access to everyday life for all those persons who realize the importance and impact accessible parking has on their health and safety.

For further information on this program visit their web-site at Parkingmobility.com.

If you would like further information on the SILC please e-mail me at rjonessr29@att.net.

I will be most pleased to respond right away.

Until Next Time, Stay Healthy My Friends!