Advocacy Through Walton Options for Independent Living
Community based, and focused on the personal goals of individuals with disabilities, centers for independent living (CILS) provide a wide array of services to anyone who personally identifies as having a disability regardless of their age or what that disability is.
Disability does not discriminate. Injury or sudden illness can come upon anyone at any time. It impacts professionals, homemakers, the young and the old. One key to overcoming such life-changing events is to find ways to stay connected to who you are as a person, establish personal goals and explore the resources in your community.
Independent Living Centers, located throughout the country, are a great source to renew or support your aspirations. Unique to other organizations, CILS are staffed and managed by a majority of people who also have significant disabilities. This is important to the philosophy of CILS because peer mentoring is one of four core services provided by any CIL. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 establishes CILS and the guidelines by which they should operate. Centers are to be consumer controlled, non-medical, non-residential and provide the additional core services of information and referral, advocacy and life skills training. While each CIL provides core services and has a philosophy that unites them, each CIL is also different because it is grown and nurtured from the community it serves.
Walton Options for Independent Living, Inc. (WOIL) is one of over 300 CILS across the country. Serving 16 counties in East Georgia and 10 counties in West South Carolina, WOIL was created when Dennis Skelley, CEO of Walton Rehabilitation Hospital, and several citizens with disabilities saw an opportunity to provide more than just a treatment plan to patients. WOIL was an opportunity to expand the continuum of services by acknowledging that life with disability extends beyond the medical facility and it may or may not begin with a stay in a rehab facility. The non-profit organization became incorporated in Georgia in September 1994 and has assisted thousands of people with disabilities in Georgia and South Carolina.
For further information on WOIL and their advocacy services, please click here.