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Holding Hands Up High

Carol has lived in the Florida Keys for the majority of her life, where she works and maintain a healthy lifestyle. She was diagnosed with a medical condition that necessitates the use of numerous drugs. Her life quickly turned dark after she was arrested and imprisoned for 30 days. She was psychologically fatigued and worn out because she spent so much time in prison reflecting and thinking. She began to CONSIDER how she would care for herself. How will she adjust to her new circumstance? How will she pick up the pages and carry on when she gets out if she doesn't know where to start?


Now that those 30 long, dark days are finally over and Carol is back in the real world, she is faced with the harsh realities of life: she has no money in her bank account, no food, and she is behind on her rent. Carol starts to feel melancholy. She made the choice to get some help by the center for Independent living of the Keys.


 Carol says,

"The Center for Independent Living of the Key (CILK) salvaged my circumstances! I wouldn't have been able to recover from my lowest points without their help. Throughout the process, I had a solid support system and felt like I had many family members. They showed a sincere interest in me by enquiring about my life and listening to me as I described my circumstances. They then offered me the help I needed, applied for food stamps, but also supplied information to the food bank so I could get food right away while the food stamp application was being processed. I received help with my rent payments, and SSI disability income gave me a consistent monthly income. I've finally saw some sunshine.


The CILK assistance has changed my life for the better. I'm happier, more positive, and developing my coping mechanisms. It supports my efforts to attain independence, establish enduring relationships, and maintain good mental and emotional health. Knowing that I have steadfast support without having to battle for it gives me a great deal of satisfaction.


My own experience has shown me how unexpected health issues can fundamentally change a person's life. We all experience unexpected situations, but a strong support network may really help someone get their life back on track.


No words can adequately explain how grateful I am to you, CILK. Your assistance has a positive impact on people's lives!

September 2023

Mother and Child on Beach

Meg is a single parent of a young girl, who has been receiving support from Center for Independent Living of the Keys (CIL) programs for years. She is a stay-at-home mom and is currently pursuing an A.S. in criminal justice at the College of the Florida Keys. Her goals include becoming a criminal intelligence analyst, reducing reliance on government assistance, and establishing a stable relationship for herself and her daughter. Her past trauma has been a source of strength, as she has been fighting to reinstate her social security disability. The CIL of The Keys programs has been instrumental in supporting her and providing services such as self-advocacy by providing counseling about her rights for reconsideration and appeals with SSA related issues, benefits counseling in how employment impact Social Security, SSA, benefits, Medicare counseling, provisions of assistive devices and other family services. CIL of the Keys has gone beyond the scope of their job to support her in ways she didn't have before.

 Meg says,

"A disability is what you have but not who you are - it does not define you as a person. It is a strength that not many realize” Thanks to the law protecting patrons with a disability, I am fully confident and fighting to be the federal agent I have always wanted to be. To say that the CIL of the Keys helped me find myself is an understatement. They became my support team; my family and I am forever grateful to all involved. Thank you, Lesly Q. Lopez, Laurel Folse, Brina Tosta, as well as the many others. The CIL of The Keys Independent Living program and Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (IL/WIPA) programs has been a lifesaver for not only myself but for some of my family members as well, for them to still be in my life overcoming the challenges and getting closer together as a family with me."

August 2023

Man in wheelchair

Joann and Paul, facing the challenges of Paul's Parkinson's diagnosis, found strength and support through CILK, a dedicated organization for people with disabilities. Initially isolated, CILK's Balance Class became crucial for Paul's mobility, providing tools to prevent falls and boost confidence. Nutritional Classes empowered them with healthier habits, and CILK ensured they received nutritious meals at home, easing financial burdens. Actively engaged in community activities facilitated by CILK, Paul improved communication skills and participated in broader health initiatives.


CILK provided essential resources, including walking aids, making mobility easier for Paul, and restoring his independence. Joan received information on Paul's future diversion to a Long-Term Care service, ensuring a well-planned process. Facing financial strain, CILK offered Estate Planning, providing peace of mind and a roadmap for the future. Joann and Paul's journey showcases the transformative power of a comprehensive support system, helping them overcome obstacles. Their success story highlights the positive impact of CILK in enhancing

well-being and resilience.

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