The Bigger Picture, Issue 7

Is it Wednesday again already?! It’s May, already?! Holy Flying Time, Batman!

ADA 25 Spotlight Topic for May

We’re getting closer to the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act! July 26th will mark 25 years of change in our nation, and beyond! Each month this year, the ADA National Network has a theme for information and discussion for that month, and this month’s theme is “Recreation – disAbilities at Play”. Here are several links to information on this topic from the ADA National Network’s Document Portal:

ADA Document Portal from the ADA National Network

*How do YOU get your recreation? Do you have any tips for others with disabilities to get enough play? (All work and no play makes anyone a dull person!) Tell us in the comments below!

Designing for Disability

New York Fashion Week is one of the biggest events in the world of fashion design. Countless pictures and blog posts are made surrounding this event. But one thing you’ve probably not seen in those posts over the years are models who have a disability. This year, that changed (and hopefully for good). Take a look at this New Yorker article to see how disability was on the runway in February at NY Fashion Week.

*Would you go down the runway in haute fashion designs? What would you like to wear down the runway if you had the chance? Tell us in the comments below!

Transportation Update from NCD

On Monday morning, the National Council on Disability released an update on the status of transportation for individuals with disabilities. We all know that in our area transportation is one of the biggest barriers individuals with disabilities face in their daily lives. Here in Rome we are incredibly fortunate to have RTD and their ParaTransit program. However, outside of Rome, transportation is extremely limited. NCD reflected this in their report. Hopefully this will open the eyes of the federal and state governments to the struggle that people with disabilities face in areas where transportation is limited.

Staff Spotlight – Kathy Baker

Each week on The Bigger Picture we’ll be bringing you a closer look at one of our wonderful staff members. What do the 1960’s, funny cat pictures and a curly red-fur dog have in common? We’ll give you a moment to figure that one out……… Nope! It’s Kathy Baker, our Independent Living Coordinator! Her name sign is “Old Hippie”, but we all love having her fun & casual energy around the office. If you need to know something about AT or devices to help with hearing impairment, then Kathy is the woman to go to. (You can bribe her with bubble gum and sweet tea.)

Kathy Baker, ILC

Kathy Baker, ILC

How long have you worked with NWGACIL? I’ve worked here since May 2011 when my old job was coming to an end at the Regional Hospital.

What do you do at NWGACIL? Official title is Independent Living Coordinator, but I help my people make decisions based on what they want while they are living, loving and working in their communities.  There are lots of ways to do this but the most important thing is to be able to listen to what they want and then help them achieve it.

Do you have a disability? When I was 10 years old I had measles, mumps and chicken pox-this is in the stone age when vaccines were unknown.  The fevers from all these childhood diseases really did a number on my hearing and vision.  I identify with the deaf community more because there has been so many bumps in the road caused by my inability to hear.

What topic of independent living do you find most important? Funny you should ask me that question.  Ever since I can remember, I have had to find ways of dealing with a disability that no one can see.  The results have been that I can read lips quite well and am able to tell someone that I need to see their face.  I am still learning the importance of self-advocacy but that is one of the most important lessons that anyone can learn.

What’s the best part of working at NWGACIL? The best part of working here is that my coworkers are friendly and helpful and that I am comfortable here.  I’m also not bored, that’s one of the things that I can’t do.  I have to be learning or doing something, so this has been the best fit for me and I just wish I had found it years ago.

Do you have any pets? I have a Boston terrier named Baby Girl and a cat named Precious.  They both had disabilities so they get a lot of my attention.  I also have a service dog named Maggie.  She helps me hear noises behind me and also can alert me to the door or something outside.  She is very helpful to me and I don’t know how I did without one for so long.

Where did you grow up? Favorite childhood memory? I grew up in Birmingham, AL.  I still remember the highways being built and all that, I’m an old hippy.  My best childhood time were camping with my family all over the South.

What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13? Being as how that was nearly 50 years ago, I would have warned me that everything I read and dreamed about were going to be invented.  I love all the technology and gadgets that are out and look forward to seeing even more in the future.

What is your biggest accomplishment right now? I’m very proud of my daughter, Katie and can honestly say that she is all that is good in me.

What is your biggest challenge right now? “getting out of bed”-Maxine

What’s the best advice you ever received? Don’t take life personal.  It will throw everything at you and you just have to keep throwing it back.-Daddy Also, there was something about laughing a lot so everyone wonders what you’re up to.


 Recent events at NWGACIL…

On Saturday, 4/25, Maia and David attended the handcycling race in downtown Rome, representing NWGA CIL. At this event, they debuted our ADA 25 Pledge Cards that will be sent out to hundreds of people this summer. Check out these great pictures of the event!

handcycling 3

Start your engines!


handcycling 1

Getting ready to start!


handcycling 2

Maia Santamaria at the race



The Senior Inforum was held on Wednesday, 4/29; Andy and Jill manned the booth at the event. There were hundreds of NWGA senior citizens in attendance, as well as a plethora of vendors! As always, the candy basket at our booth was a huge success, but it gave us an opportunity to speak to each person who came by and took some of the candy. We distributed many FEMA brochures on emergency preparedness for seniors and individuals with disabilities, as well as educating the seniors on what we do and the Independent Living philosophy. (There may be a shortage of butterscotch disks in Rome right now; oops, that’s our fault!)

Senior Inforum 2015

Senior Inforum 2015


Then on Thursday, 4/30, Jim attended the Alzheimer Association’s conference at the Clarence Brown Conference Center in Cartersville. He says, “You can congratulate Rebekah Davis, chair of the event and all of the Alzheimer’s Association on an excellent conference. It was a success by every measurement. Over 2 dozen vendors. Over 400 attendees and the Clarence Brown Convention Center is a first rate facility in every way. I was one of the service provider exhibitors and had many inquiries from attendees. Our board members David Smith was set up as a service provider as Elder Law specialist. This is one of the largest and best conferences of the year.”


Just last night (Tuesday, 5/5) Maia, Kathy & Jill attended the public discussion event on the importance of sign language interpreters in the medical arena, in partnership with GACHI and GVRA. Many people were invited, including members of the medical field in our area. We had an excellent turn-out from the deaf community, and they were very engaged throughout the entire presentation. Maia and Kathy were able to lend their expertise to the panel, and we even had a great discussion tying into the 25th anniversary of the ADA! Unfortunately, we did not have attendees from the medical arena, so we are hoping to bring this as an in-service to them in the near future. We want the medical community to be able to serve individuals with hearing impairments as best as they possibly can. We’ll be sure to keep everyone updated about that as need be.

Sign Language & the Medical Arena Public Discussion

Sign Language & the Medical Arena Public Discussion


Wow, that was a big post for this week, wasn’t it? We’ve started off the month of May with a bang here at NWGA CIL and we hope you’ll join us again through the rest of the month to see what’s up as we work to further the Independent Living philosophy in northwest Georgia!

2 thoughts on “The Bigger Picture, Issue 7

  1. Play and recreation are truly important. I love tandem cycling, and am a member of the Georgia Blind Sports tandem cycling club.

    Re fashion: The white cane is a symbol, but I’ve always thought it would look good with zebra stripes…

  2. I need a help with Social Security Administration problem. I look for pro Bond lawyer and someone on my side standing and fighting against them.

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