Fall 2021 Newsletter

“We’re still in this together!”

After many years of dedicated service as Executive Director, Maia Santamaria is retiring. We are so thankful for her leadership, compassion and tenacity for the Independent Living movement and executing our mission in NW Georgia. And now, NWGA Center for Independent Living has named Christina Holtzclaw as Executive Director. Holtzclaw started with the organization in 2004 when the center opened in Rome, Georgia. Holtzclaw brings extensive leadership experience to her new position through seventeen years’ experience working at the CIL. Holtzclaw has been a member of the Georgia Council of the Blind and the Federation for the Blind. She continues courses with Perkins School For The Blind and Braille Institute. In addition to working, she enjoys running, yoga, and going to the beach. She is married with six children. Her guide dog is named Felicia. Her family attends Life Church.


NWGA Center for Independent Living has promoted Kathy Baker to Assistant Director.  Kathy has been with the center for 10 years and has a hearing disability. She has been able to connect with her consumers and the general public because of her disability. She has extensive training in ADA, Inclusivity and Emergency Preparedness. She continues her training virtually and on location when permitted. Kathy was born and raised in Alabama. She is a mother of one and a grandmother of three. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is currently allowed to live in the same home with 2 cats and a Husky, as she is their primary caregiver.


“I’m Ready” Emergency Bags Available!

Natural disasters and emergencies happen every day, often with little or no warning. We can’t control them, but we can control how prepared we are.

Our I’m Ready bags are free to people who have disabilities in our 15-county service area. They contain a variety of emergency supplies meant to help you stay safe in a shelter-in-place situation, and are designed as a starting kit for building your own, customized kit. Give us a call at 706-314-0008 or email info@nwgacil.org to learn how to get one of our bags!


Introducing the “Peer Hour”!

Our COVID-19 focused peer groups were a wonderful success, and we appreciate everyone who participated in those groups. Since their inception, we held 36 peer support meetings via Zoom! While the pandemic continues, we have found that the need for peer support is greater than ever—not just regarding COVID-19. As such, we are retiring our COVID-19 Peer Calls and are introducing the “Peer Hour!” This meeting will be about any and all topics related to peer support. Our first Peer Hour will be on Monday, November 29th at 2pm via Zoom & phone. Contact us at 706-314-0008 or email choltzclaw@nwgacil.org for the Zoom info. All are welcome!


Have YOU been vaccinated for COVID-19?

Do you have questions about the COVID vaccines?

Need to know how to get the vaccine?

Visit our additional, new site, https://www.vaxnwga.com/

This website has been set up to help answer your questions about the COVID-19 vaccines! All of our staff are proudly vaccinated against COVID-19, because we know that it is our best hope against ending this pandemic.


Access Collaborative, December 2021
Join us for the final Access Collaborative meeting of 2021! We will be hearing from Stacey Valrie Peace, Esq., who is the State ADA Coordinator of the Georgia State Financing & Investment Commission.
When: Wednesday, December 1st, 2-4pm
Join via Zoom or phone
Please contact Christina Holtzclaw at 706-314-0008 or at choltzclaw@nwgacil.org for the meeting login info.


Our office remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can still reach us at 706-314-0008, at info@nwgacil.org and via the information form on our website.


Our staff will be unavailable for Thanksgiving on November 25th and 26th, and for the winter holidays from December 20th through January 3rd.