New Project Focuses on Community Connections

August 21,  2015

Individuals with disabilities often lack opportunities to pursue their interests and engage in the community. These missed chances to build relationships leave them vulnerable to isolation and depression. Thanks to an investment by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, Center for Independent Futures will collaborate with community organizations to support the connections that lead to healthier, happier lives.

CIF’s Community Connectors and Bridge Builders Project will bring together individuals with similar interests to facilitate inclusion in groups, hobbies, or volunteering opportunities. Community Connectors will train and mentor volunteers from four organizations in Evanston and Frankfort, Illinois. These volunteers, or Bridge Builders, will introduce individuals with disabilities into mainstream community activities that match up with their interests. Through simple introductions and support to attend meetings or events, Bridge Builders will support individuals to live fuller lives.

Additionally, the project will establish tools for expanding, sustaining, and replicating similar efforts in other communities. CIF will create a guide for cultivating and recruiting community volunteers and will demonstrate the use of an online asset-mapping tool to support collaboration between volunteers, organizations, and individuals. These collaborations result in enriched, inclusive communities where all members have equal opportunities.

“CIF believes that everyone has gifts and talents to share and that communities are stronger when everyone feels they belong,” says Gerilyn Miller-Brown, CIF’s Development Manager of Grants and Foundations.

Through this project, Center for Independent Futures hopes to support more than 30 individuals to build connections in their communities. The possibilities are countless. To learn more, contact us at (847) 328-2044.


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