Symposium Sparks Essential Conversations

October 30, 2015

On October 16, Center for Independent Futures hosted its first symposium, a day-long conference about building capacity through strengthening communities, with a focus on creating housing solutions for individuals with disabilities.

Hosted at National Louis University’s Skokie campus, the day began with a keynote address from Al Condeluci, a nationally known leader and consultant on human services and community issues. Al shared his expertise on social capital, or the importance of relationships, and how strong communities can create new opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“The only way we’re going to create an inclusive society is if we can get beyond the differences that people with disabilities have and really begin to think in a holistic way. Individually, organizationally, and culturally, it’s an essential conversation,” Al says.

The symposium proved a perfect setting to dig into these conversations. Attendees, who included professionals, community members, and families, shared ideas and collaborated throughout the day. The day also included a panel featuring family members who have worked toward creating their own alternative housing options.

“Center for Independent Futures has been working with families creating housing for fourteen years,” shares Ann Sickon, the organization’s executive director. “To finally be at a point where we can reach out to so many families that we’ve worked with and bring their expertise to the table and share it with new families who are looking for solutions is just tremendous.”

Center for Independent Futures is grateful to The Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University for co-sponsoring the event and for the support of the Coleman Foundation for making the day possible. Thanks to partnerships like these, more work can be done to create stronger communities and full lives for individuals with disabilities.

Stay tuned for more video footage from the day, including access to Al Condeluci’s keynote presentation!

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