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Change to Independence Altogether


The C.I.A. is a self-advocacy group at Lifelong Access that was created in 2009. C.I.A. stands for Change to Independence Altogether. It is one of the longest running self-advocacy groups in the state of Illinois. C.I.A. meets and discusses how to make life better for those who have no voice. That might be talking to the Lifelong Access board or administration or going to Springfield and rallying for the budget. We set goals and objectives for our group and work together to meet them.




Most members are people who are receiving services from Lifelong Access now or have in the past. They range in abilities and interests. They include people who love to get in front of a crowd and talk as well as people that love doing things behind the scenes. The C.I.A. has had a member on the Lifelong Access board, two members on Lifelong Access committees, two members in community groups, and one member on the Alliance Board. We welcome new participants regardless of if you receive supports from Lifelong Access.


C.I.A. Activities


The C.I.A. has been instrumental in bringing Public Speaking training for people with disabilities to Lifelong Access. They also have sent groups to the Speak Up, Speak Out conference and currently make YouTube videos to spread awareness, participate in webinars, create curriculum for Lifelong Access staff training, help people register to vote, promote voting in local and federal elections, and enjoy volunteering in our community. The C.I.A. has planned self-advocacy fairs and an art and music show where people with disabilities sold their artwork and performed music. The C.I.A. also hosts Disability Pride Month celebrations each year in July. This has included a community parade, carnival day for people supported, a volunteer day throughout the community, and so much more.


“I talk about how to advocate for myself and on behalf of others.”
- C.I.A. Advocate


“It’s fun, and it is great to teach staff and other people. We really like the rallies and conferences. And it makes you feel good to help others.”
- C.I.A. Advocate


“It is awesome to help people use their voice to help others while learning as well. It also a lot of fun to go to rallies and conferences and meet people from around the state.”
- C.I.A. Staff


“I’m an advocate because everyone has rights.”
- C.I.A. Advocate


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