A Message from the Executive Director


Dear ILCKC Consumers, Supporters and Friends:

On behalf of myself and staff at the Independent Living Center of Kern County (ILCKC), I would like to express my best wishes and tell you where ILCKC is headed in 2015. The core of what we do remains focused on helping all people with disabilities. ILCKC empowers people with disabilities (PWD) to grow and reach their full potential of independence by way of their own choices.

ILCKC offers PWD informed choices to live in the community as freely as they choose, and have the option and resources to be self-sufficient. Many PWD may require assistance to tackle daily activities, help in accessing programs and services, relocating out of a nursing home, getting their power chair repaired, accessing assistive technology devices or learning how to use them, job skills, or maybe sitting amongst peers for peer mentorship. These and many other services are available at ILCKC, all in place to move that PWD forward in becoming or sustaining independence.

ILCKC faces challenges just like any other organization. Servicing such a large area (all of Kern County), with limited staff and resources continues to be a challenge. One way to meet this challenge is to expand and grow our fee-for-service programs which include our Transitions Program, Braille Translation Program, and Job Placement Program. Our Job Placement program has struggled last year, so if you are a business and want to give our consumers an opportunity to show their abilities and obtain employment, please contact our Job Development Program.

We begin this year with two new programs. One program is our American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting service (fee-for-service). If you are a business or organization who has a client, patient, or customer who is deaf and uses ASL to communicate, please call us for an interpreter. We believe that having an ASL interpreting service in-house will help us achieve our bigger goal, which is to provide access to all people who are deaf with regards to accessing programs and services at ILCKC and from other organizations/businesses in Kern County.

The second new service ILCKC is excited to talk about is the Older Individuals Who Are Blind (OIB) program. We were fortunate to receive a grant from the Department of Rehabilitation at the end of 2014. This grant enables ILCKC to assist people 55 years of age and older who are blind and/or visually impaired with various types of services including low vision training, adaptive equipment/assistive technology services, communication skills training, independent living skills classes, individual advocacy, adjustment counseling, and transportation training.

As we enter 2015, I know many additional challenges may lie ahead, but ILCKC will remain devoted to shaping a more empowered and accessible future for all people with disabilities. The types of disabilities people have vary, and the severity of the disability will also vary. So whatever the case may be, we are here to help PWDs live a more independent and integrated life. As a person with a disability, I want to remind PWD that embracing pity and entitlement is toxic to your future. Learn to do as much as you can on your own and you don’t have to settle. You can do better and deserve better.

Your Friend,

Jimmie Soto

Executive Director

Independent Living Center of Kern County

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