Image above: Finger Lakes Independence Center (FLIC) logo. FLIC in blue lettering with white background. The I in FLIC is an open door. Below FLIC it reads, "Finger Lakes Independence Center, Opening Doors to Independence."

March 2023

Image Above: Photo of Judy Heumann-a white woman with short brown hair and glasses, sitting in a wheelchair and holding two books while smiling at the camera. She is wearing a bright blue shirt with vibrant flowers around the collar. She is sitting in a room with gold walls with a lamp, plant, and two vases behind her.

March is Women's History Month and

Disabilities Awareness Month:

Mourning Judy Heumann-

"Mother of Disability Rights"

In honor of Woman's History and Disability Awareness month, FLIC honors the work of Judy Heumann. The disability community is mourning the loss of Judy Heumann, who passed away over the weekend (March 4). Judy was one of our nation’s greatest advocates and was a driving force behind key disability rights accomplishments. 

One of the founders of the independent living movement, she was instrumental to the passage of the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her advocacy led to the first federal regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and to the U.N.'s adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Her career spanned leadership roles in the federal government – including the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State – as well as disability advocacy groups, local government, philanthropy, and international organizations. 

"Judy Heumann’s impact cannot be overstated – every hard-won victory for disability rights since the 1960s stems directly from her leadership and advocacy,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Because of her, people with disabilities are guaranteed equal access and opportunities to go to school, build careers, and live the lives they want to live. Judy shaped the world we live in today, and we all are better for it. Our hearts go out to her husband Jorge, and all who knew and loved her."

"Our community has lost an incredible leader, mentor, and friend, and our hearts are with her family. Judy was a civil rights giant who truly changed the world," said Alison Barkoff, Acting Administrator of HHS’s Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging. "Her legacy lives on in the independent living movement she helped create and in the work of the Administration for Community Living."

"Without Judy’s tireless efforts and pressure on our Department, disability rights law would never have gotten off the ground," said Sam Bagenstos, General Counsel of HHS. "Her vigorous and effective advocacy established the basic principle that disabled people – in the United States and around the world – are people with the right to direct their own lives."

"We will honor Judy’s memory as we enforce the civil rights laws that Judy fought for," said Melanie Fontes Rainer, Director of the Office for Civil Rights. "Her life and accomplishments will continue to spur our work that builds upon her advocacy to break down barriers and ensure people with disabilities people have equal access and opportunities to benefit from all of the programs HHS funds.

Visit her Website to learn more about her life and work, and to read her obituary: https://judithheumann.com/.

"Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution" is available on Netflix and below through YouTube.

Image Above: Heading with "Action Alert" in turqouise lettering on the right. On the left is the icon of a house with a clipart image of a person within it, with the words "New York Association on Independent Living" Blow words and icon are double lines, thin yellow above a whie blue line.

We are reaching out directly to advocates to help us secure an Independent Living Center funding increase of $2 million. We need you to send a message, tweet, or call your representatives in state government. It takes just a few minutes to use our action alert center tools to send your message and we strongly encourage you to add your IL story. There are only a few days left before a significant step in the budget process ends, the release of the one-house budget on Friday.

Our goal right now is to get you and people in your community to reach out to your state representatives to support a $2 million increase spread across 41 ILCs. ILCs are currently not being included in increases based on costs of living or basic operating expenses despite rapidly increasing expenses. As more challenges are facing people with disabilities, older adults, and ILC staff we need a funding level of $18 million more than ever before. Click the link below to share your IL story and how this funding increase can make a difference to you. 

Please Take Action & Share This Alert

Image Above: Photograph of exercise equipment at Island Fitness which provides exercise for the arms and has an easy transfer for any individual using a walker, wheelchair or cane.

Island Health & Fitness Committed to Exercise and Inclusivity

One of the goals of the Finger Lakes Independence Center is to advocate for greater inclusion within our community, state and world. This certainly includes advocacy for local, state and federal policy changes. Our Systems Advocacy Specialist, Rashke Bradley (rashke@fliconline.org) would love to add your voice to our work. FLIC also seeks to raise awareness and access with local clubs, organizations and businesses. We offer a variety of training opportunities on disability awareness, disability etiquette, customer service and inclusive policies. Recently, FLIC staff, Jorge Cuevas and Teressa Sivers, had the opportunity to tour Island Health & Fitness Center with Facility Director, Terry Ciaschi, and Membership Sales and Marketing Manager, Thena Lindhorst, to review the ways in which this fitness facility seeks to include persons with disabilities.

Island Health & Fitness has clearly marked accessible parking with ADA door openers for equitable access to the building. The entire fitness center has wide doorways, ramps and elevators so that all levels are available to all members. As we toured the building, Terry Ciaschi pointed out several different exercise machines and equipment that provide easy access for persons with different mobility needs. As pictured above and below, several items were positioned for accessibility and some allowed for roll-up access.

Terry shared that 33% of membership at Island Health & Fitness are over 60 years of age. He noted that many who have had joint replacement surgery utilize various machines on their road of recovery. Recumbent machines are particularly popular with those who have experienced joint replacement and for those needing greater accessibility. These machines are adjustable. All staff are trained to assist on all equipment and are available to help any member as needed. Terry also noted that there are medical staff present in the building weekdays while the Physical Therapy and Cardiology Offices are open. AED machines and emergency phones are stationed throughout the facility.

On the second floor of the fitness center, there are exercise rooms designed for group fitness classes and for those who need low-senory areas. The club offers several low-impact small exercise classes as well. The third floor community room has a padded floor for classes and workouts. The third floor also offers an outdoor patio for exercise where some equipment may be moved to in warmer weather. Some classes are also offered on the patio as weather permits.

Island Health & Fitness also features a large pool area. All locker rooms have accessible changing areas and showers. The pool area has a lift for assisting individuals in and out of the pool. All staff are trained in using the lift. The pool area has two main pools and a hot tub, as well as a sauna. One pool features lanes for lap simming. The other pool is used for water classes and soaking.

Island Health & Fitness is located at 310 Taughannock Blvd. in Ithaca. Drop-in day passes and month-to-month memberships are available, for pricing or more information visit www.islandhealthfitness.com/tour

FLIC seeks to partner with area clubs, organizations and businesses. Please contact us if you or your group would like to partner for greater inclusivity. (info@fliconline.org)

Image Above: Photograph of exercise equipment at Island Fitness that is designed for roll-up access and features several types of exercises for building strength.

Image Above: Photo taken from inside Island Health & Fitness from 2nd floor walkway, looking over exercise equipment on 1st floor and through the wall of windows to the waterway outside.

First FLIC Book Club

FLIC's first book club of the year met and discussed the book A Room Called Earth, by Madeline Ryan. Madeline Ryan is autistic and her book shares a neurodivergent narrator. Together, the group explored what the book was telling us about our communication and interactions with other people, animals and the Earth around us. And, of course, bonded over our connections with cats, like the narrator's cat Porkchop, as well!

Stay tuned for information about FLIC's next book group, where we will be reading “Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally” by Emily Ladau. Books are gifted to participants. 

Image Left: Cover of the book. Background is a silhouette of a woman standing in a doorway, leaning on the doorframe with one foot crossed over the other. Colors are green, blue, pink and gold. Over the image in white letters with black trim, it reads, "A Room Called Earth: A Novel. Madeleine Ryan."

Image Above: With a white background, it reads, "March is Red Cross Month." March is in red letters, the rest is in black. This is followed by the red Red Cross cross and the words, " American Red Cross" in black.

The American Red Cross

Every March, the Red Cross honors people like you who make the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross possible — the individuals across the country who turn compassion into action, helping others in times of crisis. Our Red Cross Month celebration has been an annual tradition since 1943, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the first Red Cross Month proclamation. Learn more by clicking the button below.

Click Here
Brain injury awareness.png

Image Above: Green awareness ribbon with "brain injury" printed on it. Below is small icon of brain followed by the words, "Brain Injury Awareness."

For more than three decades, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has proudly led the nation in observing Brain Injury Awareness Month by conducting an engaging public awareness campaign in March of each year.

Become more aware and learn about research, treatment and improving the quality of life for those with brain injuries.

Visit the Website
MS awareness.png

Image above: All in orange against a white background. Awareness ribbon with words: "March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. With Awareness There is Hope. Surrounded by an orange border.

Every day, people living with MS do whatever it takes to move their lives forward despite the challenges. By sharing their stories, we help people better understand life with MS and become inspired to do whatever it takes to change the world for people living with MS. 

Learn more about what life with MS can be like and engage more people to do something about it. Follow the link below:

Learn More
Daylight Savings.png

Image Above: Background-slightly blurred green grass with sunlight. Words read: "Daylight Savings, Spring Forward" with a green alarm clock.

Sunday, March 12th!

Before you go to bed on Saturday, March 11th, set your clocks ahead one hour (unless your clock connects digitally with the world). Learn more about daylight savings time below:

Click here.

Are you a Social Security disability beneficiary and want to know how working will affect your benefits? 

Are you afraid of losing your benefits or medical coverage if you return to work? 

Learn about important topics that will help you return to work and explore a better financial future. 


The American Dream Employment Network (ADEN) invites you to this informational webinar: 


"SSA Disability Benefits and Work Incentives" 

Thursday, 03/23/2023 from 3PM - 4PM EST 


Registration is required and there is no cost to attend. 

Click here to register. 


Once registered you will receive an email with a link to the webinar. 

ADEN is a national administrative Social Security approved Ticket To Work provider and a Division of the National Disability Institute.

Providers are located throughout the country to provide in person or virtual services to beneficiaries exploring employment goals. Contact ADEN today!


Governor Hochul's Proposed Budget a

'Mixed Bag' for People with Disabilities

Governor Hochul released her proposed '23-'24 budget early in February. Her proposals are a mixed bag for people with disabilities. 

First, the upside: 

  • The governor is proposing to expand eligibility to the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working People with Disabilities. She plans to increase the asset and income limits and remove the age limit. This will allow people with disabilities to work for higher wages and increase savings while maintaining access to important healthcare coverage. 
  • The governor also proposed an increase of funding to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program by $2.5 million. This important program protects the health, safety, welfare and rights of residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Although a far cry from the $15 million increase needed to properly fund the program across the state, this is a sign of increased investment. 


Then, the downsides:

The governor's proposed budget is bad for home care. 

  • She is proposing to make home care a minimum wage job again, effectively reversing the $3 raise that home care workers won last year. While she is pinning the minimum wage to inflation, she is proposing that the home care worker wage not increase again until it is the same as the minimum wage. 
  • In New York City, Long Island and Westchester, she is proposing to cut $4 from hourly wages of workers who are paid through the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program. 
  • She has not agreed to Restore Home Care Access. In 2019, a change was made to Medicaid so that, in order to qualify for personal care, people would need to require help with three activities of daily living from a restricted list. Activities like washing hair, transferring into a wheelchair, getting groceries or reading mail are no longer things Medicaid will pay for assistance with, even though they are essential to people's quality of life. Hochul could reverse this in her budget.
  • She has not included Fair Pay for Home Care in her budget. Fair Pay for Home Care would increase the wage Medicaid pays homecare workers to 150% of the minimum wage. This would bring new workers into the field to address the home care shortage, and make sure that workers are fairly compensated for their important healthcare work. 
  • The governor's budget does not include needed funding increases for Independent Living Centers, like FLIC.
  • The governor's budget does not include needed funding increases for the Access to Homes program. Access to Home is the primary source of funding for ramps and other home modifications for low-income people with disabilities. Unfortunately, the program is massively underfunded and the need goes unmet in most of the state. 

FLIC, other ILC's and disability advocates across the state are advocating to improve the budget so that it truly meets the needs of New Yorkers with disabilities. The final budget should be released at the end of March, but until then, there is a lot to do! If you are interested in joining an advocacy effort, email rashke@fliconline.org

Mental Health Mindfulness 101

The Finger Lakes Independence Center presents Mental Health Mindfulness 101 -A peer selfhelp mutual support group which uses the basics of mindfulness to assist its members towards bettering their mental health.

Meeting Dates: Mar, 7 & 21,

April 4 & 18,

May 2 & 16.

Time: 3:00 to 4:00 pm

Place: Via Zoom

Guiding Principles 1. This is a self-help and mutual support group. 2. We believe that improving our lives and healing is possible using mindfulness, peer support, and learning coping skills. 3. We are not here to fix each other or give advice, but rather to “Be” with one another with a culture of respect and support. 4. We refrain from universalizing our experience and world view. We speak from the “I” prospective. Differences are expected and welcomed. Come join us as we support each other as we learn, share, and experience ways to live a more peaceful, happier, and empowered life. We will learn how to incorporate mindfulness tools such as the power of our thoughts and words, self-love, meditation, positivity, and much more.

To register or for more information contact

Steven Karris 631-745-2850/stevenjames6560@gmail.com or ​Jeff Boles 607-272-2433/ jeff@fliconline.org

Emergency Preparedness Tip-March


Know how to respond safely when instructions are given to evacuate or take shelter.

In a disaster you may be asked to either evacuate or shelter-in-place. In the excitement of an emergency, it can be difficult to focus on what you are doing. Know what to do to keep your family safe. Practice your tornado and fire safety plans. If your family has practiced, they will be more comfortable doing it when the emergency actually happens.

Task: Identify the best storm shelter in your home and practice getting to the shelter with your family.

Choosing the best place in your home or workplace to shelter from a tornado isn’t always easy. Many newer buildings don’t have a really good shelter area. Use these rules of thumb to find the best tornado shelter possible:

  • Stay away from windows and skylights
  • Shelter “down and in” – Put as many walls between yourself and the outside as you can (think of the ceiling as a wall)
  • Avoid rooms with large ceiling expanses
  • Find an area large enough for everyone to stay comfortably for at least 45 minutes

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, be prepared to protect your family and your property. Cover windows with plywood or hurricane shutters when a hurricane warning is issued—don’t use tape. If you are advised to evacuate, do so. Otherwise, stay inside and away from windows until the storm has completely passed.


Task; Learn how to safely shelter in place.

In an emergency like a chemical spill, you may be told to “shelter in place”. This means to make the place where you are a safe place to stay until the danger has passed. Shelter in place orders are given when it would be dangerous for you to go outside.

Notification – Warning sirens may be used to warn people that it is not safe to be outside. Emergency responders may go door to door in the affected area. They may also use loudspeakers from police or fire vehicles to give instructions. Information will also be given over television and radio using the Emergency Alert System.

What to do in a hazardous materials incident – The first thing to do when a chemical spill or similar event occurs is to get information. Turn on the television or radio to find out if your area is affected and what steps to take. Never call 911 to get information about an emergency. Only call 911 if you are injured or need assistance.

If you are told to shelter in place you should close all doors and windows and shut off fans and air conditioners. Take your family to a room with as few doors and windows as possible. You may be told to put towels or tape around the cracks of the windows and doors. Follow emergency instructions carefully. Make sure you take a battery-powered radio with you so that you will know when the danger has passed. Power in your area may be shut off during the incident.

Task: Make a Go Bag for emergency sheltering.

Emergency shelters will be opened when people are displaced from their homes. In most areas emergency shelters are operated by the American Red Cross. At the Red Cross Shelter:

Red Cross will provide 

  • A cot to sleep on
  • Meals and bottled water
  • A nurse for basic medical care
  • Information about the disaster from public officials

You may need to bring 

  • Pillow and blanket
  • Your own medication and medical supplies (or a list of what you are taking, dosage, and Dr’s names)
  • Identification
  • Change of clothes
  • Cards or magazines
  • Comfort items

Not allowed at the shelter

  • Weapons or alcohol
  • Pets (except for service animals)


The Registry Referral Program

The Finger Lakes Independence Center administers the Registry Referral Program. This is a free referral service linking individuals seeking independent employment to people who need care in their home. Opportunities include: elder companion, housekeeper, run errands, cook, personal care aide, home care aide, LPN, RN. People looking for help can call and receive names of people willing to provide those services. If you either need assistance or if you would be interested in listing your name as a caregiver, pease call FLIC at 272-2433 or email: info@fliconline.org. If you have experience caring for a friend or loved one, please consider sharing your compassion with others. This program is made possible through funding from the Tompkins County Office for the Aging.


Need a Public Notary?

Contact Cheryl Baker at FLIC at

607-272-2433 to make an appointment.

Services are free!

Image left: gold star with the words "Notary Public" in black, bold letters in the center. Double circle surrounds these words. In the circle at the top it reads "Official" and, at the bottom, "Duly Commissioned."


Image above: In purple lettering against a white background, it reads, "World Bipolar Day, March 30th." Includes logo-circle that transitions from pink to blue. Inside the circle is a small, white circle and two white half-circles that form a person.

The vision of World Bipolar Day (WBD) on March 30th is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma. Through international collaboration, the goal of World Bipolar Day is to bring the world population information about bipolar disorders that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness. 

Learn More

Image above: White circle with the words "Happy Spring" in the center, surrounded by pink tulips.

Traditionally, we celebrate the first day of spring on March 21, but astronomers and calendar manufacturers alike now say that the spring season starts on March 20th, in all time zones in North America. In 2020, spring fell on March 19th, the earliest first day of spring in 124 years!

Learn more about the Vernal Equinox!

Visit the Website

Image Above: Dark-colored tabletop covered in different kinds of pies. In white letters at the bottom center it reads, "Happy Pi Day, 3.14"

Celebrate Pi (3.141592...) on March 14 (3/14)! National Pi Day invites us to celebrate mathmatics, especially the mathematical constant of pi, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Click the lin below to learn more about this constant and about pi day. And have some pie!

Pi Day!

Image Above: In black lettering against a white background, it reads, "Happy St. Patrick's Day." Words are surrounded by green shamrocks and topped with a green top hat.

On March 17th, many people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds put on green and declare themselves Irish for the day. But where did this "green" day come from and how did it become what it is today? Visit History.com to learn about the 'luck of the Irish.'