8:00 am – 5:00pm Crown Foyer: Conference Registration

T-shirts and Raffle Tickets go on Sale! Continental Breakfast


9:00am – 10:30am Ambassador Ballroom:

General Session: Welcome, Opening Remarks, Opening Keynote

Welcome from:

Billy Altom, APRIL ED 


APRIL Youth Steering Committee Chair, Mels Felton

Disability Advocates of Kent County (Grand Rapids, MI CIL)

MI SILC Chair, Aaron Andres

Blessing from James "Bud" Day, Gun Lake Tribes


10:00 am Opening Address

Commissioner Julie Hocker, ACL

Come share our vision for Americans with disabilities to continue to freely pursue all facets of community life alongside people with and without disabilities. Focus will be on the Independent Living programs, administered by the Administration on Community Living. We will talk about the increasingly complex web of systems and networks that CILs are asked to join or already apart of and look to our collective need to braid and blend resources to continue to accomplish all that is before us. Update on key initiatives of ACL as they relate to and focus on Americans with disabilities; namely, health equality and the dignity of work. 

10:30am – 11:30 am Center Concourse
Visit vendor booths and special Tom Olin exhibit
*Note that Vendor area will be open throughout the conference until Sunday evening.


11:30am – 1:00pm Ambassador Ballroom: Plated Luncheon and Keynote

12:15 Keynote Session begins: APRIL Back to the Future, Celebrating 25 years of Conferences

Liz Sherwin, Mark Leeper, Michael Beers

Embark on a journey with us as we travel back to the roots of APRIL as an organization.We will make stops along the way to celebrate our successes and leaders of past to sharpen our visions for the future.


1:00-1:30 Transition to Workshops


Concurrent Workshops Block 1: 1:30 PM- 3:00 PM

Vandenberg A: Business Acumen- ACL

This interactive session will introduce business acumen concepts and considerations, highlight CILs using business acumen to expand funding, and provide tools to help CILs assess their level of business acumen readiness.

Vandenberg B: Addressing Youth Services; Seeing Real Positive Outcomes

Autumn Kubatzke, Alice Nichols and Julie Bosma

RAMP is a CIL, serving four counties in NW Illinois. Providing education and advocacy to students and their parents is at the core of what they do. RAMP runs a full continuum of youth services designed for students grades K-12 and beyond. Through curriculum and services they teach students about disability awareness, help students better understand themselves, their IEP and how to participate in their meetings. The utilize hands on activities to understand transition plan; what life will be like after high school, how to apply for college, job exploration, job shadows, and more. They will also share innovative ways to maintain sustainability of the programs.

Pearl: Building a Sustainable Nursing Facility Transition (NFT) Program

Sara Grivetti

This main objective of this session is to share the process Michigan used to re-build a Nursing Facility Transition program inclusive of a sustainable payor source, strategic partnerships, consumer input and coordinated staff development.

Gerald Ford: Creating a Sex Positive Center

Jennie Ostermiller

How and why to have a sex positive center. Changing your centers culture toward becoming a safe, sex positive, space can benefit all consumers, but especially those who have experienced abuse, who identify as LGBTQ+, or want to have a sexual relationship. This INTERACTIVE training will help center staff and administration question their attitudes about sex and sexuality regarding individuals with disability, while learn strategies for helping consumers make informed, brave choices about their sexuality and sexual health. Participants will learn how to influence the culture of their center and serve a more diverse population.

Emerald A: Tag You're It: Transitioning Leadership

Joan LaBelle, Peter Pike and Chris Roe 

Congratulations! You now are in a position of leadership! Now what? Transitions can be an opportunity for creating a legacy. It can also be a time of incredible stress as change can be difficult for current staff, your SILC or even your new DSE. This session will demonstrate how a CIL, a SILC and a DSE has embraced the challenge and overcome transition obstacles.

Emerald B: Youth to Youth: Successful Engagement in Strategic Leadership

Melissa Ann Santora, Mica Stewart, Audra Paletta, Michael Lefevor and Whitney Harris

This youth session will feature success stories and strategies used by youth who have disabilities, who serve in a variety of leadership roles for Independent Living organizations. Participants will develop knowledge of the skills and benefits of serving in these critical capacities, while engaging in activities designed to assist them in establishing opportunities to serve in their home communities.


3:00 PM- 3:30 PM  BREAK

Concurrent Workshops Block 2: 3:30PM-5:00 PM

Vandenberg A: Is There A Little Red Sports Car In Your Future? With ABLE, There Might Be!

Rene Cummins and Rebecca Williams

The ABLE Act is the most game-changing policy since the ADA. However, few ABLE Accounts have been opened and much
misinformation exists. Using small group activities, we will expose myths and untruths, and attendees will decide what can or cannot be purchased using ABLE funds. Guest appearance by WID Financial Llama. Be prepared to have fun!

Vandenberg B: Healthy Community Living and You

Leanne Murrillo and Luke Koppisch

Healthy Community Living (HCL) program is about all people having opportunities to live well and participate fully in their communities. The program is composed of two separate peer-led Independent Living skills workshops: Community Living Skills and Living Well in the Community that were developed with several CIL partners across the country. Join two of our experienced IL facilitator partners as they lead us through one of the workshops from Community Living Skills. This interactive session will hopefully help you get a feel for the new curriculum as well as an introduction to some community skills.

Pearl: Assistive Technology for Outdoor Work and Mobility

Paul Jones and Ned Stoller
People with disabilities should have the freedom to engage in outdoor work and off-road activities, and assistive technology is often a key component to such pursuits. During this session, staff members from the AgrAbility Program will highlight a variety of tools and technologies – both low-tech and high-tech – that people with disabilities can use in such tasks as gardening, lawn care, woodcutting, beekeeping, and traveling over rough terrain. They will also address the importance of safety when engaging in outdoor work activities and the avoidance of secondary injuries. Attendees will learn how to access and navigate The Toolbox Assistive Technology Database, a component of the AgrAbility website, which be used at no cost from any Internet-enabled computer or mobile device. This database currently has more than 1,500 products that can assist someone with a functional limitation in completing outdoor tasks. Participants will also gain an expanded view of the types of outdoor activities in which people with disabilities can engage.

Gerald Ford: Successful Agency Collaboration to Enhance Services and Programming in All Communities

Kristen Conrad, Mimi Kinney, Caitlin Chlosta, Renee Cencer,  

Disability Network of Northern Michigan (DNNM) is a Center for Independent Living in northern lower Michigan that services 17 counties. It's our mission to promote personal empowerment and positive social change for people with disabilities. We work with individuals and families to provide a variety of services and supports to help them gain access to their communities and resources. DNNM partners with the area ISDs and MRS to provide various programs to transition age youth ages 14-26. We utilize our collaboration to provide school year programs, LIFE, which serviced 800 youth during the 2018-2019 school year as well as a growing summer program, Community LIFE, which has grown from its first year in 2017 with 8 students in 1 community to 70 students in 7 communities. Our programming is possible due to our creative programming and partnerships with the local ISDs and MRS. This session will provide information on our partnerships, programs and funding methods to assist others in learning how to establish relationships and begin to offer programs that improve opportunities for those individuals and families impacted by disability.

Emerald A: Center for American Progress

Rebecca Cokley

This conversation will discuss the intersections of disability and reproductive justice within the context of rural independent. We want to hear from participants what are the challenges at these intersections, how can we increase access to information and reproductive healthcare/technology in rural America?”

Emerald B: YLF’in it-Peer Mentoring and Advocacy.

Chris Roe, Evan Shockley, Caity Mcmanis, Carlos Santos, Leo Santos, Yeva Davis, and Libby Waechter 

Youth are today's leaders, not tomorrow's. We invite you to hear how youth in one state has taken their Youth Leadership Forum to the next level. Come hear how these youths are shaking things up and creating lasting change.


8:00 PM-12:00 PM Ambassador East: Dance For youth and young at heart



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