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A recap of IL Days 2024

Each year, employees of Independence First join other Independent Living Centers in the state to come together on specific advocacy goals, advocate and meet with state representatives, learn together in workshops, and celebrate our accomplishments. 

2024 marked the 30th anniversary of the Wisconsin Coalition of Independence Living Centers' "IL Days." The two-day conference kicked off with a gala the evening before where each ILC introduced a tireless advocate in their community with a Relentless Badger award. 

Awardees named Relentless Badgers pose with their awards

Relentless Badger awardees pose with their awards

Staff from Independence First attended and presented a variety of workshops during the event. We met with staff from Department of Human Services and several Senators, Representatives, and staff members from our four county service area. We discussed the coalition’s legislative priorities including a vital funding increase for the centers, supporting a braided coordinated transportation model and advocating for the creation of a state level Transportation Coordination Committee as well as many other important topics.

Emily Cadman and service dog Venus at the state capitol during legislator visits

Independent Living Coordinator Emily Cadman attended the conference and shares with us her experience in her own words, "Some of my colleagues and I spent a few days in Madison at our statewide Independent Living Days conference. This is my second year attending 'IL Days' and it was so much fun. I got to celebrate the mission of independent living centers in Wisconsin with a gala the first night the conference. I spent the next day in workshops learning about the importance of self-care as well as tips to avoid employee burnout. I facilitated my own workshop explaining the purpose of a Walk Audit and the impact it can have on keeping pedestrians and individuals with disabilities safe. I also attended a workshop on affordable accessible housing within the state. On Thursday, other staff and I talked to legislators in the capital about issues and bills that affect people with disabilities. It was a really fun few days advocating and collaborating with other independent living centers to continue to support and provide services that allowed individuals with disabilities to maintain independence. I look forward to next year’s IL Days!"

Advocacy is one of our five core services, so conferences like this help us advocate for people with disabilities with our local representatives. Learn more about the Independence First mission HERE and donate securely online HERE