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Empowerment through Peer Counseling with Mary

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

Mary posing next to Stuart at the Ed Roberts Awards reception.

"It motivated me in such a way that I believe [in myself ] and want to do more things for myself," says Mary, a longtime Berkeley native that found herself in a housing situation.

Mary found confidence and self-motivation to advocate for herself with the support of Grace Wright, Living Well Coordinator, and our Core Services team.

Q: What made you choose to come to TheCIL?

A: I met Grace at a Living Well event at a senior center. Things Grace said in the presentation made me believe there was hope; that I had a chance. When I got the letter about my apartment in the mail later on, I pulled out her business card and reached out to her. I did the right thing!

Q: How do you feel after working with CIL and Grace?

A: TheCIL has changed my life 100%. I feel human again. I was at a point where I felt afraid to leave my house because I didn't know what would happen next. I've gotten all my help through TheCIL with Grace and the supportive team of Alexander Sing, Carolyn Bonner and Janet Brown. They encouraged me and advocated for me. The staff really understand disability. It's important for people to know TheCIL exists. It's really changed my life.

Q: How has working with your peer counselor impacted your life?

A: It motivated me in such a way that I believe [in myself ] and want to do more things for myself. I gave myself the goal to do take care of my health and learn about computers. I also feel driven to help others. I want to share my experience so people know they don’t have to go through any experience alone.

The CIL’s CORE Services adopts the cross-disability approach and the peer-based model that are central to the Independent Living Philosophy. Staff with disabilities support others with disabilities to become more empowered via sharing knowledge of resources, disability life experiences and goal-setting. Learn more about the program by clicking here.

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