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TLCIL and Family Champions: bringing back the barter system

November 14, 2009

This week I'm going to make my column short and sweet. The Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living has changes galore that you need to know about.

First off, we have partnered with Family Champions of the North Country, which is based in Tupper Lake. Karen Pioli, director of Family Champions, and I both know that there are more people that could benefit from what our organizations offer than we are able to reach alone. That being the case, Family Champions is allowing TLCIL to use space in their office in Tupper Lake to help us reach out to people in another "Tri" of the Tri-Lakes region. In exchange TLCIL will be providing weekly transportation from Saranac Lake to Family Champion's Help Closet in Tupper Lake.

The Help Closet is a great place! The Help Closet provides clothing and household items (mostly used and in really good condition-oftentimes some things are donated to the Help Closet that are brand new) at no charge. FREE! There is no proof required that you are in need.

In other words, you don't have to prove you're poor. If you've ever had to prove you're poor then you know how completely embarrassing some organizations can make that little ritual. The only thing that can possibly top that is to have a cashier scream out that they need a price check on the tampons or hemorrhoid cream you are trying to buy!

Oh joy!

The Help Closet does need to track the number of people they serve, so they do ask you for your contact info. That's all-no paystubs, no disclosure that you're unemployed, no dragging in copies of rent receipts-none of that. What a blessing!

You just go in, pick out what you need and go. The only thing missing is that it can be difficult to get there if you have no transportation. That's where TLCIL can help the Help Closet.

If you would like to be on our list to make a trip to the Help Closet, please give TLCIL a call at 891-5295. We do not have a set day for making the weekly journey to the Help Closet but I can say with confidence it will not be Tuesdays. Long story-just trust me-it won't be Tuesdays.

Now back to office space. Currently, the plan is for one of our newest staff members, Mikayla Mineau, a Tupper Lake resident, to have office hours at Family Champions address every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our hope is that we will need to increase our office time in Tupper Lake because there will be many folks that will want to utilize our services. As a refresher, TLCIL offers advocacy on all disability related issues, accessibility consultations for removing physical barriers in homes and businesses, information and referral services, benefits advisement/Social Security/SSDI/Work Incentive Programs, etc. If it's disability related at all-we do it!

Now I need something from you. The Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living will soon be getting a 12-passenger bus through New York state's 5310 Elderly and Disabled Program. I need ideas on how to best use this bus for EVERYONE-not just seniors and/or people with disabilities. TLCIL is not made of money-running a bus service is not cheap. I can tell you right now that this isn't going to be a freebie.

It would be nice if entities (organizations, local governments, agencies and clubs) whose clientele need transportation would help TLCIL by supporting the service. Like Karen Pioli and I already know-we all can help each other. If your consumer base can increase because of something we can help you with-YAY! In this economy we all need to take a look around and see where we can work together for the greater good.

Don't let too much time go by..if you have an idea of how TLCIL can be a partner to you, you'd better make that idea known. TLCIL's gettin' a bus and we're willing to deal! (By the way, it's going to be the coolest looking bus you'll ever see in the Adirondacks!)



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