Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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About Us

RCIL provides relevant, creative and innovative leadership to advance the civil rights of individuals with disabilities and press for social progress that allows for all human beings to be participating members of our society.

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RCIL is a civil rights organization offering a wide range of independent living and advocacy services for and — most importantly — with people with disabilities. The basic human right of participating in society as a self-determining individual must extend to all citizens. Each of us has the capacity — and responsibility — to be a proud, contributing member of our society.

To support these goals, RCIL helps individuals of all ages and types of disability obtain the community supports and services they need to live independently. Whether this means getting an education, obtaining competitive employment, or living in one's own home, our programs are designed to provide a full spectrum of support and advocacy. RCIL staff also serves the community at large as expert consultants in the areas of barrier-free architectural design, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and disability-related policy issues.

With more than 1400 employees providing service in 28 counties in Upstate New York, the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL) is the largest of 37 independent living centers (ILCs) in the state and one of over 400 nationally. We believe that disability should be seen as a human experience that makes each person unique -- something to be recognized and celebrated, rather than a reason to shun and segregate one another.

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What makes RCIL different?

Growing out of the disability rights movement, independent living centers were created with the explicit goal of integration and advocacy -- for example, people with disabilities comprise, at minimum, 51% of RCIL's Board of Directors, thus putting policy and advocacy decisions in the hands of the people those decisions directly impact.

At RCIL, we serve people of all ages, with all types of disabilities. Our approach is holistic, our services are comprehensive and consumer-directed and, when our staff and consumers identify areas of the system that need change, we tackle these through public policy initiatives, legislation, and advocacy. In other words, we are committed to breaking through systemic barriers in order to provide people with the basic human right to live a rich, self-directed life.

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What does RCIL do?

Our core independent living center functions include peer counseling, independent living skills training, information and referral, and individual and systems advocacy.

In addition, RCIL offers a wide variety of programs and services, all focused on the central goal of expanding individual rights, options, and potential. The agency also serves the community at large as a clearinghouse for information regarding disability issues, other service providers, adaptive technology, and as an expert and consultant on the Americans with Disabilities Act and barrier-free architectural design.

Check out our Disability FAQs, learn more about RCIL's Programs and Services, or contact RCIL for more information.

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How is RCIL organized?

The Independence Group is comprised of: Resource Center for Independent Living, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) providing all services; RCIL, Inc. (Parent) Maintains committees for entire enterprise of Governance, Audit and Finance; Resource Center for Independent Living Foundation, Inc. Fundraising arm of the Parent; Columbia Place Associates - Employment Agency; At Home Independent Care, Inc. - Licensed 501 (c) (3) Home Care agency; Learning Disability Association of the Mohawk Valley, Inc. (LDAMV) 501 (c ) (3).

Always open to innovation, RCIL started the full-service staffing agency Columbia Place Associates in order to provide the community with a fresh choice for temporary and temp-to-hire employees. As a for-profit company, Columbia Place Associates is not directly associated with RCIL, but instead was developed with a unique business model. This agency, which serves companies and individuals with and without disabilities, feeds all its profits into the RCIL Foundation.

The RCIL Foundation is the fundraising arm of this family of organizations, developed as a flexible, supplemental source of funding for RCIL's existing programs and future innovations. Overseeing the RCIL Foundation and Columbia Place Associates is RCIL, Inc., which is a supporting organization involved with planning, compliance, and quality control.

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RCIL's Mission

The RCIL mission is to ensure a fully accessible, integrated society that enables full participation by people with disabilities.

RCIL promotes a dynamic environment where society and the individual mutually benefit from a world with no limits. This is accomplished by promoting and achieving excellence in consumer-controlled, self-directed services in programs, education, advocacy, research, and information retrieval and dissemination. These services are self-directed and geared toward increasing awareness of an individual's rights and options as well as the various methods to achieve chosen goals.

It is fundamental that all advocacy, programming, and services ensure confidentiality, guard against exploitation, paternalism, and segregation, thus safeguarding the principle of consumer empowerment.

Core Values Statement

This organization believes that the widespread poverty, segregation, and isolation of people with disabilities is unacceptable, should not be tolerated, and requires change. We feel an obligation to make positive systemic changes through education and legislation and to provide full access, power, and self-determination to those with disabilities. With a focus on integration and assisting people to reach their greatest potential, we will support a culture that encourages risk-taking, creativity, and innovation. To address broader public policy issues, we will be committed and deliberate in speaking about the problems and obstacles faced by people with disabilities. We shall exist as an organization that on all levels abides by a living code of ethics which mandates respect, appreciation, honesty, integrity, empathy, trust, and accountability.

Your Resource for Independent Living in Central New York


    FREE TAX PREPARATION

    RCIL is offering free federal and state tax preparation and filing assistance through the website MYFREE Taxes.

    MyFree Taxes at RCIL’s Genesee Street, Utica NY Location

    The free service is open to individuals and families who earned $58,000 or less in 2013. It is provided through a partnership between the IRS and the Mohawk Valley Asset Building Coalition.

    The MyFree Taxes partnership works with filers to maximize their refunds and help eligible families and individuals claim valuable tax credits to help keep more money in their pockets. MyFreeTaxes.com is an easy, fast and secure federal and state tax filing site powered by H&R Block ®. The online tool allows eligible taxpayers to self-file for free using a simple step-by-step process that includes telephone and online chat support.

    Those individuals interested in filing in person can visit RCIL's Genesee Street office at 1607 Genesee Street, Utica, where certified tax professionals can be available to assist you, if needed. Our Genesee Street tax site hours are Tuesdays 10:00-7:00 and Wednesday through Saturday 10:00-4:00.


    Click here to see our 30th anniversary video!

    Click here to learn more about RCIL (Video)


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Social Enterprises

Utica Office

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409 Columbia St.
P.O. Box 210
Utica, NY 13503-0210
Voice (315) 797-4642
TDD (315) 797-5837
Fax (315) 797-4747

The Dorothy Smith Center
for Advocacy at RCIL

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1607 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13501
Voice (315) 797-4642

Amsterdam Office

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347 West Main Street
Amsterdam, NY 12010
Voice (518) 842-3561
TDD (518) 842-3593
Fax (518) 842-0905

LDA North Country

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Suite 102
210 Court Street
Watertown, NY 13601
Voice (315) 785-9440

Herkimer Office

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Steuben Center
401 E. German St.
Herkimer, NY 13350
Voice (315) 866-7245
TDD (315) 866-7246
Fax (315) 866-7280