Officers and members of the CNMI Statewide Independent Living Council benefited from training coordinated by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and facilitated by local consultants and partner agencies.
Felicitas “Tee” P. Abraham, former OVR director, facilitated the SILC orientation and training on March 18-19, with topics ranging from history of disability and independent living movement, function of the SILC and roles of members, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, State Plan for Independent Living, disability resources in the CNMI, and local SILC partners, among other equally important topics.
The March 20 morning session focused on leadership concepts and problem solving facilitated by Dr. Carmen Fernandez, former member of the State Rehabilitation Council during her tenure as Northern Marianas College president. Participants engaged in lively discussions and presented on some of the current issues facing people with disabilities such as accessibility and the need to establish additional centers of independent living on Rota and Tinian.

The March 20 morning session focused on leadership concepts and problem solving facilitated by Dr. Carmen Fernandez, former member of the State Rehabilitation Council during her tenure as Northern Marianas College president. Participants engaged in lively discussions and presented on some of the current issues facing people with disabilities such as accessibility and the need to establish additional centers of independent living on Rota and Tinian.

For the first time, SRC officers were given the opportunity to join their SILC colleagues in the orientation and training. SRC vice chair Sablan said that collaboration among partners to provide services to mutual consumers is essential to program success. That given, “SRC and SILC working together in partnership with OVR to assist individuals with disabilities who want to work be gainfully employed in the CNMI [is a federal mandate we will embrace].”

It is the mission of SILC to serve individuals with significant disabilities in the CNMI and to promote their independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion into society. The Council supports the independent living philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and advocacy.

The CNMI SILC is composed of nine members: Consolacion Atalig (chair), Gernadine Camacho (vice chair), Emeterio Fitial (secretary), Lydia Igitol (fiscal officer), Estella Cabaobas (sergeant-at-arms), Belta Pangelinan (Tinian), Tom Thornburgh, Avery Hocog (Rota), and Arlene Yamagata, M.S., C.R.C. (ex-officio representing OVR).(OVR)