Dela, on her wheelchair, taking a walk through Chinatown with a friend
In This Issue
A Conversation with Jessie Lorenz
ILRCSF Community Computer Program
Emergency Preparedness and PWD
Call to Consumers of Medical Care
Summer of Smart SF
Blog for Access - Join Us!
Literary Event at SFPL - Writers with Disabilites
Federal Plan to Fight Alzheimer's
Quick Links

The Advocacy Newsletter of ILRCSF

As most of you probably know, ILRCSF's Executive Director, Herb Levine retired in June, after 30 years with the organization. Change can be daunting, but ILRCSF has been very lucky. Our new Executive Director is no stranger to to disability advocacy or to ILRCSF. In fact, Herb found himself in the unique position of being able to hand pick his successor - someone with close ties to, and a long history with, ILRCSF.


Jessie Lorenz started out at ILRCSF as the agency's Systems Change Advocate. When she moved on to the Lighthouse for the Blind, she continued to work closely with ILRCSF and, in particular, Herb, on a number of advocacy issues. In 2010, Herb asked Jessie to return to ILRCSF as the agency's Associate Director in preparation for his retirement. Instead of an abrupt and jarring change, ILRCSF has undergone a smooth transition, and we look forward to what the future holds.


I thought DELA would be a perfect place for friends of ILRCSF to find out more about our new Executive Director - how she became involved in the disability rights movement, where she wants to take ILRCSF, and how she feels about taking on this important position. My interview with ILRCSF Executive Director Jessie Lorenz is DELA's top story this month.


Also this month, information about ADA events, including ILRCSF's Blog for Access and our literary event at the San Francisco Public Library, information about an important survey regarding emergency preparedness, The National Alzheimer's Project...and lots more.




A Conversation with Jessie Lorenz   


How did you first become interested in disability rights advocacy, and how did you know you wanted to pursue this field as a career?


I was born blind, so disability has always been a part of my personal experience. The decision to make this my career, though, didn't come until 2000, when I was a student at San Francisco State, working towards becoming a teacher. I got a job at ILRCSF as the agency's Systems Change Advocate. My first assignment was to go to Sacramento with Brian Macdonald from The World Institute on Disability to push for the passage of Assembly Bill 925, which involved the right for people with disabilities to have IHSS workers in the workplace.


This experience made me realize that this was a lot more than a job to me. I found that I really enjoyed taking part in the political process. I realized that I didn't really want to teach children - I wanted to work in the public policy arena, where I could make significant and lasting change on a systemic level. I really enjoy watching the personal become political. Think about Ed Roberts - he was just one guy who wanted to have full access to higher education. His personal story turned into a political movement - because of his vision and determination we now have a whole network of Independent Living Centers and a philosophy that revolves around people with disabilities having choices and making their own decisions about how they want to live, work, study, play, raise families, etc. 


Once I sunk my teeth into Systems Change, I was hooked, and my career path changed.


You worked at ILRCSF several years back, and then moved on to The Lighthouse for the Blind. How did it come to pass that you came back to the fold, so to speak, and accepted the offer to become Herb's successor?


Herb knew he wanted to retire, and approached the Board of Directors with a succession plan that included hiring me for one year as Associate Director. According to the plan, at the end of one year, the Board would evaluate my performance, interview me, and decide whether or not to offer me the E.D. position. This was visionary, not just on Herb's part, but on the part of the ILRCSF Board. It never could have happened without their support, which they offered in full.


During my tenure as Associate Director, I worked closely with Herb, learning how to administer the financial and operating functions of the organization. I supervised staff. I learned the ins and outs of ILRCSF's various grants and contracts. True to Herb's succession plan, it was a time of immersion. Again, this was only possible because the Board of Directors had the foresight to make it happen. In most organizations, when a leader leaves, there's something of a sudden change that takes place. The unique succession plan that was carried out at ILRCSF made for a much more gentle transition. I'm really glad it happened this way because I feel comfortable here and I'm not faced with a sudden and sharp learning curve.


When Herb first approached you with the succession plan and the one year job offer, were you at all reluctant to accept?


Not at all. I was ready, at the time, to move on from what I was doing. Also, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I had history with ILRCSF, had always worked well with and had the utmost respect for Herb, and I really wanted to be at the coal face of the Independent Living movement.


At the May 2011 meeting of ILRCSF's Board of Directors, Jessie was offered - and accepted - the position of Executive Director, effective July 1. Now that you're the E.D., what are your priorities for the agency?


We have a new contract with the Department of Aging and Adult Services to provide options counseling to individuals on Medical who are living in skilled nursing facilities. Traditionally, we've served people living at Laguna Honda - a public facility. This contract allows us to serve folks in private facilities, and I'm making this one of my top priorities.


I'm also working on diversifying our funding. My dream is to have three years' operating budget in reserves - to build a more solid foundation so that we can keep doing the work we do in the community.


Another priority area for me is community building. We're already starting to hold more events than we did just a year ago, and we're going to continue on this momentum. In just the last few weeks we've hosted a picnic for youth, planned events for the upcoming ADA anniversary, and made arrangements with a group of military veterans with disabilities to start holding regular art workshops at ILRCSF. This is really important to me - to let the community know that this agency and this space belong to them. More and more, I want this place to be where consciousness-raising and collective action take place.








Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco

Community Computer Program


Need a quiet place and a computer to:


  • do some school research?
  • order groceries?
  • look for housing?
  • catch up with emails and social networking?
  • type up your resume?


Schedule computer time at ILRCSF's Accessible Consumer Computer Kiosk


 Call 415-543-6222. Ask for an Assistive Tech Educator.

Half hour/one hour slots available from 9am to 4:30pm. Please, no drop-ins. Computer is only available for persons with disabilities.


This is not a training session. If you have questions or need support around your computer tasks, you can pre-arrange a more personalized session with an AT Educator.


The development of this accessible workstation was made possible by a grant from AT&T, and with the expertise of The Center for Accessible Technology.

ILRCSF is wheelchair accessible and provides reasonable accommodations on request, including ASL interpreters and print information in alternative formats. ILRCSF is a scent-free office in order to be fully accessible to all people with disabilities. Please do not wear any scented products including perfumes, aftershave, hairspray, etc. to any meetings, groups, or workshops held at or by ILRCSF.  If you are wearing scents, you will not be able to remain in the office.



Research Study re Emergency Preparedness and PWD


The Center on Disability and The Public Health Institute along with the Center for Personal Assistance Services at UC San Francisco are conducting a research study to determine promising practices in preparing for emergencies among individuals with disabilities who use personal assistance services (PAS).


If you use PAS and have experienced disasters or emergencies we would like to hear about your experiences.  Please go to  to give your experiences.


If you complete the questions, which should take approximately ten - fifteen minutes, you will be entered into a drawing for which 5 individuals will each win a $50 gift card.

If you have questions, please contact Lewis Kraus, Project Director at


If you need help completing the survey call 510 285 5600




Call to Consumers of Medical Care


DREDF is seeking assistance in identifying any people with disabilities with complex medical conditions whose medical care is being disrupted because they are denied access to their usual Fee For Service doctor and they don't think anyone in their managed care plan has the expertise or knowledge (or accessibility) to help them stay stable.


Please contact Silvia Yee at


Summer of Smart San Francisco


Summer of Smart is a new model for how citizens and government can work directly together to address urban issues. Developers, designers, city officials, urbanists, journalists, community members, and more are building rapid innovation prototypes and presenting them directly to politicians. 

Check out information about free and low-cost Summer of Smart projects, events, podcasts, and share your own ideas at 



 ILRCSF is setting forth a challenge to our friends, colleagues, family members, and people we have never met: we want you to devote your blog entries, Facebook walls, Twitter streams, Emails, and Youtube uploads on July 26th, 2011 to Disability Access!

To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are asking people to use the power of technology to BLOG FOR ACCESS. 

Don't have a blog? Do not let that fact stop you from participating - we welcome all efforts to participate in Blog For Access. If you don't have a blog you can:

  • Write an email about disability access and blast it out
  • Dedicate your Facebook status to disability access
  • Use Twitter to send out a tweet about disability access
  • Send a text message about disability access
  • Be creative: if you have Internet access or a cellphone, you can participate

One Facebook photo-a-day group has pledged to devote their July 26th photos to "access" as a topic. Think outside of the box!


To take part in Blog For Access all you have to do is send us an email with the words "blog for access" in the subject field. Include the name of your blog or Facebook account, and the URL you'd like us to link, and we'll add you to the growing list of Blog For Access participants. That's it.


You do not have to have a disability in order to participate. Send us an email, pledge to blog or Tweet or email, post a video about disability access, or do something else to participate on July 26th, 2011, and you're part of a worldwide movement to get people talking about accessibility.




Access Services of the San Francisco Public Library

in association with

Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco presents

Lives Explored:

Writers with Disabilities




Join us for an evening celebrating the talents of writers with disabilities.



  • Belo Cipriani - Author of Blind: A Memoir
  • Bridgett Brown - Slam Poet/Disability Rights Advocate
  • Derek Zarda - Slam Poet/Disability Rights Advocate
  • Amber DiPietra - Poet/Teacher/Disability Rights Advocate
  • David Fish - Artist/Writer/U.S. Military Veteran
  • Michelle Puckett - Poet/Poetry Ark Grand Prize winner/Disability Rights Advocate
  • Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons - Blogger/Novelist



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Main Library, 100 Larkin St. - Lower Level

Reading: 6-7:30 p.m., Koret Auditorium

Book sale by Readers Bookstore follows the program.


The Library is wheelchair accessible. Assistive listening devices and real-time captioning will be provided. To request other accommodations, call (415) 557-4557 or contact Requesting accommodations at least 72 hours in advance will help ensure availability.





Federal Plan to Fight Alzheimer's Disease - You Can Help

Alzheimer's Association

National Alzheimer's Project: From Act to Action

NAPA Listening Session


Please contact us for more information at:


Wednesday, August 10th, 2011, 3:30 to 5:00 pm

Hilton Union Square

333 O'Farrell Street

San Francisco, CA 94102


To Register:


There is no fee to register.

(925) 284-7942 or


Help ILRCSF provide Community Access Tickets to our consumers

Community Access Ticket Service (CATS) provides cultural, recreational and educational experiences to tens of thousands of people though partnership with hundreds of social-service organizations.  These types of experiences represent positive socialization and community integration opportunities that are otherwise unavailable.  CATS has successfully provided these experiences to over 300,000 people since 2004.

ILRCSF is trying to raise $375 to purchase a one-year membership to CATS, which would enable us to provide free tickets to museums, plays and other cultural events to consumers. To help us make the CATS program a part of what ILRCSF has to offer people with disabilities, please specify on the note section your donation check, "CATS."

Donations may be sent to:


649 Mission Street, Floor 3

San Francisco, CA 9410

ILRCSF Benefits Workshop Schedule


ILRCSF offers two different workshops on benefits:


1. Basic Benefits Overview

2. How Employment Affects your Benefits - for those on SSDI &/or SSI


All workshops are on Thursdays at 9:30am. However, only one topic - basic benefits or employment -- is covered each Thursday.   Please attend the workshop that best suits you. For example, if you need information about applying for SSDI, SSI, Medi-Cal or other benefits, come to the Basic Benefits Overview workshop.  If, on the other hand, you already receive SSDI or SSI and are considering going to work, come to the workshop entitled How Employment Affects Your Benefits. At this Employment Workshop you will learn how to use work incentives to keep some of your benefits as you transition into a job, as well as how to use the PASS program, and Ticket to Work. To hear the schedule of upcoming workshops, call 415-543-6222 ext. 155.


Upcoming workshops:  

July 21                         

Basic Benefits Overview


July 28                       

How Work Affects Your Benefits - for those on SSI &/or SSDI


August 4

How Work Affects Your Benefits - for those on SSI &/or SSDI 


 August 11

Basic Benefits Overview 


August 18

How Work Affects Your Benefits - for those on SSI &/or SSDI 


August 25

Basic Benefits Overview 



NOTE: ILRCSF is wheelchair accessible and provides reasonable accommodations upon request. In order to be fully accessible to all people with disabilities, ours is a scent-free office.


When visiting ILRCSF, please do not wear any scented products, including perfumes, aftershave, hairspray, etc.

The Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization. Donations from the public support our mission to ensure that people with disabilties are full social and economic partners both within their families and within a fully accessible community.
Tax deductable donations may be sent to:
649 Mission Street, 3rd Floor,
San Francisco, CA 94105
Donate securely online via Network for Good  
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