Digital Eye Strain

By Mandy Smith | January 5, 2011

We all know that sitting at your desk staring at your computer screen all day isn’t healthy for your body. But have you thought about what it does to your eyes? Digital eye strain is eye and visual related problems after prolonged computer use. This condition doesn’t just occur because of computer use; it can…

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Employment in the Disability Community

By Mandy Smith | January 3, 2011

This blog entry was adapted from information provided by the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas (SILCK) Through the dedicated work of the Centers for Independent Living (CILs), a significant change has taken place in terms of the cost of persons with disabilities who are employed and those who remain unemployed. KU conducted a five…

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Qualities of a True Friend

By Mandy Smith | December 31, 2010

Lately, I’ve felt like things have been really good.  I’ve had a few problems here and there but nothing horrible.  When I do have a problem, I like to talk to my friends about it and see what they think.  This is what I’ve noticed a real friend will do: Listen! Real friends will listen…

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Centers for Independent Living

By Mandy Smith | December 29, 2010

This blog entry was adapted from information provided by the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas (SILCK) RCIL is one of 13 Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in Kansas. The expenditure for CILs across the state is approximately $2.7M federal and state funds. For over 30 years, CILs have helped thousands of Kansans with disabilities…

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RCIL: Advocates in Red

By Mandy Smith | December 22, 2010

A majority of our staff attended the Big Tent Rally on April 29, 2010.  The leaders of the Big Tent asked us to wear red to be more visible.  Our staff was also spending a lot of time at the Capitol building during this time, so we decided we would order shirts for staff members…

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5 Reasons Kansas Shouldn’t Cut Home and Community Based Services

By Mandy Smith | December 18, 2010

Kansas is facing tough economic times, as we confront budget shortfalls, some are looking to cut Medicaid benefits, including home and community based services (HCBS). Home and community based services are vital to helping seniors and people with disabilities stay in their communities and out of institutions. If home and community based services cuts are…

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Fill your bucket

By Mandy Smith | December 16, 2010

Yesterday we had an all staff holiday party. I really enjoy events such as this because I can talk face-to-face to my co-workers that I don’t see on a daily basis. Yesterday, our Executive Director, Chad Wilkins, and our Direct of Independent Living, Rosie Cooper, did a presentation on the book, How Full is Your…

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Access to Assets – Changing the economic expectations of people with disabilities

By Mandy Smith | December 10, 2010

Every time we turn on the television or open up a newspaper, we are bombarded with news of the bad economy. It seems as though most people are in survival mode when it comes to finances and asset building isn’t their top priority; however, at a recent conference session about a program called Access to…

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By Mandy Smith | December 1, 2010

  Last summer I was going to have a birthday party at my house for my 1 year-old. I was so excited that I started all these lists to make sure everything was in order. I had a list of people to invite, a list of food to buy and prepare and a list of…

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RCIL is thankful for…

By Mandy Smith | November 24, 2010

With today being the day before Thanksgiving, I thought I’d just write a little about what we are thankful for at RCIL 1.) Our Consumers! Without our consumers we would not exist! Thank you! 2.) Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)! Without PCAs, many of our consumers would not be able to stay at home and not…

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Independent Living in Kansas

By Mandy Smith | November 23, 2010

As a Center for Independent Living (CIL), RCIL is committed to working with Kansans with disabilities to enable them to live independently in their homes and communities. But what exactly does that mean? In Kansas, Centers for Independent Living are tasked with providing 5 core services. They are Information and Referral, Peer Counseling, Independent Living…

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All About AgrAbility

By Mandy Smith | November 19, 2010

  Information on Agribility courtesy of Kerri Ebert, Kansas AgrAbility Project Coordinator, with the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University. The Kansas AgrAbility Project assists people with disabilities who are employed in agriculture. Its goal is to inform, educate, and assist farmers, farm families, and farm workers who have disabilities, so they can…

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I’m becoming an O & M Specialist – What is that?

By Mandy Smith | November 17, 2010

This blog was written by Mandy Smith, an RCIL Staff member, who recently became an O&M Specialist.  She has been working with RCIL since June 2009. In August of this year, I applied for a new position at RCIL.  When I found out I had the position, I was so excited I went and told…

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Social Media

By Mandy Smith | November 15, 2010

The RCIL Social Media team was able to attend PodCamp Topeka on November 6th at the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library. PodCamp is an “un-conference” dedicated to web media in all of its’ forms.We met great people, heard wonderful presentations, and came back to our offices ready to really get going on Social Media. One…

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Disability Spotlight – Glaucoma

By Mandy Smith | October 26, 2010

While you’ve probably heard of glaucoma, you may not know exactly what it is.  Glaucoma is not one disease but rather a group of eye diseases that slowly steals a person’s sight without warning.  The vision loss occurs due to damage to the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying images from the eye to…

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Vote for What Matters

By Mandy Smith | October 26, 2010

When we go to the polls on November 2nd we have a huge responsibility not only to ourselves and our families but to our communities as well. Unfortunately, there is an entire portion of our society that is regularly disenfranchised by our government; they are the members of the disability community. While most of us…

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Make your voice heard

By Mandy Smith | October 21, 2010

The election is less than 2 weeks away and we are in danger of losing what we worked so hard to get in the last legislative session. As November 2nd gets closer it becomes more apparent that our next governor will be Senator Brownback. For the disability community this is a very scary prospect. He…

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Yes on 2 Campaign Protects Voting Rights

By Mandy Smith | October 15, 2010

Did you know that the Kansas Constitution sanctions discrimination against all people with a mental health issue? Probably not.  In fact, the issue had basically flown under the political radar until 2008. That’s when a group of mental health consumers and advocates learned that the state constitution allows the Legislature to take away the right…

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Self Direction Training

By Mandy Smith | August 30, 2010

On Thursday August 26 we held a Self Direction Tool Kit Training in Topeka for our consumers and personal care attendants (PCAs). The training was a full day of empowerment, useful tips for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and managing PCAs, Independent Living Philosophy, and group discussions on all of the above. Thank you to everyone that…

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Call for Applications for Appointments to KCDC

By Mandy Smith | August 17, 2010

The Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (KCDC) is taking applications for consideration for appointment. KCDC is an advisory body to state government for changes to state programs, laws and regulations that improve participation of Kansans with disabilities in those programs and their communities.  The commission must have representation of a variety of disabilities, geographic locations…

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FMAP Extension Passed!

By Mandy Smith | August 10, 2010

The  FMAP Extension passed the House and will be signed into law by President Obama! While we did not get the full amount passed that was in the original bill, it is still a victory! The bill that passed maintains the 3.2 % increase in Medicaid funding in the first quarter of 2011 and lowers…

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We Need 1 Republican!

By Mandy Smith | June 11, 2010

The US House of Representatives has passed a Jobs bill that does NOT contain the extension of FMAP (Federal Medicaid Assistance funding) that the KS state budget is relying on. This means a reduction in state Medicaid funding by 21% effective January 1, 2011. We need to ACT NOW and contact our Senators to let…

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