Every summer, the Center for Independent Living invites the community to celebrate the organization’s mission of creating fully inclusive and accessible communities where everyone can meaningfully contribute regardless of disability. This is done through its annual fundraiser, the Celebrating Independence Gala.
Now in its fourth year, the gala will be held at The Alfond Inn, a boutique hotel in Winter Park that is known for its accessibility and partnership with CIL in hiring individuals with disabilities. The event is completely accessible for those with and without disabilities.
“Our goal is to raise $40,000 with this event, which will go directly back to the programs and services CIL provides those with disabilities throughout Central Florida,” Event Chair Amanda Watson says. “Programs like providing increased accessibility and independence through home modifications and durable medical equipment, assisting young adults living with disabilities in transitioning from school to adult life, helping those with disabilities find jobs.”
This year’s gala will kick off with a cocktail hour and a silent auction before the ballroom doors open at 7:30 p.m. for a sit-down dinner and live entertainment. During a very special program, guests will have the opportunity to learn about the work that CIL does within the community to break down barriers for individuals with disabilities and to hear from someone who has been directly impacted by these efforts.
The program will also include an awards ceremony that honors individuals and businesses who honor the legacy of CIL’s founder, Beverly Chapman. The Beverly Chapman Legacy Award will be presented to Sylvia Longmire, a service-disabled U.S. Air Force veteran, former Miss Wheelchair U.S.A. 2016, an accessible travel writer and author, and a disability rights advocate. Additionally, for the first time, the Champion Award will be presented to KMI International for their conscious effort to create opportunities for those with disabilities, setting them up for success and empowering them to live independently.
Throughout the evening, guests will receive a lanyard with a key for a $20 donation. At the conclusion of the gala, they will have the chance to unlock the treasure box for a chance to win a special prize.
“Each year this event gets bigger,” Watson says. “It is great to see the corporate and community partners come together to celebrate disability inclusion and the increasing efforts to make Central Florida a more accessible place to live and work.”
Save the Date!
What:Celebrating Independence Gala
Time:6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Where:The Alfond Inn in Winter Park
Cost:$115 per person or $200 per couple
For more information, contact 407-623-1070 and purchase tickets by visiting the Celebrating Independence Gala website.