Center for Accessible Living helps those with disabilities increase independence

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The Center for Accessible Living in Bowling Green held a workshop on Emergency Preparedness on Tuesday.

The training covered ways on how to be ready and handle an emergency situation, like winter weather, fires and natural disasters.

It's one example of how the center works to help those with a variety of needs to increase whatever amount of independence they want in life.

"We're trying to help them break down those barriers and show society -- 'hey, we're people, and we have the same dreams, and the same goals, and we want to live in our communities and be part of society just like everybody else," said Melanie Piazza, an independent living specialist at the center, who has a physical disability herself.

Piazza said no matter what kind of disability one has, they all face similar challenges.

One woman present at the training suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car accident just a month after finishing high school.

"Before my accident, I was a senior, graduated and had honors," said Joanna Taylor, who lives in Bowling Green. "After the accident, I was at a seventh grade level."

Her goal still was to go to school for medical assistance. Her psychiatrist told her it wouldn't really be possible.

"I don't like being told that 'you can't do this, you can't do that'. And so to me, that's like a challenge," said Taylor.

Today, she's going to college, along with working and caring for her two children.

Others in attendance at the training, said they thought it was important for their personal independence.

"Just be a good person and just be better person," said Jake Phelps, a Bowling Green resident.

"I'm trying to make my life happy, as well as my future family," said Alek Ahmetovic, who lives in Bowling Green.

The nonprofit centers their services around five topics -- information referral, advocacy, independent living skills training, peer support, and transition services.

"You're not alone. And if you have goals and dreams that you want to achieve, you can do it," said Piazza. "You might have to do it differently, and your steps to achieve it might be different than people without disabilities but you can. You can have the kind of life that you can envision for yourself."

The center says they hope to offer even more workshops in the future. To contact the center, you can call their number at (270) 599-0910.



 
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