The Disability Resource Center is a service and advocacy organization run by and for people with disabilities. DRC supports people who have all types of disabilities to live independently and participate fully in community life. Persons who receive our services are called consumers. Consumers choose what services they want from DRC and they determine what, how and when to reach their independent living goals.
Consumer Control is the driving force in the Independent Living Movement. Consumer Control is tied to the same concepts of self-reliance and self-determination that are essential for all adults in our society. Whether disabled or not, people want and need to exert control over their own lives. When individuals have a sense of personal rights, autonomy, they also have the confidence to act on those rights.
Congress in its passage of Title 7 of the Rehabilitation Services Act with input from the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) has defined core principles and services for all Independent Living Centers (ILC’s) as a basis of operation. By setting these standards for ILC’s Congress has guaranteed that all ILC’s including the Disability Resource Center adhere to and uphold consumer control and it’s philosophy.
THE KEY ELEMENTS OF CONSUMER CONTROL ARE:
- Significant participation in society
- Authoritative influence and a role in decision-making
- The right to take risks
- Having personal control over life choices, services and activities
- And the exercise of that power.
The consumer control philosophy which DRC practices is as follows:
- Consumer control at the policy level of DRC is insured by a Board of Directors comprised of a majority of persons with disabilities;
- Extensive representation of persons with disabilities among our administrative and service delivery staff;
- Emphasis on services to a cross disability consumer population;
- Commitment to consumer-directed goal choices and attainment of service objectives;
- Provision of core services: information and referral, peer counseling, Independent Living skills training, individual advocacy and community advocacy. We at DRC embrace self-determination, autonomy and independence in our daily operations and long term planning.
Voting and non-voting members are the supporters on the North Shore and Cape Ann for consumer control and independent living by persons with disabilities. Our members are the leaders for increasing accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the access regulations of the Commonwealth. Our members are the collective voice of persons with disabilities.
Voting Members Ensure Consumer Control
Voting members must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Must have a disability
- Be regarded as having a disability
- Must live or work in our service area, or receive service at the center
- Voting Members have the right to nominate candidates for the Board of Directors- this includes their own nomination.
- Voting Members have the exclusive right to vote for candidates who will serve on the Board of Directors- Your vote counts!
- Board Members are your representatives and are directly involved and determine policy and decision-making.
- Board Members are your voice.
Non-voting Members must believe in the Independent Living/Consumer Control philosophy Non-voting Members are family, community members, and fellow service providers who want to offer support to the center and the center’s mission.
As with all voting opportunities, it is each of our responsibility and right to vote in an organization or government that upholds democracy and voting. DRC encourages all to vote in our local, statewide and national elections as well as to be active in the DRC elections at our annual meeting each October.
If you need assistance to register to vote in statewide and national elections, DRC can assist you in completion of required registration to vote forms. If you would like to vote in our Annual Meeting election of DRC Board members, become a member.