Youth Cooking Lessons at ITK Culinary

Our new "Five Pathways to Independence" program to help youth transition from high school is off and running... And thanks to our friends at ITK Culinary in Emeryville, we got the kids going in the kitchen with a fun, hands-on interactive cooking class with students from Piedmont High School, as well as transitional youths from PREP.  

The kids learned how to prepare multiple chicken and vegetarian dishes from start to finish, including additions to Top Ramen, so they can cook simple, healthy meals at home.  

Apparently, the feast at the end was the highlight to the whole experience.

For more information about our "Five Pathways" youth program, visit our Youth Program page.

Ed Roberts Day Awards 2018

On January 23, 2018, the Center for Independent Living celebrated Ed Roberts Day, a California State Holiday, at a gala event where it honored three outstanding individuals for their contributions to the independent living movement: Raymond Lifchez, Cory Lee Woodard, and Zona Roberts.

In his work and life, Ed Roberts firmly believed in empowering others to be advocates and activists. In this spirit, The CIL was pleased to recognize and honor the following individuals who, like Ed, have made major contributions to the success of The CIL and the independent living/disability rights movement in the US and internationally.

Meet The Honorees

Raymond Lifchez: U.C. Berkeley Professor of Architecture

Raymond came to Berkeley as an architect in 1970 during a time of rapidly changing social landscapes. On the streets of Berkeley, he met people with disabilities who changed the way he practiced and taught architecture.

Cory Lee Woodard: Accessible Travel Blogger,

Cory has traveled to 24 countries across six continents, writing about his accessible (and not-so-accessible) journeys.

Zona Roberts (Lifetime Achievement): Ed Roberts's mother and disability rights activist.

Zona was born in 1920, and raised Ed Roberts, along with 3 other sons in Berkeley, CA.  After Ed contracted polio at 14, Zona became one of the greatest allies to the independent living movement.


Ed Roberts Day Awards Photo Gallery:

Photography by Cut Focus and Berkeley Times.


Thanks to our sponsors: Kaiser Permanente, Panoramic Interests, Berkeley Haas School of Business, City of Oakland, Equal Justice Society, JC and Joe Hancock, LMS Architecture, Lou and Cheryl Haas, Southwest Airlines, Supervisor Keith Carson, Tom Bates, and Loni Hancock.

About Ed Roberts 

Ed Roberts was a charismatic leader in the independent living movement who championed the rights of people with disabilities. When he contracted polio, his doctors told his family that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life. Ed later recalled this edict, saying “If I’m a vegetable, I’ll be an artichoke, prickly on the outside, with a big heart in the middle.”

Ed was a brilliant student and with the support of his mentors and his mother, Zona Roberts, he applied to the University of California, Berkeley, which had never accepted a severely disabled student.  He was accepted, somewhat accidentally, and arrived on a campus totally unprepared to accommodate him.  Because he used an iron lung, he was housed in the campus hospital, where he was joined in following years by other students with severe disabilities. Ed learned of a Federal funding opportunity for special programs on college campuses and led an effort to gain funding for a physically disabled student program at Cal.  This program helped disabled students live independently in dorms or the community, and was the model for the formation of the Center for Independent Living (The Cil) in 1968.  Ed became Executive Director of The CIL in 1974 and in 1976, he was appointed the State Director of Vocational Rehabilitation by Governor Jerry Brown.  He became an influential and revered advocate for people with disabilities, and in 1983, received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, which he used to help establish the World Institute on Disability. 

OrCam Demo at Ed Roberts Campus

Mark Gibbons from Sterling Adaptives presents the OrCam MyEye device at Ed Roberts Campus.

Mark Gibbons from Sterling Adaptives presents the OrCam MyEye device at Ed Roberts Campus.

This week, The CIL hosted an assistive technology demo, featuring the OrCam MyEye device.

The OrCam MyEye is a portable, artificial vision device that allows vision impaired people to understand text and identify objects. The device was developed by Israeli-based company OrCam Technologies Limited, and was released as a prototype in September 2013.

Thanks to Mark Gibbons and Sterling Adaptive for bringing the device to Berkeley.

We've heard that there is a brand-new model of the OrCam coming very soon, and we can't wait to get our hands on it!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by this event, including the group from the Hatlen Center For the Blind.

See you next time!

- The CIL


The CIL's Assistive Technology Specialist, Jeshua Aveno, demonstrates the OrCam MyEye at this week's AT Event in Berkeley, CA.

The CIL's Assistive Technology Specialist, Jeshua Aveno, demonstrates the OrCam MyEye at this week's AT Event in Berkeley, CA.

CoCo Travel Training Trip to Sausalito

This past week, The CIL's Community Connections Team traveled to Sausalito with a group from the Mastick Senior Center in Alameda, CA.

Thanks to everybody who joined us on the trip!

Be sure to check out the photos and video below.

For more information about The CIL's Community Connections Program, visit

The CIL Quad Rugby Clinic Wrap-up

The CIL's first multi-day quad rugby clinic has officially wrapped! 27 athletes converged on Alameda over the weekend to train and hone their skills with a series of drills, scrimmages, and special guest speakers.


Special thanks to Jack Clark, Chuck Aoki, Chris Cook, Steve Pate, Bryanna Stubbert, the Alameda Recreation and Park Department, and the Oakland Marriott at City Center.

Additionally we would like to thank The United States Quad Rugby Association, Triumph Foundation, BOX Wheelchairs, RibGrips and Simply Selling Shirts for supporting The CIL's first Wheelchair Rugby Clinic.

It was a very successful weekend of all-inclusive rugby, education and fun at Alameda Point Gymnasium.

Be sure to check out the photos and videos below!

The CIL Rugby Clinic Official Video

The CIL Rugby Clinic Photo Gallery

Jack Clark - HC Cal Rugby - Full Speech, Friday September 29 (33 Mins.)

Full Scrimmage - Sunday October 2, 2017 (46 Mins.)

Thanks again to everybody who came out!

Don't forget: The CIL holds open practices for Quad Rugby and Wheelchair Lacrosse a few Sundays every month.  Be sure to visit for upcoming practices.

We'll see you next time!

- The CIL

The CIL Goes to the Ballpark

This week, The CIL's Community Connections team traveled by BART to see the Oakland A's beat the Los Angeles Angels! Thanks to everyone who came out. Be sure to follow The CIL for upcoming events.