Community Counts: Pace Inc. Center for Independent Living

The Morning Show

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Kent has become all too familiar with what he can’t do. But through all his challenges, his focus remains on what he’s been blessed with. On Monday night, that came in the form of a new home.

For a couple of years, Kent has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He also battles diabetes and other ailments. Over time, living independently was no longer an option.

“I was living in an apartment in Champaign that was two stories and I couldn’t do it no more.”

From there, Kent moved into a nursing home and then he tried living with his mother in Arizona. Still, Kent felt he needed his own place so he pursued Pace Inc. Center for Independent Living in Urbana.

However, Kent was on their waiting list for a few years. The Program Coordinator at Pace, Sherry Longcor, decided the wait was long enough. So she began searching for accessible places he could live at.

“Pace is great at advocating for something if we know it’s right. We’ll stomp our little feet and if this is right this is what we need to do. Sure enough our advocacy won and they offered him the apartment again and here we are.”

Pace is a disability service organization covering five counties in East-Central Illinois. That includes Champaign, Douglas, Edgar, Piatt, and Vermilion. Longcor says they aim to serve everyone regardless of their disability.

“We specialize in researching and finding what is the law here. What can you do and what can you not do. We prepare ourselves and that’s what we did with Kent a lot. A lot of preparation work, a lot of talking through, a lot of calming down, a lot of don’t give up.”

Now Kent is able to regain his independent living with his new apartment. He has tons of space, advanced appliances to meet his disability and much more. But if you ask what fuels his fight to keep going, it’s this:

“My faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s all I can say. He told me he would never leave me or forsake me. His people are surrounding me and helping me.”

Longcor says their non-profit is for and run by individuals with disabilities. But they are always open to anyone joining their team and could always use funding to maintain their success as well.

So if you would be interested in contributing as a volunteer, click here.

To learn more about Pace Inc. Center for Independent Living, please visit their website.

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