EMPOWERING PEOPLE WITH DISABLITITIES TO CONTROL THEIR LIVES

Guiding Principle

Central Iowa Center for Independent Living (CICIL) is a community based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities to control their lives and participate and integrate in their community. Founded in Des Moines in 1990, CICIL is one of six Centers for Independent Living (CILs) currently in operation within the state of Iowa.

Our guiding principle at CICIL is the belief that people with disabilities should integrate fully into society, have equal opportunities and maintain control of their lives. The entire community benefits when all citizens live with self-reliance and dignity. 

Services

CICIL works side-by-side with individuals - assisting each to achieve their personal goals in the following 7 counties; Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Polk, Story, Warren. CICIL advances the independent living philosophy through the provision of the following Five Core Services: Information and ReferralIndependent Living Skills TrainingIndividual and Systems AdvocacyPeer Support, and Transition Services. CICIL recognizes the unique and unmet needs by offering information and referral, advocacy, employment, peer support, and transition services free of charge to each of our clients. When combined, these services meet the holistic needs of the person as well as the needs of their family rooted through independence, and supported through care.

Team

CICIL employees are skilled and talented at looking beyond regulatory requirements to incorporate the quality elements of life and provide opportunities for clients to be contributing members of the community and not merely recipients of services but as lifelong contributors to society.

Laura Gibson, MS, CRC, LMHC
Executive Director

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Laura Gibson is the Executive Director for Central Iowa Center for Independent Living. Laura joined the CICIL team as Director of Operations in January of 2017.  She comes from Candeo, where she coordinated the Project SEARCH program and prior to that was an employment consultant working with individuals to maintain their employment in the community. She has had a variety of experiences in the social services field including: job coaching, job development, coordination of residential services, providing respite services, case management, and direct care.  Laura is Past President of the board for Iowa APSE, former secretary of the board for the Iowa Rehabilitation Association, sits on the Access Advisory Board for the City of Des Moines, is the secretary of the board for Fuse DSM and is co-chair of the Fuse DSM Firestarter ambassador group.  

Laura holds a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Drake University, is a certified rehabilitation counselor and a licensed mental health counselor.

Bronna Crase, CESP, WIPA
Director of Programs

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In April of 2017 Bronna joined the team at CICIL as the Director of Programs.  Bronna came to CICIL from Candeo where she was a Customized Employment Specialist.  Her previous accomplishments include: assisting with coordinating, instructing and providing customized job development with the REDI program, and Project SEARCH at Unity Point instructor, job coach and developer. Bronna enjoys writing curriculum and this is evident in her work with Try Transition, here at CICIL. Bronna is the Vice President of the Iowa Rehabilitation Association, on the board of Iowa APSE, and co-chair of the Fuse DSM Non-Profit Forum. 

Bronna holds a degree in Business Administration and Finance, a degree in Human Services and is a CESP and a Certified Benefits Planner.

Riley Jones, MS
Employment Specialist

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Riley Jones is an employment specialist for Central Iowa Center for Independent Living. Riley joined the team in 2017. She graduated with her BA in Psychology from Coe College and is a graduate of the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Therapy Master Program at Drake University. Riley specializes in working one-on-one with clients and their employers as a job coach. Riley is working to develop the CICIL Peer Support program and is enthusiastic about connecting with others. 

Paul Clark
Employment Specialist

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Paul is an employment specialist and started with CICIL in the spring of 2022.  Paul holds an associate’s degree from Des Moines Area Community College.  Paul comes to us with 17 years of business experience including supervision, management, and training background.  Paul holds an ACRE certification that he received in the fall of 2022 which allows him to provide customized employment, job development, and the discovery services.  During his free time, Paul enjoys engaging in self-care and loves spending time with his dog, friends, and family.  On a rainy or snowy day however, it is not uncommon to find Paul taking a nice long nap. 

Jenna Batten
Independent Living Intern

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Jenna is a rehabilitation counseling student at Drake University. Jenna has completed a portion of her required internship with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and is completing her remaining hours with Central Iowa Center for Independent Living. With over 13 years of lived experience with a spinal cord injury, Jenna is a dedicated advocate for disability access and inclusion. She is a current board member and peer mentor for the Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Association, serving on the peer mentoring committee and social media committee. Jenna has also served a three-year term as a voting member of the legislative advocacy organization Iowa Olmstead Consumer Task Force (2016-2019) and had the privilege of serving as president of the Drake University Student Chapter of Iowa Rehabilitation Association between 2016 and 2018. When she’s not at work or school, you might find Jenna practicing adaptive yoga, attending a concert (in ADA seating of course), or spending time with her much loved niece and nephews. Jenna is a proud dog mom. 

Larry Johnson
Administrative Assistant

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Larry joined the CICIL team in 2021 as the Administrative Assistant. Larry obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a minor in psychology from Iowa State University.  Larry brings with him a wealth of knowledge from his previous career as a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims representative for the Social Security Administration. In his free time, Larry can be found walking, training his dog, or singing karaoke. Larry is a movie buff with his all-time favorite being the Wizard of Oz. Family is especially important to Larry. He loves being a grandfather and spending time with his family.