In 2010, Center for Independent Futures (CIF) and JJ’s List received a $20,000 from New Trier Township that enabled the organizations to combine their expertise in a collaborative project. The Bridge Builder Project was implemented between May 2010 - June 2011 to promote disability-aware customer service among local businesses and to build employment readiness and independence skills among participants with disabilities.
Kicking off with a training at North Shore Community Bank in the fall of 2010, nine teams, each of which included persons with and without a disability, identified 62 local businesses for visits. Over the next several months, 52 targeted businesses received a first visit, 26 received a follow-up visit or phone call, and 34 began building sustainable long-term relationships with JJ’s List and CIF. All Bridge Builder Project participants kept detailed Progress Reports of their work and received stipends for each visit. Participants also tracked their progress online using the CIF Full Life Planning Tool.
For additional details and videos of Bridge Builder Project Team Members, read more.