Michelle Scheib, the new Director of ILNC

Independent Perspective 1723 Independent Perspective 1723 with Michelle Scheib, the new Director of ILNC.

Host:  Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Michelle Scheib, the new Director of Independent Living of Niagara County (ILNC) and I’m your host Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Michelle.

Guest:  Thank you for having me.

Host:  It's our pleasure. All of the Centers for Independent Living are you might say voices of the Independent Living disability community, and they're all aimed at helping all people with all disabilities to gain the resources, the information, the skills, and other things necessary to improve the quality of life and be able to live more independently. Now that you have taken over at ILNC, after quite an extensive search to find someone with just your qualifications, if you could please tell our listeners what all you do there?

Guest:  It's my third week starting, so I'm still in a lot of learning process, but I am going to be responsible of implementing the Independent Living philosophy, developing the budget, monitoring the process and achieving contract requirements, meeting the goals, implementing policy procedures, hiring, training and supervising the staff. Definitely an important one is reporting to the council that helps us run here and doing a lot of outreach and education in the community. And definitely helping with other entities and about disabilities, if anything else that comes down into the ILNC operations.

Host:  And plus you oversee probably a couple of dozen staff people at the Niagara Falls office on Portage Avenue and also the office in Lockport as well.

Guest:  Yes, so, there are staff all over.

Host:  Well, that's more for the convenience of people with disabilities, I dare say, but I alluded before to your qualifications. What are some of the things that you have done before coming to us?

Guest:  So, I've worked in the field for at least the last 15 years, mostly in mental health and substance abuse. So, I worked at Restoration Society in Buffalo for a good 11 years, I had a few different roles, but I was the Director of Peer for the last eight to nine years there. And then the last four years I was at Best Self Behavioral Health as one of the peer leaders. So, with those different experiences I definitely have worked, and those I've also have had disability of myself growing up and then my child. So I've worked with many different disabilities in my past and personally, as a family member, and then I also will have been around a lot of different committees, different boards within the state of New York, that have definitely have helped me grown into a better individual.

Host:  And we have yet to touch on your major claim to fame, one of the major creators of the Mental Health Awareness Month flash mob. Can you tell us about that?

Guest:  Yes, so 10 years ago, I was able to see a thing on channel two news about the Jonathan Ramos family on how their son had passed away how he had committed suicide, and it really touched my heart. After I met with them to kind of think of something different to do and that's when flash mobs first started. So I came up with the idea of everybody walking from Restoration Society downtown Buffalo to a square right downtown, and we danced and we had balloons out and we've learned over four years we did it there that we could only be there for seven minutes before we could get in trouble. So, then we started to; yeah, because you can't be without having an event a permit to be there. Buffalo could arrest you or whatever, after seven minutes so we learned to link up with the Erie County Library, which is right downtown too, and they were able to let us use their location for the past few years. This past year after COVID, this last one was our one of our best ones yet. We were able to get the Buffalo Police there. They were able to donate food. They were out there dancing. We had music playing outside we always have tables.

Host:  If people want more information, how can they reach it?

Guest:  716-284-4131 and I'm at extension 209.

Host:  Thanks so much for being with us.

Guest:  Thank you.

Host:  You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Michelle Scheib, the new Director of ILNC and I've been your host Ernie Churchwell.