Membership at CDR

To obtain a Membership Enrollment Form, click here to download the CDR Membership Enrollment form and mail it to CDR. Print it out and mail it in with a check made out to “Center For Disability Rights.”

Center for Disability Rights is a membership organization. In fact, before there was a Center for Independent Living (CIL) called Center for Independence & Access or CIA (later called Center for Disability Rights), there was a group of folks with disabilities and their friends who would meet to peer support one another and work to make the Greater New Haven area accessible. They called themselves the Greater New Haven Disability Rights Activists (which, incidentally, is still our legal corporate name).

Our Membership is central to our identity and culture. It is through our Membership that our CORE Independent Living Principles are vested. Chief among these are the principles that CILs are to be 1) Community-based; and, 2) Consumer-controlled.

Our Members live and work in our local community. They know where the barriers to free participation in the life of our community exist. They know what the needs of the community are, and what people with disabilities need to live independently. Consequently, it is the Members who develop and amend our By- Laws and elect the Board of Directors.

Our Community of people with disabilities and our friends and allies – as organized through the Membership – is the basis for our Center. Without it, we are just another agency providing services for people with disabilities. With it, we are a responsive and legitimate force for change in our community.

CDR is not an “agency.” Another of our guiding IL principles is that we promote a culture of self-help and self-reliance. That is to say “we enable people to do things for themselves.” We may do things “with” people; but we strive to NEVER do things “for” people like an agent would.

The Membership of CDR is made up of various individuals from all walks of life and range in age from infants to the oldest of our senior friends. Our Members represent a variety of types of disabilities from blindness, to wheelchair users, to people with cognitive disabilities, deaf people, and people with mental health labels. In fact, about a third of our Members have more than one disability.

CDR Members have the opportunity to attend at least five Membership functions per year. Each Quarter, we have a Quarterly Meeting of the Membership, and in June of every year, we have our Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet. At our Quarterly Meetings, we usually feature a speaker. Over the last year, we had the following featured presentations:

February 2014: Mathew Dicks, Motivational Speaker who spoke about the power of saying “yes” to invitations to do things and opportunities to do new things.

April 2014: Julia Evans Starr, Executive Director of the Connecticut Legislature’s Commission on Aging who discussed Aging in Place and Livable Communities;

June 2014: CDR Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet at Savin Rock Conference Center. We honored Denise Pragano for her service on the Board of Directors, and we presented Scholarships to Chelsea Maxam of Westbrook, and Keith Gaither of Hamden.

October 2014: John Tartaglio, author of “From Tragedy to Triumph,” who gave a motivational presentation about overcoming challenges caused by disability.

December 2014: Annual Holiday Luncheon at the Greek Olive.

February 2015: US Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Deirdre M. Daly who presented on “The Role of the US Attorney in ADA Enforcement, and Ways to partner with the US Attorney’s Office.”

We welcome you to join as a CDR Member. Membership gives you the following benefits:

1) Fellowship with people who are committed to advancing and protecting the rights of folks with disabilities;
2) Opportunity to engage in the community and develop one’s self-advocacy skills;
3) Opportunity to volunteer on CDR committees and at CDR functions;
4) Free subscription to the CDR newsletter “Forward Together”;
5) Reduced or free admission to CDR events;
6) 10% discount on ramps, grab bars, and other equipment at our thrift store – Butterfly Equipment; and,
7) Waiver of required security deposits for equipment loans.