Meet Robin Bennett ...
In her free time she likes chocolate, a good book and conversation.
Robin Bennett has been on the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council for four years. She is from Canton and represents individuals with disabilities.
Born and raised in Michigan, Robin was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia at 12-years-old. She has used a wheelchair since she was 14-years-old. She received a Bachelor's of Science in Creative Writing and Theater from Eastern Michigan University in 2009.
Robin found a position with AmeriCorps through the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. She had no experience with the independent living movement but was eager to learn.
"It was an amazing opportunity for me," she said of her time as an AmeriCorps VISTA.
While an AmeriCorps VISTA she served in the capacity of volunteer coordinator. She also helped out with youth programming and blogging for the website. She spent two years working at the Ann Arbor CIL.
Robin accepted a position at Integrated Living Solutions(ILS). ILS was a non-profit at Canton Manor. ILS was a community of seniors and adults with developmental disabilities. The program provided individuals the ability to work and live together with the guidance of live in mentors. Robin was one of five mentors. She helped with programming, grant writing and one-on-one support of residents. It was a new style of independent living, Robin said. The program lasted three years.
Robin joined the MISILC board after a recommendation from a friend, and an appointment by the governor.
"I've enjoyed being on the board," said Robin. "The constant learning about different cross disability issues out there being affected by so many. The learning aspect has been huge for me."
Robin said hearing from different perspectives and viewpoints opened her mind. She didn't realize how one person who has a barrier can affect the state. In her role on the board of MISILC, she finds people with disabilities or their loved ones that never heard of a Center for Independent Living. She is more than happy to share with others about her role and those of CIL's throughout the state.
"The MISILC is important for everyone, disability or not," Robin said. "The most important part of Independent Living is the person speaks for oneself and is respected," she added.
"What they want and what they choose is a huge part of the dignity of one's life. A person is not broken but we need to fix everything else," said Robin.
Currently, Robin works for Charter Township of Canton as a Therapeutic Recreation Program Leader. She helps with camp, dances, parties, and exercise classes for adults with developmental disabilities. She also works with 4th Wall Theatre Company, a theatre company for people of all abilities.