Take the YMCA community survey

August 18, 2014

The YMCA is planning on becoming more involved in Nevada County, and they are looking for input from the community on ways that they can make the most impact.

YMCA is an organization that believes in including everyone, and people with disabilities are no exception. The Y has engaged in a variety of community initiatives such as accessible gyms, youth leadership programs, academic and job supports and senior exercise. It is important that they hear the voices of people with disabilities of all ages in Nevada County, and FREED encourages everyone, but especially people with disabilities to fill out the survey before September 1st, and let them know how they can be as inclusive as possible.

You can find the survey on the Gold Country YMCA’s Facebook page, or take the survey with this direct link.

FREED and allies submit SSA work incentives resolution to National Council on Independent Living

June 4, 2014

today, FREED and its allies submitted a resolution for consideration at the annual 2014 conference of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), regarding important reforms that we believe are necessary to create better employment opportunities for working age adults with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits. Although, programs under the Social Security Administration such as SSI and SSDI are only supposed to serve as last resorts by the SSA, they often become the primary sources of income for people with disabilities, and we think that this is wrong.

we have reproduced below the text of the full resolution, and we hope that it is passed at the annual conference this July.

Resolution Regarding Reform of the Definition of Disability in the Social Security Act Used to Award Disability Benefits

  • Whereas, studies show that working age people with disabilities want to work and they do work; and
  • Whereas, the efforts to acquire and retain gainful employment are fundamental to a realization of full independence, equality and civic participation for people with disabilities; and
  • Whereas, NCIL is already engaged in seeking a redefinition of disability for young SSI beneficiaries through the CareerACCESS Initiative (www.ourcareerACCESS.org); and
  • Whereas, “disability” under the Social Security Act is defined as the inability to execute significant paid physical or mental labor, and
  • whereas, individuals must go through an extensive process to prove their inability to work as a stipulation for Social Security disability benefits eligibility; and

  • Whereas, the process for proving inability to work is more extensive in the case of SSDI than in SSI, because of the extra scrutiny of an applicant’s work history; and
  • Whereas, for the last 20 years, only one half of a percent of Social Security disability beneficiaries have annually left the disability rolls for paid employment; and
  • Whereas, the 1999 Ticket to work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, which created the Ticket to Work Program, has produced poor results over the last 15 years in enabling Social Security beneficiaries to seek and obtain gainful employment; and
  • Whereas, SSDI already involves many financial disincentives to work such as the SGA Benefit Threshold, also known as the Cash Cliff, which involves a complete termination of SSDI benefits after 12 months in which the recipient has been earning $1070 a month as someone with a disability, or $1800 a month as someone who is blind; and
  • Whereas, SSDI recipients can spend years focusing on their inability to work, while their motivation, self-esteem and work experience dwindle; and,
  • Whereas, an individual’s likelihood of returning to work decreases with the passage of time:

Be it therefore

  • resolved, that NCIL collaborate with the Social Security Administration, stakeholders and policymakers in finding a definition of disability which does not disincentivize any disability beneficiaries from seeking employment, while ensuring that the system supports and serves those it was intended to serve; and
  • Resolved, that NCIL advocate for an integrated redefinition of disability in the Social Security Act for SSDI as well as SSI beneficiaries, to eliminate the need for individuals to prove their inability to work in order to receive benefits; and
  • Resolved, that NCIL push for improvements to the CareerACCESS Initiative to address youth who receive SSDI benefits as well as SSI benefits; and
  • Resolved, that NCIL continue to change intrinsic ideas and values around safety net and social service programs like In Home Supportive Services (IHSS), personal assistance services (PAS), Social Security and paratransit to emphasize peoples abilities and contributions rather than our inabilities; and
  • Resolved, that while individuals with disabilities may receive messages about their perceived inabilities to work from teachers, parents, family, friends, local communities, pastors, peers, social workers, doctors and members of the general public, they will never receive these messages from NCIL or NCIL Members, or from our partners who fight for equal opportunities and civil rights for all people with disabilities, and that NCIL, along with other disability rights organizations, will always challenge common notions of employability of those who are disabled.
  • Resolved, that NCIL continue to collaborate with the Social Security Administration, stakeholders, and federal and state policymakers to reform SSDI and SSI for persons with disabilities who seek employment.

This resolution is endorsed by:

Disability Rap 5/2/2014

May 30, 2014

On May 2, 2014, FREED Executive Director, Ana Acton, ILSNC Executive Director Evan Levang, and Disability Community Advocate Justin Harford, discussed the reasons why people with disabilities along with their allies might want to vote in the June elections.

Click here to listen

Hear local candidates on disability-related issues

May 25, 2014

We emailed questions to all of the candidates for the 2014 election in Nevada County to find out their opinions on issues of interest to people with disabilities. The deadline to answer was Friday the 16th. Below are the responses that they gave.

Board of Supervisors District III

Board of Supervisors District IV

Superior Court Judge

District Attorney

Superintendent of Schools

US Congress District I

Celebration of Trails – June 7th

May 9, 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014 – Celebration of Trails

Join FREED to celebrate National Trails Day

Events Begins at 8 a.m. At the Trails Day Headquarters:
Nevada County Government Parking Lot
950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City
Start the morning with Booths, Local Maps, Coffee & Baked Goods

At 10:00 a.m.  – Family Friendly Wheelchair Accessible Nature Hunt at Hirschman’s Pond with Ana Acton, FREED & Robyn Martin, OLALA Farms – Ana Acton, local outdoor enthusiast, and Robyn Martin, artist and natural history buff, will lead a stroll & roll to the pond. Along the way Robyn will identify plants and how they can be used for food and medicine. This trek is kid friendly and wheelchair accessible.

Celebration of Trails – June 7th

Disability Capitol Action Day – May 21st, 2014

May 8, 2014

Join the California disability community and our allies for the 11th annual Disability Capitol Action Day (DCAD) on May 21, 2014. DCAD is one of the nation’s largest and most diverse  cross-disability annual days of unity. Can we count on you to join us? FREED will be providing accessible transportation to DCAD from FREED’s Grass Valley and Marysville offices with buses leaving at 8:30am. Legislative visits have also been arranged for representatives serving Nevada, Sierra, Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties. Contact Justin Harford at (530) 477-3333 or justin@freed.org.

The 11th Annual Disability Capitol Action Day takes place on May 21, 2014, at 10am on the West Lawn, State Capitol, Sacramento, . The day starts at the Capitol Rose Garden on 15th and L Street for the Solidarity March to the Disability Resource Fair and Educational Rally on the Capitol West Lawn. ASL Interpreters, Text Captioning and Simultaneous Translation provided.

For more information click here.



FREED presents Reflections, featuring the photography of John Hollis

December 30, 2013

FREED is pleased to announce a fundraising event which will take place on February 21st (6-8 pm) in Marysville at the Brick Coffee House Cafe (316 D Street).  The show, Reflections, will feature the photography of John Hollis.  John has been a photographer for more than 40 years. His recent work and activities include providing wall art for the Rideout Cancer Center and Sutter County One Stop.  His images can also be seen on the Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce website, the Yuba County website and Sutter Medical website as well as many homes and businesses.  John says of his photography, “I give you images that can make your soul soar.”  He is the owner of John Hollis digital photography.

Reflections will feature more than ten of John’s photographs of scenes of nature and reality around the Sacramento Valley.  Tickets are $20 per person, and include admission, one free raffle ticket, appetizers and coffee/ice tea.  There will be a No Host Espresso Bar.  The grand raffle prize will be a photo of winner’s choice from the show. All proceeds benefit FREED Center for Independent Living.

For further information and to purchase tickets, call the FREED office in Marysville, 742-4474 .


FREED has moved!

October 15, 2013

The Nevada City office of FREED has moved to a new location.  We are now centrally located in the Brunswick Basin at 2059 Nevada City Highway, (Grass Valley), in Suite 102.  (We are near commercial neighbors Lumberjack Restaurant, across side street from us, and Fowler Shopping Center, home of B & C True Value Home and Garden Center and SaveMart supermarket, across the highway.)

Please note our new phone number: 530-477-3333 (voice), and 530-477-8194 (TTY).  New fax # is 530-477-8184.

Come visit us soon!


This is the main entrance:

Accessible Parking:


FREED’s new meeting room:


We look forward to seeing you at the new office.

Benefit Dance Concert with AXIS Dance Company and Air Aligned aerial dance group

August 21, 2013

FREED is excited to announce a Benefit Dance Concert to take place on Sunday, September 15th, 2013.  The show will feature the renowned AXIS Dance Company  in performance with Air Aligned aerial dance group featuring Tresa Honaker.  FREED is proud to participate along with other community sponsors in bringing this significant event to fruition.  The goal of this project is to harness the power of dance as a performing art form to empower individuals of all ages including youth and individuals with and without disabilities to realize their own potential. Through the magic of dance, we want to enlighten, educate and entertain our audience and inspire new awareness of and respect for our differences.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit FREED Center for Independent Living, Tresa Honaker Special Needs Trust, and Center Stage Dance Studio Scholarship Fund.  We hope you will be able to join us at one of the two performances at Miners Foundry on Sunday, September 15th.  See details below:

Free Workshop with AXIS Dance Company

August 21, 2013

FREED is pleased to announce a free Dance Workshop in physically integrated dance for dancers and non-dancers with and without disabilities.  The workshop will be presented by the renowned AXIS Dance Company, which has appeared on the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.” See details below.