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By Lois Thomson

Voices for Independence (VFI) and Transitional Paths to Independent Living (TRPIL) are collaborating on the 7th Annual Walk-Run-Roll 5K ("do whatever you can at your speed and your level"), to be held Saturday, May 14, at Washington Wild Things Park.  Registration is at 8:00AM, and the event starts at 9:00AM.



Steve Johnson, director of marketing for both VFI and TRPIL, said, "This is the first one we'll be doing in person in a few years because of Covid.  As the 5K is our longest-standing event, we're very excited to get it back up and running."

The proceeds of the 5K event will be part of the Capital Campaign funding for improvements to the new VFI/TRPIL facility at W. Maiden St. in Washington.  When finished, the new facility will have an adaptive fitness center, an accessible training kitchen, and an assistive technology area, along with office space.  Until the Maiden St. renovations are completed – anticipated by the end of 2022 – the fitness center is still up-and-running at TRPIL's former home at 69 E. Beau St.

VFI and TRPIL are both Centers for Independent Living, which are nonprofit organizations operated by people with disabilities, and they offer support from a peer viewpoint, to people who are looking to achieve independent living.  TRPIL provides the five core CIL services:  information & referral, advocacy, skills training, peer support, and transition services.  VFI, which is headquartered in Erie and shares space with TRPIL in Washington, provides services beyond those, such as personal assistance, home modifications, and health & wellness, among others.  Employment specialists are also on staff to assist individuals with disabilities in returning to the workforce.

As Johnson said, "The goal is to help people to become more independent.  We're trying to make sure we do as much as we can for as many as we can, but we're about quality, not quantity."  He said the organizations are trying to reach more and more people, and breathe life back into the community.  "We don't just want to see people with disabilities survive, we want them to thrive.  There are no strings attached, no fees, we just want people to live independently."

He added that with the mentoring, resources, and education available, "the program is a launching pad for those who are looking to gain a greater sense of independence.  We want to go above and beyond, we want people to enjoy all aspects of life."

For more information or to register for the 5K, visit



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