“I wanted to work with people with disabilities, not be one.” Having spent several years as a teacher and
working in disability organizations, a sudden car accident began a life changing journey for Jim Baker,
Executive Director for the Florida Independent Living Council. “After years of headaches, pain,
medications, physical therapy and alternative methods of medicine, I couldn’t take it anymore and the
doctor recommended surgery. Having my neck fused at three levels, I was supposed to wake up feeling
great, no longer experiencing the daily headaches and constant pain in my arms. Looking back, one of
the greatest things that ever happened to me, was the doctor hit my spinal cord during that surgery.”
Gaining an understanding of the struggles related to experiencing loss, fighting to regain some abilities,
Jim learned firsthand what it was like to experience his own disabilities. This opened an understanding
and deeper passion for the Independent Living Movement and its’ Philosophy.
Jim has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Education, a Bachelor of Religious Education, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. He has been Executive Director of Centers for Independent Living in
Washington, Los Angeles, and Miami before taking his role with the Florida Independent Living Council.
– Peer Support
– Transition (Nursing Facility to Community & School to Adult life)