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In November 2005, a group of people shared lunch during the CSAVR Conference in San Diego. We began considering the benefits and drawbacks of establishing a national organization. Those present had a passion for their task and wanted to help their individual Councils become strong leaders, making informed decisions and recommendations. Like many of you, some were Governor-appointed volunteers serving on their respective Councils; others were staff with the sole responsibility of working for a Council; and others were agency staff assigned to provide support to their State Rehabilitation Councils (SRC).

Some around the table were fortunate to serve on well-resourced Councils, while others had limited or no budget. There were representatives from states and territories with both Blind and General programs, and some with combined programs. Despite our notable differences, we had a great deal in common.

Common ground and the power of our collective potential is what led a motivated core of individuals to move us from brainstorming to organizing.  The National Steering Committee was created and with the support of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), they began convening regularly scheduled national conference calls of the SRCs on a bi-monthly basis.  Those calls are now scheduled quarterly offering topics members have requested and an update from the RSA liaison. The Steering Committee is now called a Board of Directors (BOD) that meets on a regular basis to further the structure, development and education of the NCSRC.

Members wanted additional training, so the organization began by meeting during the Sunday afternoon prior to the CSAVR Conferences. A strategic plan, goals and educational needs evolved. This afternoon meeting the next two years progressed into an all-day Sunday session. With the desire and need for more training and networking, attendance grew within the NCSRC and workshops were added to include Saturday.

By 2007, as a result of dedication and commitment by a number of SRCs, prior to each CSAVR Conference, the NCSRC has continued to conduct trainings on Saturday and Sunday. The spring training is always in Bethesda, Maryland and the fall at the location of the CSAVR Conference. The SRC sessions have focused on a myriad of topics, such as strategic planning, leadership development, development of mission and vision statements, core values, best practices, membership recruitment, orientation, and bylaws.

The Board of Directors has filed the incorporation papers for the NCSRC and plans are moving forward for the Coalition to become a 501(c)(3).

The NCSRC has a dedicated website for SRCs to utilize and the BOD is mentoring SRCs whenever needed. The BOD works with an independent consultant to maintain the site. The Coalition continues to strive to ensure members are receiving the networking, supports and guidance they need. The NCSRC is on the agenda for CSAVR to report on the work of the SRCs and demonstrate our desire to be a valuable partner to VR.

The result of this strong Coalition is recognized for having a solid foundation and partner with VR and other organizations. This will position all of us to be more effective within our respective states and as a national entity. The NCSRC will continue to grow in our quest for excellence and to become a stronger voice for individuals with disabilities.