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About RIL Meet Our Staff & Board


Everybody on our staff is ready to assist you with your needs and concerns. We're open from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Visit our Contact Us page to send us an email or call us for more assistance

Our Staff

Photo of April Marie Dawson.

April Marie Dawson


Executive Director

April joined Resources For Independent Living (RIL) as Executive Director in August 2018. April’s first exposure to the independent living movement came when she was a Youth Leadership Forum delegate. April started her professional ILC career as an Independent Living Advocate for Disability Services and Legal Center, eventually becoming their Advocacy Director. During this time April was an active peer mentor with the YO! Disabled and Proud program and YLF. Prior to assuming her role with RIL, April served as Executive Director of two disability focused organizations in California and Oregon.

April is a native of Windsor, CA. April is a graduate of Sonoma State University with a degree in Liberal Studies. When not working April enjoys taking day trips with her husband Paul and her dog, Sammie.

Photo of Leon Cain.

Leon Cain


Transitions Services Coordinator

My credo and joy in life have been to serve under-represented populations by advocating for the socio-economic independence, equality, accessibility of services and housing for persons with disabilities.

Photo of Cory Harasek.

Cory Harasek


Janitor

Cory has been a consumer since 2012, and now maintains employment at RIL! Cory finds RIL to be very passionate about helping people with disabilities. With the help of RIL Cory secured housing and is now in charge of his own finances!

“RIL has been instrumental to me living independently with a disability.”

Photo of Maria Ramirez.

Maria Ramirez


Independent Living Specialist

I have always enjoyed working with people who wish to improve the quality of their life. Everyone who comes to RIL for service is looking for just that person who can assist them achieve their goals. Both as an IL Specialist for almost two months and as RIL’S Shelter Plus Care Case Manager for over a decade, many of RIL’s consumers have succeeded in finding and retaining their housing for over ten years. Some got their benefits approved, while others returned to work and were able to keep their benefits. I am fortunate to have the job that allows me to explore and provide available options for the consumer. I provide them with information, peer advising and ensure consumers are well informed so they can make an informed decision. Not every consumer achieves his or her goals and that’s o.k. too. I tell them that it’s important to accept the challenge and once we do this then it all unfolds one step at a time.

Photo of Tony Vi.

Tony Vi


Bookkeeper

Hello, my name is Tony Vi and I am currently the Bookkeeper at RIL. Apart from being a Bookkeeper at RIL, I am also a YO! Volunteer at California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC).

I graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accountancy. Before attending California State University, Sacramento, I attended Sacramento City College and obtained two associates degree in Business Administration and Social Science.

As I attended in Sacramento City College, I joined the Business Club and took part in a leadership role which I became Vice President of Fundraising. When I transfer to California State University, Sacramento, I joined Accounting Society and became the Director of Information Systems. Moreover, I was also an Instructional Student Assistant for the College of Business which I helped tutor students in their Business Courses.

As a person with disability, I believe people with disabilities should have the freedom to make choices in order to achieve their goals and be able to live in communities where they aren’t discriminated.

In my free time when I’m not on the clock, I like to hang out with my friends and family.

Photo of Hanna Lucid.

Hanna Lucid


Assistive Technology Coordinator

Hanna grew up primarily in Tracy, California. She was an army brat and grew up traveling the world with her military family. In high school she began her volunteer work at local animal shelters, homeless shelters, and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups. She continues to volunteer for groups relating to these areas of interest to this day.

She graduated from CSU Sacramento in 2019 with a BA in Deaf Studies and minor in Political Science. She is fluent in American Sign Language and is heavily invovled in the Sacramento Deaf community. She is aspiring to become an ASL interpreter. She has a background in supporting adults with special needs through her work as a Direct Support Professional with the Deaf-based company called S.T.E.P., most of her work primarily being with Deaf Plus adults.

Hanna is an Assistive Technology Coordinator here at RIL, where she began her work in July of 2021.

In her free time she enjoys listening to podcasts, rocking out to good music, trying new recipes, reading, watching movies/TV shows, hiking, playing video and board games, and hanging out with her friends and family.

Photo of Diana McCall.

Diana McCall


Service Assistant

Diana has worked for RIL since March 2018. Diana heard about RIL through a local caregivers’ union. RIL has helped Diana increase her job skills and she has picked up new tasks such as filing and copying. In her spare time Diana enjoys cooking, sports and being a caregiver to various people with disabilities.

Photo of Kaelea Lucas.

Kaelea Lucas


Community Organizer

Kaelea graduated from the University of California, Davis in the Spring of 2019 with a degree in Political Science. During her time there, she engaged with many diverse communities that taught her so much. She worked on local campaigns, interned at under-served schools in Sacramento, joined the executive board of a campus organization pushing for mental wellness among college students, and participated in many other activities that strive for positive social change.

Her desire to continue serving her community and under-represented populations led er to the position of Community Organizer here at RIL in April of 2020. She hopes to bring the community together through positivity and a shared sense of resilience and drive.

In her free time, Kaelea enjoys reading novels, writing poetry, and spending quality time with those she loves!

Photo of Angie Guerrero.

Angie Guerrero


Disaster Prepardness Coordinator

Angie was raised in Sacramento most of her life. She attended Sacramento City College and studied Journalism. She is an activist and an advocate for people in disadvantaged communities.

Angie became a volunteer at a community-based organization in July of 2019 where she recently became cadre to the cause of advocating for low-wage and unrecognized workers. In September, the organization Angie volunteers for was invited to participate in The Mayor’s Commission on Climate Change to represent the hard to reach communities where she met RIL’s Deputy Director April Wick. She just recently joined RIL in January of 2020 as the Personal Care Attendant Registry guru.

Angie’s hobbies are cooking, reading, learning new things and spending time with friends and family. She also hopes to go back to school to continue her education in the field of journalism and earn a degree.

Photo of Angelique Coleman.

Angelique Coleman


Receptionist

I started working at RIL in February of 2021. I have learned so much more about Sacramento even though I have lived in Sacramento my whole life. I love helping people so help with even pointing people in the right direction or to the right person is something i truly love doing.

I have over 5 years of customer service experience and about 4 years of office assistant experience. I have two Associate degrees, one in Social Science and one in Liberal Arts-both from American River College in Sacramento.

Photo of Emily Miyaoka.

Emily Miyaoka


Youth Services Coordinator

Hello my name is Emily Miyaoka and I am the youth services coordinator at RIL. I attended Sacramento State University where I got my BA in Deaf Studies with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. I am fluent in ASL and have always enjoyed studying/ working with people who are different than me. I enjoy learning about their unique perspectives and believe all can benefit from diversity.

Photo of Brandi Bluel.

Brandi Bluel


Program Manager

Brandi was born and mostly raised in Tehama County, and spent a year of high school in Lake County. During high school Brandi was involved with Student Government, Key Club, and was the school DJ for volleyball and basketball games.

After graduating High School Brandi went to Shasta College and Butte College before transferring and getting a degree in Sociology from Sacramento State University.

Brandi is the Program Manager at RIL, where she joined the team in November 2012.

Brandi is also the coordinator of the Voice Option’s program, a program that trains consumers with speech disabilities multiple communication app’s to help them communicate. As a person with a speech disability Brandi really has a passion for Voice Options.

When not in the office, Brandi likes to travel, go to concerts, cook, and be with her family, friends, and partner.

Photo of Joe Wilson.

Joe Wilson


Assistive Technology Coordinator

Joe Wilson is the Assistive Technology Coordinator at RIL and previous YLF delegate. He moved to Sacramento in 2010 and completed his Bachelors Degree in Communication Studies at California State University, Sacramento in 2016.

Joe discovered a passion for helping others through volunteering as a crisis counselor for the California Youth Crisis Line. Joe has an interest in writing and operates a blog to encourage others to step outside the comfort zone.

His goal is to one day travel the country as a life coach.

RIL Board Members

Photo of Helen O’Connell.

Helen O’Connell


Chair

Helen O’Connell has received services from RIL as a consumer since 2003 and was a participant in RIL’s Transitional Living Center (TLC). She was elected RIL Board Chair in 2019. Helen also currently serves as President of Disability Organizing Group For Initiating Total Equality (DOGFITE), the member-run disability rights advocacy group hosted at RIL.

Helen has a long-standing interest in public transportation advocacy, and in addition to serving as Chair of the DOGFITE Transportation Committee, she is a member of the Mobility Advisory Council (MAC) at Regional Transit and a founding member of Sacramento Transit Riders’ Union (Sac TRU). She has given testimony in front of numerous elected bodies, including Sacramento City Council, Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and the California State Legislature.

Helen believes in living a healthy, active life and is a participant and supporter of the Sacramento YMCA. She is also active in her church and participates in the choir. Helen resides in Historic Oak Park and spends her free time crafting and supporting the arts.

Photo of Kim Lathrop.

Kim Lathrop


Secretary

Kim Lathrop was born without arms or legs and knows the ins and outs of living every day with a disability. She is planning to attend CSUS in the fall to study Political Science to one day create policies that will continue improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Kim is proud to serve as a Resources for Independent Living board member because she strongly believes in the independent living movement and will do anything to support its core principles of increasing independence for people living with disabilities.

Photo of Margaret Johnson.

Margaret Johnson


Vice Chair

During her semi-retirement Margaret Johnson decided to return to her love of independent living centers. Thus she joined RIL’s Board in 2019. Her passion for independent living grew out of the early days of the IL movement and has never let go. She believes people with disabilities, no matter the disability, are important members of society and need to be treated that way! In addition to numerous other disability rights organizations, she worked for and has been on the boards of CIL and the San Diego ILC. She has a physical disability and uses a power wheelchair. She has been disabled since age 4. One of her great joys in life is her daughter and grandchildren. Her favorite activities include swimming, biking, outdoor activities and photography. She is semi-retired from Disability Rights California. While at DRC she held various attorney positions and most recently, prior to her semi-retirement of last year, was DRC’s Advocacy Director in charge of legislative, peer self-advocacy, voting and communications work.

Photo of Dante Q. Allen.

Dante Q. Allen


Member at Large

Dante Allen is the executive director for the California Achieving Better Life Experiences (CalABLE) Board, where he is responsible for the strategic direction and operations of the program, which launched in December of 2018. CalABLE is a tax-advantaged savings and investment plan that can be established for the benefit of qualified individuals with disabilities.Contributions to an ABLE account, can be made by family, friends, or the beneficiary themselves without interfering with the beneficiary’s ability to receive government benefits through programs like SSI or Medicaid. Earnings are allowed to accumulate tax-free, and the withdrawals, provided they are applied to qualifying disability expenses, are also tax-free. One of the biggest benefits of ABLE is that the savings held in the account, are not counted against the limits on personal assets for individuals to qualify for public benefits.

Prior to joining CalABLE, Dante served in a leadership role with the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity. Before OHE, Dante served in senior communications roles for organizations both large and small, including the Chevron Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, and the St. Joseph Health System. It was at Kaiser Permanente where he also served as the President of the Kaiser Permanente Association for Employees with Disabilities Business Resource Group. This group served as a networking, mentoring, and advisory group for Kaiser’s 150,000 national employees.

Photo of Jeff Tardaguila.

Jeff Tardaguila


Treasurer

Jeffery Tardaguila is a Sacramento native who has returned to Sacramento after 25 years in Los Angeles working in the computer industry.

Upon returning to Sacramento, Jeffery engaged in his community by attending Regional Transit board meetings, thus beginning his decades long transportation advocacy work. In 2008 Jeffery began attending Sacramento City College and connected with the Disability Services and Programs for Students (DSPS). At City College, he was also involved in student government which led to advocacy work around disability issues within higher education.

In addition to his RIL board duties, Jeffery is currently serving as Treasurer for Disability Organizing Group For Initiating Total Equality (DOGFITE) and also co-chairs DOGFITE’s Housing Committee. He is an active member of Sacramento Transit Riders’ Union (Sac TRU), Sacramento Tenants’ Union, Older Womens’ League, California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and a number of additional coalitions.

Jeffery is eager to lend his voice and effort to furthering RIL’s mission and outreach within the community. Through attendance at a wide variety of community meetings and public engagement, Jeffery brings disability community exposure, insight and builds community connections.

Jeffery’s mind is always active, but to relax, he does enjoy kicking back with his collection of movies, classical music and the occasional trip to the theater.

Photo of Eric Harris.

Eric Harris


Member at Large

Eric Harris is currently a legislative advocate with Disability Rights California. Most recently he was a legislative advocate with the California State NAACP. Mr. Harris is from Sacramento and attended Christian Brothers High School. He played on a National Championship wheelchair basketball team in high school as a member of the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP). This team gave him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the country and compete with and against other top adaptive athletes. Mr. Harris was recruited by some of the top wheelchair basketball programs in the country and chose to attend the University of Arizona on a wheelchair basketball scholarship.

While at the University of Arizona, Mr. Harris balanced his education with wheelchair basketball. He had the opportunity to compete on the Under-20 USA wheelchair basketball team in Brisbane, Australia, where his team won an international championship. He also interned for United States Representative Barbara Lee, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Mr. Harris then went to the University of Oregon School of Law. He experienced more great internships at the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C. and the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD).

Mr. Harris has continued to build experience in government at the local, state and federal levels. He has also been an advocate on behalf of Black people, people with disabilities and other marginalized communities. Mr. Harris has been a board member of the local NAACP in Sacramento. He joined the Resources for Independent Living Board in Sacramento in 2019. Mr. Harris is a co-producer on the Family Matters Forum radio show on 97.5 FM and a proud member of the fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, Inc.