Gov. Youngkin Appoints Suffolk Resident for Second Term
Published 9:00 pm Monday, December 18, 2023
On Friday, Dec. 1, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced additional board and administration appointments to his team. Among his Statewide Independent Living Council, which works with citizens with disabilities, Suffolk resident Leelynn Cherease Untalan Brady was announced to serve her second term on the council as Aloha Independent Living Hawaii Project Coordinator, continuing her four years in the role.
Following the announcement, Brady talked about the opportunity to be a part of the Council once again. She provided details about the duties that come with being on the Council, such as helping to develop and implement the Statewide Plan for Independent Living.
“We do that by working closely with the Virginia Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to determine what planning, financial support, and coordination is needed to ensure that our CILs are able to address the needs of our disability community. We also work to promote and advocate policies that will benefit our community and educate policymakers and stakeholders about the importance of independent living,” Brady said. “The SILC consists of members within the State that represent people with significant disabilities, the interests of the CILs and IL programs and services. I sit on the SILC as a representative of an organization that works with citizens with disabilities.”
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Brady also talked about her duties as Project Coordinator for Aloha Independent Living Hawaii.
“Some of my duties with AILH involve maintaining our social media, serving as a liaison between Hawaii and other national agencies that I can access easier being here in Virginia, and developing our podcast. I have also been involved in legislative efforts,” Brady said.
Brady reflected on her career leading up to her return to the seat. Initially volunteering with an Independent Living Center in Hawaii before being hired by AILH, she says she knew that she wanted to work in a field allowing her to “give back” to her community in “some capacity.”
“I’ve been involved in the disability community growing up, and it was a field that was important to my mom and my grandfather. It felt like it was a legacy in some way, knowing that I would be following in their footsteps. While a lot of my employment positions weren’t directly in the disability field, I was an advocate for the community in ensuring that our services were accessible,” Brady said. “I certainly feel like my personal experience prepared me for this chapter in my life, and making sure that I remembered that in my professional experience helped to bring it to the forefront.”
Likewise, Brady reflected on the moment she got the announcement for the Council seat.
“I was informed of the appointment through a phone call from Gov. Youngkin’s team, asking if I was still interested. I was excited to get the news and had to wait until the official news release went out before I told my mom,” Brady said. “She was also very excited and proud.”
Reflecting on her five years as a Suffolk resident, Brady expressed how much she “really enjoyed” the experience thus far, noting “many hidden gems” to discover.
“One of my favorite things about Suffolk is the library system. They have so many great programs for all ages and are always doing unique and fun things. Whenever I move to a new place, the first thing I check out is the library,” she said. “Everyone there is so friendly and welcoming, and it gives me a sense of community being there. I love where I live, and I’m happy to be here.”
Lastly, she expressed what she hopes to continue learning in her ongoing work for the disability community.
I hope to continue to learn more about what the CILs are doing in Virginia and see what community partnership opportunities there are to serve the areas in the state that don’t have their own CIL,” Brady said. “Seeing what the CILs and what DARS [Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services] does for the disability community throughout the state is amazing, and it makes me happy to be a part of it.”