Newsletter Archive

Stories Archive

CEO Corner: One Last Time

By the time you read this, I will have officially retired after 10 years as CEO of The Independence Center. Ten years! How did that happen?

Patricia Yeager: Sparking Change

Sometimes there's a spark that changes everything. For Patricia Yeager, the spark that led her to become CEO of The Independence Center was a conversation with an acquaintance.

Meet the New CEO, Indy Frazee

Indy Frazee, The IC's new CEO, is looking forward to building on the foundation Patricia Yeager started and leading the organization into the future.

ADA: Celebrating Independence

The IC's annual ADA celebration event commemorates the passage of the ADA, which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. This year’s online event featured powerful stories from people with disabilities about what the word “independence” means to them.

Teacher’s Donation Makes a Difference

For people with low vision, reading a book, a label, or a printed work document isn’t as easy as throwing on a pair of glasses. However, assistive technology like closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) can help them bring the world into focus.

Creating Connection Through Conversation

In the U.S., around 61 million adults – or one in four - have a disability. That means that the odds are good that a high percentage of police interactions will involve someone with either a hidden or visible disability.

Q&A: Veteran in Charge

The Independence Center’s veteran-directed Veteran in Charge (VIC) program aims to ensure that disabled veterans can continue to lead the lives they want to live. Recently, we sat down with Kim Howell, veteran coach coordinator, to talk about how VIC empowers veterans with disabilities.

Boosting Mental Wellness

Almost two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’re continuing to adapt to a new normal. Stress, isolation, loss, and burnout have taken a toll on our mental and physical health. So how do we regain our equilibrium?

Employment Classes: From Search to Success!

Did you know that right now, there’s more than one job opening for every American who wants to work? Despite this, people with disabilities continue to face barriers to finding a job that offers a livable wage, good benefits, and reasonable accommodations. The good news is that ...

CEO Corner: Thank You to Our Staff

Late last year, The Independence Center (The IC) was named one of The Gazette’s “Best Workplaces” for 2020. This award is especially meaningful to me because it comes directly from our staff. Unbeknownst to me, a number of employees nominated The IC for the award. It speaks volumes about the good will staff members have toward The IC that they would take the time and care enough to do this.

Happy Trails: Making the City’s Open Spaces More Accessible

Drew Wills loves a challenge. On any given day, you can find the Colorado Springs attorney on a mountain biking trail in Stratton Open Space, attacking steep climbs and tackling technical tracks. But unlike most of the other riders on the trail, Drew pedals with his hands while flying down hills headfirst.

Partnership with County Ensures Equal Access to Vaccine Resources

Local, state, and federal governments are working quickly to get the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible. El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) is no exception. As of April 13, 2021, almost 200,000 residents aged 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard. However, for people with disabilities, this can...

Accessible Masks: The Difference Is Clear

Imagine going to bed one night and waking up in a world in which you can’t understand anyone. To make matters worse, you find it impossible to tell if others are trying to communicate with you in the first place.  It may sound far-fetched, but this has been the reality for countless d/Deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH) individuals since mask mandates went into effect due to the pandemic.

Housing Q&A

Home. It’s a word that means different things to different people. Safety. Security. Stability. Comfort. A home is more than just four walls and a roof. It’s the place where we start and end our days. Where we prepare our meals and celebrate holidays. Where we make memories. The staff who work in The IC’s Housing Department understand the positive impact having a home can...

Removing Barriers, One Vote at a Time

The disability community in this country has a long history of advocating for change. From widescale protests to the simple act of asking for accommodations, people with disabilities have learned that advocacy is the key to creating a better world for themselves and others. One of the best advocacy tools we have is...

CEO Corner: Virtual Communication Platforms and the Fight for Equal Access

The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in how we work, learn, obtain services, and interact with each other. Before social distancing, meeting/communication platforms like Zoom, Go-To Meeting, Microsoft Teams, […]

Area Girl Scouts Make It Sew Easy to Reopen

  During Colorado’s stay-at-home order, issued to combat the pandemic, The Independence Center’s halls were empty for almost three months. So when restrictions were finally eased, the staff was eager […]

Mobile Food Pantry: Supporting Our Community

COVID-19 has not just had an impact on the physical health of those in our community. Job and income losses due to the pandemic have increased economic hardships such as […]

Outreach Q&A

Living in a rural community has many benefits, including a lower cost of living, a feeling of safety, and a sense of belonging. But for people with disabilities, residing outside […]

Creating Connection with Online Classes and Groups

When Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order in March due to the coronavirus, most of The IC’s staff had to figure out new ways of serving our […]

Celebrating 30 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Each July, The IC celebrates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with an in-person event. Hundreds of people attend the free luncheon to network and learn more […]

Grants Help The IC Continue Its Mission of Service

As a nonprofit, The Independence Center couldn’t do what we do without the generous support of individuals, foundations, and community partners. Recently, two Foundations recognized The IC’s work by awarding […]

COVID-19: What the Deaf Community Wants Everyone to Know

The following is adapted from an op-ed originally published in The Gazette and written by Kelsey Sandella, The IC’s former Community Organizing Assistant. When this year started, no one expected […]

CEO Corner: Lessons from a Pandemic

Maya Angelou, the late Poet Laureate wrote, “When we know better, we do better.” After the Waldo Canyon Fire, our community took those words to heart and acted upon them. […]

IC Fund: Better Access for Better Health

At The Independence Center (The IC), our goal is to help increase independence and accessibility for people with disabilities. To do this, we not only work with people individually, we […]

“Saving Grace”: Community Partnership Helps Patient Return Home

In the Spring of 2018, Steve Frost had an epileptic seizure while driving. He went to UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, spent three months there, got out, had another seizure a […]

Home Health Q&A

The Independence Center (The IC) is widely known in the region for its Independent Living services. However, its commitment to people with disabilities doesn’t stop there. Through its Home Health division, […]

Before Disaster Strikes: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

Over the last few months, most of us have learned the basics of what we need to survive during a national or local emergency. But for people with disabilities, there […]

State of Colorado: Signing the Times

During any emergency, all citizens should have equal access to information that potentially affects their lives. That’s why The IC has put such emphasis on emergency preparation for people with […]

Comcast: Eye on Technology

Most of us don’t think twice about grabbing the remote to change channels. But for people with mobility disabilities – like those with quadriplegia or ALS – it can be […]

AXIS Dance Company: A Moving Experience

It seems like it’s been years since we were able to gather as a group and have an experience together. But it was only a few  months ago that The […]

Pandemic Prep: Behind the Scenes at The IC

What do you do when life as you know it comes to a screeching halt? You take a cue from what people with disabilities have always done – adapt and […]

CEO Corner: Working to Make Health Care Accessible to All

Over the last two years, The Independence Center (The IC) has been working hard to make medical and dental care more accessible for people with disabilities. Through our IC Fund, […]

Art of Accessibility Celebrates Diversity

  On September 6, 2019, the halls of The Independence Center (The IC) buzzed with activity duringits award-winning Art of Accessibility (AoA) event. As part of the Downtown Partnership’s First […]

Assistive Technology Q&A

If you have a disability, there are numerous tools and equipment available to help you live a full, independent life. The Independence Center can guide you toward resources that can […]

For the Thrill of It: Adaptive Go-Karts Fulfill the Need for Speed

On a bright, sunny afternoon, the sounds of revving engines and screeching tires vibrated through the air as drivers sped around a racetrack. Jockeying for position, the looks on their […]

Innovative Program Helps Patient Stay in Her Home

For patients with complex recoveries or conditions, the nursing home is often their only option in order to receive the supports and services they need. However, with The Independence Center’s […]

Veteran Celebrates 100th Birthday on Veterans Day

Retired Army Master Sergeant Albert C. Mosley beamed as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to him at the Veterans Administration Clinic in Colorado Springs. He had good reason to smile. […]

CEO Corner: Everyone Needs a Place to Call Home

Housing is a big issue for everyone in the Pikes Peak region! The cost to buy or rent a home is sky high with no end in sight. For people […]

Proving That Deaf CAN!

by Amber Carlton   When Denver resident Susan Haney retired from the post office after 44 years, she wanted to do something meaningful, “I want to show the Deaf community […]

Information and Referral Q&A

by Amber Carlton   For most consumers of The IC, the first person they talk to is Maritta Coffey, Information and Referral (I&R) Specialist. Each month, she connects with anywhere […]

Annual ADA Event: Advancing Disability-Friendly Health Care

by Amber Carlton   What if you visited your doctor and weren’t able to navigate through the hallway, get onto the exam table, or see over the receptionist’s counter? If you’ve […]

Test Your Disability Knowledge!

Chances are you know someone with a disability or have a disability yourself. But how much do you know about the facts and issues surrounding disabilities? Take this quiz to […]

Making Dental Care Accessible

by Amber Carlton   Studies show that oral health is an important part of maintaining overall health. But for people with disabilities, finding accessible dental care can be a real […]

The IC Launches New Low Vision Program

By Amber Carlton   As part of its commitment to helping individuals with low vision and blindness live a full and active life, The Independence Center has launched a brand […]

Five Fast & Furry-ous Facts…

By Amber Carlton About Service Animals The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as one that has been individually trained to perform tasks for a person with […]

Disability Benefits Q&A

By Amber Carlton   Think you might qualify for disability benefits but don’t know where to start? The IC offers services that can empower you to advocate for yourself when […]

American Legion Partners with The IC to Create Accessibility

By Amber Carlton   The Victor-Cripple Creek American Legion Post 171 is a growing hub of activity and outreach in the area. Membership has more than doubled in the last […]

The IC Wins Business for the Arts Award

by Amber Carlton   The IC recently received a Business for the Arts Award from the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA). This award is given to individuals and […]

Troy’s Journey: From Surviving to Thriving

by Amber Carlton   Troy is an energetic, outgoing 12-year-old boy with a mischievous smile, a quick wit, a big heart, and a love for snowboarding. Looking at him today, […]

Inspiring Change

After The IC’s Disability Integration Act Watch Party, we received this letter from one of the attendees. Hi Elle, Rebecca and The Independence Center, You both did an AMAZING job […]

Better Than I Was Before

by Amber Carlton   When Michael Jackson enrolled at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, he had one goal: to break his parents’ athletic records. The fact that he hadn’t […]

CEO Corner

It is the middle of April as I write this column, which means there’s a flurry of legislative activity taking place at both the state and federal level. During this […]

CEO Corner

After providing in-home health services to persons with disabilities in the Pikes Peak region for over thirty years, we decided to stretch our reach further into healthcare. We asked ourselves […]

Reaching for the Sky With Adaptive Climbing

by Gabe Taylor   If you haven’t heard of adaptive climbing, you’re really missing out on something cool. Adaptive recreation is a blanket term for any kind of recreational activity that […]

Finding Success Through Employment

by Gabe Taylor   This past December, with the help of The IC’s Employment department, Skylar Sypher began searching for a job. At the time, she wasn’t particularly concerned about what […]

The Art of Accessibility

by Gabe Taylor   When The Independence Center’s Courtney Stone and Tim Gore approached others at The IC about participating in the “First Friday Downtown” art walk, it was a […]

ADA 2018: Celebrating Veterans with Disabilities

by Gabe Taylor   Each year, The Independence Center (The IC) hosts a luncheon to celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The celebration is always held on the 26th […]

Making Healthcare Accessible One Exam Table at a Time

by Gabe Taylor   In partnership with The Independence Center, Mission Medical Center unveiled their first accessible exam table this past February. With help from The Independence Center’s IC Fund, […]

What Are Electronic Glasses and How Do They Work?

by Gabe Taylor   There are two different types of electronic glasses that can be used to help people who are blind or have low vision to navigate the world around […]

Seeing Life in a Whole New Light

by Gabe Taylor   Imagine losing your eye sight at a young age and growing up without it, and how different your life might be. You would likely have a very […]

Spreading Awareness Through Advertising

by Gabe Taylor   If you aren’t familiar with The Independence Center (The IC), you may have seen our billboard or bus ads around town and wondered what exactly it […]

IC Employee Receives Award for Employment Accomplishments

by Gabe Taylor   In a recent award ceremony at the Colorado State Capital, along with several other recipients, The Independence Center’s Mathew Morris was presented with the Shining Stars […]

El Paso County Receives National Voting Award for Work With The IC

by Gabe Taylor   On November 29th, the El Paso County election department received the Clearie award from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, for their work with The Independence Center […]

Photovoice Project – Creating Change through Creativity

by Gabe Taylor   In an ambitious new project, The Independence Center’s Jamie Muth hopes to shed light on those things in the daily lives of people with disabilities which […]

Emergency Preparedness Seasonal Tips

The Pikes Peak region is notorious for its unpredictable weather patterns and long winters. It isn’t unheard of to have t-shirt weather one day followed by a blizzard the next. […]

The IC Gets a New Building to Address Growth

by Gabe Taylor   Its official, The Independence Center (The IC) is the proud new owner of 711 South Tejon Street. The building, which is directly next door to our main […]

Finding Freedom in the Strangest of Places – Tim’s Scuba Adventure

by Gabe Taylor   Imagine being weightless, floating effortlessly with your head beneath the water in an environment alien to the one you known. You can hear the bubbles breaking […]

CEO Corner: New Law to Tackle Fraudulent Service Animals

As CEO of an organization that advocates for and works with people with disabilities on a daily basis, I believe that the new service animal law makes progress in protecting the […]

Art of Accessibility: Finding Empowerment Through Modeling

by Gabe Taylor   Looking to find a job here in the Springs, Alphie Omar began visiting The Independence Center’s (The IC) Employment department close to seven years ago. Over […]

Local Business Parking Lots Aren’t Accessible

by Gabe Taylor   Earlier this year, with help from disability consulting organization ADA Surveys and Plans (ASAP) and sponsorship from the Colorado Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, The […]

Building a Space Where Anyone Can Live

by Gabe Taylor   When Jeremy J. Chatelain moved to Colorado Springs for a new job last year, he knew finding the right house would be difficult. As a person […]

Finding Your Way Home – Hospital to Home Program

by Gabe Taylor   Mandi Strantz, Care Transition Coordinator for The Independence Center, works tirelessly to keep people with disabilities, who have landed in the hospital, from unnecessarily being transitioned […]

Helping People with Hearing Loss

  by Gabe Taylor   Stacy Gibson, IL Specialist with Hard of Hearing Emphasis at The Independence Center was recently honored with the “Service to Mankind Club Award” by Woodman […]

CEO Corner – The Art of Letting Go!

Patricia Yeager, Ph.D., CEO In August 2017, Tim Gore, our Development Director and Courtney Stone, IL Senior Manager came to me with a hare-brained idea to put on an art […]

Independence Through Assistive Technology

by Gabe Taylor   James Wright, or Jamie as his friends call him, came to the Independence Center several years back to find help in his search for affordable housing. […]

Creating Impact with Life Skills Classes

by Gabe Taylor   Edgar Morales is The Independence Center’s Independent Living Skills Specialist. He tells me that what really excites him, is seeing the progress in his students after […]

Empowering Youth with Disabilities

by Carrie Baatz   The IC’s Youth Advocate, Nina Kamekona, teaches youth with disabilities skills like self-advocacy, disability etiquette, coping strategies, and knowing your disability. All of her workshops are […]

Accessible Voting Award

by Gabe Taylor   On September 21st, The Independence Center CEO, Patricia Yeager, was presented with the Stars and Stripes award from the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office. […]

Making Communities Better for the People with Disabilities

by Gabe Taylor   What is community organizing? The Community Organizing department here at The Independence Center serves a unique but important function in the journey to provide independence for […]

ADA Celebration Luncheon

by Gabe Taylor   On July 26th, The Independence Center celebrated the 27th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as the 30th anniversary […]

Assistive Technology Opens Internet to Man with Quadriplegia

by Jess Bolen   In this day and age, it’s easy to take technology for granted. For people with some disabilities, however, assistive technology can mean the difference between being […]

“Text to 9-1-1” a Milestone for the Deaf Community

During fires, crimes and life-threatening emergencies, the ability to communicate can make the difference between life and death. Now in El Paso and Teller counties, you can text to 9-1-1 […]

Awards: Gail Melton

by Gabe Taylor   On February 14th, The Independence Center’s Gail Melton was awarded the Teller County Cares award for her work supporting people with disabilities in and around Cripple […]

Awards: Jeremy Chatelain

by Gabe Taylor   One of The IC’s board members, Jeremy Chatelain, recently served on another Center for Independent Living’s (CIL) board, Roads to Independence in Utah. They recognized Jeremy […]

IC Volunteer and Coach Receive Awards at ARC Dinner

by Gabe Taylor   On Saturday, May 20th, The Independence Center’s Dimitri Lucas and Ashley Billington received awards at The Arc of the Pikes Peak Region’s Annual Dinner and Awards […]

Awards: Tim Ashely

by Gabe Taylor   On January 24th, Tim Ashely, Independent Living Coordinator at The Independence Center, received an award from the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office for his […]

Outreach – Growth in the Outlying Areas

by Gabe Taylor Laramie Cummings, IL Program Manager for Outreach at The Independence Center is optimistic about future growth in the unserved and underserved communities surrounding El Paso County. With […]

A Caregiver’s Perspective – Working at The IC

by Gabe Taylor Working as a caregiver for The Independence Center can be a difficult but rewarding job for those who find joy in helping people with disabilities. For many, […]

Making Voting Easier for People With Disabilities

by Gabe Taylor On November 7th and 8th, The Independence Center made history after opening as the first “Highly Accessible Polling Place” in Colorado Springs. Turnout was better than expected with […]

The IC Provides the Opportunity to Learn from Multiple Sclerosis Ambassador

by Gabe Taylor On October 26th, The Independence Center hosted a discussion on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with Tom Falconer, Ambassador for the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Falconer, […]

The IC Receives National Recognition from FEMA

by Gabe Taylor On September 16th, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representative Carrie Roberts presented The Independence Center with the Outstanding Inclusive Initiative in Emergency Management Award. FEMA, a U.S. […]

The IC Wins OIB Grant to Help People Experiencing Blindness

by Gabe Taylor The Independence Center is pleased to announce that we’ve been awarded a three-year Older Individuals with Blindness (OIB) grant from the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The […]

Life Skills Class Gives Students a Taste for Cooking

by Gabe Taylor As a group of students in The Independence Center’s Wednesday cooking class prepare for their lesson, instructor Edgar Morales asks them what the first step is when […]

Adaptive Bicycle Helps Calhan Man Move About in More Ways Than One

By Jessica Bolen   Ross Huddleson is a faithful consumer of The Independence Center’s east office located at the fairgrounds of Calhan. He lives with Parkinson’s Disease, a slowly progressive […]

The Independence Center Sends Delegates to NCIL Conference

By Jessica Bolen   The Independence Center sent two delegates to the National Centers for Independent Living (NCIL) Annual Conference on Independent Living that was held in Washington, D.C. July […]

The Independence Center Brings Assistive Technology Home

The Independence Center is a great place to start if you or someone you know needs a home modification or assistive technology device. Paul Spotts, Independent Living Specialist (Assistive Technology […]

Young Professional Aims for Nursing Career After Son Born With Disability

by Jess Bolen   Amber Turner, 35, originally studied health sciences and received a BA from UCCS. Her goal was to be a high school athletic director. The birth of […]

Vietnam Veteran Gets Help at Home in Teller County

By Jessica Bolen   Vincent Thoms is a Vietnam veteran who loves the A-frame home he has in Teller County. The home he shared with his late wife has prominent […]

Colorado Commission for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Presents Susan J Elliott Award to The IC

Angie Tenorio, Coordinator for our Deaf & Hard of Hearing Department and Billy Allen, Board Chair for The Independence Center, accepted the Susan J Elliott award for Outstanding Service from […]

Grant Funds Facilitate Ongoing Accessibility in Recreation and Jobs

The IC Fund saw nearly $75,000 awarded to five organizations. Funds were given to support community projects in line with The IC Fund goal of increasing independence for people with […]

Kudos Due For Collaborative Efforts for Accessible Telephone Communications

Kudos are due for legislative work that ensures that people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or deaf-blind will have access to accessible telephone communications in coming years. The […]

Professor Regains Independence after Two Years in a Nursing Home

Dr. Jeffrey Burkhart sits casually in his living room discussing his 30 year career that encompasses teaching in four universities and two private schools. The walker next to him is […]

Community Transition Success after 11 Years in Nursing Home

These are new freedoms since The Independence Center Community Transition Services program enabled Judy to move out into an independent apartment in 2015. “The biggest highlight about Judy’s story is […]

Financial Planning For Families With a Member Who Has a Disability

Cascade Investment Group, recently released his book Protect Your Family: Life Insurance Basics for Special Needs Planning, the first publication in the “Blueprints for Special Needs Families” series. The book […]

Adaptive Ski Experience Carves Through Mental Barriers

Ty Smith never slowed down as an active young adult in his early twenties. Then in November of 2011, life as he knew it came to a crashing halt. Ty […]

The Independence Center Teaches UCCS Public Affairs Students how to Affect Change Through Advocacy

About 40 public affairs students were introduced to The Independence Center at a community discussion hosted by UCCS School of Public Affairs on October 29, 2015. Attendees were given theoretical […]

DVR Public Stakeholder’s Meeting a Welcome Forum

Leadership, staff and consumers of The Independence Center (The IC) as well as community members and DVR vendors attended a public stakeholder’s meeting hosted at The IC regarding the merge […]

First Annual Briefing for State Legislators Held at The Independence Center

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, September 29, 2015 – The first annual Legislative Breakfast occurred at The Independence Center (The IC) September 28, 2015. Six state legislators attended the briefing where eight […]

The Independence Center Awards $75,000 in Funding for Local Projects

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, September 22, 2015 –The Independence Center (The IC) announces its second year of The IC Fund grant awards totaling nearly $75,000 for local community projects that benefit […]

The IC’s ADA Celebration 2015 Award Winners

The IC’s 2015 ADA Celebration The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in 1990 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, in order to prohibit discrimination against […]

The Independence Center Serves Up Accessibility Training for Colorado Red Cross

At what kind of training would you look around the room and see county officials, disability training consultants, service dogs, Red Cross district officials, and people with disabilities? You would […]

The IC Helps with Video Phone Testing for El Paso County

The Deaf & Hard of Hearing program of The Independence Center is involved in making telephone communication more accessible to the deaf community in the Pikes Peak Region. Matthew Ruggles and Angela Tenorio, […]