Newsletter Archive

Stories Archive

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, and Google Hangouts were used for a few very specific purposes. Now they are almost a daily part of our lives. They allow many (though […]

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 to welcome people back into the building. To prepare, a re-opening committee was formed to discuss the precautions necessary to keep visitors and staff safe. […]

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 difficulty paying bills, putting off filling prescriptions, and greater food insecurity. As part of its mission to help people with disabilities live more independently, The […]

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 a city can make it more challenging to access the supports and services they need to live independently. That’s where The Independence Center’s Outreach program […]

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 consumers and clients. As the organization’s IL Skills Specialist, Edgar Morales was used to working in-person with consumers to help them develop the skills necessary […]

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 about the issues facing people with disabilities. This year, however, COVID-19 left the organization with two choices: cancel or get creative. With 2020 marking the […]

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 grants to further our mission of helping people with disabilities live fuller, more independent lives. We sincerely appreciate their support! Colorado Springs Health Foundation Tech […]

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 a global pandemic that would change the way of the world. Wearing masks, gloves, and handwashing to a personal theme song is now the new […]

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. In the midst of that emergency, many of us – both with and without disabilities – weren’t sure what to do, where to go, or […]

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 support a variety of other community projects and organizations through our IC Fund. Since 2014, the fund has granted monies to build ADA-compliant walkways, provide […]

“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 month later and was back in the hospital for three more months. During his second stay, squatters broke into his modest, one bedroom mobile home […]

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, it helps senior citizens, as well as other adults and children with disabilities, live full, independent lives in the community by providing in-home health care. […]

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 are other things to consider. Although disability-specific items may not be included in typical emergency preparedness lists, they are just as essential for those who […]

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 disabilities over the last several years. We not only created an Emergency Preparedness Guide, we have worked closely with state and local officials to ensure […]

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 almost impossible. And without access to television programming, individuals can become isolated or find themselves without critical information during emergencies like COVID-19. Now, a new […]

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 IC partnered with the ENT Center for the Arts and Colorado Springs Dance Theatre (CSDT) to present a performance by AXIS Dance Company. The nation’s […]

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 overcome! When the COVID-19 pandemic really started to take hold, The Independence Center (The IC) knew that we needed to take the advice we have […]

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, created to honor our founder and her late husband, we have donated nearly $150,000 in accessible equipment and other tools to Medicaid/Medicare primary care and […]

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 Friday Artwalk, AoA showcases brand new exhibits that honor the visual artistry created by people with disabilities and their community. The works of 40 artists […]

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 help you obtain various types of assistive technology (AT). Learn more below from Paul Spotts,  IL Specialist – Assistive Technology, and Stacy Gibson, IL Specialist […]

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 faces ranged from steely determination to pure joy. One driver made a point to wave at his biggest fan – who also happens to be […]

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 innovative Hospital to Home (H2H) program, patients are able to transition from the hospital back to their homes more quickly and at lower cost. Recently, […]

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. After all, this wasn’t just any birthday. Mosley, who had been born on the very first Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, was celebrating his […]

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 with disabilities, finding housing is even more daunting if there is a need for mobility access, public transit access, and/or affordability. It’s a triple whammy […]

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 we can do this job. Yes, there are barriers but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them.” – Sharon VonFeldt, CNA Studentso she signed up […]

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 from 200-300 people from Colorado Springs and The IC’s six county catchment area. But what is Information and Referral exactly? We sat down with Maritta […]

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 never had an experience like this, it might be hard to imagine. But these are the kinds of barriers that people with disabilities face every […]

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 find out! (Answers are below but no peeking!) 1. How many people in the U.S. live with a disability? a. 10 million b. 22 million c. […]

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 challenge and may lead to them forgoing routine visits to the dentist. The need for accessible dental practices was brought to light during a series […]

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 new Low Vision program. The goal of the Low Vision program, which is geared toward people ages 18 – 54, is to help individuals maintain […]

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 a disability. Only dogs and miniature horses qualify. So no cats, birds, snakes, or squirrels! A service animal doesn’t have to wear a vest, ID […]

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 it comes to benefits. Check out what Benefits Specialist Suzi Arnold and Benefits Coordinator Daniel Ratcliff have to say about the most commonly asked questions […]

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 three years, and its members provide numerous services to local veterans and to the community. To better accommodate members and visitors, they’ve also been busy […]

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 companies who “have gone above and beyond to support the arts and creative industries through innovative partnerships, arts integration, creative workplaces, economic development in the […]

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, it’s hard to believe that it’s something of a miracle that he’s alive. His mother’s uterus ruptured while she was in labor and he was […]

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 setting everything up for us to attend and watch the Disability Integration Act Watch Party. What a Powerful and Inspiring day to see movement and […]

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 played competitive sports before didn’t matter. His parents had been star athletes in high school, and he was determined to be even better. Before long, […]

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 session, there have been many bills flying around both legislative bodies, including the two below that The IC has had the most interest in. HB19-1069 […]

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 a few questions. Is it accessible and useable by persons with a wide range of disabilities? Can we “disrupt” the pipeline of people with disabilities […]

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 is modified in a way that makes it possible for people with disabilities to participate in activities that they otherwise would be unable to. In […]

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 job was, she just needed something to help pay the bills. For someone who is Deaf and mostly nonverbal, finding meaningful employment can be […]

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 no brainer. What a great opportunity to showcase the artwork of individuals from within the people with disabilities community. Art provides a historical record of […]

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 of July, which coincides with the signing of this important legislation into law back in 1990. On that date, sitting with a group of people […]

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, Mission Medical was able to purchase this important piece of equipment, expanding desperately needed services to people with disabilities. According to Barb Cronin, Executive Director […]

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 them. In the front cover article about The IC’s Benefits Coordinator, Daniel Ratcliff, these types of glasses can be used for individuals with low vision, […]

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 different perspective of yourself and your relationship with the world around you. Now imagine what it might be like to regain your vision in an […]

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 is that we do. The Independence Center is a local nonprofit organization that provides traditional and self-directed home health care, independent living, and advocacy services […]

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 award. The Shining Stars award was started this year as a way to recognize individuals and businesses for their employment related accomplishments and inclusive hiring […]

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 during the 2016 general election. Before the election, the El Paso County Clerk and Recorders Office in partnership with The IC, provided training to people […]

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 promote an accessible and inclusive space, versus those that do not. The idea is for people with disabilities to document through photography and writing, the […]

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. Don’t be caught off guard when inclement weather strikes. The following tips from The Independence Center’s Emergency Preparedness department will help you prepare. Winter storms […]

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 building, will be the new home for our CNA Training Program and our Home Health department. Throughout the last few years, The IC has undergone […]

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 on the surface as you observe your new surroundings. That’s how it was for Tim Ashley in an experience he could only describe as “just […]

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 rights of people with disabilities. Businesses have an opportunity to create safer environments for all parties, now that a new Colorado law passed deters false […]

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 that time, he’s worked with Yvonne Bacher and Starr Vahsholtz to develop marketable job skills, update his resume, and to look for employment. After getting […]

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 Independence Center conducted a campaign called “Better Access Is Better Business.” The purpose of the campaign was to help businesses identify elements in their parking […]

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 with quadriplegia, Jeremy knew there were several features he had to have in his new home that wouldn’t be easy to find. Zero-step entries, roll-in […]

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 to nursing homes. There’s a disturbing trend when people with complex cases are hospitalized, and aren’t recovering quickly enough. They are often transferred to nursing […]

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 Valley Sertoma for her work connecting people with hearing loss with the help they need, through the Sertoma HEARS program. The HEARS program helps people […]

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 show featuring local artists with disabilities, the first Friday of September, which was four weeks away. It was a great idea to pull our artists […]

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. The IC’s housing department helped Jamie through the process, and today he lives in a two-bedroom home here in Colorado Springs. As with many people […]

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 spending time in his skills classes. When I ask him for an example, he tells me about one student that stands out to him. Melissa […]

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 designed to help students build self-confidence. “If you can show others what trusting in your knowledge and ability can do, they can realize that they […]

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. The award stems from a partnership last year between the Clerk and Recorder’s office and The Independence Center (The IC) during the general election, where […]

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 our community and the consumers we serve. Courtney Stone, The IC’s Community Organizing Manager & Jamie Muth, the Community Organizing Coordinator, work together to address […]

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 of The Independence Center’s opening in Colorado Springs. An estimated 320 people attended the event and everyone seemed to have a great time. Employees from […]

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 able to access a computer or not. Consider the ordinary computer mouse; it can be purchased for $30. For someone unable to use a handheld […]

“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 if you are unable to talk on the phone. This is a huge milestone for members of the Deaf community, who historically have had little […]

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 Creek. Through her support groups, Gail has made a world of difference in the lives of veterans, people with Traumatic Brain Injuries, and other individuals […]

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 for his outstanding work and dedication as a board member. Jeremy spent many hours representing their CIL with local legislators and ensured they could sustain […]

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 Ceremony at Hotel Eleganté. Dimitri, who has autism, was given the “Achiever of the Year” award for the outstanding progress he made after joining The […]

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 work leading up to the 2016 general election. As part of the partnership between The IC and the Clerk and Recorders Office, Tim played an […]

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 Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management and a background in community engagement and rural outreach, Cummings is dedicated to expanding The IC’s services to people […]

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 the decision to become a caregiver is based on the search for a fulfilling and stable career. For others, the decision can be because […]

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 close to 800 voters showing up to cast their ballots. There were scores of first time voters, including a group of students from the Colorado […]

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, whose wife has MS, has been the primary care giver for his wife for the last 27 years. During Falconer’s presentation, he discussed the symptoms, […]

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. government agency best known for its disaster recovery efforts, also focuses on emergency preparedness training. The award was given to The IC for building eighteen […]

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 OIB grant will enable us to continue helping older individuals experiencing low vision or blindness to remain independently in their homes, and to continue their […]

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 preparing food. In unison, the class enthusiastically responds with “wash your hands.” Then the fun begins. On the menu is baked ham, mashed potatoes, and […]

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 disorder of the nervous system that causes difficulty in regulating body movements. Because he is unable to drive and there is no bus service in […]

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 24 – 28, 2016. Carrie Baatz, Community Organizing Coordinator, and Nina Kamekona, Youth Advocate Specialist, attended the conference on behalf of The Independence Center. Nina […]

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 Emphasis) can help you walk through the process of finding out if you are qualified to obtain funding for your home modification need. The qualification […]

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 her son in 2007 set her on a different course. Born with a rare genetic condition called Townes-Brocks syndrome, Cortland required round the clock care. […]

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 west-facing windows for an unobstructed mountain view. He can tell you when and where you might find the legendary Cripple Creek donkey herd. However, it […]

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 the Colorado Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Thursday evening. The Independence Center is humbled by this award and so proud that our CEO, […]

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 disabilities. Community members will benefit from these projects through ongoing accessibility in recreation, transportation and jobs. Additionally, veterans with a disability who are living in […]

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 Independence Center was instrumental in lobbying for HB 1414, the Disabled Telephone Users Fund, which will be signed into law by the Governor at a […]

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 the only indicator of his partial disability. A glint of pride sparkles in his eyes as he recalls a particular student’s evaluation of him at […]

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 that we transitioned her out of the nursing home into the community after eleven years in the facility,” LaTesha Kearney, Community Transition Coordinator at The […]

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 is available on The Independence Center recently sat down with Rob to find out how his book can help families with a member with […]

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 lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a ditch. While Ty does not remember the terrible accident, his life took a dramatic turn in […]

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 and practical perspectives along with real life stories about policy barriers for people with disabilities. The Community Discussion focused on Advocacy and Policy Development Supporting […]

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 of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) and Division of Vocational Rehab (DVR). CDLE and DVR leadership was well represented at the meeting on […]

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 specific issues faced by people with disabilities were presented and discussed. Presentations on each issue were given by staff members of The Independence Center. Discussions […]

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 persons with disabilities. Checks will be awarded on Sept. 30, 2015 in a private ceremony with a light lunch being served in the Dart Room […]

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 people with disabilities and ensure equal access, opportunities, and participation throughout America. 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the historical signing of the ADA. The Independence […]

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 be at a special training—the first of its kind in Colorado actually—an emergency preparedness training for Colorado Red Cross chapters emphasizing accessibility for persons with […]

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, deaf and hard of hearing program staff at The IC, helped with testing the new video phones at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center in August 2015. Ruggles […]