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 with disabilities living in the outlying areas surrounding Colorado Springs. Along with Cummings, the department has four other dedicated team member, each of which is trained in all aspects of the services provided at The IC. When asked what drives her, Cummings explains that each community has unmet needs for people with disabilities, and that as an organization, The IC is able to meet those needs. A recent and important addition to the outreach team is Jesus Sanchez. Sanchez, who is a fluent Spanish speaker has made it possible for The IC to expand outreach into the Hispanic and Latino communities. This is important considering the large number of Colorado residents that speak Spanish as their primary language. Independent Living services and programs at The IC such as benefits, peer support, assistive technology, home modifications, deaf and hard of hearing, blind and low vision, housing, employment, and advocacy, make it possible for people with disabilities to remain independent and to stay in the communities to which they belong.
When discussing consumers she has worked with, Cummings tells me about a disabled man living in Cripple Creek. By his own choice, the man was living in a tee pee, and wished to remain there. One obstacle he faced was the lack of food and clothing. When discussing this, Cummings tells me “We worked together to get him food delivered once a week, every Friday, and we referred him to Goodwill, where he was able to get clothes through a voucher.” For the man, this assistance has made a huge difference and has really helped to improve his quality of life. For Cummings, this is just another day in outreach.
Looking toward the future, The IC is committed to offering services to areas outside of our main office in Colorado Springs. In addition to the offices in Cripple Creek and Calhan, over the past two years, The IC has added offices to Monument and Burlington, Fairplay and Limon. Need within the outlying areas brought about this expansion, and further growth into other outlying communities is expected. If you’re interested in learning more about The IC’s Outreach program, call us at 719-471-8181.