When people ask what it is that we do here at The Independence Center (The IC), I often find myself trying to come up with a cohesive answer. This isn’t because I don’t know what it is that we do, but rather because of the wide assortment of services that we provide. Officially, I would say that our mission is working with people with disabilities, their families and the community, we create independence so that all may thrive. This description is accurate, but doesn’t paint a realistic picture of the diverse nature of the disability related services that The IC provides.
At The IC, helping people with disabilities to achieve and maintain independence is accomplished through the work of four distinct departments, which include the Center for Independent Living, Home Health, Advocacy, and The Independence Center CNA School. Though all departments work towards different objectives, the overall mission remains one and the same.
The IC’s Center for Independent Living provides a host of services that help consumers to advocate for themselves in order to live a meaningful and independent life. This independence is achieved through our core services which include Information and Referral, Skills Classes, Transition Services, Peer Support and Self-Advocacy, and Community Based Advocacy. There are several other services that The IC offers, but we won’t delve into them in this blog. In addition to our main facility in Colorado Springs, The IC services El Paso, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Park, and Teller counties through our Outreach department.
Our Home Health department provides people with disabilities the ability to continue living at home, in their community, while receiving medical and personal support through our staff of highly trained health care providers. Additionally, a new Colorado law makes it possible for the family member of a loved-one with a disability to become a paid caregiver for their family member with a disability, after receiving proper training. This program is administered through The Independence Center, and has made a world of difference for our team of paid family caregivers.
The advocacy arm of The IC works with the community and public officials to advocate for people with disabilities. Many times, this work revolves around expanding community accessibility features such as curb cuts, wheel chair ramps, and accessible parking spaces, but also includes advocacy for housing, people experiencing homelessness, and various other topics that affect the lives of people with disabilities. From our founding in 1987, The IC has always advocated for people with disabilities and disability rights, and that work continues today.
Last but not least is The IC’s CNA School, which provides students with the training necessary to become a Certified Nurse Aide. The Colorado State Board of Nursing approved program has trained over 2,900 nurse aids since 2006, and ensures that The IC’s Home Health department has the highest quality CNA’s available.
At The Independence Center, our vision can be seen throughout the organization in our values and the way that we operate on a daily basis. We believe that everyone should be provided equal opportunity, and should have access to freedom of movement in their daily life. We are the local home of civil rights for people with disabilities and encourage our consumers to advocate for themselves whenever possible. The Independence Center was literally designed to be a model of accessibility. From the time you enter till the time you leave, everything has been optimized to ensure unparalleled accessibility for people with disabilities. From extra wide walkways to the looped conference rooms, no expense was spared.