SMILES Center for Independent Living empowers people with disabilities to build and live the life they intend for themselves.

Baseball, skiing, ramp building, technology; success with disabilities does not just happen, it is the result of a process that involves the efforts of many people. A process that solves problems by empowerment. This is the story of our work at SMILES and how people achieve success with disabilities.

Last year, 1,776 people came to SMILES with problems to be solved. Problems that could be solved with information, new skills, advocacy or peer counseling. And so began 1,776 stories about people who empowered themselves to resolve their own problems using the Independent Living Philosophy.

The Independent Living Philosophy starts with the person deciding their own goals and measures for success. This Self Determination drives the process. SMILES staff, volunteers, donors, and community partners contribute valuable resources to the process that we use to solve problems.

Without you, there would be no process; no services, programs, activities or stories of empowerment at SMILES. Stories about volunteers who help consumers read their mail so they can finish paying their bills and balance their checkbooks. Stories about people who take the Drivers Education course and are able to get jobs off the bus line. Stories about people who build ramps for families to be able to get in and out of their home more easily and safely.

Stories about our consumers. Stories about you.

The Independent Living Philosophy story is about people living their lives, as they see best for themselves. Having the same options to choose from as everyone else, opportunities to acquire the skills they need to act on their choices and the assistance and support of people who care empowers people to build their lives.

Because you care about empowering people with disabilities to be successful, each one of these 1,776 stories is one that you helped to create. Thank you.

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