Connections for Independent Living in Greeley is one of nine certified Independent Living Centers providing services in Colorado. Since 1986, our care consumers in Weld, Morgan, Logan, Washington, Sedgwick, Yuma, and Phillips Counties receive personal assistance in obtaining access to benefits, services, and programs that are critical to their well-being. Our services are free and voluntary for our participants.
Connections is also a leading provider of American Sign Language interpretive services for members of the Deaf, hard-of-hearing and Deaf/Blind community in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. Services are provided to individuals and to businesses with clients and customers needing interpreting.
The other Colorado Centers for Independent Living include: Atlantis Community (Denver); The Center Toward Self-Reliance (Pueblo); Center for Independence (Grand Junction); Center for People With Disabilities (Boulder); The Independence Center (Colorado Springs); Disabled Resource Services (Fort Collins); North West Colorado Center for Independence (Steamboat Springs); and Southwest Center for Independence (Durango). The Colorado Statewide Independent Living Council maintains a listing of service regions by county.
Connections challenges barriers, both physical and attitudinal, which restrict the rights and personal development opportunities of people with disabilities. Our mission is to promote the full inclusion and integration of people who live with all types of disabilities into all levels of society. Our staff and board of directors include multiple persons who live with disabilities; through personal knowledge and experience, we are effective in promoting independent living and empowerment.
At Connections we value for our staff and our consumers…
Connections for Independent Living promotes the full inclusion and integration of people with all types of disabilities into all levels of society. Just as we are committed to challenging physical and attitudinal barriers that restrict the rights and personal development opportunities of people with disabilities, we stand against racism and oppression that impact racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse groups. We support individuals with disabilities who choose to engage in activism with the goal of improving services, programs, and outreach.
Connections for Independent Living has served persons living with disabilities in northeastern Colorado since 1986. Incorporated as Greeley Resources for Independent People on July 5, 1985, our organization changed our name to Choices for Independent Living on August 2, 1990. Four years later, on April 25, 1994, we merged with Northern Colorado Center on Deafness, and updated our name to Northern Colorado Center on Disability and Deafness. On August 29, 1997, our organization changed our name once again to Connections for Independent Living.
The independent living movement and a growing awareness of the rights of persons who are disabled began in the early 1970s. It was greatly influenced by the American Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and other political and social movements of that era. By the mid-1970s, the Atlantis Community in Denver and the Berkeley Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, California, began providing services and assistance to persons with disabilities.
The success of these organizations in helping persons with disabilities live independently and make personal choices encouraged a national movement. This national awareness and widespread support led to an amendment in the federal Rehabilitation Act in 1978. This amendment, Title VII, provides federal funding to support a national network of institutions to assist and serve persons with disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990 was sweeping federal legislation that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons who live with disabilities. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act and Section 504 of Title V of the Rehabilitation Act, it strictly prohibits any discrimination against persons with disabilities. The Act guarantees protection in employment, communications, public accommodations, transportation, and access to state and local government programs and services.
The independent living movement sees individuals who live with disabilities as the solution to the challenges faced in everyday life. More than 600 Independent Living Centers across the United States now assist thousands of Americans each year through a variety of services and advocates to improve lives.
At least 51 percent of the staff and the board of directors of each Independent Living Center must be persons with disabilities. This leads to a greater understanding and better representation.