- Mental Health Investigative Report just released from the Disability Rights Center of Kansas: Stuck in Institutions – the Crisis of Mental Health Services and Supports in Kansas. A Mental Health Investigative Report was just released from the Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRC). How did the mental health system in Kansas fare? According the DRC: “The Mental Health System in Kansas is in crisis…unlawfully institutionalizing Kansans with mental health needs in institutions called Nursing Facilities for Mental Health (NFMHs).” “The full report is made up of two parts: 1) an Executive Summary detailing many of DRC’s key findings and recommending public policy changes to remedy this crisis, and 2) a full report detailing the results of DRC’s extensive investigation which includes numerous facts, figures and examples demonstrating the extent of this crisis.” Read the report here… [6/3/19]
- Monday, May 13th is our next Board Meeting, open to the public! We welcome public attendance and comment!
- Our Independence, Inc. May Peer Groups are posted! We have something for everybody so check out the flyer and see what’s happening! [5/9/19]
- May is National Physical and Sports Month – and Every Body can get moving YOUR way! “Get moving in May”, “I Can Do It” and “Move YOUR Way” are just a few of the great campaigns to celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. And inclusion is key! Every Body can work towards improving strength and physical health. From the Presidential Proclamation on National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, recognizing the Health and Human Services Inclusive program model, to the Administration for Community Living “I can do it” program and the “Move Your Way Campaign“, tools, resources and support abound to get American’s with disabilities moving – YOUR way! [5/3/19]
- Advocacy Alert! Do you or a family member receive HCBS or PACE services? Do you currently have a client obligation? KanCare Advocates Network is currently looking for consumers who fit this criteria to contact local legislators and/or make a short video explaining what you will be able to do with the additional money you would keep if the protected income level is raised to $1,177 and a huge “Thank You!” to the legislators and to Governor Kelly for letting people keep more of their money to help make ends meet. Protected Income Level Advocacy: Read the full instructions here… [4/15/19]
- Design the Future! Great opportunity to be part of an important “immersive design” summer program, assisting youth through the process of designing and building an accessibility product!
Design the Future is a summer workshop for high school students in collaboration with the University of Kansas. Engineering students work to design solutions to real world problems faced by individuals with sensory and physical disabilities. This is where YOU come in! Design the Future is looking for Design Partners – individuals with a disability interested in working with high school students to build solutions to problems or obstacles you may face on a daily basis. Applications are due March 15th. For all of the information and to apply visit https://www.designthefuture.dcdesignltd.com/
- Volunteer Needed: Are you available for about 2 hours, one day a week to help assist a consumer with her swimming needs? You would be working side by side with another assistant who is blind, so a sighted volunteer would be a helpful addition to the team! If you are interested in helping please contact Tina, 785-615-8373 for more information [3/13/19]
- Fabulous FREE event for Lawrence area youth age 10-21!: Are you between the ages of 10-21 and have an interest in exploring local live theatre? This may just be for YOU! Theatre Lawrence and the Penguin Project have teamed up for a production of “Aladdin, Jr.” summer of 2019 and they are looking for youth with disabilities to be the actors and youth without a disability to work alongside the actors as peer mentors. Did I mention this is FREE? And Fabulous!? Don’t miss the informational meeting Tuesday, February 19th, 7:00 p.m. at Theatre Lawrence, 4660 Bauer Farm Drive. More information… [posted 2/12/19]
Gov. Laura Kelly has introduced a bill to expand KanCare and YOU can take action to ensure this legislation passes: Overview and fact sheets on KanCare Expansion; Call to Action: The Time is Now!; Governor Kelly’s Press Release [posted 2/04/19]
Event – Expand KanCare Rally: You’re invited to a micro-rally at the Kansas Statehouse prior to Governor Laura Kelly’s State of the State Address to show your support in expanding KanCare in 2019; Wednesday, January 16th, 5:00 p.m. at the Statehouse, SW 8th & SW Van Buren, Old Supreme Room (346-S). More information and RSVP… [posted 1/15/19]
- Event – FREE screening of Intelligent Lives, a film by Dan Habib: Please come and help us start to deconstruct and reconstruct what society thinks about people with disabilities. These are civil rights issues on equal access and inclusion to a society that is built against the most systematically segregated people in America. Sponsored by KU SOARS and other fabulous organizations. Jan. 25th 5:00pm KU Woodruff Auditorium. See flyer for more info… [posted 1/10/19]
- Information and Advocacy – Improve Act: “The Money Follows the Person program (MFP) officially expired in 2016, and today the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill that would renew the program for three months. The IMPROVE Act (H.R. 7217) was introduced last week in the House and a companion bill is expected in the Senate very soon…continue reading [posted 12/11/18]
- Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Weight Loss Research Program: KUMC’s Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management is looking for adolescents (13-21 years) and adults (18+) with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be in a research program on healthy eating, physical activity and weight. Individuals will be following a healthy eating program, exercising…(more) [posted 12/5/18]
- IDD Town Hall Meetings: For those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), their families and friends. Aetna Better Health of Kansas invites you to attend their town hall meetings… (more) [posted 11/27/18]]
- Don’t Forget to vote! November 6th is just around the corner! Do you need some resources to help make an informed decision when you take to the polls? See Douglas County Commissioners, Kansas Senate and House candidate profiles here posted 11/1/18]
- October is National Disability Awareness Month! What does this mean for YOU? No matter who you are, YOU have a place in the movement to work towards inclusion in the workplace for people with disabilities. For more information on NDEAM and what you can do to make a difference, please check out these valuable resources: [posted 10/2/18]
State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) Stakeholder Forum Notice:
Your input is valuable and necessary in this grassroots effort to put people first and plan for the rights and needs of individuals with disabilities. The Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas (SILCK) and the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in Kansas are holding stakeholder forums in 2 cities to gain information on goals and issues regarding Independent Living for Kansans with disabilities…Continue reading…
LMH Health and Independence, Inc. Collaborate to Bring Needed Healthcare Services to East Lawrence
Independence, Inc. is pleased to announce the upcoming addition of the LMH Health East Heights Clinic to our building here at 2001 Haskell Ave.
Earlier this year, LMH Health began a search for the right opportunity to expand primary care within East Lawrence, ultimately arriving at an arrangement with Independence, Inc.
“Independence, Inc. and LMH Health are complementary community organizations that both offer support and services within the broad spectrum of various life stages,” said Jill Enyart, co-executive director for Independence, Inc. “That’s what makes this partnership so great. Together we can provide so much more to the community than either could do alone.”
Russ Johnson, LMH Health President & CEO, noted that community partnerships are increasingly important in advancing healthcare initiatives. “Our colleagues at Independence, Inc., have been very willing to work with us, and they are equally excited to expand access in Lawrence so that our community can have another vital access point for healthcare.” Read the LJWorld article…
Action Alert! Support community living for people with disabilities. Information on the Empower Care Act continue reading…
Advisory Committee Opportunity for Individuals with Mobility/Physical Disability
“The Kansas Disability and Health Program is partnering with Oral Health Kansas to develop resources and training to improve oral health for people with mobility and/or physical limitations, such as paralysis, tremors or weakness. This will be a new training in addition to the one we have for people with IDD. We are currently recruiting people to serve on an advisory committee to assist in identifying existing resources and providing input for new resources and training content. ” Continue Reading: Ks Disability and Health program advisory committee Questions? Call Bob Mikesic, Independence, Inc. 785-841-0333 ext. 107
Independence, Inc. Board Meetings are Open to the Public!
We welcome public attendance and input at our monthly board meetings – the 2nd Monday of each month. Our next meeting is Monday, August 13th, 5:00pm, in our conference room, 2001 Haskell Ave.
Independence, Inc. is experiencing a water leak in one of our pipes that will require repair work July 25th, 26th and 27th. All visitors are asked to use our North entrance during this time as our front door and entryway will be under construction. Our parking lot will still be accessible, please follow signs to the North entrance. Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time!
EVENT: KanCare Advocates Network Rally, August 21st, 12:00 Update: This event has been cancelled
Join the KanCare Advocates Network Rally, 12:00 Aug. 21st, 1st floor rotunda of the Kansas State Capitol, Topeka. Speakers at the rally will call for a stronger provider network, the critical need for a well-trained workforce and expanding KanCare. More information…
National Center for Independent Living March on Washington
Disability rights advocates will march on Washington tomorrow, Tuesday, July 24th in support of disability rights and in honor of the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed July 26th, 1990. As a kick-off to the 2018 National Council on Independent Living Annual Conference “MOBILIZE: Resistance through Action”, approximately 1000 people from across the nation are expected to participate in the 1.2 mile March to the Capitol. Following the march will be a rally for disability rights with a focus on funding for Independent Living Programs, protecting the ADA from Congressional cuts, protecting Medicaid and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and promoting the Disability Integration Act
Event: Independence, Inc. Access Task Force Meeting – open to the public
Open invitation to attend the Independence, Inc. Access Task Force meeting, July 16th, 2018, 1:00, Independence, Inc. conference room, 2001 Haskell Ave.
Individuals with disabilities, disability advocates and community members – we want YOU to join us for our next Access Task Force meeting with guests Tammy Bennett, City of Lawrence ADA Coordinator, Jessica Mortinger, Senior Transportation Planner, and Amanda Sahin, City Transportation Engineer.
Topics for discussion will include:
An update to the City of Lawrence’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) transition plan with opportunity for public input.
Training information on sidewalk and curb ramp construction
Update on the first year of selecting projects under the non-motorized prioritization policy
Event: Community Cookout Sponsored by the Access Task Force & Independence, Inc. Peer Groups
We’re having a cookout and YOU are invited! Sponsored by the Access Task Force and Peer Support Groups of Independence, Inc. Saturday, June 9th, 11:30-2:00, Lyons Park Shelter House 700 North Lyon Street in North Lawrence. We’ll provide turkey burgers, water and soda. Please bring a side dish to share or something to grill. Bring your family and friends and come enjoy this community event! RSVP by Tuesday, June 5th to Drew White firstname.lastname@example.org
Act Fast! Newly-Funded Pilot Program Helps Dg. Co. Seniors Make Exterior Improvements to their Homes
The Senior Resource Center – SRC and Lawrence Habitat for Humanity introduced a pilot program, with a grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation, to assist low-income seniors in Douglas County with exterior home repairs and improvements (excluding roofing). This program will serve up to 4 households this summer and applications are due June 19th. For more information and to apply, contact the SRC http://yoursrc.org/ or see the press release: Senior-Resource-Center-and-Lawrence-Habitat-for-Humanity-Launch-Pilot-Program-for-Seniors
2018 Kansas Disability Caucus – “Moving Forward: Turning Setbacks into Comebacks!”
Register now for the 14th Kansas Disability Caucus, August 9th-10th, Topeka. People with all types of disabilities, of all ages, representing every county of the State, are invited to attend. The purpose of the Kansas Disability Caucus is to provide opportunities for Kansans with disabilities to learn, share, and provide solutions to issues faced by the disability community. KS Disability Caucus Information and Registration Packet
New Short Video on the Independence, Inc. Accessible Housing Program
View and share this video on our Accessible Housing Program (AHP) serving people in Lawrence, KS with disabilities who need modifications to their rental home for greater accessibility.
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) given by FAA Regarding Flying With Service Animals
Do you want your voice to be heard regarding proposed changes to “Traveling by Air with Service Animals” regulations? The Federal Aviation Administration has given Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) regarding service animals and your comments are welcome and need to be filed by July 9th. See the FAA notice and how to comment here
Dg. Co. Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) seeking input up Countywide Bikeway Plan
May is National Bike Month and the Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) would like community input as they update the Countywide Bikeway Plan. Help make Lawrence, Eudora, Baldwin City, Lecompton and Douglas County more bicycle friendly by taking their survey, visiting an open house or taking a guided bike tour. Continue for more information…
Independence, Inc. 2017 Annual Report “The Faces of Independence”
Advocacy Alert 3/22/2018
Interested in learning about and weighing in on the H.R.620 ADA Education and Reform Act? Your voice matters! This bill passed the House of Representatives last month and disability advocates are now contacting their Senators asking them to oppose it. For more information, download a “Myth & Fact” sheet about H.R.620 here. Continue reading about advocacy efforts for H.R.620…
Jefferson County Service Organization, Mobile Resource Bus
Do you live in Jefferson Co. and need rent/utility assistance? Help with food and clothing? Other community information, resources and referrals? Visit the Jefferson County Service Organization, mobile resource bus with 2 dates left in 2018! You can find them at 410 Liberty Street, Oskaloosa, from 9:30-2:30, Tuesday, April 24th and Tuesday, June 12th. More information here…
Transition Council of Douglas & Jefferson Counties Community Resource Expo
Look for Independence, Inc. and many other organizations at the 16th Annual Community Resource Expo, hosted by the Transition Council of Douglas and Jefferson Counties; Wednesday, April 11th, 4:30 – 6:00 Lawrence Free State High School. Area service providers, organizations and support groups will be on hand to answer questions and offer valuable resource information. Click here for more information…
Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2018 Crowned
Thank you Independence, Inc. Board Member, Deb Young, for your 2017 work as Ms. Wheelchair Kansas and congratulations to Allison Merriam of Kansas City for being crowned the new Ms. Wheelchair Kansas in a ceremony in Lawrence Sunday, March 11. Merriam says she first discovered the pageant in 2013, less than a year after…continue reading
Community Event: Read Across Lawrence with Lizzie Velasquez
Read Across Lawrence welcomes anti-bullying activist and speaker Lizzie Velasquez to the Lied Center, Lawrence, KS, Sunday, March 11 3:30 pm. This is a FREE event! Lizzie was born with a rare genetic condition and speaks on respect, inclusion, appreciation of differences and kindness. Read more…
Online Affordable Housing Survey
The City of Lawrence would like to invite all residents to participate in an online survey as part of its ongoing housing market study. Results of this confidential survey will be compiled into a report that will help assess and prioritize affordable housing needs in Lawrence. More information… Start the survey…
Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2018
You’re invited! Ms. Wheelchair Kansas crowning ceremony is Sunday, March 11 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, Lawrence, KS. Come celebrate the past year with Deb Young, Ms. Wheelchair Kansas 2017 and Independence, Inc. Board Member, and welcome in the new titleholder! More information…
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Day at the Capitol
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Day at the Capitol is Tuesday, March 6th, 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Show your support, listen to speakers, engage in issues, view exhibits & find valuable resources. Statehouse & rotunda tours with interpreters available upon request. Spread the word! Sponsored by the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH), Kansas State School for the Deaf and the Museum of Deaf History, Arts and Culture. For more information on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Day at the Capitol, contact KCDHH at 785-368-8034 Voice and 785-246-5077 Videophone.
H.R. 620 Approved Amidst Opposition
Amid vocal protests from disability rights activists, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the ADA Education and Reform Act Thursday on a vote of 225 to 192. Continue reading…
Holiday Office Closing:
Independence, Inc. office and transportation will be CLOSED Monday, February 19th for President’s Day
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Kansas Walk Event & Fundraiser
12 weeks until the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Kansas Walk Event! Happy 30th Birthday NAMI Kansas and 15th Anniversary NAMIWalks! What a great year to join in and celebrate by registering to walk this 5k on May 12th, 2018, Hummer Sports Park, Topeka Kansas. Register here and check out last years’ slideshow here From the NAMI website:
“With more than 85 NAMIWalks in 2018, join the movement and walk with us for mental health this year! Each NAMIWalks is a 5K event that raises awareness and funds for NAMI organizations across the country.” For general information, click here.
2/08/18 Advocacy Alert!
The House of Representatives is planning to vote on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620) next week! That means we only have… continue reading
Community Health Environment Checklist (CHEC)
Independence, Inc has collaborated with the KU Institute for Health and Disability Policies and the Kansas and Disability Health Program to provide CHEC assessments at local healthcare facilities. The purpose of the program is to partner with health care providers to identify how usable and accessible their facilities are to people with disabilities, age-related mobility issues, height or weight that makes standard equipment hard to access, etc. and make recommendations for any needed modifications. Recent CHEC assessments of both the Lawrence Family Vision Center and the Internal Medicine Group returned wonderful results and high marks. Continue reading…
Clean Slate Expungement Clinic
Douglas County Legal Aid is holding a FREE expungement clinic to help residents expunge their records on some criminal convictions. Having a conviction on your record can make it extremely difficult to obtain employment, housing and can be a barrier towards financial stability. For more information, see attached flyer
Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a Federally funded program that helps eligible households pay a portion of their home energy costs by providing a one-time per year benefit. Applications are available in our front lobby here at Independence, Inc. or visit the Kansas Department for Children and Families website for more information and to download an application
Lawrence Job Fair
Looking for employment? The University of Kansas Career Center is holding its winter 2018 Lawrence Job Fair with a variety of local employers: February 28th, 11:00 – 2:00 at the East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th street. Lunch is provided! For more information visit the Career Center Job Fair page
1/25/18 In the News: “Brownback, Colyer put brake on KanCare 2.0 in response to GOP complaints
“The administration of Gov. Sam Brownback backed down from plans to seek federal approval of alteration of the state’s privatized Medicaid system amid consternation among legislators about the cost and merit of reforms”. You can read the full story at the Topeka Capital-Journal online here
Independence, Inc. will be CLOSED Tuesday, January 16th for inclement weather. Both our Transportation Services and our office will be closed.
Independence, Inc. will be CLOSED Monday, January 15th for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Independence, Inc. will be CLOSED Thursday, January 11th for inclement weather. Both our Transportation Services and our office will be closed.
Need Help With Your Taxes?
It’s that time of year again! Doing your taxes is often daunting for most people. For many people with disabilities, it can be overwhelming. Click here for a link to help with Tax Credits and Deductions for People with Disabilities.
If you’re looking for in-person assistance, the Senior Resource Center of Douglas County will be offering help to people starting on February 1. Due to the renovation of the current building, the tax assistance will be located at the Central United Methodist Church at 1501 Massachusetts St. Check out the Senior Resource Center’s webpage for more info by clicking this link.
12/18/17 Today is a Call-in Day to let your voice be heard on the GOP Tax Bill http://www.advocacymonitor.com/
Independence, Inc. welcomes new staff! Visit our staff page here to see who’s new!
DCCF Grant Received
Independence, Inc. received a Douglas County Community Foundation Grant for parking lot maintenance. Thank you DCCF for your help in funding this much needed parking lot sealing! Visit the DCCF website here to learn more about their organization https://www.dccfoundation.org/
16th Annual Disability Mentoring Day was a huge success! Visit this link for a recap of the event!
Reeve Foundation Grant Received
INDEPENDENCE, INC. is proud to announce that our State Association, Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living (KACIL), has received a $40,000 Nursing Home Transition Grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation! Read our Press Release and more information about this exciting opportunity here!