Living Independence for Everyone (LIFE), Inc. is a service and advocacy organization run by and for people with disabilities. We are a Center for Independent Living (CIL) and have been providing quality services to individuals residing in our 11 county service area for 31 years. LIFE envisions a society in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully. In order to accomplish this goal, we advocate for individuals facing discrimination in employment, education, housing, transportation, and healthcare to ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities as citizens of our democratic nation. We base our priorities and actions on the belief that people with disabilities have the right to decide how to live, work, and participate in their communities. The CIL works to provide access and inclusion to the world through our programs and services which are designed to enhance the quality of life and increased levels of personal independence. These services include the five CORE services of individual and systems advocacy, peer support, independent living skills training, information & referral, and transitional services. In addition to these core services, LIFE provides life-changing opportunities through other services such as its Students for LIFE program, its Home Modification Program and the Assistive Technology Outreach Center (ATOC.). The Students for LIFE Youth Program helps young people with disabilities reach their full potential by providing support, information services, training and leadership opportunities. LIFE’s Home Modification Program offers individuals with physical disabilities the freedom to access their homes independently. And finally, LIFE’s Assistive Technology Outreach Center (ATOC) is dedicated to increasing access to and acquisition of assistive technology devices and services for individuals with disabilities living in SE Georgia. LIFE’s overall goal is to champion and promote the essential services and products, education, and advocacy to and for people with disabilities in order to intentionally create an inclusive environment.
To promote independent living and advance community change for EVERYONE!
LIFE’s services are designed to “empower” people with disabilities to take responsibility for their own lives, achieve personal goals, and become more effective members of their families and communities. Peer support is the foundation on which the organization was built and helps an individual move from the patient role to the consumer role, empowered to make independent choices. Peer support assists people with similar disabilities to cope and adjust following the onset or exacerbation of a disability. Even more, peers often have intimate knowledge of community resources to reduce environmental barriers to independent living, which are essential to the Independent Living (IL) philosophy of consumer choice and control. Peers are able to act as conduits of information as well as of desired behaviors. Because they have “been there, done that”, they are considered trustworthy and credible and are able to model desired behaviors, encourage their peers to participate in activities designed to build knowledge and skills. This role modeling of desired behaviors and encouragement is a highly effective method of education and social learning. Home modifications and the provision of assistive technology can significantly decrease the chances of someone being forced to live in an institution. The positive impact in the community is two-fold in that the program not only assists those who wish to leave a nursing home to return to their own home, move in with family members or lives independently, but it also saves the state tons of money. In 2009 (the most recent year for which data are available), the average annual expenditure for state institutions was $188,318, compared to an average of $42,486 for Medicaid-funded home and community-based services. That is an estimated savings of $145,832 per year!
LIFE, Inc. is the primary organization targeting the need for home modifications and assistive technology among people with disabilities in this locale. Years ago, LIFE had a long waiting list of individuals waiting two or more years for home modification services. Some individuals actually died while waiting to be served due to high demand and limited funding. Through the years, however, LIFE has established relationships with various organizations and volunteer groups in order to leverage our home modification resources to serve as many people as possible. LIFE currently partners with the United Way of Effingham County, GAP Ministries, and Christain Men’s Fellowship to build wheelchair ramps. LIFE pays for the supplies and these volunteer groups supply the labor. LIFE has also partnered with other groups in the past, including the Kingdom Builders in Bulloch County and the Bellsouth Pioneers in Glynn County. In addition to literally cutting the organization’s costs in half, these partnerships also enable each respective group to fulfill its mission, while substantially decreasing the waiting period for consumers. Additionally, through its long-standing relationship with Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), LIFE was able to secure an additional 135 durable medical equipment items for its consumers over the past five years. If a consumer has a work-related or school-related request for home modifications, they are referred to the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Agency for further assistance. LIFE also has a close relationship with the Fair Housing Alliance and local Savannah-Chatham Fair Housing Council which has helped to secure funding to increase accessibility in common areas and townhomes. LIFE will continue to search for partnerships with any group or organization that is willing to address this underserved area of need. These partnerships greatly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Home Modification/AT Program.
It is impossible to list just one big accomplishment. When an individual calls to tell us that he is so ecstatic to be able to actually go outside to watch his daughter play instead of simply watching her from a window because of the wheelchair ramp LIFE just constructed; or a teenager is finally able to communicate with his peers because he has acquired an augmentative device through our CIL to help him talk; ; or a woman is able to move out of the confines of a nursing home and back into her own home where SHE is in control of her life again…these are all tremendous accomplishments. One is no less important than the other. Our goal is to give people with disabilities the tools and resources they need to live as independently as they can and want. Our organization changes lives, one person at a time.
Volunteers are always welcome to help us with our events throughout the year. Donations of silent auction items for our annual fundraiser are GREATLY appreciated. Helping us get the word out about our organization is also appreciated as we are always looking for ways to reach people with disabilities in need of our services.
Yes, we have several upcoming events! 1. Join us for an evening of fun at Savannah’s Historic Grayson Stadium as the Savannah Bananas entertain us with another thrilling ballgame! In addition to watching the game, you will enjoy all you can eat hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, popcorn, cookies, soda, and water all for only $15.00! A portion of the proceeds will go towards providing services to individuals with disabilities. 2. July 26th we will be hosting our annual ADA Open House to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This event will be from 12-3. 3. Join us for dinner and dancing at our Annual Southern Summer Nights Fundraiser on August 16th from 6-9 at eh JEA on Abercorn.
The satisfaction of knowing that our services truly make a difference in people’s lives. I also love the people with whom I work.
Living Independence for Everyone (LIFE), Inc.
5105 Paulsen Street, Ste. 143-B.,
Savannah, GA 31312