By: Scott Burlingame, Executive Director
In this edition of The People’s Voice, we highlight the last year of accomplishments at Independence, Inc. and in the local Independent Living Movement. As a change based agency, it can be easy to identify the hard work ahead of us and forget to appreciate our past achievements. Here are a few of my favorite accomplishments over the past year. In January, Independence, Inc. celebrated Ed Roberts Day for the first time ever. Ed Roberts is the father of the Independent Living Movement and his life was a story that needs to be told. The Minot Daily News was kind enough to publish a letter to the editor I wrote about Robert’s life, and we had a small celebration in our office. I appreciate this because as long as we celebrate his life and honor his legacy, the story of Ed Roberts will never end. Over the summer, Independence, Inc. worked with the guys from InDak Media to shoot a series of educational videos highlighting the local disability rights movement. These videos focus on topics such as advocacy, living at home, disability pride, and the values of our organization. I look forward to using this videos as yet another tool to tell the greater community about the mission of the Independent Living Movement. At the end of September, we completed the first-ever Community Leadership Academy. The program helped nurture nine dedicated advocates and prepared them to become engaged in our community. However, this did not happen in a vacuum. As a result of providing quality services to individuals for many years, we were able to identify potential advocates who trusted us enough to show up for six weeks in a row to learn about topics such as board responsibilities, fiscal management, Robert’s Rules of Order, public speaking and professionalism. These leaders invested their time and effort in our movement because they have seen the value of our mission and that is pretty special. So I hope you enjoy this year-end review and we all look forward to serving our community going forward.