About Center for Independence

Mission

The Center for Independence is a 501 (C) (3) organization serving as a resource for individuals with disabilities to fully access and participate in the community through outreach, advocacy, and independent living skills development. We serve senior citizens with senior-related disabilities as well.

We serve people in Pierce, Thurston, and South King Counties.

History

The Center for Independence was founded in 1981 as an independent living center. Our primary funding source is the US Department of Education, through the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). We are also supported by individuals and businesses in the communities we serve.

The Independent Living movement grew from the social activism in other movements, such as the Civil Rights movement and the Women’s movement during the 1950s and 1960s. The ideologies of de-institutionalization, equal rights for minorities, and consumer rights, were driving forces in the awakening of the Independent Living movement. Some of the basic values of the Independent Living movement are that we celebrate diversity, recognize that the personal is political, encourage peer support, and develop a cross-disability community where we advocate for systemic change.

Independent Living Philosophy

The Independent Living Philosophy means that people with disabilities have rights to self-direction and autonomy. We have the right to choose where we live and how we live. We have the right to participate fully in our communities. Independent Living means self-direction and self-care, and freedom from control by professionals. We have the right to have control over the support services and assistive technology we use to live independently.

Our assumption is that people with disabilities have many strengths, abilities, and thoughts to contribute to the greater community. In order to support independent living, the Center for Independence is committed to advocating for removal of architectural and communication barriers, as well as equal rights and opportunities.