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October 14, 2010

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October 14, 2010

I am an accessibility consultant who has toured the IndependenceFirst facility as well as received disability-related facts, insights and and suggestions. The facility is all around amazing. It is obvious that each and every detail in its construction -- from flooring to the bathrooms to the tables/chairs to the kitchen, etc -- was designed to make everything easier for the disabled visitors and staff. The staff with whom I've interacted have all been extremely friendly and insightful. It is really clear that they are passionate about their advocacy. My previous employer donated computer equipment to IndependenceFirst as well -- a service that many local business participate in.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've learned a great deal more about people with disabilities, particularly how they succeed and fail using technology such as the Internet. In turn, I've shared this information with the web accessibility world and used it in consultation.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing comes to mind

October 7, 2010

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October 7, 2010

The staff of Independence First are experts in all types of disability. I have worked with them getting services so that people can move from nursing homes to the community. I have worked with them helping people get transportation they need and working to prevent homelessness.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

2010

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 7, 2010

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October 7, 2010

Independence First is an organization dedicated to helping others help themselves and its robust, vibrant volunteer program expands its reach even further into Milwaukee and surrounding communities. As a Consumer Volunteer, I have directly witnessed the organization's impact: first, by aligning clients with my services and second, by giving additional supports as needed. (For example, I work with a client in need of sight aides. An Independence First representative met with the client to arrange for the tool to be provided.) This is true customer service and compassionate business practice combined.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Independence First matches persons needing consumer support but also offers its facility for community needs. I specifically refer to its housing twice monthly Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Milwaukee support group meetings.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 7, 2010

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October 7, 2010

For close to 30 years I was a Homemaker & Mother until one day my Husband announced He wanted a Divorce. I had learned to be Strong because of a disability I've had since my Childhood, I survived Polio, I learned the Ignorance of people for what they didn't understand because nothing had touched their lives in the same manner but when my Oldest son lost his hearing to Spinal Meningitis my protective side kicked in, but it wasn't until I had a severe Stroke that I became acquainted with Independence First. They took me from I can't to I Can through their vigilance and taught me that I was far more able then I thought that I was. I listened at first to too many saying to me, You can't do that anymore, I made a big mistake & bought into that thinking probably because it was easier & not as much of a challenge, It was easier to buy into passive thinking but I had the opportunity trainwith my Service Dog, Gambler, but I has to travel to California to make that happen. I mustered all my Yes I can's together and decided that Here are people who believe in me ,. Maybe I can do this, and you know what I did do it & I survived. a feeling of Joy came over me, My life hadn't passed me by, I just learned that U had to maybe do things a little different but I could Do it!! What a feeling of Joy & self worth it has given me to have people at Independence First BELIEVE IN ME, FROM THE Independent Living Coordinators TO THE DIRECTOR, they BELIEVED. Sometimes that's all you need, Someone to believe in you, to see your cap[abilities not just your challenges. I have grown immensely because of these people & would be willing to do anything for them.Yes Life is great because I have an army of believers on my side Yes they helped me to refined who I am & show me self Empowerment. Thank You Independence First I'll TAKE A BUS TO YOUR FACILITY ANYTIME EVEN THOUGH IT ONCE FRIGHTENED THE BEJEEBERS OUT OF ME. KEEP UP ALL OF THE Outstanding Work that you do You are Stellar in my book

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping me to give myself permission to be who I needed to be, when no one else thought I could, Independence First knew that I could and they showed me how, They simply believed in me & that I do have a voice & that what I have to say does make different

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The ability to see who I really am, They taught me to be O. K. with my disability and that we are all Amazingly capable if we choose to be, THANK YOU INDEPENDENCE FIRST

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The Volunteers & staff always have a smile to share as well as a helping hand, Everyone I habve ever met with this organization is amazingly positive. They also believe in the work that they do, because they believe in the people that they help

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help in the fight for equality & Independence of peoples with disabilities. Maybe even develop some type of course that could be used in school systems to help children understand that a person with a disability is really amazingly capable they

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 7, 2010

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October 7, 2010

We take in and refurbish computers from companies and individuals. We give clients or consumers with a disability and low income a chance to have a free computer, mouse, keyboard and monitor.Those are the only two requirements for receiving a computer. Last year we have almost reached 300 given away. We could do more but we are almost entirely staffed by volunteers doing the program work with some support from the paid staff at Independence First.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I gave a computer package to an elderly grandma who came in with her great grand children, one of the children ask if this meant they no longer had to go early to school to do their homework. That is a good reason to keep the program going.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them find more money to do more support of the disability challenged community stay independent,and become less invisible to the world.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Helping people who are almost invisible to the rest of the community, we give them a chance to catch up to the rest of society.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

All of the paid staff and the many volunteers who have a part of the Computer refurbishing program have been wonderful and very giving of their time and talents.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

They could expand to reach more disability challenged people to stay independent, and would allow more services to more people who would benefit from the services Independence First provides.

Ways to make it better...

I had found this opportunity sooner

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funding and the time needed to find it to continue the services to the four county area we serve.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Try volunteering- you will like it! and all non-profits need the help

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2010

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October 6, 2010

I have participated at IndependenceFirst for many years. Over those years I have seen tremendous growth in programs, staffing, individuals served and other evidence of a vibrant nonprofit. But the greatest strength of IndependenceFirst is the commitment to mission and values. That commitment transcends its program area, and provides leadership and support for people with disabilities on a statewide, national and international level.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my participation as a volunteer, speaking with employees, consumers, community leaders and national leaders in the disability community.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

October 6, 2010

more

October 6, 2010

Independence First as President Lee says it's top three in the nation for Center of Independent Living (CIL's) Independence First has amazing services and they want people to get highly involved. They are an organization that always makes sure your on top of your game to helping out people with disabilities. But also they make the staff and volunteers feel very good about themselves when there are often times award ceremonies. My story in how I got involved with independence first was word of mouth. I was at my IEP meeting for my Junior year in high school which was a few years ago. Where a representative from WI FACETS told me about this youth leadership submit that was offered through WI FACETS and also Independence First. I went to this submit and gave a week of my time and I really took a lot out of it. I thought that my whole life in having high functioning autism that if I get social security I could live off of it the rest of my life. Even though in reality I found out I couldn't when everything in life in so expensive when we went through a simulation of having SSI or SSDI and expenses. Then there were some youth leaders through WI FACETS and Independence First in where I got promoted to be on both boards. One being on the Independence First board of directors and the other being through WI FACETS Youth Information Training and Resource Center (YITRC) When I am on the board of Independence First. They really have helped me a lot to be a lot successful today then I was yesterday. Without them I probably wouldn't be where I am at today in helping out people with disabilities but also advocating strongly while I strive for independence as a whole.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

1. Advocacy because they work so hard in trying to get a lot of people to stand up for themselves. 2. Independence in where they try their best to help out people with disabilities to live independently.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make sure that everyones calls are being answered. At times I've heard from friends of mine in where they had trouble getting ahold of someone because Independence First tends to overachieve in helping out people with disablities so they get busy. :)

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the award ceremonies and the youth leadership submit

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

diverse and great at many disability related areas of issues and concerns

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

stretch and expand itself a whole lot more in where they could extend services to help out people with disabilities. Maybe they could even provide people aide like if there is a disability related expense that the gov isn't paying for.

Ways to make it better...

a couple of my friends would liked to have a return call. At times since independence first can get a bit busy. Often times one or two ppl could get overlooked when it comes to returning the calls.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Budgeting. Independence First is such a huge organization that any wrong move and it could lose some of it's grant money. Independence First needs a lot of support, sponsors and grants when it's such as big disability service organization.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Independence First at least in my eyes I see it pretty flawless. Give or take sometimes a staff member seems to be very busy so I wish that a particular staff member would have given me more time to talk to her instead of trying to speed me up.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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