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Becoming Independent

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Elevating human abilities for the mutual benefit of our community.

Programs: Day training and activities: becoming independent serves people with varied interests and life objectives who share the common goal of realizing their abilities. They are workers, artists, gardeners, physical fitness buffs, family members and neighbors. Close to 1,000 individuals seek exploration and development through four key offerings at becoming independent: community living support, personal enrichment, employment services and transportation. Over the past several years we have undergone a significant restructuring of our day services program at our santa rosa campus. Our goal of ensuring that each person is receiving access to the instruction and opportunities that they desire and merit on their journey to greater independence is being achieved. We are also paying particular attention to ensuring that we are positioned to do an excellent job of supporting adults with autism as their numbers swell. This program offers art and music programs, computer and media labs, gardening, classes, physical fitness, and community outings all provide on-going training, recreation, and social engagement. Becoming independent's proarts program, in particular, provides opportunities to explore personal creativity resulting in intuitive works of art that receive wide recognition both locally and nationally. Art produced is featured at becoming independent, galleries and businesses throughout sonoma county. In addition to providing a sense of accomplishment and sometimes income, these programs highlight the unique abilities of each individual. They are artists, gardeners, fitness fanatics, self-advocates, musicians, and lifelong learners.

community living support: this service is a major asset for hundreds of people at becoming independent who choose to live a life of independence and freedom with the support of staff and volunteers. The program provides a customized array of community-based services to individuals and their families including in home support, day and overnight trips, evening classes in a variety of areas, and self-advocacy groups. Community living support services are available to anyone who wishes to live in a home of their own and chooses to collaborate with becoming independent in achieving those goals. Designed to enable people with disabilities to live independently and to share the same rewards and responsibilities of others in the community.

transportation: for over 50 years becoming independent (bi) has provided rides taking people to and from their homes and jobs, bi program sites, and to community events all over sonoma and napa counties. Over 60 vehicles, many of which are equipped with wheelchair lifts, provide rides to hundreds of individuals each day. An additional service, the bi-express, provides a critical weekend and evening service for people with disabilities and other populations in need of a ride who don't have access to alternative transportation during those times. This after-hours service relies solely on donations from generous supporters. Becoming independent's philosophy offers dignity of risk and affords men and women the opportunity to be productive, engaged community members through individualized support plans. Hundreds of men and women are enrolled in becoming independent's employment services. They hold down steady jobs, both within the becoming independent (bi) organizational structure and outside in the business community. Providing valued services for three decades and counting, bi workers devote their days to performing assembly line tasks and product construction at most bi sites. Others are employed in vineyards, supermarkets, restaurants, landscaping companies, and other jobs. Employment is key for people with disabilities seeking to become independent, contributing members of the community. The value of employment cannot be overstated and bi workers are fierce in their determination to succeed. Employers describe bi workers as loyal, committed, focused and valued members of the workforce.

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