Most Americans take for granted opportunities they have regarding living arrangements, employment situations, means of transportation, social and recreational activities, and other aspects of everyday life. For many Americans with disabilities, however, barriers in their communities take away or severely limit their choices. Independent Lifestyles, Inc. (ILICIL) was founded in 1997 to help persons with disabilities break down these barriers. Independent Lifestyles is a 501(c)3 organization that started as a small office building in downtown St. Cloud with only a handful of staff. Today Independent Lifestyles has moved into our own building with over 45 staff and over 80 PCA’s.
Independent Lifestyles believes that everyone deserves opportunities to make decisions that affect their life, are able to pursue activities of their own choosing, and are limited only in the same ways that one’s non-disabled neighbors are limited. Independent living should not only be defined in terms of living on one’s own. Being employed in a job fitting their capabilities and interests, or having an active social life are aspects of living independently. Independent living has to do with self-determination. It is having the right and the opportunity to pursue a course of action. And, it is having the freedom to fail and to learn from one’s failures, just as non-disabled people do.