One of the core services provided by Independent Lifestyles is advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities, their families, and care givers.  There are a wide variety of situations in which Independent lifestyles could be called on to provide advocacy assistance.  Advocacy assistance could be provided to the individual consumer on any topic such as employment, education, the “system”, and accessibility.  Independent Lifestyles provides advocacy on a one-to-one basis providing assistance to the consumer to achieve greater independence.  Independent Lifestyles is also committed to advocacy on a systems level addressing and removing barriers for people with disabilities so they can live more independently.


Independent Lifestyles’ Advocates for Independence Committee includes staff, consumers, and community members who join together to support each other in their self-advocacy efforts as well as addressing disability issues in the community.

The Advocates for Independence Committee meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm.  Meetings are held at Independent Lifestyles, although meetings may be held at other locations occasionally.  Please contact Michele at 320-529-9000 for more information.

What is Self-Advocacy?

Self-advocacy empowers, inspires, and gives us hope for a better tomorrow.  It is giving ourselves a voice; the ability to communicate and assert our rights, needs, and desires.  Through self-advocacy, you have self-knowledge, which empowers you to make informed decisions and take responsibility for those decisions.   In essence, it is knowing who you are and what you can do.

Why is advocacy important?

  • Advocacy can promote positive change to structure and policy
  • Advocacy can change community attitudes and misconceptions
  • Advocacy assists people gain access to resources and funding
  • Advocacy makes programs and services accountable for their actions and decisions
  • Advocacy ensures there is recognition of the rights of people with disabilities
  • Advocacy ensures that you have a voice and that it will be heard

What are some ways the Advocates for Independence Committee is making a difference in our community?

  • MTC—“Live Chat” option via the internet to schedule rides on the Dial-A-Ride
  • Menards and the Crossroads Center now have electric mobility carts
  • A public telephone has been put in the St. Cloud Public Library
  • Traffic lights have been lengthened in St. Cloud
  • Annual Day at the Capitol:  Speak with legislators about current needs
  • Voter registration drives
  • Completed an accessibility assessment for the St. Cloud Civic Center

Members also attend self-advocacy conferences, fundraise, send letters to businesses regarding accessibility, and participate in community meetings, such as HRA, Human Rights, and Town Hall Forums.


Do you know how to exercise your right to vote?  Have you registered to vote? Do you know how to get assistance with voting?  It is important to learn about the issues that affect your life and ask questions of the candidates to know where they stand on issues important in your life.

Advocacy Day at the Capitol

For legislative alerts, click the link below

To find your legislators click on the link below