Celebrating 25 Years: Six Part Series
From a struggle for civil rights to managing health care, the Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) founding Executive Director, Ann Morris, staff and current Chief Executive Officer, Gary Maddox share their memories and thoughts of the Independent Living movement and celebrate 25 years as a civil rights organization for people with disabilities.
The First Few Years - Part I
By Ann Morris, retired Executive Director
The early years at SCIL demanded a lot of hope and creativity---hope that someday we would have more money and in the meantime create our vision with what we had. When SCIL opened on Feb. 3, 1986, people with disabilities were struggling against discrimination in workplaces, schools, businesses, housing, transportation, and recreation. We were the fifth independent living center in Missouri and were first located in a small house at 930 South Street. Our entire budget that year was $40,000, with a service area of 21 counties, a tall order to be sure! The budget covered the director and a secretary, so I had multiple jobs, including all the consumer services and outreach as well as the mundane chores such as mowing the grass (in heels, which caused some strange looks by people driving by!) and cleaning the office. More...
Creating Amazing Transitions (CAT) & Early Stuggles - Part II
By Marion Trimble
My first memory of Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) takes me to the first location on Cinderella Street in the spring of 1992 while I waited to turn in my resume.
It wasn’t someone that I met first, but a funny little dog with big eyebrows and a scruffy mustache that came bounding around the corner. He looked at me, then ran back down the hallway and a few seconds later he brought his master to greet me. More...
It’s Been 21 Years of Fun - Part III
By Patty Hayne
One of my fondest memories from the past 21 years with Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) takes me back to the early bulk mail parties of the BEACON newsletter. We were known as the Springfield Coalition for Disability Rights back then.
Our very old DOS computer would print the labels, sometimes in zip code order and then sometimes not. Betty Claypool and I would label over 800 copies and then do the ‘round the room waltz’ to sort for bulk mailing. More...
21 Years with the ADA - Part IV
By Paula Green
My first day of employment with Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) was four days after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in July 1990. There was a lot of excitement and celebration in the world of disabilities and I had no clue what the ADA was about. I thought ADA stood for the American Diabetes Association and the concept of the Independent Living (IL) Philosophy was foreign to me! More...
A New Director - Part V
By Gary Maddox, Chief Executive Officer
After starting another Center for Independent Living in Gallatin, Missouri in 1996 called Access II, I met Ann Morris, founding director of SCIL. For several years we worked together at the state and federal levels for the rights of people with disabilities.
I remember hearing of Ann’s retirement in 2006 and asking her, “Do you think I have a shot at this?” And her reply, “what took you so long?” Following a founding director with 20 years history is always a challenge. Fortunately, I knew that Ann would be leaving me a firm foundation and the only place to go was up. More...
Moving Forward, We've Come A Long Way Baby! - Part VI
By Shelby Butler
As 2011 ended, we looked back to our 25 year history in celebration at our Annual Meeting in December. We’ve come a long way from our beginnings in the 1980’s and that foundation and roots made us strong. As we look ahead at 2012 our determination will keep us moving forward another 25 years to continue our quest to create change in the community. More...