Celebrating 25 Years
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.
Now, almost six years later, we continue to stay true to the heart of the independent living philosophy of consumer control. As always, SCIL continues to grow, with additional and expanded programs and services and staffing increases.
Successes that I am proud of include that we have now paid for our “new building” note, purchased the three acre site across the street for future growth, have added an additional 6,700 square feet to our “new building,” and added a branch office in Branson. The SCIL Board of Directors is engaged with vision; we have an active Consumer Advisory Council and some really great staff. All of these successes result from and help facilitate our continued growth in open cases and the number of consumers with disabilities that we can help.
Amazingly, our annual budget has reached over $6 million, a far cry from the $40,000 that started the Center in 1986. However large or small, our mission is still about the consumers we serve, empowering them to reach their potential, preparing youth for life and advocating for change, fighting discrimination against people with disabilities in the work place, our communities, etc.
We have come a long way in 25 years, but the next 25 years will undoubtedly present its own challenges. We will face them united in purpose, just as we did at the beginning.