Approximately 225 friends and supporters attended our 7th annual Friends of Independence fundraising breakfast, held at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, NY on April 30, 2014, organized around the theme of “Building Partnerships, Changing Lives.” The annual breakfast serves as an opportunity to raise community awareness regarding disability issues and the work that Independent Living, Inc. is doing to address the barriers encountered by people with disabilities of all ages that prevent their full participation at work, school and in the community. One individual who has received supportive housing and case management services at Independent Living, Inc. spoke about how our staff helped her address challenges such as being homeless, jobless and feeling hopeless, and regain self-confidence, self-esteem and become self-supporting again. Another testimonial was provided by the parent of a young man who participates in our Supported Employment and Community Independence Programs, noting the human as well as financial cost to society when funding for such programs is reduced or discontinued.
Our Executive Director, Doug Hovey spoke about the importance of collaboration with other organizations, noting partnerships with PEOPLe, Inc., and the Mental Health Association of Rockland County in “Reach One” our regional recovery center initiative serving Orange, Ulster, Dutchess and Rockland Counties; and our partnership with Jonah Mandelbaum and Warwick Properties to develop Independence Square – a 74 unit apartment complex being constructed adjacent to our Newburgh Center, consisting of one, two and three-bedroom units that will be affordable and fully accessible.
We are very grateful to all our donors, and to the sponsors of our breakfast for their generous support: Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; D&D Mailing Services, Inc.; Ulster Savings Bank, and McGowan Art Works. Special thanks to Sharon “Jellybean” Warantz for all the wonderful photographs to commemorate the event.