Christine Gray, Owner/Director— Empowering Independence

Christine’s daughter was born with a condition called Golden Hars Syndrome. Basically, the right side of her facial bone structure didn’t develop as much as her left side, leaving her deaf on the right side with various challenges to overcome, including speech and reading. When she was young, Christine insisted on having early intervention and supports for her. Today, she is confident and takes on leadership roles within her school. She has given several speeches about her condition and was asked to speak in front of her whole elementary school at graduation this year, as one of the student leaders leaving a legacy for the younger generations. Christine has witnessed firsthand what positive community support can do for an individual’s confidence and sense of accomplishment…providing a fulfilling life. All individuals deserve this opportunity.  After Christine’s youngest daughter started school, she started back into the workforce. She was introduced to working with adults with Developmental Disabilities (DD) and realized that not every adult with DD or their families had the community support during development that her daughter experienced. The support was even less as they aged out of the school system. Christine found the gap to be even greater within the rural communities. It broke her heart to see the way people with DD are misunderstood and undervalued and felt a strong desire to change the way agencies and the community interact with individuals with DD. After many days and nights of questioning her role in providing better services, she realized that I wanted to empower individuals with DD. To do this the way she envisioned, Christine had to start an agency that valued employees and the individuals with DD; to encourage both to have a positive impact on each other and the community. To walk the talk. Empowering Independence has low provider/person receiving services ratios, person preferred activities, and providers that are passionate about providing the best compassionate and caring services to each individual in their programs. The leadership team demonstrates this by providing exemplarily support to all employees and independent contractors. Empowering Independence recognizes that compassion, encouragement, and integrity are like a waterfall and starts at the top.

About Empowering Independence

Empowering Independence is new and is excited to help individuals within rural communities that are underserved. There is a lack of resources for individuals in the rural areas, and we aim to come up with creative and fun ways to provide community support inclusion and to bridge the gap of services for those that live in the rural areas. Supported Community Connection (SCC) and Transportation services help individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) to integrate into their community and take part as an active member of society. The activities individuals participate in are typical activities that most people in society are involved in and take for granted. Anything from the full experience of eating at a restaurant and learning money skills and polite table manners, to exercising at the YMCA or even going to the library for an adult class. The interaction between community members and our clients is incredibly valuable, mutually benefiting both by including traditionally isolated, ostracized, and misunderstood individuals. We hope to create breakthrough moments with our clients and the community at-large. We want to redefine what it means to be part of a community for individuals that have DD in the rural areas by keeping our values, vision, and mission in mind at all times.

The Empowering Independence Vision

Inspire and empower each person receiving services to fulfill their individual goals through mutual respect and person-centered choice; to positively participate in the community and to encourage dignified independence of one’s choosing, creating a meaningful life.

The Empowering Independence Mission

Inspire empowerment within each person through person-centered community services creating greater independence and a more meaningful life for each individual.

Empowering Independence is accepting new clients on SLS and DD Medicaid waivers, as well students in high school transition programs, and private pay.

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