The vision of Disability Advocates of Kent County is that each person, regardless of their abilities, has equal rights and opportunities and that our communities are accessible and welcoming to all.
The mission of Disability Advocates of Kent County is to work alongside people with disabilities as they seek to lead self-directed lives and to advocate for accessible and welcoming communities.
Disability Advocates of Kent County was founded in 1981 by people with disabilities seeking to help themselves and other people with disabilities gain control over their own lives. We began as the Grand Rapids Center for Independent Living,” a title used by other such emerging efforts around the country. The term “center for independent living” is defined by federal law as a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, nonresidential private nonprofit agency that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities and provides an array of independent living services.
In 2002, we changed our name to Disability Advocates of Kent County to more accurately describe the role we play in our community and to better define our geographic reach. Throughout our thirty-eight year history, we have maintained our status as a federally and state-recognized “center for independent living”, as defined in the Rehabilitation Act.
It is important to note that “we are who we serve.” Over 50% of our board, staff, and volunteers always have been – and always will be people living with a disability. We are a dynamic collection of people supporting people with disabilities in achieving their independent living goals and working toward an accessible and inclusive community for all.
On the individual level, Disability Advocates’ experienced and knowledgeable staff provides support in a variety of issue areas including information about our community resources, housing, employment, transportation, and veteran’s assistance. Through this, we assist thousands of individuals each year.
On the community or systems level, we are tirelessly advocating for public policy change and increased accessibility at the local, state and federal levels. We believe this involvement helps to assure that these systems meet their intended goals and are changed when necessary.
Disability Advocates of Kent County believes each person has the right to:
- Lead a self-directed life
- Live as independently as one may choose
- Make Choices and decisions that affect their own lives
- Contribute to and participate in community activities
Disability Advocates of Kent County (DAKC) is a Center for Independent Living. The term “center for independent living” means a consumer controlled, community based, cross disability, non-residential, private nonprofit agency that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities and provides an array of independent living services.