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Society's Assets Marks 47 Years

A Perspective That Removes Barriers

The history of Society's Assets mirrors that of the independent living movement in the 1970s. People with disabilities began organizing to fight for their rights to self-determination, working to remove existing physical, social, and attitudinal barriers to their full participation in society.

Society's Assets began as a membership organization in Racine. It was comprised of people with disabilities who wanted to eliminate barriers that lead to dependency. The agency incorporated as a disabilities who wanted to eliminate barriers that lead to dependency. The agency incorporated as a nonprofit in 1974. The first office opened in 1976 with funds available through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA). Later, funding from the Rehabilitation Act created five Centers for Independent Living in Wisconsin, including Society's Assets and other centers in Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and at UW-Stout in Menominee. Today, there are three additional Centers located in Superior, Stevens Point, and La Crosse. All Centers are devoted to the creation, delivery, and coordination of services aimed at promoting independent and self-sufficient lifestyles for individuals with disabilities.

"Each and every day, Society's Assets works to support the disability community to ensure people of all ages are able to live full and independent lives," said Karl Kopp, Executive Director. "This month, we celebrate serving Wisconsin for 47 years. Society's Assets is committed to the hard work that is necessary to create full equity, inclusion and access for people with disabilities. We also celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26th." This ground-breaking civil rights law makes sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. These areas are: public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

Society's Assets:  a resource for people with disabilities. Services include advocacy, supportive home care/personal care, home/vehicle modifications, a loan closet with equipment and technology for a "Try Before You Buy" experience (partially supported by WisTech), technical assistance regarding the ADA, independent living skills training, peer support, benefits counseling, and transitions to life after high school or returning home from the nursing home.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Emily Cadman (front), Independent Living Coordinator at Society's Assets said, "Rather than seeing my disability as an expensive problem, Society's Assets considered my needs the same as any other employee. Everyone needs a desk; mine is adjustable to accommodate my wheelchair." Sumana Manda, Independent Living Intern, is also pictured.

For more information call 1-800-378-9128.