Northeast Iowa Center for Independent Living offers free service - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Northeast Iowa Center for Independent Living offers free services

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by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) More than 54 million people or one out of every five Americans is disabled according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

A local, non-profit organization is helping people with disabilities live as independently as possible.

The Northeast Iowa Center of Independent Living offers services to older people and people with disabilities.

One person who took advantage of some of those services is Teri Lynn Jorgensen. Hearing her talk, you might recognize her voice from 93.5 The Mix. What you can't tell by her voice, is that she's in a wheelchair.

Jorgensen was born with spina bifida and after two back surgeries in 2002 -- now requires wheels to get around.

"A disability can happen to anyone at any point in life, which is kind of scary to think about, but it's something we really do need to think about," said Teri Lynn Jorgensen.

Jorgensen is the vice president of the board for the Northeast Iowa Center for Independent Living.

She wants people in the community to know the center offers numerous services. One of those services is home modifications such as installing ADA approved ramps.

That's actually how Jorgensen first found out about the center, she needed a ramp at her house.

The center also offers skills classes, such as cooking.

"We don't teach how to cook. It's how to deal with your disability while cooking," said executive director Kenneth Schuman.

There's a computer available to surf the Internet, and if you're visually impaired there's equipment for you.

The center also offers handicap accessible rides through Prime Time Pass.

"We operate 24-7 in areas and times the local bus company doesn't, but we work in cooperation with the bus company," said Schuman.

All the services are free except Prime Time Pass which is offered at a reduced rate and open to anyone.

"So what we're trying to do as a board is to get people aware that these things actually are available,"said Jorgensen.

Teri Lynn Jorgensen said the goal is to help people live well with a disability. She said being in a wheelchair doesn't have to take away your independence, as she knows first hand.

"My wheelchair does not define me. They are my legs. It's just a different way I have to get around," she said.

Jorgensen and the rest of the board is available to support anyone wants to remain independent.

The Northeast Iowa Center for Independent Living began in 1995 and serves five counties: Black Hawk, Butler, Bremer, Buchanan and Grundy.

If you or someone you know could use the services, call 319-291-7755.

You can also tour the center during an open house on Tuesday, October 5th from 5 to 8 p.m.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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