Living Independence for Everyone, Inc. started in the home of two ladies with disabilities. They had a vision of equal rights, equal opportunities and integration into the community for all people with disabilities. From it’s beginnings in Chatham County in 1986, Living Independence for Everyone has expanded. LIFE provides aid to eleven (11) counties in southeast Georgia.
Through the advocacy efforts of the founders, LIFE was instrumental in bringing about accessible transportation. They also helped get feasible and accessible housing and a home modification program. This was for all residents with disabilities. Thus, the staff works to provide equivalent services to the more rural areas.
The foundation of Independent Living is the peer relationship. In other words, people with disabilities assisting other people with disabilities. As role models, mentors and counselors, peers have personal experience of focusing on what one can do, rather than what one cannot do. Center staff encourage people to use their skills, talents and abilities to attend school. They can also work, volunteer and fulfill civic duties such as voting or just being a good neighbor.
LIFE is a part of Georgia’s Independent Living Network (GILN) which is comprised of the Statewide Independent Living Council. Likewise, they have nine Centers for Independent Living. Above all, the Council’s role is to promote policies and practices that enable independent Living for all Georgians with disabilities. The Centers for Independent Living assist people with all types of disabilities to set and achieve personal goals toward independence. In addition, each of these organizations is governed and staffed by people with disabilities.
In 2019, LIFE Jesup opened to serve an additional nine counties in SE Georgia!