Ms. Berta Henderson is about to get a little of her life back because she is getting a ramp on her home that will allow her to come and go in her wheelchair. The LIFE organization of Jackson is supervising the work. LIFE stands for Living Independence For Everyone and is a group that not only helps and advocates for people with disabilities, but it is staffed and run by people with disabilities. Christy Dunaway is the director.
"Everybody on my board is either a person with a disability or they are a parent of a child with a disability. And then about 80% of our staff members statewide are people with disabilities, themselves," said Dunaway.
The established roll of LIFE is peer support, skills training, information and referral and advocacy. But LIFE takes its responsibilities further.
"You can provide peer support to somebody with a disability all day long. But if are a wheelchair user and they don't have a ramp at their home to get out and into the community, then it's not doing them any good," said Dunaway.
So over the years, LIFE has searched for other funding sources to not only build ramps, but do other programs that meet specific needs for people with disabilities. Sometimes LIFE partners with other organizations to do what they need to do. Roger Bullock of LIFE says Ms. Henderson's ramp is an example.
"We can only provide projects like this when funding is available," said Bullock.
"And I was talking to Roger and he brought it up that they had a project going and didn't have funding for it," said Charles Holmes.
That's Charles Holmes with Mississippi Benevolence, who's group provided the material for this ramp. Now, between the two groups, Ms Henderson's life is about to get a big boost in quality.
"Go to church, and go to the mail box and go down and visit my neighbors and just a lot," said Henderson.
Ms Henderson's ramp and many other projects all started with LIFE, an organization staffed primarily by people with disabilities, who are also serving people with disabilities, and who are making a difference in the process.
LIFE's "Walk, Stroll or Roll-A-Thon Over the Mississippi River" fundraiser is coming up the 27th of this month in Vicksburg.
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