About Us

Based in Traverse City, Michigan, we’ve been serving people with disabilities, their families, and the Northern Lower Michigan community since 2002. Our staff provides information, assistance, and support to people of all ages with a wide variety of disabilities. We also work on a larger scale, helping governments, businesses, and other organizations make changes that improve life for everyone in the community.

Our Mission

To promote personal empowerment and positive social change for persons with disabilities.

How We Are Different

Our organization is led by a board and staff made up mostly of people with disabilities. We serve people with any type of disability, including those with “invisible” barriers such as learning disabilities. Instead of focusing solely on the disability, we address the needs of the whole person to achieve a more balanced life. And unlike many organizations, we’re here to support the community as well as the individual.

Our Core Services

Information and Assistance

  • Who can help me when my Social Security Disability has been denied?
  • Where can someone get information and purchase assistive technology?

Individual and Systems Advocacy

  • How can I be my own advocate?
  • How can we work together to make our community welcoming for people of all abilities?

Independent Living Skills

  • I need help learning how to live with my new disability.
  • I want to learn how to take the bus to work or to visit with friends.

Peer Support

  • Where can I meet other people in my community with disabilities?

Transition

  • As a young person with a disability, how can I prepare myself for life after high school?
  • How can I move from a nursing facility back into my community?

Our Core Beliefs

  • Disabilities are a natural part of life. Anyone can acquire a disability at any time.
  • Many of the difficulties faced by people with disabilities are a result of attitudes and environments, not the disability.
  • Disabilities positively affect and enhance the diversity of our community.
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to participate, contribute, and belong to our community.
  • Everyone should have the opportunity to express his or her strengths, gifts, and talents.

How We Work

  • We help individuals find resources and learn to advocate on their own behalf.
  • We partner with businesses, governments, and other organizations to drive strategic community changes that benefit people with and without disabilities.
  • We expand community leadership of people with disabilities.

Organizational Ends

  • Individuals with disabilities set goals and achieve outcomes relating to increased independence in significant life areas.
  • Disability Network’s community activities increase equal access, equal opportunity, independence, full participation, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.
  • Disability Network’s advocacy network expands to secure the financial and volunteer support needed to achieve our vision.

Our Vision

  • A person is not identified as having a disability, but is seen as a person.
  • Employers seek qualified employees, regardless of disability, and provide reasonable accommodations.
  • Workplaces and public spaces as well as programs and services are accessible. Transportation is readily available.
  • Government agencies provide willing assistance and supports.
  • Mentoring and self-advocacy training are readily available.
  • We change how we build homes so that all are accessible, and accessible, affordable homes are available near jobs or on a transit route.