A group of concerned citizens, the majority of whom were persons with disabilities, founded the Southeast Center for Independent Living (SCIL) in 1986. Our founding activists shared a vision of affecting change that would make the community accessible to any person with a disability. They aspired to provide the resources, knowledge, and assistance to those with a disability who wished to pursue a more independent, self-directed lifestyle.
In 1987 the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) awarded SCIL a startup contract. SCIL began to advocate for consumer (a term for individuals with disabilities that receive services from independent living centers) rights with regards to transportation, housing, and healthcare issues. By February of 1987, SCIL opened in Fall River, MA and became incorporated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.
Just two months later the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing awarded a larger contract to SCIL to provide independent living services to individuals that are deaf and hard of hearing. This allowed SCIL the opportunity to reach out and help more individuals in the community. The following year in 1988, SCIL was awarded a federal contract for Title VII Part A which gave SCIL funds to provide adaptive equipment and other independent living services that would be needed to enhance the consumers’ independence.
8,705+ Individuals with disabilities received services
206+ passed their permit test
393+ youth participated in a work experience
35+ youth were assisted in getting a job
416+ individuals learned computer basics
1,380 individuals were assisted with their housing goals
*Approximate estimated values based on available data from 2002-2017
What We Do
SCIL firmly holds at its foundation the Philosophy of Independent Living which maintains that individuals with disabilities have the right to choose services and make decisions for themselves. This is the guiding principle in all SCIL’s policies and operations. SCIL offers various programs, information, and support to assist and empower individuals with any type of disabilities and of all ages to achieve their goals, experience personal growth, and be able to participate fully in community life.
SCIL assists individuals with disabilities in exercising choice and making meaningful decisions in their lives by providing five core services to help them do so which are advocacy, information and referral, peer counseling, transition and prevention (focuses on transitioning people out of nursing homes/institutions into the community of their choosing or helping them to remain in the community they choose. Additionally, we provide youth programs to assist with transition into adulthood such as, work readiness training, internship opportunities, and life skills), and skills training.
SCIL offers a vast array of programs to its consumers to provide them with meaningful benefits, skill(s) development, assistance, support, and community experiences.