Who We Are

Empower: abilities is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1985 by a grassroots group of citizens working to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities. Formerly Southwest Center for Independent Living, we rebranded in 2019 to become empower: abilities; a name which better reflects our mission. We are located in Springfield and serve both urban and rural southwest Missouri.

As a nationally recognized Center for Independent Living we follow the philosophy of consumer choice and control. The majority of our leadership team, staff and governing board are people with disabilities.  

Empower: abilities offers services that empower people with disabilities to live independently in the community. In addition to the work we do providing direct services and programs to people with disabilities, we also work in the community to expand access to affordable housing, accessible transportation, improve access to healthcare and increase employment opportunities. Through our work in the community, we will become more diverse and inclusive; making our community stronger.

Who We Serve

empower: abilities serves all persons with disabilities regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation or disability type and offers services to these southwest Missouri counties: Christian, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk, Stone, Taney and Webster.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A disability can be physical, mental, emotional, cognitive or sensory; temporary or permanent.

We have a vision...

Our vision is to assist all people with disabilities to live their fullest life and participate in an accessible world of social equality. We believe this vision can become reality and here are the ways we are bringing this to be:

Access: By educating, promoting and encouraging removal of architectural and environmental barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating in our community.
Empowerment:  We work to empower people with disabilities to maximize and develop their abilities. Moving the needle toward greater independence is at the heart of all that we do. Our services are not designed to keep people dependent on our organization, but to encourage, advocate and teach them to do as much for themselves as possible.
Breaking the Social Stigma: Disability is part of the human spectrum. People with disabilities are people, with the same goals and desires as those without disabilities.

Let's Stay in Touch!

We use our voice to build an accessible world of social equality.
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