A Brief History of AIM and Independent Living
Abilities in Motion (AIM) began its service to the community in 1989 when it incorporated as the Berks County Center for Independent Living. Centers for Independent Living (CIL) developed from the grass roots advocacy of individuals across the nation who championed the Independent Living Movement.
The Independent Living Movement grew from some of the greatest social activism of the time. From Civil Rights in the 60s, through to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Independent Living Movement maintained that individuals with Disabilities had the right to the same control and choices in their lives as non-disabled people have. Living independently means having the opportunity and ability to take the bus, go to school, work at a job, and raise a family with the same freedom as anyone else. Independent Living means inclusion and reasonable access; recognition of basic rights and accommodations.
As the services provided by the Berks County Center for Independent Living grew in the early 90s, the Berks County CIL changed its name to Abilities in Motion to reflect the organization’s expanding offerings beyond our core services. AIM developed waiver-based programs including:
- Service Coordination – a program that coordinates home and community-based services that allow people to be independent in their homes and communities;
- Nursing Home Transition – to help individuals end their placement in a nursing home and assist in removing barriers which prevent them from living in their homes and communities;
- Agency with Choice – allowing individuals with intellectual disabilities to choose their own support service workers;
- Options Program – provides eligible consumers 60 years old and over with options regarding self-directed services and service professionals.
AIM’s CIL expanded services to youth in 2005 when it created AIM’s Youth Transition Services. Youth Transition Services, like STARS, Teens Taking Flight, and Pre-Employment Transition Services, were designed to provide socialization and skills training to youths between 14 and 25, who are beginning the transition out of school and into the adult world.
For nearly three decades now, AIM has risen to be one of the prominent advocacy agencies for individuals with disabilities in the region. We have expanded our geographic provider area for Service Coordination and Nursing Home Transition into much of the state. We seek to advocate for legislative bills that support individuals with disabilities and educate local and national law makers to the benefits of inclusive legislation. Overall, AIM continues to adhere to the Independent Living Philosophy. It is this belief of inclusion, choice, and independence for all that guides AIM’s decisions when developing strategic plans for future growth and expansion.