We are Dedicated to the Disability Community in all that We Do!


San Juan Center for Independence

is a community based non-profit agency that was established by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. The Agency serves as a consumer driven community action program that provides services which help maximize independent living choices for all people regardless of the individual’s disability.

Independent living centers are gathering places for individuals with disabilities – people who either have made, or are in the process of making, the decision to take control of their own lives. They are places where the philosophy of independent living is given action.

There are five independent living centers in the State of New Mexico and over 450 nationwide. Independent Living Centers are all non-profit organizations. All are required to have no less than 51% of their staff have disabilities. While all of these centers are driven by the same basic philosophy, each center is individual in its objectives. Each center assumes the personality of the community it serves. All independent living centers, however, must provide four basic core services: Advocacy , Information and Referral , Peer Support, Independent Living Skills Training

Independent Living has a rich history that originated in Berkeley, California in the late 1960’s with a handful of disabled students who believed in their abilities to live active, productive, visible and satisfying lives. This small group has swelled to an international civil rights movement that is responsible for many victories, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Together, this movement has paved the way for more meaningful lifestyles for all people with disabilities-as well as humankind in general. Independent living is a philosophy which states that individuals with disabilities, like all people, inherently know what they most need in order to succeed. This philosophy embraces some very basic tenents:

  • Inclusion: To erase the “specialness” from the lives of people with disabilities and encourage an open door policy in communities’ housing, job force, schools, transportation and all other facets of community life.
  • Consumer Control gives individuals with disabilities freedom to choose how they prefer to live their lives-as well as latitude to be responsible for their actions.
  • Strength focuses on affirmation, acceptance and potential rather than deficits or failure. It is a declaration of disability – not inability.
  • Self Empowerment is recognition of self worth and control. It expands with self authority, determination and personal success, and helps make life an exciting adventure.

Questions and Comments? Send us a e-mail at sjci@sjci.org