Tyler Venable says the disABILITY Resource Center works to ‘promote independent living in the community for persons with disabilities.’ Photo by Nick Shepherd,
A new center aimed at helping people with disabilities live an independent life has opened and is trying to raise awareness about individuals with disabilities throughout the region.
The center, called disABILITY Resource Center, opened a Johnson City office in August as a satellite office for the one in Knoxville. There are disABILITY Resource Centers all across Tennessee and the nation.
“DisABILITY Resource Center is a center for independent living,” said Tyler Venable, independent living specialist and employment specialist. “We strive to promote independent living in the community for persons with disabilities.”
The resource center currently serves individuals in Sullivan, Washington, Johnson, Carter and Greene counties. Plans are to slowly expand until the center covers all of Northeast Tennessee.
Some of the services offered by the center include independent living skills training, peer support, employment services and advocacy on both the individual and systems levels.
Independent living skills training includes education for the development of skills and knowledge that can encourage independence. Center employees provide individual instruction and workshops.
“I think it really builds their self-esteem to be able to do things on their own and to reach for goals and to strive towards it,” Venable said. “People kind of want to write them off sometimes and they really just need someone to advocate for them.”
Peer support is a service that is offered to people with disabilities by people with disabilities. Venable hopes to have group meetings that would be like group therapy. He said it would be a good way for people to talk with other people who face similar challenges to their own.
The center also helps people with disabilities gain employment. A lot of the job placement is based on what the individual would want to do. Venable said some of the things they work on is interviewing skills, what to wear and resumes.
Venable said that whether a person has a physical, emotional, cognitive or other type of disability, the center’s services are available to all.
If you would like more information about disABILITY Resource Center and the services it offers, you can visit their main office at 112 E. Myrtle Ave. in Johnson City. You can also call 423-631-0399 or visit online at w w w. d r c t n . o r g .
For Venable, his work brings a lot of satisfaction.
"It is extremely rewarding to just watch people grow and build that sense of independence,” he said.
Tyler Venable says the disABILITY Resource Center, which opened in August, works to ‘promote independent living in the community for persons with disabilities.’