Success Stories


Carol was referred to Resources for Independence in 2014, by Allegany County Department of Social Services. Carol has several disabilities, the main one being epilepsy. Carol lived with her 90 year old mother who had many health problems. Carol was her mother’s financial, and health designee. Carol originally wanted assistance with cooking, cleaning, as well as learning to use the internet. Through working with the Independent Living Advocate (ILA), Carol was able to gain confidence in all of her goals. She then set new goals to complete a medical file book for both herself and her mother. The medical files have become quite important to Carol especially, since her mother was placed in a nursing facility in 2016. Carol saw the household income reduce by two-thirds when her mother was placed in a nursing facility. Carol worked with the ILA to apply for food assistance, and report the change to the Social Security Office. Carol was concerned about the financial state of her future. She worked with the ILA to devise a monthly budget. Carol has stated the budget has really helped her in realizing she can make the monthly bills.

By Robin Kerr, Allegany County Independent Advocate



Felicia contacted Resources for Independence, (RFI) in December 2015, she is visually impaired. Felicia was unsure as to what services might be available to assist her. RFI explained Community First Choice program to Felicia, and made the referral for Long Term Support and Services. Through the evaluation process, it was determined Felicia did qualify for these services. Long-Term Services and Supports provide assistance with activities of daily living (such as eating, bathing and dressing) and instrumental activities of daily living (such as preparing meals, managing medication, and housekeeping). Felicia has been able to remain independent in her home with her husband. Felicia continues to work with RFI as she said “The ILA is like family, and I appreciate everything she does.”
By Robin Kerr, Allegany County Independent Advocate



Dustin was referred to Resources for Independence (RFI) in May of 2016, by Service Coordination. Dustin has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which causes his bones to be brittle, and break very easily. Dustin is a very independent, and is very active person. Dustin relies on a powerchair for his mobility, and this causes many issues on a daily bases. He is not able to get in or out of his home freely in the powerchair on his own, so he was looking for assistance with purchasing an automatic door open for his home. RFI has a grant with The Maryland Department of Rehabilitation Services, which allows RFI to do minor home/bathroom modifications, ramps, hearing aids and assistive technology for individuals with disabilities.  With this funding, along with supports from RFI’s annual golf tournament fundraiser, RFI was able to have a new automatic door opener installed. Also, RFI was able to have a new aluminum ramp installed to replace the old rotted one. From the services provided by the Assistive Technology/Independent Living Program, Dustin has increased his mobility in his own home. Dustin has been able to utilize more than one service at RFI, Dustin also received Benefits Counseling. Dustin graduated from Law Enforcement program at the Center for Career and Technical Education. He has set a goal to secure employment commensurate with the skills and competencies learned while in LE training,  specifically as a Dispatcher either with the local police department or the county 911 system. Dustin was referred by the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) for participation in Benefits Counseling services. Dustin met with the RFI Community Work Incentives Coordinator and a review of his cash and medical benefits was conducted. Dustin was instructed with education and counseling concerning his benefits and the work incentives available to him and was able through participation to understand how much more in overall income he will have as a result of earnings. Dustin was surprised to learn how much he can earn from a community job and understand how his benefits adjust vs disappear as he works toward financial stability. Armed with the information provided by Benefits Counseling, Dustin is empowered to make his own life choices and is able to make an informed decision about the amount of hours he would like to work and the amount of earnings he would like to have each month.
By John Michaels, Assistant Director & Robert Cannon, Community work incentives coordinator



Heather was referred from The Western Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) in 2016, she is visually impaired. Heather was looking for funds to help with purchasing a digital handheld magnifier. Resources for Independences (RFI) was able to provide Heather with a demonstration of a few handheld magnifier, from The Assistive Technology Toolkit Grant (ATTK). RFI and The State DORS Office, has a small grant that has allowed RFI to show, and demonstrate some assistive technology devices provided by the ATTK grant. Heather was able to come in the office, and try two magnifying devices. She was able to choose a handheld device that will help her with her daily activities. RFI was able purchase the magnifying device with DORS AT/IL Fund, and with funds from RFI’s annual golf tournament fundraiser.
By John Michaels, Assistant Director



I had received a call from Garrett County health department about someone in there office needing help. Alma had been very upset because she had lost her job due to her illness. Alma had no idea where to turn or who to turn to. I just happened to available at the time Maria called from The Health Department. Her and her husband had come to my office and she was in tears. She had worked all of her life and had no idea how they were going to survive with only one income. I had guided her through the social security process and help with filling out papers that she had received from Social Security. She had trouble understanding the mail that she was receiving from Social Security. So, when I was able to help her get her Social Security back. I had helped her with applying for her insurance and getting assistance for paying for her premiums and her drug plan. Her medications are very costly and I had helped her get assistance with her drug plan.

By Kristen Ayers, Garrett County Independent Living Advocate



Josh had come to the office with no clue on where to turn. He has a  mental disorder along with a deteriorating disk and hip that limits his ability to do the things he used to do in the past. He had come to me for help to navigate the system and to get his social security claim started. I had helped him with getting food stamps and temporary cash assistance. I have helped him with housing applications. He feels more secure in knowing that there is help out there and that he is able to find it on his own. He feels more comfortable knowing that he can do more things on his own and that he is capable of doing these things.

By Kristen Ayers, Garrett County Independent Living Advocate



Deb has been with RFI since March 2015.  Deb is 62 and is blind. One of Deb’s goals was to get a magnifier which would allow her to be able to read.  She had an old CCV machine and wanted something hand-held.  I started the process in early 2016 to look for something that would meet her needs. A company called Atlantic Low-Vision out of Virginia that had a 4.5 inch color Pebble for $595.  That price was over budget for what we could spend since our budget was $500.  I spoke with Philip Linz the co-owner of the company in June and he told me that he would let me know when it would go on sale.  In August, Philip emailed saying that the Pebble was on sale for $495 so I went to Deb and asked her if she would still be interested in receiving the Pebble.  She said yes, so I was able to contact Philip and place an order for the Pebble at the beginning of September 2016.  Deb had her Pebble from Atlantic Low Vision by the middle of November and Philip Lintz met with Deb and I at her home and trained Deb on how to use the Pebble. 

By Sandy Coffman, Washington County Independent Living Advocate



I have been working with Coreen Ketchum since April 2015.  She is 67 years old and her primary disability is heart disease and diabetes.  When I started working with Coreen she mentioned that she would like to get dentures.  Coreen has had no teeth for ten years.  In May 2016, we started looking and found one dental establishment in Hagerstown.  The quoted price for a full set of dentures and mini implants was close to $8000.  We both knew that this was not a feasible option since she lives in subsidized housing in Washington County.  We continued to look at other denture places in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas and get quotes.  In January 2017, Coreen chose a dental office near Hagerstown that quoted her $2735 for a full set of dentures and 4 mini implants.  They accepted Care Credit as payment from Coreen after the initial consultation.  Washington County Commission on Aging agreed to give us $500 from their Aging in Place fund. 

Coreen has been back 4 times and has had impressions done for her teeth and a fitting for her dentures.  They had to go back and do another impression because the dentist did not like how the dentures fit inside her mouth.  She is getting her dentures this week. A full set for the top will require poligrip, but the full set for the bottom will have 4 mini implants.  These implants will require a soft reline for two weeks.  This is where the caps will go on permanently . In two weeks she will go back and they will replace the soft reline on the bottom with the permanent screw caps and her bottom teeth will never need the poligrip adhesive that most people associate with dentures.  It’s been a long journey for Coreen and she said the first thing she is going to do is to eat an apple so she can hear the crunch.  Then she wants to have maple walnut ice cream.  There will be no more gumming food and cutting her food into very small pieces for Coreen in the future.

By Sandy Coffman, Washington County Independent Living Advocate