During its nearly four decades of operation, Toward Independence, Inc. (TI) has grown from a small nonprofit agency, serving people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in Greene County only, to an agency that today also provides services in Hamilton, Montgomery, Miami and Darke Counties.
TI was the outgrowth of a small but dedicated group of parents who sought a more acceptable alternative to state developmental centers. Greene County Residential Services for the Mentally Retarded, Inc. (GCRSMRI), the original agency name for TI, was formed as a private, nonprofit agency. Its purpose:to provide residential services and housing for the mental, physical, emotional and social development of each individual. From 1976 to 1986, GCRSMRI opened four homes in Greene County and began its Supported Living Program. Shortly after this time period, the current agency name of Toward Independence, Inc. was adopted to reflect the agency’s main focus: to help people become more self-reliant. In the 1990s, TII expanded into Hamilton and Montgomery Counties, including assuming operation of the residential program previously operated by the Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The number of people served by TII swelled from 70 to 117.history03_copy In 2000, TII purchased and remodeled a historic Xenia building as a site for administrative offices. The Inner I Gallery, Ohio’s first permanent art gallery to display specifically the artwork of individuals with developmental disabilities, was established on the first floor. Acknowledging continuous government funding restraints, TII began fundraising to meet the needs of the consumers and the agency. The first annual Walk for Independence was launched in 2003. TII staff, consumers, and family, along with other community members and organizations, raised dollars as they participated in this 2.5-mile walk. Other charitable initiatives, such as silent auctions, partner events with other service providers, and direct mail campaigns have been conducted since that time. history04_copy In 2007, we began Creative Community Connections, a multi-faceted habilitation program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This program has three exciting components: Adult Day Support, Spare Time Choices, and First Class Opportunities. TII is honored to be able to offer this special service that provides support through choice and opportunity, allowing each participant to find his or her “personal fit.” In 2014, TII celebrated 39 years of caring. Our agency now provides assistance to over 160 individuals and employs over 260 staff to service our excellent programs. Our organization has 23 family-style homes wherein we provide residential services for over 130 persons, and we also assist over 30 men, women, and children in their own supported living homes, apartments, or natural family homes. We at TII are pleased to have become an important influence on the lives of many wonderful people. Our mission, assisting people with developmental disabilities to live the fullest life possible, will continue to guide us in the years to come.