The Center for Independence


A Plethora of Services are Offered at

The Center for Independence

By Annie Uyehara

Griffin Day and Coleen Graves
photo by Annie Uyehara

The Center for Independence (CFI) isn’t exactly well known, but its three offices on the Western Slope provide invaluable services for those with physical or mental disabilities. It can be a lifeline to establish disability benefits and independent living.

CFI’s goal is to provide assistance, resources and training so disabled individuals can “live with dignity and their fullest potential,” says Griffin Day, Regional Program Manager at CFI.

A visit to CFI’s website overwhelms with the plethora of services offered for any and all disabilities, as well as youth transition programs, vocational training programs, educational training, and computer training. 

The most requested services at CFI are for housing for independent living as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These goals and processes can be very challenging and nearly impossible without professional help. CFI serves as non-attorney legal representatives when navigating the application process.

“There are so many complex factors and everyone is so individualized in their needs,” says Day. “It’s a very long process, but we consider ourselves experts on this from beginning to end and beyond.” 

Establishing relationships with clients is essential to ensure a successful outcome. CFI partners with people by being mentors, role models, and advocates. Coleen Graves, a disability benefits case manager is such a person. She says it’s her goal to “work with a community that doesn’t often have a voice and needs advocacy and community outreach. CFI can be a last resort, so we often help people who are at their lowest point. We help them with resources and with processes that can be very daunting regarding legal and social security issues, and make sure they’re connecting with every possible resource."

CFI is a grassroots nonprofit independent living center that’s governed by people with disabilities; more than half of its board of directors has a disability. In 1982, CFI began as Helen Campbell Center for the Blind, founded by five newly blind women who recognized the need for skills and independent living for people with visual impairments. The Center now serves 12 counties on the Western Slope.    

“We can guarantee we’ll do everything we can to help people get their disabilities determination and benefits,” says Day. “Give us a call, we’re here to help.”

Adds Graves, “Anyone at anytime can find themselves at a place of hardship that is life changing. It is possible to move forward and live your life to the fullest.”

CFI has offices in Grand Junction, Montrose, Glenwood Springs, and now Salida.

The Center for Independence, Western Colorado:


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