Services and Programs

 Independent Living

Wheelchair Lady Liberty

Independence Now is a non-residential Center for Independent Living (CIL), one of more than 400 in the United States. We provide an array of services to people with ALL types of disabilities who live in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. The majority of our staff and Board of Directors have disabilities.

Independence Now's core services are:

Peer Counseling

It is our belief that individuals with disabilities are the best guides to independence; therefore, Independent Living Specialists:

  • serve as role models
  • assist with self exploration
  • assist with self-directed goals setting and achievement
  • direct consumers to appropriate
  • services and programs
  • serve as advocates
  • plan recreational events that integrate, individuals with disabilities with their non-disabled peers


System Advocacy - Staff interacts with local, state, and federal legislators and agency leaders on behalf of people with disabilities to increase and improve transportation, education, programs, personal assistance services, overcoming architectural barriers and employment opportunities.

Individual Advocacy - Staff works individually and in group settings with consumers to assist with increasing their advocacy skills and knowledge of their civil rights.

Independent Living Skills Training

IL Specialists facilitate one-on-one and group skills trainings in an array of areas to promote independence, such as:

  • community-based living
  • decision making and time management
  • local, national and legislative laws
  • transportation and employment
  • budgeting, cooking and kitchen safety
  • other areas according to individualized needs


Information and Referral (I&R)

IN serves as a resource and advocacy center. IN serves as a guide through the maze of services by connecting consumers and the general public with current information on programs, equipment and community resources.

Referrals are also made to other community organizations and programs.



IN publishes a monthly newsletter “IN Touch” that outlines all monthly activities such as:


Maryland Youth Leadership Forum

YLF in front of Capital dome and flying bird silhouette outlining the capital

The Maryland Youth Leadership Forum is a program for rising high school juniors and seniors with disabilities which provide a variety of support and informational activities. The year begins with a week-long event held at the end of July on the campus of Bowie State University at which the students learn about disability history and rights, self advocacy and systems advocacy. They get to experience life in a college dorm and spend a week with up to 30 other students with disabilities from around the state.

Throughout the following year the students are offered seminars, a picnic, and opportunities to meet alumni and/or mentor new YLF students. The website and social networking sites make communication easy and enjoyable.

This is a one of a kind opportunity for the high school students in the state of Maryland to become leaders of tomorrow.






Contact the Youth Leadership Forum


The mission of the MD-YLF is to identify High School students with disabilities who have demonstrated these qualities -

  • Leadership potential
  • Academic success
  • Involvement in their school and community

- and provide them with training and experiences, role models, and mentors to assist them in becoming tomorrow's leaders.Leadership

The Forum

What does the Leadership Training include?

  • an overview of leadership principles
  • the history of the disability rights movement
  • career presentations
  • expose students to an exhibit of technologies and resources
  • a meeting with State government officials
  • a legislative activity
  • self-advocacy presentations
  • development of a personal leadership plan

talent show, dance and more...!

Introduce the students to other disabled students with similar aspirations and goals, so that they need not experience their disability in isolation and can learn from one another about living with a disability.

Expose the students to successful adults with disabilities who, with a variety of achievements and jobs, can share their experiences, relay the message that no unnecessary limits be put on career goals, promote viewing oneself positively and encourage pursuit of goals with confidence.

Providethe students with an array of resources that can assist them in achieving independence and positions of leadership, including sources of assistive technology, rehabilitation programs, education and career information and their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Stress the benefits of being gainfully employed and contributing their time and talent to society.

Assist the students in developing their academic, career and leadership plans, and the self assurance and skills to accomplish these plans.

Volunteer now for MD-YLF staff 2010! Must be 18 or older to apply. Spaces are available on a first come first serve basis. **Please check the Alumni section for volunteer applications.**



  • is held each summer, usually in late July.
  • is a 4 day program on a college campus - students live in a college dorm.
  • staff are mostly adults with disabilities, employees of our sponsors, and MD-YLF Grads.
  • is sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education and other state and private organizations.