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March 2013 Archives

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Nonprofit Spotlight - March - March 14, 2013

Alliance for Independence provides a sense of community in Lakeland!


Offering individuals with disabilities the avenues to explore and experience personal growth and achievement through awareness, education, community resources and personal relationships.


Recognizing individuals with disabilities for their uniqueness, beauty and determination of spirit.

Alliance for Independence is an Adult Day Training Center that provides independent living skills and vocational training to Polk County adults with developmental disabilities. AFI is a non-profit operating under the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors. We strive daily to provide our clients with the knowledge and practical experience to become as independent as possible.

What started as a small group of concerned parents and friends in 1954 has grown to one of the largest providers of person-centered supports for adults with developmental disabilities in Polk County. For the past 58 years Alliance for Independence has been a pioneer in providing specialized training to
developmentally disabled adults.

Our clients rely on Alliance for Independence, not only for day training, but for a sense of community; a place where their uniqueness and determination of spirit is celebrated.

Testimony: John Tuite

John Tuite is a 27 year old developmentally disabled male with a primary disability of Spina Bifida. John lives in Lakeland with 4 roommates in the Carelton Group Home, which is owned and operated by Alliance for Independence.

John had a Below the Knee Amputation on his right leg in August 2008. He lived at a Skilled Nursing Facility for Rehabilitation from October 2008 until February 2010. During that time, John received Medicaid, but had no income. Because his parents are older with medical issues, John was not able to stay in their home when he was discharged from the Rehabilitation Facility. In addition, he had no transportation, no income and was not physically able to work.

John moved into the Carleton Group Home in March 2010. He has a furnished, private room and is also provided with meals and transportation. John performs most Adult Daily Living Skills independently. John also receives Residential Habilitation Skills Training in his home and attends the Adult Day Training Program at AFI.

A few of the goals that John has reached are purchasing a new laptop computer and registering for college. He has a few goals he is currently working to achieve, such as learning how to work on a car and getting out into his community and lending his time through community service. One other goal for John has been taking care of his health and well being. John applied for and was approved for Medicaid and he also obtained a Primary Care Physician and Specialty Doctors.

John now has a stable routine that provides safety and well-being. His medical issues are monitored and controlled. He has established friendships with roommates and staff and continues to extend his personal goals.

When asked if his life had been improved since he moved into the Carleton Home, he answered “The change is tremendous! This was my chance to get my life in order. I earn a little bit of money working on Contracts at AFI and my life at Carleton is interesting, comfortable and secure.”

How can EMERGE members get involved?

On March 23, Alliance for Independence will present the Wine Festival of Central Florida on Lake Mirror Promenade in Lakeland. There will be more than 100 wines, spirits and microbrews and samplings from chefs and restaurants. Tickets are $50 in advance and can be purchased at or at the AFI Administrative Offices. Tickets purchased at the event will be $50. Call 665-3846, Ext. 222.

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Posted by emerge

Member Spotlight - Nathan Montgomery - March 6, 2013

Name: Nathan Montgomery

Age (optional): 33

Member Since: 2013

Personal Motto: You are the creator of your own Destiny

High fives or fist bumps? I start with a High Five then the other person gives a fist bump and then I just shake the fist bump. Kinda awkward.

Hometown: Parkersburg, WV

Profession/Current Position: Marketing Director

What did you have for dinner last night? Chicken

Draft or bottle? Draft

What prompted you to join Emerge? Ashley Thompson invited me to Casino Night and I had a blast. I love the energy of the people in the group.

Best present ever received? My daughter Alysa

Would you take $20 or what's in the box? The box unless its $200 or the box. Then I'm taking the $200.

Theater or Theatre? Theater

Favorite place to eat in Lakeland: GrillSmith - Lakeside Village

Favorite thing to do in Lakeland: Going down to Lake Hollingsworth right before sunset to get some exercise

Favorite superhero? Batman

Mac or PC? PC

Passions/Hobbies: Going to the beach, Kickball, Softball, Cornhole, Darts, Relaxing down by the lake, and meeting new people.

Goal for the year? To be the best father I can be

French fries or tater tots? Waffle fries from Chick-fil-A

Early riser or night owl? Night Owl

Favorite ice cream topping? Plain Hershey Chocolate Syrup in a can. Old school flavor.

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Posted by emerge

*All blog posts and comments are the opinions of the blog author or comment poster and do not necessarily represent the views of EMERGE Lakeland.

P 863/688-8551 ext. 228