Advancing Our Civil Rights & Promoting Equal Access
In pursuit of our mission, we offer a wide range of services designed to give people with disabilities the tools and resources they need to improve independence, self-confidence, knowledge, skills and access to community resources. We also work at the community level to reduce attitudinal, architectural and communication barriers, combat discrimination, and promote the development of needed resources, programs, and policies. Our ultimate goal is increased independence, economic opportunity, and enhanced quality of life for all persons with disabilities.
Summit's Service Area
Independent living services are available to residents of Missoula, Ravalli, Mineral, Lake, Sanders, Flathead and Lincoln Counties in western Montana. Information and referral services can be accessed by anyone, regardless of place of residence. We are headquartered in Missoula with satellite offices in Hamilton, Ronan and Kalispell.
Education & Access - Schools, Businesses, Stores, Events, Recreation
Summit regularly participates in social change, public education, and improved accessibility efforts throughout our local communities in order to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to be meaningful and active participants in their own communities. One of our core community services principles is Nothing About Us, Without Us.
Summit's System Advocacy Program includes conducting community advocacy and public education activities aimed at:
- improving service systems,
- developing community resources,
- increasing public understanding of disability issues, and
- advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities.
An important part of our social change efforts is public education. Summit can offer trainings and other informational materials on a variety of disability related topics, including:
- Disability Awareness Training
- School Presentations
- Fair Booth Displays
- Acceptance, Inclusion, Opportunity, Diversity
- Community awareness regarding disability issues
- Independent Living Advocacy
- IL Philosophy, Pride, and Culture
If you would like to have Summit visit your class, school, group, department, local organization or business for an inservice training, please contact a Summit office near you.
Another aspect of our social change efforts include conducting accessibility reviews and working with local business', governments, and other entities to ensure they understand and are in compliance with accessibility design standards as well as to work as a partner with project planners to ensure access is an integral part of any design from the start rather than an after thought.
If you or someone you know has or knows of a business that is inaccessible, are looking for someone to help you plan accessibility into you project, or would like an accessibility review of your existing facilities, please contact a Summit office near you.
Good Access is Good Business
An accessible building is good for business. A mother pushing a stroller, a deliveryman, or a person who uses a wheelchair - enjoys the convenience and safety of ramps and other accessible design features and so, just as important as ensuring local business', governments, and other entities work to increase their levels of accessibility and are in compliance with accessible design standards, it is also important to recognize those who have gone the extra mile to ensure their services are fully accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. Summit recognizes those who take the extra step provide good access with the Good Access is Good Business award as a way of saying thank you and strengthen community ties.
If you have a suggestion for a business or other entity that you feel is deserving of the Good Access is Good Business award, or would like more information, please contact Travis Hoffman.
Laws, Policies, Protections, Requirements
Summit works to ensure that the interests of people with disabilities stay in the forefront of policy making decisions and works closely with consumers and other advocacy groups to make sure that people with disabilities are involved in every step of the advocacy process including:
- Participating in committees and task forces,
- Testifying at hearings and public meetings,
- Participating in letter writing campaigns,
- Organizing grassroots efforts, and
- Participating in public awareness activities such as rallies and demonstrations when necessary
Some of the areas in which Summit focuses it's systems advocacy efforts include:
- Legislation at the local, state and national levels
- ADA: civil rights, employment protections, public accommodations, transportation options, telecommunication services, and governmental operations
- Improving services and service delivery systems