DNWML Impact Report: 2022-2023

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Plain Text Version of the DNWML Impact Report 2022-2023

Our mission is to empower the lives of people with disabilities and to advocate for a more inclusive community for all.

In order to realize our mission, we focus on five strategic priorities: growing our employment programs and services, diminishing social isolation, increasing advocacy and education, broadening our outreach, and diversifying partnerships and relationships to create new and stable streams of resources to support our work alongside people with disabilities in our community.

September 26, 2023 marked the 50th anniversary of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Today, the Americans with Disabilities Act is what many people think of when they think about the disability community and our rights. The Rehabilitation Act though was the first-time federal legislation addressed access and equity for people with disabilities. There have been numerous such victories over the last fifty years, affecting the lives of people with disabilities in wide ranging ways. We have come a long way in fifty years, but by no means can we afford to rest on our laurels. Each success is a chance to make a pivot and evolve. A time when our goals and strategies advance to fit a new reality and lead us further to a future of full inclusion.

47-year-old organization has reached one of these times for change. Change can be exciting, scary, anxiety-producing, and freeing. Until this year, we had been known as the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. Many great things happened under the banner of AACIL, but for many reasons, a change was needed and thus Disability Network Washtenaw Monroe Livingston was born. The poet Rumi said “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” I don’t think we will ever stop trying to change the world, but we have certainly seen the need to also look inward and change ourselves.

Our name change does not mean we have stopped being a Center for Independent Living. We still support community transition, offer peer support, assist with developing independent living skills, provide basic information and community resources, and advocate, advocate, advocate. We are still community-based, community-focused, and run by and for people with disabilities.

Some new and exciting things you will see from us this year include: advocacy summits to provide information and build community support around important issues that people with disabilities want to see addressed. You will see us grow our employment programs to provide youth with disabilities hands-on employment training opportunities and prepare people with disabilities to find work and maintain important benefits. We will continue to influence change throughout our communities to create more accessible physical environments and more inclusive programs. And finally, you will see us offering new ways to connect through arts, common interests, and disability culture.

We are excited by all we have accomplished and look forward to our future and all that we do and will do in Washtenaw, Monroe, and Livingston Counties. As a private, non-profit organization, we rely on contributions from donors to provide excellence in our services and support to the disability community. If you would like to contribute financially to our efforts, please see our website or contact us at (734) 971-0277 or info@dnwml.org.

Thank you in advance.
Alex Gossage
Executive Director


We provide numerous services for our participants: advocacy to make our community more accessible, friendlier, and livable, assistance accessing community resources, career services, disability training for businesses and organizations, independent living coaching, peer support, recreation and arts programming, transitions from nursing facilities back into the community, and volunteer and training opportunities.

Total Number of People Served in Washtenaw, Livingston, and Monroe Counties in 2022-2023: 1665

AD/HD: 22
ALS: 2
Amputation: 9
Arthritis: 33
Asthma/Emphysema: 1
Autism/Asperger’s: 45
Autoimmune Disorder: 4
Back Injury: 35
Blind/Visually Impaired: 29
Bone/Joint Disorder: 15
Brain Disorder: 1
Brain Injury: 19
Cancer: 22
Cardiovascular Disorder: 18
Cerebral Palsy: 25
Cognitive Impairment: 21
Deaf/Hearing Impaired: 12
Dementia: 4
Depression: 14
Developmentally Disabled: 17
Diabetes: 19
Emotional Impairment: 2
Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder: 7
Fibromyalgia: 6
Huntington’s Disease: 1
Kidney Disease: 6
Learning Disability: 14
Mental Health: 164
Morbid Obesity: 4
Multiple Disability: 19
Multiple Sclerosis: 13
Muscular Dystrophy: 6
Narcolepsy: 2
Other: 141
Parkinson’s Disease: 1
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: 13
Post-Polio Syndrome: 1
Pulmonary Disease: 12
Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder: 31
Stroke: 17
Substance Use Disorder: 7
Not Disabled: 175

Advocacy & Legal: Livingston – 1, Monroe – 255, Washtenaw – 125
Assistive Devices: Monroe – 15, Washtenaw – 73
Children: Monroe – 1
Communication: Monroe – 39, Washtenaw – 4
Counseling & Related: Monroe – 16, Wasthenaw – 13
Employment: Livingston – 2, Monroe – 77, Washtenaw – 60
Family : Monroe – 2, Washtenaw – 1
Housing & Shelter: Monroe – 212, Washtenaw – 131
IL Skills Training: Monroe – 268, Washtenaw – 201
Information & Referral: Livingston – 182, Monroe – 1586, Washtenaw – 2898
Other: Livingston – 363, Monroe – 44, Washtenaw – 1080
Peer Counseling: Livingston – 1, Monroe – 29, Washtenaw – 162
Personal Assistance Services – Monroe – 18, Washtenaw – 9
Preventative Services: Monroe – 1
Physical Rehabilitation: Washtenaw – 1
Recreational: Livingston – 25 Monroe – 79, Washtenaw – 126
Transportation: Monroe – 1, Washtenaw – 22
Youth: Monroe – 8, Washtenaw – 1

15- to 26-years-old: 13.7%
27- to 35-years-old: 11.3%
36- to 45-years-old: 15/5%
46- to 55-years-old: 18%
56- to 65-years-old: 21.5%
66: 19.9%




DNWML provides consumer-driven employment programming and services that allow people with disabilities to make informed choices about working while disabled.

The Information and Referral team (I & R) assists consumers in getting access to the resources that their community offers. We connect you to the tools necessary to reach your independent living goals.

DNWML is utilizing new technology and experience gained throughout the pandemic to offer a different type of accessible option for our participants.

The Disability Awareness Workshop, or DAW, is a one-day program to teach school-age students an empathetic understanding of physical, developmental, and learning disabilities.

DNWML offers a wide variety of recreational activities and experiences. Participants can learn new things with friends in a relaxed environment. We’re always thinking of interesting opportunities for engagement and collaborating with other organizations.

Disability Community Action Lab, or DCAL, is a group where like-minded community members come together to identify issues, seek out information, and take action to make a difference.

Peer Support connects you with others who share similar life experiences and gain strategies to manage every day challenges. With peer support, you can feel less alone in your disability experience.

Our first Disability Network summer camp sessions were a blast! Camp New Horizons is a day camp for youth with disabilities, ages 16-26. Camp New Horizons took place overtwo separate weeks this summer, during which youth engaged with one another, learned new skills, and broadened their horizons. Campers worked with University of Michigan’s Adaptive Sports & Fitness during Sports Week. We designed and collaborated on an amazing mural during Art Week.

Independent Living is the ability to make personal choices about every day activities such as how you’re going to spend your day, where you want to live, and with whom you choose to spend time. We provide group-based and individual skill development.

The Nursing Facility Transition Services Program, or NFT, is a Medicaid program that assists nursing facility residents that would like to explore community-based living options.


Our major donation ask for this upcoming fiscal year is a big one…

With your help, we want to renovate our Ann Arbor office’s Kitchen Gathering Space to better serve our community. The Gathering Space is the heart of our Ann Arbor office and where many of our activities take place, from cooking class to community luncheons. This remodel would breathe new life into the space and allow for many more ways to serve our community.

If you want to get involved at a more personal or hands-on level, please contact us today!

Reaching our goal of $100,000 will allow us to add:

  • Induction stoves
  • Pull-down/out cabinets
  • A completely wired and accessible island
  • Fresh paint and decor
  • Accessible seating
  • Adaptive cooking, serving, and eating equipment and utensils


YOU can support DNWML’s mission to bring needed services to people with disabilities. Talk to us or make an online donation today!

(734) 971-0277




Would you like to sponsor a week of New Horizons: Youth Summer Camp? Maybe you love music and dance or maybe your passion is food. Now you can financially support Music Week, Dance/Movement Week, or Culinary Week and bring these experiences to youth with disabillities in our community. Contact us today!

Ask us if we can share your talents with our community: music and the arts, writing, athletics, gaming, and more.

The DNWML accepts donations of goods and services year-round. Contact us about our current donation requests.


Over the past year, we’ve expanded our reach to even more folks in our community. Here are just a few participant experiences in their own words.

“I was referred to Disability Network by my MRS (Michigan Rehabilitation Services) counselor. Disability Network helped me by showing me how to manage my money better. If I needed any accountability for my job, they help. Thanks to Disability Network, I’m hopeful about my future. I hope to stay at this job for the next 20 plus years.” 

“I’ve heard about Disability Network from friends, but I was recommended by MRS. You guys have helped me in a lot of ways. Helped me to move out of my mom’s house and find own apartment, get a Bridge Card, get Medicaid insurance, and apply for Disability. In the future, I want to take classes at the college in hopes of finding a better job. Most importantly, I want to keep my housing and continue to learn and thrive as a person with a disability.” 

“I orginally came to Disability Network so I can meet new people, and so I can get baking assistance from Anna. She is very helpful and I appreciate her helping me a lot! The reason I want to continue participating with the Disability Network is so I can get more useful skills from Anna. I also would love to expand my independence skills. I also have enjoyed the variety of classes. Zoom classes such as Improv Theatre Club were really fun and convenient. I have grown as a person through this place because I have gotten better at advocating for myself and being myself too. I have met some personal goals. One goal I have is to measure all ingredients precisely when baking in the kitchen too! I approached Claire with the idea to start Oreo Club where we tried new Oreos. It was fun because we tried crazy Oreo flavors from around the world, such as Blueberry Ice Cream flavored Oreo. Delishability helped us be precise at measuring and to make friends on a weekly basis to expand our social network. I did Zoom theatre drama classes with Robin and that was fun because of the friends I made through that club. The Therapeutic Riding Plein Air Art Collaboration was a total blast for me because I got experience at drawing horses that were in a photograph and in real life at Therapeutic Riding. My vision for my future here at Disability Network is to try and have more people use Disability Network’s awesome services. I am so grateful for this place because of the nice people I have met.”

“I first started participating in Disability Network’s art program at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. I have attended ever since because I enjoy doing various projects, learning different techniques and styles, sharing, getting feedback, seeing others work and belonging to a community of artists. More recently I have wanted to show and sell my work. Having a solo show at Disability Network was awesome. I got a great response and sold several pieces. I have since had my work in a few shows in July and have done a couple of art booths. I envision my future as an artist creating daily, having my work in shows, selling pieces, doing art fairs, and completing commissions.” 

TOP LEFT – “Devin.” Devin, a man with tawny skin, has brown hair and beard. He poses in a green shirt and work name tag, in front of a large sign reading “Seacrest Rehab & Nursing Center.” CENTER LEFT – “Sam.” Sam, a man with fair skin and light brown hair and beard, wears a plaid button-up and shorts. He sits on a bench swing and gives a peace sign. TOP RIGHT – “Allison.” Allison is a woman with fair skin and light brown hair tied back in a pony tail. She’s smiling, wearing a green sweatshirt, and holding up Oreo cookie packs. BOTTOM RIGHT – “Megan.” Megan, who has fair skin and dark brown, chin-length hair, gestures to her artwork on a wall. She wears and a floral dress and uses leg braces. On her left, DNWML staff member, Claire, with tawny skin and long, wavy dark brown hair, also gestures to the artwork. She has tattoos on her arms and is wearing a long patterned dress. 

Without your generosity, we wouldn’t be able to provide our community with all of these amazing programs, powerful support groups, and such a variety of resources.

Albert Chan

Alex & Marlene Miller

Alma Smith

Amy Johnson

Amy Robinson

Ann Arbor Host Lions Club

Ann Arbor Thrift Shop

Anne Heise

Anne Perry

Ben Hunholz

Beverly & Guy Mattinson

Bob & Gail Henry

Bob Evans Restaurant — Ann Arbor

Chris Wrubel

Christina Lirones

Clark & Amy Shuler

Comcast Heartland Region

Consumers Energy Foundation

Cornerstone Design

Darry & Tobi Dusbiber

Costco — Ann Arbor

David & Jill Esau

Dean Marshall

Debra & Ben Mattison

Djamel Bouzit

Dr. Bertram & Ann Schnitzer

Dr. Carrie & Jeremia Pilarski

Edward Hurvitz

Glenn Nelson & Margaret Dewar

Griff & Pat McDonald

James Egerdal

Janelle Palmer

Jennifer Lott

Jill Kurzava

Jodi Kreschmer

Joe & Karen Koykka O’Neal

Johanna Mabry

John Krienke

Julie Murtha

Kelly Meadows

Krystina Johnson

Leon & Laurelyn Hewitt

Luann Diroff

Marcia & Chuck Seigerman

Margaret Fillion

Martha Grimes

Martin Forchheimer & Nancy Firestone

Maurita Peterson Holland

May Mobility

Michael & Nina Homel

Michael Harris

Paula Finnegan

Rebecca Lewis

Rick & Gretchen Weir

Robin Bennett

Roger & Christina Chang

Stephanie Ballard

Sue Gossage

Superior Van & Mobility

Susan Schultz

The Blackbaud Giving Fund

U of M Adaptive Sports & Fitness


Zach Damon





• Robin Bennett: Independent Living Program Assistant
• Izzie Bullock: Employment Program Manager
• Eliot Carter, LLSMW: Advocacy & Technology Access Program
• Eleanor Chang, LSMW: Information Referral Specialist
• Dana DeBord: Office Assistant
• Anna Dusbiber, LLMSW: Recreation & Independent Living Services Manager
• Renee Echols, LLSMW Information & Referral Specialist
• Tara Farris: Information Referral & Receptionist
• Alex Gossage: Executive Director
• Shawnnika Guenther: Community Transition Specialist
• Andrea Henry: Business Operations Manager
• Mark Hymes: Livingston Program Coordinator
• Kim Jagielo: Community Transition Specialist
• Krystina Johnson: Community Program Manager
• Bev Mattinson: Director of Finance & Administration
• Tennery McCutcheon, MS, CWIP: Employment Program Manager
• Kelly Meadows: Director – Monroe
• Karen Meints: Disability Awareness Workshop Coordinator
• Claire Moore, MFA: Arts & Social Support Program Manager
• Janeen Musselman: Information & Referral Specialist
• Josh Nocella: Computer Training Specialist
• Will Purves, MS, GCGSS: Director of Planning & Program Development
• Felicia Rebottaro: Independent Living Coach & Employment Specialist
• Amy Robinson: Information & Referral Specialist
• Celeste Williams: Information & Social Support Referral Specialist

CHAIR – Ben Hunholz
VICE CHAIR – Jodi Kreschmer
TREASURER – David Esau
SECRETARY – Christina Lirones
PAST CHAIR – Dr. Carrie Pilarski, Ph.D.
MEMBERS – Daniel Elkus | Rebecca Lewis | Johanna Marby | Dr. Feranmi Okanlami, M.D., M.S. | Dr. Katharine Seagly, Ph.D.


3941 Research Park Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

15515 S Dixie Hwy.
Monroe, MI 48161