SMILES Center for Independent Living was established in 1988 to provide services for people with disabilities in the nine county region of South Central Minnesota. SMILES is a non-profit, non-residential center funded through private and public foundation grants, government and community grants, the United Way, fees for service, and public contributions.
As a certified Center for Independent Living, we serve the Minnesota counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, LeSueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan. View larger image: SMILES Service Area
Since we opened our doors in January 1990 hundreds have found assistance in their efforts to make positive life choices. Because consumers, parents, professionals and community advocates saw a need for a support system that would empower people with disabilities to build independent, fulfilling lives, resulting in the birth of the center fifteen years ago.
Within the Independent Living Movement there is a strong belief that peer conducted services are essential to assisting a person with a disability. Therefore, in all CIL’s, 51% or more of the staff and Board of Directors are people with disabilities who have personally experienced numerous barriers. Their experiences have resulted in unique commitments to assist others with disabilities to achieve lives of dignity. Staff serve as role models, demonstrating that it is both possible, and desirable for people with disabilities to be productive and independent. The understanding, guidance, and support provided through SMILES gives others the confidence to take the first steps towards their own independence.
SMILES provides community advocacy as well as direct services to individuals with disabilities. Our center advocates for the improvement of the quality of life for all people with disabilities, seeking to eliminate society’s attitudinal, environmental, social, psychological, and economic barriers to equal opportunities. Responsible, self-reliant and productive people with disabilities can provide the best public relations and most effective advice for both individual service and community change.
Unlike many agencies which only serve people with a specific disability, CIL’s like SMILES offer a broad range of community-based services for people with a variety of disabilities in all age groups. Whether one is very young or very old, services are available throughout the life of a person with a disability through SMILES Center for Independent Living.
Services at the Center fall into three essential areas:
- Information and Referral Services
- connect consumers, family members, service providers, and the community in general with information on options and resources that influence independent lifestyles.
- Community Outreach
- includes systems advocacy, workshops and presentations, recreation, and technical assistance.
- Direct Services
- address individual needs through advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills training, the ramp project, and assistive technology.
Core services provided by SMILES encompass the following catergories:
- Peer Counseling
- Information & Referral
- Independent Living Skills Training
- Transition from School to Work and Community Living
In addition to those core services we also provide the following secondary services:
- Community Services
- Recreational Activities
- Ramp Project
- Assistive Technology & Environmental Access
- PCA Choice
Southern Minnesota Independent Living Enterprises and Services (SMILES) is funded through private and public foundation grants, government and community grants, the United Way, fees for service, and public contributions. As a certified Center for Independent Living, we serve the Minnesota counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, LeSueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca and Watonwan.
709 S. Front Street, Suite 7
Mankato, MN 56001-3804
888-676-6498 toll free
820 Winnebago Ave Suite 1
Fairmont, MN 56031-3619
1618 S. Broadway
New Ulm, MN 56073-3756
505 S. State Street #6
Waseca, MN 56093-3072