We promote opportunities for people with disabilities to strive for greater independence.
To cultivate a barrier-free community where people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully.
Empowerment; Partnership; Fairness; Accountability; Sustainability; Knowledge
The first Center for Independent Living (CIL) is founded in Berkeley, CA.
Funding of the first ten independent living centers funded through the Rehabilitation Act.
The National Council on Independent Living is formed to advocate on behalf of independent living centers and the independent living movement.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is signed by President George H. W. Bush and witnessed by thousands of disability rights activists on July 26th.
1992: Still in its infancy, The Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee opened its doors in Nashville on July 1st.
The Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee obtained its 501(c)(3) status and collaborated with sister agencies to form the Disability Cooperative.
Moved into a more accessible location in East Nashville and became co-housed with our long-time partner, The Tennessee Disability Coalition.
2014 – 2015
Introduced new programs to increase independence within the community, such as Access Music City and Pet Therapy.
Launched a stronger mission under a new name. When we first opened our doors our vision was “To empower persons with disabilities to achieve their vision of independence.” Twenty-three years later, we will continue this purpose and unite our community under our new banner, Empower TN.
Paul Choquette became Programs Director at Empowered Tennessee in December of 2017. Paul has spent his entire career in Human Services working to further the independence of people with disabilities. He has spent the last ten years working for …
Independent Living & Referral Specialist
Marissa Smith Fletcher is an Independent Living and Referral Specialist with Empower Tennessee since August 2017. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Watkins College of Art & Design. Marissa is a Nashville native who has committed herself to …
Birtha M. Street
Independent Living & Employment Specialist
Birtha has been Empower Tennessee’s IL & Employment Specialist since July 2016. She holds a Bachelor Science degree in Social Work (BSSW) from Tennessee State University. Birtha, and her career of service toward others, began over ten years ago volunteering at …
Independent Living & Accessibility Specialist
Sheri Thorsett has served as an Independent Living Specialist for Empower Tennessee since December of 2015. Sheri’s employment experience combines twelve years of direct work with and for individuals with disabilities, including …
2018-2019 Board of Directors
Robbin Sinatra, President
Lisa Davis, Vice-President
Lance Alexis, Secretary
Jennifer Abernathy, Treasurer
Brandon Brown, ex officio