In the late ’80s, a group of citizens from Harrisonburg and Rockingham convened to discuss their concerns about disability services in the community. Most people with disabilities lived with their families or in adult care settings and were unemployed or underemployed, and independent living was in its infancy in Virginia. The group began to believe that what the community needed was a place where the different aspects of independent living were dealt with comprehensively and holistically. Additionally, they felt that an organization that utilized an individualized, community-based, and consumer-driven approach was needed to provide the necessary tools for many people with disabilities to achieve independence.

Today, Valley Associates for Independent Living serves over 500 individuals annually in the area in direct service, and strives to empower individuals to help overcome barriers that allow them to live fully engaged, independent lives in the community.

For this Hear Together profile, we spoke with Executive Director Gayl Brunk. You can listen at the audio link below and learn more on VAIL’s website.