By Davina Patterson-Executive Director
Disability Resource Network is a newly established Center for Independent Living located in Huntsville, AL but services 13 counties in North Alabama. Our mission is to promote independence in people with disabilities through advocacy, public education, and other consumer controlled independent living services. Our staff consist of the Executive Director, Davina Patterson, and Peer Advocates Deshon Washington and Katie Toro.
DRN is a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability, non-residential, private non-profit agency that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities. A part of the independent living philosophy states that 51% of staff and 51% of the Board of Directors are persons with significant disabilities.
We provide five core services – advocacy, peer support, independent living skills training, information & referrals, and transition services. Centers for Independent Living use the Peer-to-Peer Model instead of the medical model when providing services. A person with life experience with a disability can be a valuable resource and offer encouragement and practical solutions to a person who is adapting to a new disability, or who wishes to increase their independence.
People with disabilities are at the greatest risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. Because of this fact, Disability Resource Network has partnered with the Disability Vaccine Access Opportunities Center (DVAO Center), a national center that provides resources, training, and technical assistance to address vaccine hesitancy and barriers for people with disabilities. The DVAO Center will assist us in furthering our efforts to assist people with disabilities who may have specific disability-related questions and barriers with getting the COVID-19 vaccination.
Disability Resource Network will connect with health departments and other local agencies responsible for vaccine distribution and training and technical assistance provided through the DVAO Center. Our goal is to bring vaccination opportunities to everyone, and to remove the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from equitable vaccine access. Disability Resource Network is also partnering with the Alabama Department of Public Health by providing COVID 19 trainings in North Alabama.
Outside of the five core services, we also work with the Southeast ADA Center to provide training to the community as well as being a resource for callers that need assistance in filing an ADA complaint. DRN has been featured as a business spotlight for WAFF48, business spotlight for The Huntsville Herald, a guest on Exposing Good Podcast, participant in the UAH Non Profit Fair, participant in the Alabama A&M Community Service and Civic Engagement Fair, and many upcoming opportunities in 2022.
Disability Resource Network is here in the North Alabama community to empower people with disabilities to live independently.