Living Independently For Today and Tomorrow
Since beginning its mission over 30 years ago, LIFTT has been committed to providing programs and services that break down barriers for people with disabilities. LIFTT empowers consumers to live independent lives in their own homes and communities. Working across our 18 Southeastern Montana counties, we assist our consumers in everything from applying for social security benefits and finding affordable and accessible housing, to navigating public transportation systems, self-directing their in-home caregiving, and becoming their own best advocate for what they need to live a fulfilling life.
Helping SE Montanans Navigate Work, School, & Life!
In providing independent living services to Southeastern Montanans for over three decades, LIFTT has had the pleasure and privilege to help people with disabilities, of all ages, to gain the confidence and intelligence to advocate for themselves, and participate in all aspects of modern life.
From attending school and finding and keeping employment, participating in sports and recreation to socializing with friends and even relationships and raising families, LIFTT is here to make sure all our consumers cannot just live but thrive!
Local, State & National Advocacy for Individuals Living with Disabilities
From offices in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides consumer and advocacy services to residents of Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone counties. LIFTT also works on a systemic level on local, state, and national issues to cultivate, nurture, and improve the lives and legal rights of individuals living with disabilities.
How LIFTT is Funded
Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation and is funded in part through grants and contracts with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Administration for Community Living, United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Consumer Success Stories
With a diagnosis of supranuclear palsy in 2019, life has been anything but ordinary and effortless for the Tipton family. Les is nonverbal and his wife Gina spends her days as his caretaker tending to his needs as this terminal disease progresses.
“It’s a pretty unforgiving disease,” said Gina. “It’s pretty tough to see someone who was always a worker go through this. It kind of hit us out of the left field. There’s a little bit more of him taken every day.”
Many children who are diagnosed with the genetic disorder known as Treacher Collins Syndrome find themselves placed in institutional living situations away from the comforts of home and the loving support of family and friends. For the Kougl family whose two-year-old daughter Quinn lives with Treacher Collins, this was not an acceptable option.
In recent years, when customers entered a Billings Walgreens, they were greeted with a warm smile and a kind word from Donna Goodale, whose motto is “Smiles are the currency you will never go broke on, so give them all away.” This is a woman who rolls with the punches and jumps up with a smile.
Donna moved from Iowa to Montana to attend Rocky Mountain College in Billings 17 years ago, anticipating a college degree and a career. But when her funds ran out, she left school to go to work. She hopped from job to job until 2014, when she found her passion for customer service working at Walgreens. Her duties ranged from cashiering to covering the photo counter and serving as a pharmacy cashier. Her very visual memory also endeared her to both customers and management because she knew where everything was!
18-year-old Jeremiah Thompson was afloat. He was a high school dropout with no job, no future on the horizon and no place to go. “I didn’t know what to do” he said, “and I really needed help!”
Jeremiah’s sister reached out to Independent Living Specialist Jen Hawkinson from the Glendive branch of LIFTT, hoping she could get Jeremiah back on track. Little did Jeremiah know that Hawkinson was a powerhouse of ideas and a relentless advocate. “Jen is super persistent, “said Jeremiah, “she was on me 24/7, no slacking.”
Today, Jeremiah’s future is bright. He owns a car and recently landed a maintenance job. He is considering returning to Job Corps at some point, but right now, Jeremiah is attending high school in Dickinson, North Dakota, working for his dad and keeping his life on track.