News

IL Team training set for next week

IL Team training set for next week

LIFTT's IL Team will be in Training June 17-21. Please be patient with us! Your IL Specialist will return your call, text or email when they can!

 
We are thrilled to announce that Jen Hawkinson, LIFTT’s Glendive Regional Manager and Senior Independent Living Specialist, will spend the week of June 17, 2024, in Billings!
 
Jen will lead our  Independent Living Program Team in invaluable training to refresh, innovate, and improve our IL services. This training is part of a broader initiative focused on enhancing the support all of our programs provide to the aging and disabled population we proudly serve.
 
 
We are very happy with Jen’s visit and look forward to its positive impact on LIFTT and the community!
 
 
As much of the week for our IL specialists will be spent in training, we ask that Consumers and those reaching out for IL services be patient. Our response times may be a bit slower, but rest assured that we will respond to your calls, emails, and other messages when possible.

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

 

LIFTT Launches Diabetes Prevention & Management Program

LIFTT Logo with text saying Diabetes Prevention & Management Program with images of a three people jogging and various fruits and vegetable

Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) is pleased to announce the launch of a brand-new Diabetes Prevention and Management (DPM) Program.

The DPM Program is a testament to our commitment to the health and well-being of the community and the individuals we serve and is designed to prevent and manage diabetes. It aims to improve the quality of life for the aging and disabled population in our service area by providing free nutrition education. We believe in empowering you to know why your food choices matter, enhancing your independence and vitality.

To undertake the DPM program, LIFTT plans to hire a team of Nutrition Health Coaches who will act as an educational resource, bringing science-based nutrition education and training to LIFTT’s consumers and the communities of LIFTT’s service area. The Nutrition Health Coach will offer educational opportunities in several ways, including conducting classes, holding private coaching sessions, participating in community outreach, writing articles for publication, and creating social media content. Through these efforts, The Nutrition Health Coaches will play an essential role in LIFTT’s commitment to promoting the health and well-being of our community and empowering the individuals we serve to thrive.

We invite you to learn more about LIFTT’s Diabetes Prevention and Management Program. For detailed information, please reach out to our dedicated team at (406) 259-5181. We look forward to your active participation in this journey towards better health and well-being.

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

LIFTT Board of Directors will meet June 6

LIFTT Board of Directors will meet June 6

The LIFTT Board of Directors will meet on Thursday June 6, 2024 at 4 p.m. in the board room of the Billings LIFTT office (1241 Crawford Drive)

The LIFTT Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, June 6, 2024, at 4 p.m. in the board room of the Billings LIFTT office at 1241 Crawford Drive. The public is invited to attend and offer comments during the public comment period.

Click here to view or download the meeting agenda for the June 6, 2024, LIFTT board of directors meeting. (Adobe PDF)

 

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

Director’s Corner: Adapt to Move Forward

Director’s Corner: Adapt to Move Forward

LIFTT must adapt in order to move forward writes LIFTT Executive Director Carlos Ramalho, A bald white hispanic man with a gray beard wearing a black, white and gold plaid shirt

Executive director Carlos Ramalho writes that LIFTT has shown and needs to continue to show the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

LIFTT’s work on behalf of the aging and disabled population of South-Central and Southeastern Montana is a unique blend of technical and adaptive approaches. Our technical prowess is evident in our use of existing legislation such as the US and Montana Constitutions, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Workforce, Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), policies and procedures, protocols, expertise, know-how, and best practices to tackle daily practical and methodological challenges. However, it is our adaptive nature that truly sets us apart. We thrive when facing challenges that demand innovation, creativity, flexibility, and thinking outside the box. These adaptive challenges are a constant in our ever-changing world, where rapid change necessitates continuous learning and adaptation. Whether technical or adaptive, it is for the sake of the communities we serve.

Adaptive challenges are situations in which solutions lie outside the daily routine. They are unique and require LIFTTs to think outside the box. We know we are dealing with an adaptive challenge when applying existing procedures, and know-how does not provide the solution needed. A clear example of an adaptive challenge is the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced LIFTT to do things differently because it turned everything upside down. Another example of the adaptive challenge was the disaster (pipe bursting flooding) LIFTT experienced in March 2024.

LIFTT’s approach to solving adaptive challenges is rooted in collaboration. We believe the best solutions are not confined to our team’s expertise or daily routine. Instead, we actively involve the individuals and communities we serve in developing and implementing creative and innovative solutions. This inclusive approach to problem-solving is a testament to LIFTT’s belief that effective adaptive solutions can only be found through a combination of adaptive and technical work.

Gone are the days when independent living challenges were only technical. LIFTT’s team must adapt to solve challenges that do not have easy solutions and know that the solutions do not come from their technical expertise but rather from a process of learning and adapting, which is the key to moving the collaborative group in a positive direction. An excellent example of collaboration is the recent migrant to Electronic Visit Verification (EVV), a new system implemented by Montana Medicaid to increase productivity, reduce personal care assistants’ time writing timesheets, and allow for more time to devote to the person they care for.

We believe that LIFTT has faced enough adaptive challenges and evolved to learn new ways of thinking, doing, and being so that we do not risk extinction. It is not productive to consider adaptive work as involving loss. We recommend viewing it as an opportunity to develop new competencies, experiment, risk, and time. Because of these factors, LIFTT decided to adapt and lead our partners, consumers, and communities into investing in the future of independent living.

The resistance to adapt that  we tend to deal with is the resistance to loss. Humans tend to fear the unknown and lose what is essential to them. In adaptive work, however, we must try new and different solutions. Inherent in adaptive work is the need to become comfortable with not knowing the next move. There is also the issue of allowing time for adaptive solutions to have an effect and not reacting too quickly to the discomfort that comes with not knowing.

We extend you a warm invitation to join us in our adaptive adventure. Your unique perspectives and contributions can help us navigate the complex landscape of adaptive challenges, and together, we can make a significant difference in the lives of the communities we serve.

 

Thank you,

Carlos Ramalho, Executive Director

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

Vicki Larson inaugurates  LIFTT’s new art gallery

Vicki Larson inaugurates LIFTT’s new art gallery

Vicki Larson is the inaugural artist to exhibit in a gallery space in the reception area of our new Billings location.  LIFTT celebrates the role that the fine arts play in helping people with disabilities live independent lives to their full potential and plans to use the space to feature rotating exhibits of works by local disabled artists. If you are a disabled artist interested in having your work on display at LIFTT, you can message us through our contact page, and a LIFTT team member will be in touch.

About the Artist

Artist Vicki Larson (left) with her great granddaughter Penny

Watercolorist Vicki Larsen, seen at left with her great-granddaughter Penny, is the inaugural artist to exhibit in the new gallery space at LIFTT’s Billings office.

Vicki Larson is a vibrant and creative artist who lives with a sense of adventure and a passion for art. Despite being disabled with kidney disease, she never lets her condition hold her back from pursuing her artistic dreams.

Vicki’s favorite medium is watercolor, which she uses to create beautiful and vibrant paintings that capture the essence of nature and the world around her. She also loves experimenting with multimedia, stamping, and combining different textures and materials to create unique and striking art pieces.

Despite her disability, Vicki is always determined to push herself creatively and explore new techniques and styles. She spends hours in her studio, lost in the world of her art, as she pours her heart and soul into each piece she creates.

Vicki’s story inspires many, showing that anything is possible with passion, determination, and a love for art. She has proved that even in the face of adversity, creativity knows no bounds and that art has the power to transcend any obstacles in its path. Vicki Larson is a true artist in every sense of the word, a creative force to be reckoned with, and an inspiration to all who know her.

Examples of Vicki’s work can be seen in the photo gallery below. To view the full exhibit, stop by the reception area of our Billings office at 1241 Crawford Drive during regular business hours (M-F, 9-5).

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

New Office Hours for LIFTT begin May 28

New Office Hours for LIFTT begin May 28

Starting on Tuesday March 28, 2024 LIFTT's offices in both Billings and Glendive will have new office hours.  Our new hours will be Monday

Dear Friends,
 
To better serve our consumers and the community, LIFTT has changed its hours of operation. Starting May 28, 2024, our new office hours at our Billings and Glendive locations will be Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with independent living services. If you have questions about our new office hours or LIFTT’s services, please feel free to reach out at (406) 259-5181 (Billings), (406) 948-8500 (Glendive), or through our contact page.
 
Thanks for your support and cooperation,
The Team @ LIFTT

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

 
 
 

Morgan McQuillan joins LIFTT Board

Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT) is pleased to announce that Morgan McQuillan has joined the organization’s board of directors. Born and raised in Joliet, a rural town in Carbon County about halfway between Billings and Red Lodge, McQuillan is a wheelchair user because of a series of occurrences of bone cancer and subsequent treatments starting at the age of five and culminating with a “radical” amputation in 2020.

It is out of the experience of receiving care and support from the Joliet community during her cancer treatments and a desire to give back that in 2018, McQuillan founded the nonprofit “Project Footprints” with a mission to “serve individuals and families in Carbon County impacted by emergency situations.” McQuillan remains Project Footprints’ president to this day.

In addition to “Project Footprints,” McQuillan is the director of the Joliet Public Library. She holds a B.S. in Human Services from Montana State University Billings and is finishing a master’s degree in clinical social work at Walla Walla University’s Billings campus.

“Morgan is a welcome addition to our board of directors as her professional and personal experience are an excellent match for our mission of promoting independence and inclusion for persons with disabilities across southeast and south-central Montana,” said LIFTT Executive Director Carlos Ramalho.

Ms. McQuillan recently joined LIFTT’s public relations specialist Jed Barton on an episode of “Living Well in Montana” to discuss her story and work with Project Footprints; you can view that episode below:

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

Disability Inclusion through Transportation Video

Disability Inclusion through Transportation Video

Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) & Billings MET Transit Present our new video:

Disability Inclusion Through Transportation

 

In this four-minute video, the LIFTT Team climbs aboard a Billings MET Transit bus to show how accessible transportation is essential for including persons with disabilities in our community and to “put on display the ADA accessibility of the (MET) system.”
 
Thanks to LIFTT executive director Carlos Ramalho and the City of Billings Transit Manager Rusty Logan for providing the commentary and to the members of the Billings LIFTT team and our MET Driver for participating in our “Bus Adventure.”
 

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

Grand Opening @ New Billings Location May 10

Grand Opening @ New Billings Location May 10

LIFTT invites you to join us for the grand opening of our new Billings location (1241 Crawford Drive) on Friday May 10 from 11-2

Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT) is excited to announce the Grand Opening of our new office location at 1241 Crawford Drive in Billings. The event will take place on Friday, May 10, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Join them for a day filled with celebration, as we mark the beginning of a new chapter in our journey to empower individuals with disabilities in southeastern and south-central Montana. Guests can expect gourmet hors d’oeuvres catered by the Passages Culinary Arts Program, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Billings Chamber of Commerce, and exciting door prizes including gift cards and baskets from local restaurants and businesses, MSU Bobcat Football tickets, hotel nights in Vegas, and more.

Executive Director Carlos Ramalho expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “The grand opening will celebrate the new building, LIFTT’s permanent headquarters. For many years, we have dreamed of having our building, and our dream has become a reality.”

Ramalho added, “The grand opening is also a celebration of our team members’ resilience. On March 3, 2024, our lives were suddenly turned upside down after our previous location was flooded, and we had to suspend our operations. Thanks to all our team members, LIFTT could move to a building that had not been remodeled, had no telephone, and had no internet server. Working together, our team transformed a disaster into a success story, and on April 1, 2024, we were able to open our doors to the public we serve again.”

LIFTT invites the community to explore their new facility, learn more about their vast array of programs and services, and join them in celebrating this milestone event.

Grand Opening Sponsorships Available

LIFTT is looking for businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring our grand opening and contributing to our mission of promoting equality and independence for the disabled community in southeastern and south-central Montana. For more information about being a sponsor, please contact Hannah Olson at (406) 200-3068 or visit https://liftt.betterworld.org/campaigns/sponsor-our-grand-opening.

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for your Apple or Android Device.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

Hawkinson named to MCIE Community Advisory Council

Hawkinson named to MCIE Community Advisory Council

LIFTT Senior IL Specialist and Glendive Regional Manager Jennifer Hawkinson has joined the Community Advisory Council of the Montana Center for Inclusive Education at Montana State University Billings. Description: White woman with black hair wearing glasses and a white shirt with red flowers

LIFTT Glendive Regional Manager and Senior IL Specialist Jennifer Hawkinson has joined the Community Advisory Council of the Montana Center for Inclusive Education (MCIE) housed at Montana State University Billings.

The Montana Center for Inclusive Education (MCIE) at Montana State University Billings has named LIFTT’s Glendive Regional Manager and Senior Independent Living Specialist Jennifer Hawkinson to a three-year term on the inaugural Montana Center Community Advisory Council.

As envisioned, the Montana Center Community Advisory Council will bring together stakeholders, including people with disabilities, their families, educators, and service providers, to offer guidance to  the MCIE as it pursues its vision of ” creating a fully inclusive society that values diversity” through its mission of “serving the diverse population of Montana by providing continuing professional development opportunities for educators and direct service providers.”

“LIFTT and the Montana Center for Inclusive Education share a commitment to policies, programs, and services that promote the full independent participation of Montanans with disabilities in their communities,” said Hawkinson. “This is particularly true when it comes to seeing that youth  have the best possible support when transitioning from K-12 education to the next stage in life, be it post-secondary education or the working world, which is a particular passion of mine; I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Community Advisory Council and strengthen the link between our organizations.”

About Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT): LIFTT is a Montana 501(c)3 corporation organized as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). With team members based in Billings and Glendive, LIFTT provides people with disabilities with programs and services that help empower them to break down the physical, bureaucratic, and cultural barriers that prevent them from being fully independent participants in their lives and communities throughout 18 counties in southeastern and south-central Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Stillwater, Treasure, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app on Apple or Google Play.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.