News

Moving! Billings office is headed to 1241 Crawford Drive in April

Moving! Billings office is headed to 1241 Crawford Drive in April

The new LIFTT building at 1241 Crawford Drive, The building was formerly St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

LIFTT’s Billings office will move to 1241 Crawford Drive, the former St. Stephen’s Church building, beginning in April 2024. (photo by Deb Acosta)

To our consumers, friends, and supporters,

We’re thrilled to announce that LIFTT is moving to 1241 Crawford Drive, Billings, MT 59102. The new building, which is the former St. Stephen’s Church, is on the corner of 13th Street West and Crawford Drive – six blocks north of Grand Avenue and two blocks south of Poly Drive! Our moving will not change anything between us — except that it will help us serve you better.

Remember that moving is a normal part of life! You will love LIFTT’s new location because we were thinking of you when we planned it.

Our new office is very close to our current location. There is a bus stop right in front of the new building. If you prefer to drive, there will be lots of parking spaces. We have great plans for the new location. There will be an auditorium, a community room, classrooms, and lots of space for community activities.

LIFTT’s new building is wheelchair-friendly and ADA-accessible. We want everyone to feel welcome and included.

This new location provides LIFTT with the opportunity to grow its vision and empower individuals with disabilities to LIFTT themselves above the barriers of life.

We’ll be moving in April 2024!

At LIFTT, our consumers, friends, and supporters are family. We’ve known each other for a long time. And we can’t wait to have you see our new building. You feel right at home.

To keep track of our move, I encourage you to follow us on LIFTT.org, Facebook, and Instagram. For your convenience, our main phone number remains (406) 259-5181, and your IL Specialist and/or PCA program manager’s direct number and email address should remain the same before, during, and after our move.

Street sign at the corner of 13th Avenue W and Crawford Drive in Billings. Starting in April LIFTT will move into a new buiding on NE part of the corner.

The corner of 13th St. W and Crawford Drive will be the new home of LIFTT in Billings!

See you at 13th & Crawford soon,

Carlos Ramalho
Executive Director

January 2024 LIFTT Connection Newsletter Now Avaliable

January 2024 LIFTT Connection Newsletter Now Avaliable

LIFTT Connection Newsletter Year 2024 Issue #1

The January 2024 edition of the LIFTT Connection Newsletter is now available!

Click here to download it (Adobe PDF) 

In this issue of the LIFTT Connection:

You can request that we email you an electronic copy or mail you a paper copy by sending your name and address to jedb@liftt.org. Also, look for articles from the newsletter to be posted on liftt.org and our Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn feeds.

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 southcentral Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Stillwater, 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.

We Want You for the LIFTT Peer Program!

We Want You for the LIFTT Peer Program!

Four people fistbumping in a circle with

LIFTT is looking for motivated volunteers to join our team as part of our peer program. The peer program is designed to empower people living with disabilities to learn, grow, and thrive independently in their communities.

LIFTT Peers:

  • Learn to advocate for themselves and others.
  • Gain new life & employment skills.
  • Build confidence and trust in themselves and others through positive interactions.
  • Feel as though their ideas, goals, dreams, and ultimately, their full equality and humanity are seen and valued.
  • Make an important contribution to LIFTT’s ability to carry out its mission.
  • Explore possibilities for vocational growth both inside and outside of LIFTT.

 

If you would like to know more or find out how you can be a part of LIFTT’s peer program, contact one of our peer program co-coordinators, who will be glad to answer your questions or set up an appointment with you.

If you are in Big Horn, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Stillwater, or Yellowstone counties, contact Tanya Thomas in our Billings office at (406) 690-6324, tanyat@liftt.org. If you are in Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, or Wibaux counties, contact Dustin Wilburn in our Glendive office at (406) 948-8107 or dustinw@liftt.org.

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 southcentral Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Stillwater, 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.

Glad to be Giving Back: Dalana Smith brings lived experience to job

Glad to be Giving Back: Dalana Smith brings lived experience to job

 

LIFTTT IL Specialist Dalana Smith (at far right) with her family (from left): daughter Zuri, husband Jerry, daughter Breylie, brother Jase, son Bristyn and their two dogs ,Ruger and Bella.

LIFTT IL Specialist Dalana Smith (at far right) with her family (from left): daughter Zuri, husband Jerry, daughter Breylie, brother Jase, son Bristyn and their two dogs, Ruger and Bella.

LIFTT Independent Living specialist Dalana Smith does not mince her words when describing the arc her life has taken in the past few years as she talks about going from the depths of addiction towards sobriety and embracing her role as wife, mom, sister, and as part of LIFTT’s team.  “I was putting a lot of bad out into the world, and I am so grateful to be at LIFTT and giving back after spending so much time taking from others,” she says.

Struggling with substance use as a teenager, Dalana dropped out of Dawson County High School before graduating from the Trapper Creek Job Corps in Darby in 2008. Returning to Glendive, Dalana stabilized somewhat until, after giving birth to her son Bristyn in 2013, She found herself facing postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is a mental health disability that, according to the National Institutes of Health, affects between 10-20% of people who give birth. Characteristics of Postpartum depression include long-lasting, intense feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety, and irritability during the first year after giving birth. When these feelings combine with the new and sudden responsibility of caring for a child, it can be overwhelming for the new mother.

Dalana soon found herself retreating into old habits to cope and soon found that the tiger she set out to tame had, as it has for untold millions before and since, tamed her. “I fell into a dark place and couldn’t find a way out,” she said. Bristyn was soon placed in the care of extended family members as Dalana sorted her life out. After giving birth to daughter Breylie in January 2018, Dalana knew that change was needed, and soon. “Becoming pregnant with my daughter was kind of a wake-up call that I needed to do something different,” Soon, Dalana found herself in a treatment program under the auspices of the 7th Judicial District Adult Treatment Court, graduating in December 2018.

Today, Dalana has married her long-time partner Jerry, and they welcomed Bristyn back in 2022. They are raising him alongside Breylie and another little sister, Zuri. The couple has also taken in Dalana’s teenage brother, Jase. “I live for my kids. They are what keep my feet grounded.”  Since coming to LIFTT in 2022, Dalana has found her lived experience and the ability to share it with consumers to be key in forming the connection that is vital in IL specialists’ work.

“Every day here at the office, we have consumers come in who are dealing with addiction, depression, and/or other disabilities on top of the everyday struggles we all have, and by talking with them about my experiences and showing them that whatever they are going through things aren’t completely stacked against them, I hope they can feel good that I can work alongside them in figuring things out.”

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 southcentral Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Stillwater, 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.

Transportation Inclusion: Getting Out & About

Transportation Inclusion: Getting Out & About

In 2024, LIFTT will promote disability inclusion by advocating for a more inclusive public transport system. There are two types of transport systems: exclusive and inclusive. On one hand, exclusive transport systems are one of the major barriers that prevent disabled people from living independently. On the other hand, inclusive transport systems and scheduled trips are ADA-accessible and allow disabled people to move within their urban environment and live independently and freely. Disabled people who have transport are engaged in their communities, attend school, work, and live life to the fullest.

Inclusive transportation includes the aging and disabled in society and contributes to its diversity. LIFTT is happy to report that all levels of our government prioritize accessibility and inclusiveness by removing barriers to walking, wheeling, cycling, planning, and public transport, benefiting disabled individuals, complying with the ADA, guaranteeing equal access and equal opportunity, and preventing injustice. Thanks to the government’s efforts, barriers are being removed, increasing accessibility and inclusiveness in LIFTT’s service area. There is a demonstrated willingness to comply with the ADA, promote political, ethical, and mobility justice, and recognize the rights of disabled individuals.

 

  • On January 31, 2024, the City of Billings MET Transit and LIFTT will hold an event entitled Bus Adventure in which citizens with different disabilities and the MET team will demonstrate how to remove barriers and overcome challenges experienced by the disabled who use public transportation. Together, the MET and LIFTT are promoting disability inclusion through public transportation. By participating in this event, LIFTT will provide a voice to the everyday lived experiences of disabled individuals and increase awareness of the factors that make transport and mobility accessible.

 

  • LIFTT also continues working with the City of Billings Planning and Community Services Department as well as the Billings-Yellowstone County Metropolitan Planning Organization and community stakeholders to provide a disability perspective as city and county transportation plans such as “Safe Routes to Schools, “Complete Streets” and the “Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan” are renewed and updated.

 

  • LIFTT is also partnering with the Montana Department of Transportation to create a special between-cities transportation service for the aging and disabled residing in Southeastern Montana. It will be a fixed route service from Sidney to Billings, with Glendive and Miles City stops. We plan to have an accessible van and be able to transport even passengers in a wheelchair.

 

If you are a person with disabilities in our service area facing a transportation inclusion issue, LIFTT stands ready to assist in helping you find and advocate for a solution; call us in Billings (406) 259-5181 or Glendive (406) 948-8500, or send us a message through our website at liftt.org/contact.

A Billings MET Bus, LIFTT is working with MET and other partners to foster transportation inclusion

A “Bus Adventure” with Billings MET Transit in late January is just one of the transportation inclusion projects LIFTT will be working on in 2024. (Photo courtesy of Billings MET Transit)

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 southcentral Montana: Big Horn, Carbon, Carter, Custer, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, Golden Valley, McCone, Musselshell, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Stillwater, 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.

 

  

 

 

Christmas Creatures bring glad tidings to LIFTT!

Christmas Creatures bring glad tidings to LIFTT!

 

short haired blond woman holding a santa clause lawn ornament

LIFTT’s Ugly Santa made another visit to Glendive this holiday season, making several stops throughout town, including a visit with Becky Quinnell of MidRivers Communications.

From the desk of U.S. Claus, Senior Christmas Creature @ LIFTT

North Pole

January 2024

 

 

To my friends at LIFTT and beyond,

It has been a big year for Ugly Santa! As the holiday season was getting underway, I chanced to meet two snowmen who were looking for a good deed to help move them from the naughty to the nice list; I dispatched them to Billings, and they made the rounds in the Magic City while I once again returned to Glendive to renew old friendships and make some new ones!      

All told, between Billings and Glendive, our team of Christmas Creatures visited over 50 different sites and raised just over $3000 to support LIFTT in helping people with disabilities in Southeast and Southcentral Montana become and remain independent!

On behalf of myself, the snowmen in the Christmas Creature department, and our colleagues in the Independent Living, Self-Direct Personal Care Assistance, Peer Program, and Administrative departments, we want to thank all the businesses, organizations, and individuals who donated to LIFTT when a Christmas Creature came calling.

All the best, and see you next December,

Ugly Santa

Two plush snowmen holding a flyer

The Christmas creature family is growing! Joining Ugly Santa this year were these “Naughty Snowmen” who canvassed the Billings area.

PS: Just because the Christmas Creatures are taking their long winter’s nap doesn’t mean you can’t donate to LIFTT! Find out how at https://liftt.org/get-involved/donate-support.

Editors Note: The whole team at LIFTT is indeed grateful to those businesses and individuals in the Glendive and Billings Areas who participated in the “Christmas Creature” fundraisers. Check back in the coming days for a complete list of donors! 

 

Mountain Made K9 and LIFTT to work on Service Dog Projects

Mountain Made K9 and LIFTT to work on Service Dog Projects

Top: LIFTT Logo Bottom Mountain Made K9 Logo

Mountain Made K9 and Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT) have signed an agreement to work together to provide LIFTT consumers and the community with resources and education relating to service dogs.

As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is “a dog that is trained to perform tasks or do work for a person with a disability.” Under the ADA, such dogs are allowed to accompany the person they are trained to assist in all areas that members of the public are permitted to go. Among the tasks that service dogs routinely perform include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack.

Under the terms of the agreement between LIFTT and Mountain Made K9, consumers who work with LIFTT to apply for outside grant funding for service dog training will be referred to Mountain Made, who will determine the type and duration of training that may be required for both the dog and handler and if grant funds are awarded, provide the needed training.

“Although not appropriate for every person or situation, a trained service dog can be a great assistance to a person with a disability in being able to achieve and maintain their independence both at home and in the community. We thank Mountain Made K9 for agreeing to work with us on this project to assist the consumers and communities we serve by providing their high-quality consultative and training services,” said LIFTT executive director Carlos Ramalho.

About Mountain Made K9 (MMK9):  MMK9 is a privately owned dog training company based out of Billings, Montana. MMK9 trains pets and working service dogs, police k9s, protection dogs, scent detection k9s, and search and rescue dogs. MMK9 aims to produce high-performance dogs by providing the highest quality dog training 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, Stillwater, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for Apple or Google Play.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

 

 

LIFTT Board of Directors will meet January 15

LIFTT Board of Directors will meet January 15

The LIFTT board of directors will hold a meeting on January 15, 2024 starting at 4 p.m.

The Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT) board of directors will meet on Monday, January 15, beginning at 4 p.m. The meeting will be conducted virtually using the Zoom platform. The public is invited to attend and offer comments during the public comment period.

Click here to view or download the meeting agenda and Zoom information for the January 15, 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, Stillwater, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. For more information, please visit liftt.org or download our mobile app for Apple or Google Play.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.

Happy Holidays from LIFTT!

Happy Holidays from LIFTT!

Happy Holidays from all of us at LIFTT! So that our team may celebrate the season with family and friends LIFTT offices will be closed Monday, December 25 and Monday, January 1, 2024.

 
Happy Holidays from all of us at LIFTT! So that our team members may celebrate with family and friends, LIFTT’s offices in Billings and Glendive will be closed on Christmas Day (Monday 12/25) and New Year’s Day (Monday 01/01/2024).  We will be open Tuesday, December 26- Thursday, December 28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday, December 30, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can contact LIFTT at any time at (406) 259-5181 (Billings), (406) 948-8500 (Glendive), and through our contact page.
 
Interested in supporting LIFTT as part of your year-end charitable contributions? You can do so through our website: https://liftt.org/get-involved/donate-support/ or contact Executive Director Carlos Ramalho at (406) 294-5190 or carlosr@liftt.org.
 
Again, Happy Holidays from LIFTT. May the season bring you tidings of comfort and joy, and we look forward to serving you in 2024!
 
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, Stillwater, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. Please visit liftt.org or download our Apple or Google Play mobile app for more information.
 
 
Otto Bremer Trust continues supporting LIFTT

Otto Bremer Trust continues supporting LIFTT

Otto Bremer Trust

Living Independently for Today & Tomorrow (LIFTT) is pleased to announce a grant received from the Otto Bremer Trust in the amount of $60,000.00 to support LIFTT’s ongoing operations.

The award is LIFTT’s second in recent years from the St. Paul Minnesota-based foundation. Since its founding in 1944, the Otto Bremer Trust has been committed to “investing in people, places, and opportunities in our region of Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.”

“LIFTT is very grateful to the Otto Bremer Trust for showing confidence in our stewardship of their funds by awarding us this additional grant; said LIFTT executive director Carlos Ramalho. “These dollars come at an important time for our organization as we continue to look towards an exciting future of expanding programs and services for and with the disabled community of southeastern and south-central Montana.”

If you are interested in donating to LIFTT’s work, you can do that through https://liftt.org/get-involved/donate-support/ or contact Executive Director Carlos Ramalho at (406) 294-5190 or carlosr@liftt.org.

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, Stillwater, Wibaux, and Yellowstone. Please visit liftt.org or download our Apple or Google Play mobile app for more information.

You can donate to LIFTT by clicking here.