Community Life

Items in the Community Life Collection

I Will Not Race in the Halls - Frank Epperson, Jr. on Becoming a Successful Wheelchair Racing Athlete
After getting in trouble in middle school for racing in the hallways, Frank Epperson's parents decided he needed an outlet for all his extra energy. In this video, Frank speaks about discovering wheelchair racing, and becoming a Paralympic athlete.…

I've Come a Long Way - Beverly Rackley on Advocacy
Beverly Rackley's mother said, "You can take those papers and tear them up, or I will tear them up in front of you." In this video, Beverly shares stories of her mother's advocacy on her behalf during her childhood, and discusses how, over the years,…

Indiana Wheelchair Games Ribbons
These ribbons are examples of first, second, and third place prizes awarded at the Indiana Wheelchair Games in 1982.

Transcript: Steve Hinkle Interview
"So you take funding, you take turmoil, you take parents, you take need, and then you had that end of society and their reactions to a person with 'mental retardation'..." When Steve (Stephen L.) Hinkle took on the challenges and leadership of the…

Transcript: George Soper Interview
When he arrived in South Bend in 1980, the field of rehabilitation in Indiana "was in desperate need of some rapid growth," recalls George Soper. George had moved from Iowa, where he completed a doctoral work in the area of rehabilitation. Having…

Transcript: Jim Hammond Interview
"Now disability politics, you know, is not Republican or Democrats, it's really nonpartisan but you still have to be recognized as someone who's reliable and trustworthy," observes Jim Hammond in this 2013 interview. Working with legislators was part…

Transcript: Donna Roberts Interview
“Forty-seven years ago I gave birth to a child who was born with multiple disabilities. This was back in New Hampshire. It was before there were any laws about education or anything. And I found problems getting services for her. They wouldn't let…

Transcript: Cori Mitchell Interview
“I get the benefits of free movies. So it's a good all-around job,” explains Cori of her job at the movie theater. Cori works part-time taking tickets. When Cori was interviewed in 2013, she had been working at the movie theater for the past 13…

Transcript: Byron K. Smith Interview
When Byron Smith was in sixth grade, his mother got a call from his teacher. She said, "Byron is out there on the monkey bars and he's sitting on the top bar and he's not hanging on with his hands." “My mom said, ‘Let him alone. Yes, he may fall.…

Transcript: Dixie Patterson Interview
"Even though professionals are very good and a lot of times very empathetic, it's still not the same as having lived it 24 hours a day." As both a parent of an adult daughter with intellectual/developmental disabilities and a retired disability…

Transcript: Vicki Pappas Interview
"The biggest thing is the values that started with the Deinstitutionalization Project and went on through all of our projects about consumer advocacy, self-determination, empowerment to people with disabilities, language use... just totally different…

Transcript: John Dickerson Interview
"Dickerson, I finally get it," a fiscally conservative State Senator from Hendricks County remarked. "He said, 'I'm on the board of directors of the bank and we hired this fellow with a disability. I don't even know what his disability is, but he's…

Transcript: Mike Furnish Interview
The first Special Olympics games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1968. Athletes from the United States, Canada and France participated in the games. In 1969, a group of volunteers organized the first Special Olympics Indiana games in…

Transcript: Bettye Dunham Interview
Bettye Dunham got her start in the disability field in 1975. She was a support person to an Indiana University student needing assistance with note taking and studying. Bettye says, “The things I learned from Chris really endeared me to the field.”…

Transcript: David Mank Interview
"I think it's extremely important that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities be a continued and increasingly strong voice in developmental disability issues of the day. And be in the rooms where decisions get made about funding,…

Transcript: Darcus Nims Interview
"That's only for regular people, not for us kind of people." That’s what Darcus Nims says she was told when she wanted to take a typing class in school. Darcus founded Self-Advocates of Indiana, the statewide group of advocates with…

Transcript: Peter Bisbecos Interview
“What I learned is that I had to prove myself constantly, that people with very good intentions just didn’t think I was capable of doing things because of my vision. They wanted to protect me,” says Peter Bisbecos talking about his school…

Transcript: Erika Steuterman Interview
“I have a servant's mentality… so what do I do? Well, now my focus is on helping families with young children with disabilities and as they go up through the school system, how do you get supports after age 22.” Erika Steuterman has two daughters…

Transcript: Frank Epperson, Jr. Interview
When Frank Epperson's van was pulled over by the Southport, Indiana police in 1992, it wasn't about a broken taillight. They wanted to give him an official escort upon his triumphant return from the Barcelona Paralympics. Frank competed as a…

Look at Me Now - Melissa Draper on Triumph Over Prejudice
“I was like 21 and decided to set down and write a book,” says Melissa. Ever since she was a young child, Melissa wanted to write a book about how we are all different in some way or another. Her book is called, “Follow Your Dreams”. Melissa writes…

A Mother's Instinct -Sharon Hauss on Family Advocacy
"Let's wait and see what he can do," is what doctors told Sharon after the birth of her son in the 1980s. Fortunately, Sharon didn't wait around. She searched out services for him and as he got older, she continued to advocate for him by enrolling…

He Loved This Industry - Jim Hammond on the Work of Costa Miller
"Costa was one of the most passionate individuals you would ever meet," says Jim Hammond of his friend Costa Miller, former CEO of the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Jim reflects on Costa's career and the impact he had on the…

Darcus Nims Receiving Community Spirit Award
Darcus Nims (center), the founder of Self Advocates of Indiana, receives a Community Spirit award from the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities at their annual conference in 2006. Pictured with her is Duane Etienne, Council…

You Didn't Sound Handicapped - Andy Imlay on Life and Relationships
Andy Imlay, a part-time stand-up comedian who performs across southern Indiana, shares stories about life, school, and relationships, and using the power of laughter to address common misconceptions about people with disabilities. Andy is from…

A Passion for Advocacy - Betty Williams on Becoming A Self-Advocate
Betty Williams, an active self-advocate, received the Champion of Equal Opportunity Self-Advocacy award from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities in 2016. Betty speaks about getting involved in the self-advocacy movement…

John Dickerson on the Evolution of The Arc of Indiana
“The Arc name is an interesting story in itself,” says John Dickerson of the history of The Arc. In was in the late ‘40s when parents across the country started organizing to discuss opportunities for their children. The first Indiana state…

Change the Name - Betty Williams on Self Identification
Betty Williams, an active self-advocate, discusses the importance of getting rid of the R-word and shares the story of how self-advocates helped change the name of the state commission in 2008.Betty was interviewed October, 2016.

Donna Roberts on the ATTITUDE Essay Contest
"I joke with everybody that I take a day, I sit at home with a two-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi and a huge box of tissues and I read all the essays,” recounts Donna about the Attitude Essay Contest. The contest encourages elementary and middle school…

Transcript: Betty Williams Interview<br /><br />
In 2016, Betty Williams received the Champions of Equal Opportunity Award from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Betty received the award for her leadership in promoting voting rights, serving on committees…

President George H.W. Bush Signing the Americans with Disabilities Act
This photograph shows President George H. W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. The photo has an inscription to Justin Dart, Jr.

Credit: National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution [CC BY-SA 2.0…

Infant Betty Williams with Incubator
This is a photograph of Betty Williams as an infant. She is being held in front of an incubator in the hospital. Betty grew up in Richmond, Indiana in the 1960s and 70s. She became a leader in the self-advocacy movement, serving as president of both…

Infant Betty Williams in White Dress
This photograph shows Betty Williams as an infant, wearing a white dress. Betty grew up in Richmond, Indiana in the 1960s and 70s. She became a leader in the self-advocacy movement, serving as president of both Self-Advocates of Indiana and the…

Betty Williams in Pink Dress
This photograph shows Betty Williams as a young girl, wearing a pink dress. Betty grew up in Richmond, Indiana in the 1960s and 70s. She became a leader in the self-advocacy movement, serving as president of both Self-Advocates of Indiana and the…

Betty Williams with Bicycle
This photograph shows Betty Williams as a girl, sitting on a bicycle in front of a Christmas tree. Betty grew up in Richmond, Indiana in the 1960s and 70s. She became a leader in the self-advocacy movement, serving as president of both Self-Advocates…

Betty Williams in Jr. High School
This is a school photo of Betty Williams in 1974, during her time in jr. high school. Betty grew up in Richmond, Indiana in the 1960s and 70s. She became a leader in the self-advocacy movement, serving as president of both Self-Advocates of Indiana…

Betty Williams in 2007
Richmond, Indiana native Betty Williams was appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2014. She served as President of both the national organization Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered and of the statewide…

Mark Hublar in Washington, D.C.
Mark J. Hublar of New Albany, Indiana on a trip to Washington, D.C. where he met with several members of Congress and attended the National Down Syndrome Congress. The photo was taken by his father, Al Hublar, on February 26, 2009.

Partners in Policymaking
"We had legislators who came in and talked to people about how to communicate with a legislator, how to write to legislators." The Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities (GCPD) had its first Partners in Policymaking graduation class…

The Early Days of Back Home in Indiana Alliance
"We'd learned that, it's no surprise, people with disabilities were the most underserved group in the mortgage and lending industry." In this video, Deborah McCarty explains the launching of the Back Home in Indiana Alliance in 1997. The original…

Al Tolbert - Veterans Service Organizations
"I was in a hospital before I was discharged. Nobody told me about unemployment. Nobody told me about what we'd face in life in a wheelchair," recounts Al Tolbert in this video interview excerpt. "I think we're doing a better job than we did after…

Steve Hinkle - The Early Days of Group Homes
A member of the Fort Wayne neighborhood association where a new group home was going in telephoned Steve Hinkle. "'You know,' he said, 'just three houses down the road, there's a Cadillac that sits in a driveway.' And I said 'Well, I think that's…

Man with a Guide Dog
This 1940 Indiana photograph shows a man standing on a sidewalk in front of a building with a staircase. He is holding on to his guide dog's harness and leash. He is wearing a short sleeve shirt, a hat, and a watch chain hangs from his belt. Credit:…

Theodore Helping and His Leather Portfolio at the 1933 Indiana State Fair
In this black and white photograph, Theodore Helping of Indianapolis displays his leather portfolio that won a 1st Prize award at the 1933 State Fair. Fourteen year-old Theodore is wearing a tie and is in a wheelchair. He had been a patient in the…

Aerial View of the State House from the Southeast Includes a View of the Grounds, 1931
This 1931 black and white photograph shows an aerial view of the Indiana State Capitol building in Indianapolis. Credit: Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society. Collection P0130; Folder B15:F9; Negative…

ADA Legacy Tour Bus with SICIL Staff
This photograph shows the “ADA Legacy” tour bus, parked at the Monroe County History Center in Bloomington, Indiana on June 19, 2015. In front of the bus is Al Tolbert, retired director of the Southern Indiana Center for Independent Living (SICIL),…

Transcript: Andy Imlay Interview
"If you've ever seen the movie 'Forrest Gump', my mom was kind of like Forrest's mom." Andy Imlay was born with cerebral palsy in 1979, but his mom made sure he had the same opportunities as a child without disabilities. In the 1980s, Andy was…

Andy Imlay Interview
"If you've ever seen the movie 'Forrest Gump', my mom was kind of like Forrest's mom." Andy was born with cerebral palsy in 1979, but his mom made sure he had the same opportunities as a child without disabilities. In the 1980s, Andy was mainstreamed…

Dixie Patterson - Moving Out
"Jennifer really wanted to move so she kind of pushed it, and we did it and she was very excited." Dixie Patterson talks about her daughter moving into her first apartment at the age of 29 in 2000. Dixie says it was a bigger transition for her and…

Norman Kochensparger - Working to Make My Dreams Happen
"I bought a three bedroom house. And it's just me and I have a dog, and that's very exciting." Norman talks about his dream to own his own home, getting the help he needed and taking 15 classes on homeownership to prove he was credit-worthy. Norman…

Changes in Mental Health Services
Kathy Christoff and Bill Gilkey talk about the changes they have seen in Indiana mental health services since the 1960s. They discuss the development of mental health centers, improvements in medications, and the success of employment programs.…

Mike Furnish - The Early Days of Special Olympics Indiana
Mike Furnish, President/CEO of Special Olympics Indiana, was interviewed in 2013. Here he shares a brief history of the creation of the not-for-profit organization that provides sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with…

Darcus Nims - &quot;Just Like Anybody Else&quot;
In 1991, Darcus Nims traveled to Washington D.C. to receive the national Victorian Award for Achievement from President George H. Bush, for overcoming overwhelming challenges in her life. She had lunch at the White House and it was "the first time I…

Champions on Both Sides of the Aisle
"I don't know about you, Congressman, but it's important for me to know how to put my pants on every morning to keep my job here," was how John Dickerson paraphrased Congressman John Brademas in a memorable moment. The Congressman from South Bend,…

The 317 Plan: Charting a New Path
In 1998, Indiana’s “317 Commision” of consumers, advocates, and state officials published A Comprehensive Plan for the Design of Services for People with Developmental Disabilities, addressing the need for services to support people with…

&quot;We&#039;re Taking Him Home&quot;
"It's been a real adventure, but he just was thrown in the mix with his three brothers." Al and Linda Hublar talk about the lack of support and resources available when their son Mark was born with Down syndrome in the 1960s. They have made a point…

Lawrence Carter-Long - The Changing Depiction of Disabilities in the Media
New digital media have opened a creative landscape "where it's not someone else speaking on behalf of the person with the disability - you don't have the teachers or the preachers and the social workers pushing the agenda." Lawrence Carter-Long, a…

Dixie and Jennifer Patterson in 2000
This is a photograph of Jennifer Patterson (right) and her mother Dixie. Jennifer is shown in the first apartment she lived in on her own, in Bloomington, Indiana. The photo was taken on July 2, 2000.

Mike Furnish Interview
The first Special Olympics games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1968. Athletes from the United States, Canada and France participated in the games. In 1969, a group of volunteers organized the first Special Olympics Indiana games in…

Vicki Pappas Interview
"The biggest thing is the values that started with the Deinstitutionalization Project and went on through all of our projects about consumer advocacy, self-determination, empowerment to people with disabilities, language use... just totally different…

Betty Williams Interview
In 2016, Betty Williams received the Champions of Equal Opportunity Award from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Betty received the award for her leadership in promoting voting rights, serving on committees…

Byron K. Smith Interview
When Byron Smith was in sixth grade, his mother got a call from his teacher. She said, "Byron is out there on the monkey bars and he's sitting on the top bar and he's not hanging on with his hands." “My mom said, ‘Let him alone. Yes, he may fall. …

Jim Hammond Interview
"Now disability politics, you know, is not Republican or Democrats, it's really nonpartisan but you still have to be recognized as someone who's reliable and trustworthy," observes Jim Hammond in this 2013 interview. Working with legislators was part…

Darcus Nims Interview
"That's only for regular people, not for us kind of people." That’s what Darcus Nims says she was told when she wanted to take a typing class in school. Darcus founded Self-Advocates of Indiana, the statewide group of advocates with…

John Dickerson Interview
"Dickerson, I finally get it," a fiscally conservative State Senator from Hendricks County remarked. "He said, 'I'm on the board of directors of the bank and we hired this fellow with a disability. I don't even know what his disability is, but he's…

George Soper Interview
When he arrived in South Bend in 1980, the field of rehabilitation in Indiana "was in desperate need of some rapid growth," recalls George Soper. George had moved from Iowa, where he completed a doctoral work in the area of rehabilitation. Having…

Jamie Beck - From High School to a Nursing Home
"He asked me if I wanted out. I said yeah, do what it takes to get me out." Jamie Beck shared her story about how she ended up living in a nursing home shortly after graduating from high school. She says her father's stage four cancer led to her…

Transcript: Margaret Blome Interview
“Barb was born in 1962 and at that time, there was very little available for people who were multi-handicap,” states Margaret. In the early days, Margaret turned to Crossroads Rehabilitation Center for services for her daughter. After attending St.…

Margaret Blome Interview
“Barb was born in 1962 and at that time, there was very little available for people who were multi-handicap,” states Margaret. In the early days, Margaret turned to Crossroads Rehabilitation Center for services for her daughter. After attending St.…

John F. Kennedy Panel on Mental Retardation in 1962
This is a photograph of U.S. President John F. Kennedy meeting with the Panel on Mental Retardation in the Fish Room at the White House on October 16, 1962.
Credit: Abbie Rowe, National Park Service / John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and…

Suellen Jackson-Boner Interview
"The initiative on livable communities is one that I was super excited about, because I think to me that's where the disability community should be." Suellen Jackson-Boner discusses the direction that the Indiana Governor's Council for People with…

Transcript: Suellen Jackson-Boner Interview
"The initiative on livable communities is one that I was super excited about, because I think to me that's where the disability community should be." Suellen Jackson-Boner discusses the direction that the Indiana Governor's Council for People with…

Steve Hinkle Interview
"So you take funding, you take turmoil, you take parents, you take need, and then you had that end of society and their reactions to a person with 'mental retardation'..." When Steve (Stephen L.) Hinkle took on the challenges and leadership of the…

Indiana State House
This is a photograph of an aerial view of the Indiana State House in Indianapolis, by photographer Carol Highsmith.

Credit: Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Dawn Adams - The Work of Indiana Disability Rights
"In every state and territory in the country there is what is called P & A, which is short for Protection and Advocacy System. So every state is required to have a designated agency that serves as the state's P&A, who is there to protect and…

Cori Mitchell Interview
“I get the benefits of free movies. So it's a good all-around job,” explains Cori of her job at the movie theater. Cori works part-time taking tickets. When Cori was interviewed in 2013, she had been working at the movie theater for the past 13…

Donna Roberts Interview
“Forty-seven years ago I gave birth to a child who was born with multiple disabilities. This was back in New Hampshire. It was before there were any laws about education or anything. And I found problems getting services for her. They wouldn't let…

Erika Steuterman Interview
“I have a servant's mentality… so what do I do? Well, now my focus is on helping families with young children with disabilities and as they go up through the school system, how do you get supports after age 22.” Erika Steuterman has two daughters…

David Mank Interview
"I think it's extremely important that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities be a continued and increasingly strong voice in developmental disability issues of the day. And be in the rooms where decisions get made about funding,…

Margaret Blome - Services Were Hard to Find<br /><br />
When talking about services in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Margaret Blome says, “There was very little available for people with multi-handicaps.” Margaret did find a therapist at Crossroads Rehabilitation Center in Indianapolis who worked with her daughter,…

Peter Bisbecos Interview
“What I learned is that I had to prove myself constantly, that people with very good intentions just didn’t think I was capable of doing things because of my vision. They wanted to protect me,” says Peter Bisbecos talking about his school…

1979 Central Indiana Invitational Wheelchair Games Official Program
The second annual Central Indiana Invitational Wheelchair Games took place on April 28 and 29, 1979 at Carmel High School, north of Indianapolis. Events in swimming, weightlifting, field sports (including javelin, discus, shot put, and club throw),…

Karen Vaughn - The Time Ed Roberts Visited Indiana
“It changed my life,” explains Karen Vaughn of her experience going through Partners in Policymaking in 1992. A leadership training program for adults with disabilities and parents, Partners in Policymaking had been recently initiated by the Indiana…

Indiana Disability History Timeline
This document presents the highlights of state and national events related to people with disabilities in Indiana from 1816 to 2017.

Mike Morton - The Early Days of Respite Services
Mike Morton worked in Indiana state government for 20 years. In the late 1970s, after the legislature passed the Family Subsidy law, he was responsible for defining family subsidy, which included respite services. The Indiana Governor’s Council for…

Sandy Braunbeck Interview
Sandy Braunbeck grew up with an agency serving people with disabilities in southern Indiana. Now known as Rauch, Inc., it was founded in New Albany in 1953. Her father, George "Tooter" Tinius, worked at Rauch and her brothers helped with the summer…

Transcript: Sandy Braunbeck Interview
Sandy Braunbeck grew up with an agency serving people with disabilities in southern Indiana. Now known as Rauch, Inc., it was founded in New Albany in 1953. Her father, George "Tooter" Tinius, worked at Rauch and her brothers helped with the summer…

Transcript: David Nelson Interview
"We didn't want a nursing home saying, we are a Center for Independent Living, we're eligible for that money." David Nelson talks about the establishment of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Indiana. He describes a successful effort in Indiana…

David Nelson Interview
"We didn't want a nursing home saying, we are a Center for Independent Living, we're eligible for that money." David Nelson talks about the establishment of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in Indiana. He describes a successful effort in Indiana…

Ethan Crough - Stereotypical Roles in the Entertainment World
"I'm one who has educational conversations about dwarfism with the world." In this excerpt from a 2017 interview, Columbus, Indiana resident Ethan Crough discusses the portrayal of people with dwarfism in popular media, depictions that have…

Don Melloy - Development of The Arc Chapters
“They asked me to work on the objective of developing an Arc in every county in Indiana,” says Don Melloy. Don would take off after to work to travel around the state meeting with parents and community members. He would discuss the benefits of…

Dixie Patterson Interview
"Even though professionals are very good and a lot of times very empathetic, it's still not the same as having lived it 24 hours a day." As both a parent of an adult daughter with intellectual/developmental disabilities and a retired disability…

Kelsey Cowley - Being a Voice for Change
“We have an opinion and it matters,” states Kelsey Crowley. Unfortunately, Kelsey didn’t feel many people listened to her during her school years. She says, “They just didn’t understand people with disabilities to the whole extent.” As President of…

Senator Tom Harkin - Americans with Disabilities Act: The Past and the Future
"I must be completely honest - I was not the first person to introduce the Americans with Disabilities Act," retired U.S. Senator Tom Harkin pointed out in an interview with the Indiana Disability History Project. In fact, Senator Harkin had been one…

Transcript: Mary Lou Melloy Interview
On December 24, 1958, Mary Lou and Don Melloy were told their daughter Cindy should be placed in an institution. Mary Lou said, “My response was that they didn’t know what they were talking about…a very unhappy, aggressive mother left the room.”…

Mary Lou Melloy Interview
On December 24, 1958, Mary Lou and Don Melloy were told their daughter Cindy should be placed in an institution. Mary Lou said, “My response was that they didn’t know what they were talking about…a very unhappy, aggressive mother left the room.”…

Bettye Dunham Interview
Bettye Dunham got her start in the disability field in 1975. She was a support person to an Indiana University student needing assistance with note taking and studying. Bettye says, “The things I learned from Chris really endeared me to the field.”…

Don Melloy Interview
“I found in going around the state and meeting with organizations, they didn't want to talk to one another, “states Don Melloy of his experience in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s in organizing Arc chapters in Indiana. The original focus of The Arc was…

Darcus Nims - &quot;They Didn&#039;t Think I Could Do It&quot;
In 2006, we asked Darcus Nims to discuss her biggest accomplishment. She said, “Most proudest thing would be getting self-advocates started, that showing people that what all the special stuff that disability people can do, you know.” Darcus founded…