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Disability Network Southwest Michigan

Staff Highlight: Sarah Powless

Sarah is a young woman with long dark hair, light skin, and wears glasses.

Sarah is an Independent Living Specialist with Disability Network. Here Sarah talks about how her personal experience in gaining independence helped develop her passion for helping others do the same.

Growing up I was always encouraged to be as independent as I could be as a person with a disability. Independent was the first big word I ever learned! I had an amazing support circle which included my parents, teachers, church congregations, and doctors. My main disability is having a hearing loss and I also experience migraine headaches and dystonia. I have gone through physical therapy, speech therapy, counseling, psychiatrists, and multiple doctors that prescribed all the medications under the sun to help manage my constant level of pain, anxiety and depression.

I am currently living independently which for me includes having completed college, holding a secure job, paying my own bills, living with my husband and not relying on my parents. Growing up, I was always aware that I had resources that were not easily attainable to others which made my heart sink. I knew I wanted to help other people with disabilities achieve their personal level of independence, so I went to college and became a rehabilitation counselor.

Watching my mom advocate for me all of my life and teach me how to advocate for myself, I want to give back to the world. This world is tough, but with the right resources and the right people, we can achieve our goals. I want to be that middle person that connects someone to their next step in achieving their own personal goals. In the long run, that goal is obtaining, maintaining and thriving in an independent life.