Mission & History

Our Vision

For people with disabilities to be included in all aspects of the human experience.

Our Mission

Transforming thinking to improve the environment and quality of life for people with disabilities.


The Disability Network Capital Area, formerly known as Capital Area Center for Independent Living, has a rich and long history with the Greater Lansing Area. Established in 1976 and originally called the Handicapper Advocacy Alliance Inc., Disability Network Capital Area was founded by two Michigan State University students, Jeff Peters and Len Sawich. Along with their friend Duncan Wyeth, their vision was based on the work of Ed Roberts and the Independent Living Movement, a product of the Civil Rights and Disability Rights Movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. These movements helped shape the idea that independent living does not mean doing everything on your own, but refers to being able to make choices and have greater control over your life.

Disability Network Capital Area is part of the statewide network of Centers for Independent Living. Mandated by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Centers for Independent Living are required to have at least 51% of the staff, as well as Board of Directors, as individuals with disabilities. The staff includes Rehabilitation Counselors, Social Workers, and Independent Living Specialists. Disability Network Capital Area staff is a powerful combination of professionally trained individuals who use personal experience with disabilities to help others. Our service area includes the counties of Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Shiawassee.

Also, as disabilities touch so many people; we work on a larger scale, helping government and businesses make changes that benefit not just those with disabilities but everyone in the community.

All characteristics including those characteristics that we label medically as disabilities are in fact, normal human characteristics. We all have a wide range of them. They only become positively or negatively valued depending on how people socially interact with us or how we interact with our environment.”

Duncan Wyeth
Former Executive Director

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