Rolling Start Center for Independent Living was incorporated in October of 1977. The two individuals that founded the organization were both individuals with spinal cord disabilities ( Nick Hambrick and David Ritter). The center was established as a grassroots organization manned mostly by volunteers who were also persons with disabilities. Originally the center served just the people with disabilities in the Inland Empire Basin.
The philosophy of the center has always been to empower individuals with all types of disabilities to be the best they can be. These original volunteer advocates were able to accomplish the installation of the blue curbs throughout downtown San Bernardino, and bring about the installation of wheelchair lifts for the local public transit busses.
Early on Rolling Start acquired a home in San Bernardino and turned it into a transitional living center. Staff assessed appropriate person’s with disabilities and brought them out of skilled nursing facilities into a home like setting. These participants were taught how to manage a home and a personal assistant after a disability onset. They completed the course within six months and relocated to their own home after graduation. We were successful in transitioning approximately 63 people with severe disabilities into their own homes throughout the six years we had the program.
The core services, which Rolling Start provides at this time are as follows: Personal Assistant Referral, Housing Information, Systems and Individual Advocacy, Peer Advising, Information and Referral, Independent Living Skills Training, Assistive Technology. Rolling Start also provides Transition Services. The combination of one or all of these services may be a very important component in assisting persons with disabilities in becoming or remaining independent in their home, community and the workplace.
At present we cover 33,000 square miles, which covers San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono Counties. We serve approximately 1,500 consumers with disabilities per year with various core services needs.
The driving force of the center is teaching people with disabilities to advocate for what they need to be productive members within the communities in which they live.
Rolling Start has been very fortunate to receive many awards from various government and community leaders over the past 35 years. Rolling Start is willing to partner with anyone whose goal is to improve the environment both physically and programmatically for people for disabilities in the communities we serve.