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About Us

What is Independent Living?

Independent Living began first with a center at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972. The unstoppable Independent Living movement has since grown rapidly as demonstrated by the nearly 500 centers now operating nationwide. This Independent Living success story is mainly attributable to the unique and practical philosophy which sets Independent Living Centers apart from other approaches to helping people with disAbilities: Independent Living Centers are run by and for people with disAbilities.

“The creation of centers for independent living is based on the “philosophy of independent living, which includes consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access and individual and system advocacy, to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence and productivity of individuals with disAbilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disAbilities in the mainstream of American society.”

“Independent Living is a philosophy and a movement of people with disAbilities who work for self-determination, equal opportunities and self-respect.” Adoloph Ratzka. 

Our History

New Horizons began its disability problem solving in 1992 when founded by a handful of volunteers in the Prescott area.  They knew they wanted to make a dent in serving the unmet needs of individuals with disabilities living in rural areas, but they didn’t know how.  In 1993, it began to become clear that traditional service models were not the way they wanted to go, but Independent Living was.  In October of 1994, these volunteers, a majority of them with disabilities themselves, received a vote of confidence from the Federal Government with a five-year commitment of $103,000 per year.

 This grant covered basic expenses and specified a responsibility for continuing and expanding Independent Living services throughout the rural counties of Mohave, Yavapai, Coconino, Navajo and Apache counties, 59,000 square miles, an area larger than the entire state of Pennsylvania!  It was a big upward responsibility shift for a little New Horizons, but not impossible.  Guided by the proven, unstoppable Independent Living philosophy, and aided by eager peer mentor volunteers, helping others to move across the usual dividing lines of disability, New Horizons will succeed! 

 From Carol Moynihan, one of the original founders of New Horizons:  “When my daughter was born, I got involved in the movement to affect children to be more independent.  After moving to Dewey, Arizona, I became a member of the school board.  Then when I was working for a rehabilitation center, I had a dream that I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.  So I quit my job and started New Horizons. 

A lot of people volunteered and helped to get it off the ground.  It was started in the home of a volunteer and our aim was to provide help to individuals with disabilities and their families.  Our first goals were referral services, advocacy and transportation.  It was suggested to name the original transportation services, the New Freedom Express. 

Our first Board of Directors included two mothers of kids with disabilities, counselors, a school psychologist, a music therapist, a secretary and a tax consultant.  New Horizons grew from humble beginnings consisting of a group of people interested in rural disabilities issues.  Our first real office was a very small space on Valley Road in Prescott Valley, next door to the mayor’s office.”

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