Our vision is "A Barrier-Free Northwest Missouri!"

We are Northwest Missouri's Center for Independent Living

More than half of our board members and staff have a disability. We use our personal experiences to see the abilities people have, and we respect people for who they are.
We believe people with disabilities should have control over their own lives, achieve their own goals, and fully participate in their communities.
Since 1994, MERIL has provided five core services for people with disabilities in Northwest Missouri:
Learn more about Centers for Independent Living in Missouri at www.mosilc.org.
Our service area includes: Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, and Worth counties.
MERIL service area

Meet Our Team

Executive Director / CEO
Director of Programs
Ashley Tucker
Registered Nurse (RN)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Tiffany Diaz
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
In-Home Services Coordinator
Amber King
Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Specialist
Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Specialist
Maria Brandt
Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Specialist
Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Specialist
Lauren Lynch
Transition and Independent Living (IL) Specialist
Lisa Gabriel
Information and Referral (I&R) Communications Specialist
Robert Miller
Financial Assistant
Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Support Specialist
Laura Hagan
Facilities Coordinator

What People Are Saying about MERIL

“MERIL hooked me up with a CCTV so I can read my newspapers, magazines and whatever else I need to read, and got me connected with the Wolfner Library so I can listen to audio books and got me a (TAP) phone.  MERIL has been great!  Without MERIL I would be sitting in this house feeling very sorry for myself. I would be pretty bored just sitting around not being able to listen to books.” – Beth Miller

[Charles is living independently, thanks to his Aunt telling him about MERIL, and for now at least, the cancer is gone. But where would he be without some help?]
“Well, before I had it, I was down at InterServ at the shelter because I was on the street. I’d probably be back on the street. Now I’m doing great!!!” – Charles Harris

“MERIL does things for me that I can’t do. When I had surgery they helped me get my bandages.  I’m glad that MERIL is here because at least I get to be home. Otherwise I would probably be in a nursing home, so I’d rather be here. The best choice a person can make is to be with MERIL. They would be a winner. That’s how much I love MERIL!” – Martina Contreras

“I think it’s important because you get your independence back which is very important when you’re an independent person and all that is taken away from you. It’s hard to get back to where you were.” – Patsy Moss

“I’m able to stay in my own home and to be able to be with my grandkids and do what I want to do when I want to do it with them and they can come as they please.  I’m always out preaching about MERIL, always. Some people say I can’t do this or I can’t do that and I always let them know they can do everything they want to do with MERIL.” – Penny Moreno

“Employees need to be trained and our employees need to have tact when it comes to dealing with people with disabilities.  I challenge all the businesses out there to get with MERIL and do the same thing Hy-Vee has done [MERIL Seal of Accessibility].  It’s been a great experience.” – Brad McAnally, Store Director, St. Joseph HyVee

“Our Opinion”

MERIL’s Mission Worthy of Support

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The organizational mission statement for Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living describes a desired state: “All individuals, with or without a disability, are free to live as independently as they choose.”

This is a powerful, life-affirming vision we can sign on to. We encourage others to follow suit.

In doing so, you can give the participants in MERIL’s programs something more than your charitable gifts or even your compassion. You can share in the understanding we are all in this together.

MERIL is marking its 20th year with a luncheon today and other activities intended to raise awareness of its programs that last year reached 945 people in nine counties of Northwest Missouri. These programs are designed to assist people with disabilities and those who are experiencing the effects of aging.

The bulk of MERIL’s more than $7 million annual operating budget comes from Medicaid reimbursements related to personal care assistant services. However, the agency’s supportive efforts broadly impact the region. Among services it offers:

• The In-Home program through which a registered nurse is available to assist with medication setup, general health assessments or diabetic nail care.

• The Participant Assistance Fund that last year met 236 requests for help in obtaining grab bars, shower chairs, walkers and more.

• Multiple services for the deaf, hearing-impaired, blind and visually impaired, including sign language instruction and interpreting services.

• Advocacy for accommodations such as handicapped-accessible facilities, disability neutral hiring practices and steps to incorporate universal design into home and business construction.

Putting its message into action, MERIL takes pride in the fact a majority of its staff and board of directors are people who personally have experienced disabilities. Their insights into how to meet the needs of the disabled and aging are of unique value to our region.

Today we join in recognizing these contributions, as well as MERIL’s two decades of service.

Editorial reprinted by permission of the St. Joseph News-Press. © 2014 St. Joseph News-Press and FOX 26 KNPN. All rights reserved.

You can do small things right now to help people with disabilities.