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Nonprofit Institute
College of Southern Maryland
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
Fax: 301-934-7704

Charles County
Cara Fogarty

Michelle Sullivan

St. Mary's County
Harriet Yaffe

St. Mary's County Nonprofit Spotlight:

Southern Maryland Center for Independent Living

Lidiya, Pam and Jerry

SMCIL staff, Lidiya, Pam and Jerry at SMCIL’s booth during the Veterans Stand Down in May 2017

Kayla Lee and Michael Bussard

Kayla Lee and Michael Bussard preparing pancakes during Independent Living Skills Training

“Supporting people living with disabilities to lead self-directed, independent lives”

Southern Maryland Center for Independent Living or SMCIL is a non-residential, non-profit, community based human service agency committed to assisting all people living with disabilities and supporting them to lead self-directed and productive lives within the community. SMCIL was established by and for people with disabilities in the year 2000 and serves residents of St. Mary’s, Calvert, and Charles Counties. It is one of seven Centers for Independent Living in the state of Maryland and a part of a nationwide network of centers working to support individuals establish independent lives.

We believe that each person with a disability should be empowered to function at their highest achievable level of independence. Consumer control, consumer choice, equal access, and equal opportunity for all people with disabilities regardless of diagnosis or age drives our dedicated staff to provide Five Core Services:

  • Individual & Systems Advocacy- Disability awareness training, advocacy for improved accessibility, and/or assistance for individuals transitioning through various stages.
  • Information and Referral- Disability-specific information and referrals to ensure access to the knowledge needed to receive or maintain independence in the community of choice.
  • Independent Living Skills Training- Develop and reinforce everyday life skills such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning, employment readiness, social skills, job development and training.
  • Peer Support- Partner with peers or mentors to accomplish strategic objectives and goals to obtain success and maximum independence.
  • Transitioning Services- Programs that assist consumers who are transitioning. Transitioning Youth (TY) focuses on school-aged individuals transitioning from high school to post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment, and/or continuing and adult education. Money Follows the Person (MFP) focuses on transition from an institution such as a nursing home or a rehab facility into the community.

In addition to the Five Core Services, SMCIL assists with the purchase of Assistive Technology (AT) which is any item, piece of equipment, or product used to increase, maintain, or improve one’s ability to be independent in their daily activities. This includes home and vehicle modifications such as bathroom modifications, ramp installations, vehicle lifts, and hand control installations.

SMCIL also hosts a Disabled Veterans Support Network that meets the 2nd Friday of every month at their Mechanicsville office. A hot meal is provided and a speaker presents information related to Veterans Benefits. A new Veterans Training Center is now open to all Veterans who need basic computer training, help with their resume, job search, or application assistance.

Charles County Nonprofit Spotlight:


VConnections, Inc.

The organization was formed with a clear goal of connecting southern Maryland veterans and their families with available resources within the tri-counties. VConnections provides high quality assistance to aid in the stabilization of under-served veterans and their dependents living in rural communities regardless of race, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, or political beliefs. These connections are provided by:

  • Being mobile, visible, and available for veterans and their families;
  • Partnering with local, state, and Federal resources; and
  • Advocating the concerns and needs of southern Maryland veterans and their families.

Founder Bill Buffington saw a need and partnered with Chick-Fil-A to sponsor coffee breaks every week to provide an ongoing opportunity for area veterans to meet. It provides a weekly forum for local vets to discuss their concerns and learn about various resources as well as provides a wonderful sense of comradery.

Most recently, VConnnections partnered with the New Hope Church of God in Waldorf to design and build the Community Veterans Memorial, a monument displayed in front of the church honoring Charles County service members and their families. VConnections founder and CEO Bill Buffington took the lead on the project, working with Jones to bring it to fruition. Bricks cost $125 and those interested can contact the church for details. Participants are given a sheet of paper to write their message, and up to three lines for text.