Association for Independent Living (AFIL)

Special Needs Youth

Giving the Gift of Independence to Young Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The mission of the Association for Independent Living (AFIL) is to strengthen the independence of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through life skills education, vocational guidance, community integration and spiritual growth in a supportive living environment. AFIL’s vision is to build upon a foundation of over 37 years of success, serving the needs of these young adults through development and expansion of our existing campus and the establishment of new campuses and programs. The ultimate goal for all students is to learn how to live on their own, achieve greater independence, contribute to the community, and foster hope for their future.

Chris Spieth recently visited AFIL (Dallas) to see first-hand how this grassroots organization is working to provide a caring, affordable avenue for these young adults to continue their personal growth and development of life skills. The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation recently awarded AFIL a grant to assist with programming opportunities for their residents.

“Groups like AFIL work very hard; they are often spread thin and working day and night to serve, help and teach their residents,” Chris said. “As a parent, you always think about what is next for your child, what is best for them. With a child that has special needs, it’s important places like AFIL exist to give those families opportunities to find their right fit for the next stage. We are very happy to offer the support of the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation.”

AFIL students are capable of achieving an independent life, but AFIL understands their need more assistance than the average individual. Both AFIL and the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation agree the most effective way of learning happens in real time, and through natural experiences. “This is what every young adult must face once they leave their parents’ home and enter the “real world.” This is true for our students as well, except they need a more structured and consistent way of learning, along with guidance from others than just their parents,” Executive Director Sarah Causey said

“Without funding, not only do we not have a consistent and effective program, but we literally cease to provide assistance of any kind to our students,” said Causey. “Receiving funds from the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation ensures that we are able to continue providing services to a population who otherwise could easily fall through the cracks. We embrace the love and support which comes specifically from the JSFF because this population is so near and dear to their hearts and mission!”

AFIL seeks to find a balance of both structured guidance and natural learning. Without this balance, it’s too easy for this population to be looked over and as a result, struggle through every day experiences. From job searches to transportation training, financial education to nutritional learning, JSFF is eager to see AFIL continue to grow and provide quality services to this special population and their families.