Arizona Gives Day: April 7th, 2020

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, is a day for Arizonans to donate to their favorite nonprofits.  BE SURE TO INCLUDE INDEPENDENCE PLUS!  Just click on this email address.  If it does not take you directly to our donation page, just enter ‘Independence Plus, Inc’ in the ‘Search Organization’ box.

All donations whether big or small are greatly appreciated!

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Fall 2019 Newsletter

Independence Plus


Dr. Gregory Triandafilou

“Serving the Special Needs of Arizona”

3150 N 35th Avenue, Ste 2  Phoenix, AZ  85017  (602) 484-7610

A Message from the Associate Director

This is the time of year for thanks.  Thank you to all of our wonderful employees for taking such good care of our members.  Thanks to organizations that have given us grants such as Sundt Foundation, Allstate, and the Federal Government.  Thank you to all of our donors.  Each and every dollar helps us!

Recently we were granted a wheelchair accessible van for 2020 at a cost of $59,000.  Our portion due is 15% or roughly $8,800.  Please help donate towards our portion of the van!!  Transportation is a wonderful and a big portion of our program.  It allows us to bring members to and from the center.  It also allows our members to go on outings such as visiting museums, libraries, parks, or participating in Special Olympics.

May all your holidays be blessed!

2019 Arizona State Fair!


Independence Plus once again had a great showing at the 2019 Arizona State Fair.  Three out of our five program areas won first place!


Visit to Phoenix Police Museum

On November 18, 2019 a group from Juniper visited the Phoenix Police Museum.  It is located on the first floor of historic city hall in downtown Phoenix.





Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 31st, was Spook-tack-ular at Independence Plus!  Each program area had their own game or activity.  Rooms then took turns visiting all the other program areas.  Lunch was served starting at 11:30 PM with a beautifully decorated table of goodies.  Room games and activities started around 12:30 PM.  At 3:00 PM:  ISP and regular educational activities took place.  All in all it was a full day at Independence Plus!












Happy Thanksgiving

Great food and table preparation by members and staff.  All rooms assisted in making our festive holiday come alive!  Kudos to the board of directgors and their families for helping out this year.  They are wearing the black aprons with turkey on the front.  Everyone had a great time!!














Holiday Bulletin Boards Created by Members and Staff!


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Summer 2019 Newsletter

    Independence Plus   

“Serving the Special Needs of Arizona”


A Message from the Executive Director

This newsletter probably finds you ‘basting’ in the desert heat/humidty and looking forward to cooler days.  Oh, me too!  It is worth it because soon we will be barbecuing while others are shoveling snow from their driveway and sidewalks.

September 8-14, 2019 is Direct Support Professional Recognition Week.  This week is dedicated to recognizing DSPs for their contribution to members, families, agencies, and the community.  While not always an easy job- understanding, empathy, and love will always be a requirement of the job.

On Saturday, August 24th, all staff at Independence Plus attended a Positive Behavior Support class held at the center.  People were on time and nobody grumbled or complained.  That is a testament to our staff who are are dedicated to our mission and the work we do.

Independence Plus is very lucky.  We have a low rate of turnover compared to many other agencies in the same field.  If and when you get a chance, please give a kind word and say thanks to our direct service workers.

We also send thanks to parents, family, guardians, caregivers, and ADH Providers.  Bless you for giving yourselves in the spirit of service.  It’s not just a job…      it is a calling and a mission!

Yours in Service,

David A. Brieno



New/Used:  Bath Towels, Dish Towels, Sheets, Aprons                                                                                                                                                                          Recliner Chairs in Good Condition, Black Ink Pens, Multi-fold Paper Towels,                                                                                                                                        Yellow Legal Pads, Hygiene Wipes, Copy Paper



Thanks to the ongoing generosity of the Sundty Foundation, we now have a battery powered electric lift.  This lift can handle members up to 450 lbs with ease.  It is a blessing for members and staff. Members get moved safely and gently.  Staff greatly reduce back injuries.  Win-win solution for Independence Plus!





Robin has been attending Independence Plus  since fall of 2011.  He actively participates in  Special Olympics and has won many gold  medals over the years.  He competes in ‘Ball Toss’ in Track and Field games and also participates in bowling events.   According to his classmates, Robin is VERY good at UNO. Besides card games Robin enjoys decorating his class bulletin board and being involved in arts & crafts.

Robin also loves outings and goes whenever he can.  Whether it is visitng a library, museum, stadium or park…it’s all good!







* Only Members with Photo Release can be featured in our newsletters. 




June 28, 2019 

7:30 – 8:30 AM:  Put away belongings, Begin routine morning activities, exercise, and ISP programs as usual

9:30 – 11:30 AM:  Arts & Crafts (each program area)

10:30 – 11:30 AM:  *Helpers in the Kitchen for KP duty*

10:45 – 11:00 AM:  Cleanup, Get REady for Hawaiian Luau!

11:30 – 12:30 PM:  LUAU LUNCH- Delicious pineapple and ham pizza, ambrosia, and sherbet drinks

12:30 – 1:00 PM:  Clean-up kitchen

1:00 – 2:30 PM  Hula Dancing, Limbo, In-House Movie, Bingo, Board Games

2:30 – 3:30 PM  Return to Program Areas to finish arts & crafts, Hawaiian Music, Interactive Computer (Smart Board)

3:15 – 3:30 PM  Begin to tidy up- wash any dishes or containers used

3:30 – 4:00 PM  Gather Belongings, Prepare for Van Departures

*Note:  This is a regular program day; member ISP programs continue throughout the day as appropriate









Some of our room bulletin boards decorated for Game Day on 08/30/19

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Spring 2019 Newsletter

  Independence Plus    

“Serving the Special Needs of Arizona”


A Message from the Executive Director                                                                                                                                                                       Spring 2019

Greetings Friends of Independence Plus!!

Rules, regulations and expectations on the federal and state level for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) are ever-changing.  It keeps us on our toes being informed of the latest developments.  Fortunately, there is an effective system in place to keep us up to date.

Member services are becoming even more member-focused.  What does the member need:  Member want or don’t want?  Goals?  What would make for a happier life?  It is no secret that many people have a hard time expressing or identifying their needs, wants, or goals.  I was taught earlier in life that it is selfish and inconsiderate to talk about oneself.  Later in life I learned that it is perfectly okay to do so.  In fact, I have larned that if you really want something- be specific!  Dale Carnegie talks out this in one of his books.  “You only get that what you ask for.”  So, aim high!

Some individuals do not speak.  There are other ways to communicate.  There is sign language, communication devices, gestures, eye blinking, head movements and various vocalizations.  Our Direct Support Staff is receptive to the various methods necessary in order to “reach out” to any given member.  We are all different and express ourselves differently.

In closing I wanted to share a “you know you’re getting old when…” story.  When Independence Plus first opened I got a visit from a past employee at Gompers.  She came to show off her baby.  Fast forward to today… that past Gomper’s employee works for Independence Plus as a DSPII and her daughter works for us as a DSP I.


David A. Brieno


Thank You New Founders of Freedom!       


The New Founders of Freedom meet in Avondale, AZ.  They are a fraternal order of motorcyclists that like to take rides and contribute to the their community!  This past Christmas they delivered stockings and gifts to all of our members.  In March they held a Texas Hold’em fundraiser in order to purchase Easter goodies.  Members got a bag filled with games and delicious treats to take home.  We appreciate all the kindness and joy NFF has brought our way!!


On April 4, 2019 Independence Plus competed in the track and field division of the regional Special Olympics.  Event took place at Kellis High School in Glendale.  Five proud members participated in the softball throw.  We ended up winning 1st through 5th place ribbons.  Way to go team!



On April 05, 2019 several members were able to attend the Sprout Film Festival.  It was held at Pollack Tempe Cinemas in Tempe, AZ and sponsored by The Arc of Chandler/Gilbert.  The Sprout Film Festival focuses exclusively on films that celebrate the diverse lives and creativity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  The Festival strives to challenge assumptions and breakdown stereotypes.  It is now a touring film festival throughout the U.S. and was founded in 2003 by Anthony Di Salvo.  All members and staff who attended the event had a great time.  They look forward to the 2020 Sprout Film Festival!



New/Used:  Bath Towels, Dish Towels, Sheets, Aprons:

Recliner Chairs in Good Condition, Black Ink Pens, Multi-fold Paper Towels,

Yellow Legal Pads, Hygiene Wipes, Copy Paper



Our Bowl-a-thon was held again this year at Let It Roll Bowl in Phoenix.  On Saturday, May 04th, over thirty people descended upon the lanes to bowl for funa nd prizes or to lend their support.  We give thanks to the following businesses for donating door prizes:

RC Fitness & Nutrition.   Lunchtime Cafe.   Jakes Bethany Auto.   Pay Tech.   Precision Imports.   You Fit/Bethany Home Rd.

There was a total of 10 door prizes which included $5 gift cards to Starbucks and Dunkin’Donuts.  $100.00 cash prize was awarded to the individual with the highest score.  Charles Booker, one our direct support professionals at IPI, won it was a score of 138.  50/50 Raffle winner went to our fellow employee Magaly Orona.  She is also a direct support professional.  She took home $321 in cash.  Congrats to Charles and Magaly!  Grand prize was donated by our Associate Director, Dr. Greg.  It was a signed fine art photo printed on canvas and given to the participant who brought in the most sponsor money.  It was awarded to Julie Harms.  Besides donation a door prize (PayTech) she also donated $400 to our cause.  Thank you so much Julie!!  We look forward to seeing everybody again next year.








50/50 Raffle Winner                              High Score Winner                                        Art Prize


Arizona Gives Day is a day for the people of Arizona to donate to their favorite charities.  this year the event raised roughly 3.6 million dollars.  We raised over $3,000!  Thanks to each and everyone of you who contributed to Independence Plus!!


                              Meet Our New Members!                                

                                                       Brendan                                                                                                                        Ever










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Winter 2018/19 Newsletter

A Message from the Program Director

What makes our program so special?  The answer may be as simple as L-O-V-E.  Many  of our employees have been at IPI since the early days.  Over the past year each of our dedicated staff members has taken Sensitivity and Cultural Diversity classes allowing us to better connect with our members.  We have developed great relationships in the community, with family members, and with each other.

Our agency receives its basic funding from the good state of Arizona.  As we are a nonprofit agency, people have opened their hearts and offered whatever they could.  Some offered us items such as food or clothing.

Others may have volunteered for special events or given us a price break.  And there are those who donated money or approved a grant.  Still others may have shared ideas, explained directions, or just given us a kind word when we were out in the community.

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone; but, the appreciation we have for each other and our community partners never expires.

Happy Valentine’s Day- all year long!

Sharyl Torres



6th Annual Bowl-a-thon

Our 6th Annual Bowl-a-thon will be on Saturday, May 4th.  Every year the bowl-a-thon grows and brings in more money for our organization.  Come join in the fun and help Independence Plus to continue it’s great programs!  Participant who brings in the most pledge money gets an original signed 16 x 24″ fine art photo canvas print.  You do not need to physically bowl to win this grand prize.  Just go out and ask family members and friends to donate to our cause.  On the day of the event, you turn in your pledge sheet and monies collected have someone else turn it in for you. Plenty of door prizes will be handed out during the bowl-a-thon.  When everyone is finished bowling, $100 cash prize for  the highest score will be announced.  Winner for 50-50 raffle will also be picked.  You do not need to participate or be in attendance at the bowl-a-thon to participate  in the 50-50 raffle.  Good luck everybody!

Arizona Gives Day 2019

Arizona Gives Day returns on April 2, 2019.   24 hours of giving benefits our local nonprofits and strengthens our community. The event will inspire people to give generously.    PLEASE MAKE INDEPENDENCE PLUS ONE OF YOUR PRIORITIES .  Do not forget: receive up to $400 Arizona state dollar for dollar tax credit per individual or $800 for married couple (filing jointly) when you donate by tax time.  Donate $400 by April 15, 2019 and you can still receive $400 dollar for dollar tax credit on Az State taxes for 2018 or apply it towards your 2019 tax return..

Welcome To Our New Members!

* Only Members with Photo Release can be included in our newsletters.

Over the last 2 months Independence Plus participated in outreach events.  Our Associate Director, Dr. Greg, gave a power point presentation to transition coordinators at Phoenix College and another presentation to coordinators and families at North Phoenix High School. Increased exposure means more tours and ultimately more members we can serve!

February 2019 we received grant money from the Sundt and Allstate Foundations.  Sundt’s check in the amount of $1,800 arrived on Valentines Day!  A check for $1,000 arrived from The Allstate Foundation later in the month.  We can now go ahead and purchase the heavy duty electric hoyer lift for our center and help pay towards our van repair bills.   THANK YOU SUNDT AND ALLSTATE FOUNDATIONS!! 

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Fall 2018 Newsletter

A Message from the Associate Director

By the time you receive this newsletter Thanksgiving will have recently passed.  I hope everyone had a blessed day.

This time of year we give thanks to everyone who assists Independence Plus.  We are grateful for our wonderful staff who magically come together when they are needed the most.  We are also very thankful for Thomas Schell.  He recently joined our Board of Directors and has put in numerous volunteer hours doing repairs to our building and upkeep to our vans.  His enthusiasm to see Independence Plus thrive is infectious.  We are also grateful for our 20th  year of service to our community (see p. 3)!

We are extremely grateful to various foundations and individuals that have either provided grant money or donations throughout the year.  A shout out goes to the Allstate Foundation for a grant donation this month in the amount of $1,000.00. Because we are funded by the state, many (including staff and members’ families) falsely believe that all our bills are taken care of.   State monies help us squeak by from month to month.  Foundations and individuals allow us to provide extras that can mean so much to our cause.  Presently  we are seeking monies to purchase a portable electric lift that will make life alot safer for members and staff.  This grant money from Allstate Foundation will certainly help us towards this goal.

On the back page of this newsletter is a donation form.  If you can, please help us out!  Any and all donations no matter how large or small are greatly appreciated.  Arizonans can receive state tax credit as well.

May your holidays be full of thanks, blessings, health, and peace!

2018 Arizona State Fair

WOW!  Another great year of competition for Independence Plus at the Arizona State Fair held each year during the month of October.  In Home Arts we took 1st Place for Holiday/Valentines Day category.  1st Place for Holiday/Halloween. 1st Place for Model Kit Building.  And Honorable Mention for Holiday/Christmas. We also took Honorable Mention for Wood Crafts.  Our Associate director, Dr. Greg, took 2nd place in the pro photography division with his panoramic picture entitled, “Elephant and the Stars”   WAY TO GO INDEPENDENCE PLUS!!!

Special Olympics Bowling

Brunswick Zone Desert Sky Lanes – Phoenix, Arizona

Regional Special Olympics bowling took place on November 13, 2018.  Five  members participated.    This year we won 2 Gold, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze Medals.  We also had 1 fourth place ribbon winner.  Congratulations to everyone that participated.  You are ALL winners!

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 31st, was a fun day at Independence Plus.  Each program area had their own game or activity.  Rooms then took  turns visiting all the other program areas.  Photo Booth in Yucca.  Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin in Juniper.  Ghost Pin Bowling in Ocotillo, Trunk-or-Treat in Cholla and Dancing in Sahuaro.  Arts & Crafts began at 9:00 AM.  10:00 AM brought In-House Movies to our program areas.  Lunch was served starting at 11:30PM with a beautifully decorated table of goodies.  Room games and activities started around 12:30 PM.   At 1:30 PM members voted for the Best Staff Costume and staff voted for the Best Member Costume.  At 3:00 PM ISP and regular educational activities took place.  All in all it was a full day at Independence Plus!

Independence Plus 20th Anniversary Celebration!

On Friday November 16th we celebrated our 20 year Anniversary of “Serving the Special Needs of Arizona” at Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale.  Weather was magnificent and everyone had a great time!  Everybody brought items of their choice to place in the time capsule/chest.  Delicious food was prepared and served by Dedicated Catering who’s owner is also a parent to one of our members. Members assisted set up by putting out tablecloths and tabletop handmade decorations. Trophies were awarded to our members and board of directors as our way of saying thanks!  Staff received special engraved pens that are also have a flashlight at one end.  Of course, a round of applause went out to our director and founder, David Brieno.  Without him there would be no Independence Plus!

Thank you Stundt Foundation!

Earlier this year we received a grant from the Sundt Foundation for $2,000 to help towards developing sensory room areas .  6 interactive wall panels have been purchased and installed.  3 of them went into Ocotillo and the other 3 went into Sahuaro.  These panels help members to react with their environment through touch, sound, and stimulation such as vibration..  We look forward to adding other sensory room devices as we obtain more funding from other grants.  Thank you again Sundt Foundation for supporting Independence Plus!!

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