Due to inclement weather conditions all IRI Day Hab and employment programs will remain closed on Friday, December 18, 2020. All programs will reopen on Monday, December 21, 2020.


I love shopping with my mom and aunt. I work at IRI so I make my own money. My mom and I go shopping all the time. My aunt usually comes with us. It gives us something to do on the weekends together. I’m always wearing jewelry because it’s my favorite thing to buy.


IRI made my dream come true. People with disabilities have been discriminated against for centuries. As an adult with autism, I always wanted to work with individuals to teach them how to advocate for themselves and how to communicate better—even if they are non-verbal. I now work as an employee of IRI doing just that. Once a week, I meet with the guys and we talk about their rights; it gives them the confidence to speak up. Everyone deserves to be heard.


Since moving here, I have more freedom. I used to live in Queens, but now I’m in the Bronx and I like it much better. Now I can walk to the shops and pick out what I want at the grocery store. I like to cook especially chicken or rice and beans. I also love picking out my favorite snacks - chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk. I have a lot of freedom here.


IRI is my partner. It was my dream to have my own apartment and they made it happen. I have a roommate. He and I lived together at a group home but then we became real friends. So now we live together and things are good. I have the support I need. Staff come by to make sure things are okay, which they usually are. I have my own space – I always wanted that.


John works at the Independence Café. He’s among the most reliable at the shop. Because he earns his own money, he was able to save up for something that he wanted – a new cell phone. John calls his family often with whom he’s traveled to the Caribbean with several times.


I’m really into electronics and sports. I went to college and studied computers. I help put data into spreadsheets at the main office at IRI. I’ve always liked computers and electronics. At home, I have all kinds of microphones and speakers, sound systems and electrical cords. But I also love sports, especially baseball. My dream would be to combine the two. I want to be a sports announcer at a professional stadium.


Paul is so friendly, always willing to do what it takes to get the job done at the Independence Café. He typically likes to keep to himself until the job is done. Paul has been an employee at the café for more than two years. He’s a huge help, always making sure the place is clean and ready to welcome guests.


This is my first time living on my own and not in a group home. I have roommate and we do a lot together like go to the movies, the comic book store, sometimes we go to Manhattan and just walk around. We’re friends and just hang out. Most time, I call Access-a-Ride to get around because it’s the easiest, but the buses and subways are also an option.


I'm so proud of myself. I used to live in the Anne Marie group home for 15 years. Those men and women are like family to me. We'd go on vacations, take trips, do things together. But I knew I could handle the responsibility of living on my own. QPRC made that happen. I recently got my own apartment and now I have my own space for the first time.


My life is better because of the staff at IRI. A few years ago, I was in a car accident. I don’t remember much from it; I was in a coma for a long time. But now, IRI helps me with things—I have a job, I make my own money, I have friends at my day program. IRI has become like family to me.


My life is better since I moved here (Gutman Residence). I help myself and I do more on my own like going to the deli or doing my own laundry. I even help clean up around the house, either after we make dinner or whatever is needed. It feels good to be here.


I go to program during the day and learn new things. The staff at my Day Hab program showed me how to heat up my food in the microwave. Now I can do it on my own.


I love cooking. My favorite things to cook – chicken, oxtail, or sometimes peas and rice. I go shopping on Jamaica Avenue in Queens or I might walk further to the Key Food grocery store. I feel good doing these things for myself. Sometimes, I have friends come by and we cook together.


Hey, I just got my hair done, take my picture! For me, it’s all about going to the shop and getting my hair twisted. I also like to get my nails done. The ladies at the shop are always nice. They make we feel welcome.


I like to work, make my own money, and go to the store to buy things that I like. I like making money. I work at the café cleaning tables, wiping placemats, filling the ketchup bottles, stocking the sodas, cleaning the fridge, sweeping, mopping, and doing anything else I can. Working is very important to me.


I love my house! We’re all friends and have started going to laser tag. We also like doing other things like going to the movies. In the spring and summer we go to sports games and root for the home team. My favorites are the Mets and the Islanders. I work at the European Wax Center and the owner, Todd, and my boss are very good to me; so are my coworkers. Todd told me that the Nets moved to Brooklyn Barclay’s Center. My dad and I got tickets to see the Nets.

-Jaci AKA Doctor

Doctor takes her work at the Independence Café very seriously. She looks forward to anything related to her job, especially attending her employment classes. She prefers to be called Doctor or Doc because her goal in life is to one day be a doctor.


I love music so much. The Four Tops and The Temptations are my favorites. When I go to my program, sometimes I go to music groups. I don’t sing too much, but I’ll dance!


I am the Vice President of the Self-Advocacy group. We meet to talk about issues that affect people with developmental disabilities. I am also a member of IRI’s Board of Directors. But I do other things too – I volunteer at a local church with my friends. We organize shelves and help the people at the church keep it clean. I think it’s important to volunteer and stay involved.


I am the President of the Self-Advocacy group and Kiwanis Club. Not too long ago, I went up to Albany with the Self-Advocacy group to ask for higher wages for our staff. I think it’s important to be independent, but you have to know what you’re doing. You have to be responsible for yourself.


I love volunteering at the café! I meet new people every time I’m there. I also learn new skills every day that I’m there with my friends.


Did you know that you could find out anything you want on Google? I love using the computer for that reason. I also love video games but car racing games are my favorite. I want to drive so for now, I drive on my car racing games. I use the computer at the library which is a lot of fun. My two favorite things are art and science. Art is the best because everything is a design and it looks so real.


I love to spend time with my friends at the program. I bring in movies sometimes and we watch them together. I also like to go on the computer with my friends. I like learning new things on the computer.


I have a whole new freedom and I love it. Before I came to IRI, I couldn't leave the campus of the agency where I lived. I couldn't do anything. But now, it's a whole new life. In the past few months, I got a job working with IRI and share an apartment with two friends. I never stay inside though. I'm someone who "keeps it moving". My goal in life - one day, I want to get married. And then take a honeymoon someplace warm and by the beach!

People of IRI

Lives are built around dreams.

Dreams are empowered by abilities.

At IRI, we guide people with developmental disabilities and their families in individualized support to live, work, participate in community and maintain good health. IRI has become a trusted resource for many individuals and families. As an OPWDD Compass-certified agency, our staff members work by these principles:

Empowering Dreams

We strive to empower choice and create opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities. At IRI, we guide people and their families in individualized support to live, work, participate in the community, and maintain good health.

We Put Innovation to the Test

IRI uses the latest advances in technology to bring greater independence to the individuals we serve.

Committed to Being Resourceful for You

See how our commitment to resourcefulness changes lives—every day!

Independence Starts Here

Live, work, participate in the community, and maintain healthy habits. At IRI, we believe in empowering individuals in all aspects of life.