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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.

team with live generous shirts

Since 1994, MERIL has provided five core services for people with disabilities in Northwest Missouri:

  • Information and referral

  • Independent living skills training
  • Transition services (youth and nursing home)
  • Peer support
  • Advocacy

Learn more about Centers for Independent Living in Missouri at

Meet The MERIL Team

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