Access North Center for Independent Living of Northeastern Minnesota. Assisting individuals w/ disabilities to live independently, pursue meaningful goals, and have the same opportunities and choices as all people.
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Meet Mark . . .

picture of mark I met Mark Kirchner on January 02, 2014, just as he was starting his life over again. He was a bit distraught and struggling with depression as he was recently divorced after 33-years of marriage.

Mark was unemployed at the time of our meeting but had worked doing jewelry design out of his home for many years. He tried unsuccessfully to get help with a small jewelry business start-up from the Workforce Center in St. Cloud. It turned out he was unable to get their assistance because he couldn’t read or write the business plan they requested. This made employment prospects very difficult. Mark was understandably frustrated.

Mark has severe dyslexia and he has a hard time performing daily tasks such as reading the mail, paying his bills, filing his personal papers or managing his bank statements. Even things others take for granted, grocery shopping and reading food labels for example, are a real struggle for Mark. While he was married his wife handled these things for the family, but once the divorce was final he was struggling, and on his own. ...

To read the rest of Mark's success story, please click the link below:

Mark's Story Conclusion


Jay Mott - A Success Story

Jay Mott—proud husband of Fayth and father of Harley (9), Hailey (7), and Ava (5)—is a family man who enjoyed his career as a millwright for Minntac as well as volunteering as a baseball coach for his son’s baseball team. On the 28th of June, this year, Jay experienced a tragic event that would dramatically alter the life that he and his family share. That afternoon, at approximately 2:00 p.m., after enjoying Harley’s baseball game in Cherry, Jay was carrying his youngest daughter, Ava, to the car when they both were struck by a bolt of lightning. After being revived with CPR performed by bystanders at the scene of the incident, Jay was transported by ambulance to the Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing, and then transferred to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, where he would spend about a month in the Intensive Care Unit, followed by about two months in the Miller Dwan Rehabilitation Unit.

The aftermath of Jay’s ordeal left him with paralysis of his lower extremities, as well as severe vision impairment. During his two month stay in the rehab unit at Miller Dwan Rehabilitation Unit, Jay successfully learned to walk again, with the aid of a walker, as well as guidance from his wife to help him find his way. From the very first meeting with this resilient person, Access North staff had the honor of observing the type of positive determination that is the foundation to any success story of a person with a disability overcoming the obstacles in their life. Jay told staff that he was going to return home to his wife and children and participate in their family life. “I will walk,” he stated with assertive conviction that could not be disputed by anyone. ...

To read the rest of Jay's success story, please click the link below:

Jay's Story Conclusion


Framing Hope Partnership Gives
                 Robert Breese Safe Access

The Robert Breese family In the Fall of 2015, the Access North Independent Living Program staff in Hibbing was contacted by the Veteran's Service Office in Itasca County with a request to assist one of their veteran clients, Robert Breese, with obtaining a more accessible means of entering and exiting his home. Access North has a proud history of coordination with the Veteran’s Service Offices within its capacious service area, so the IL Staff eagerly accepted the referral and made contact with Mr. Breese.

Upon arriving at the residence, it was immediately apparent to IL staff that the stairs to his front door could present a definite obstacle to accessibility. The tread was quite narrow and the rise was notably steep on the small deck's stairway. ...

To read the rest of Robert Breese's story, please click the link below:

Robert Breese Story Conclusion