About Us

Who We Are

Living independently doesn’t look exactly the same for every individual, and we understand that.

Solutions for Independence is a resource center that offers an array of services and cross disability expertise in order to meet each of our consumer’s needs. Our goals are simply to encourage people to make good choices and exercise control over their own lives. Our hope is that those who come to us are able to expand access to information and resources, to increase their independence, and to improve the quality of their lives.

Solutions for Independence Staff works to alleviate barriers that keep people with disabilities from full participation in their community.

Working with both community partners and service providers, we provide awareness and education by promoting consumer choices.

Our staff provides technical assistance regarding compliance with the ADA building specifications on new construction or existing structures being remodeled or rehabilitated. This includes accessible parking requirements, ramp elevations, and entrance/exit widths, etc.

Information on Community resources, housing, assistive technology, adaptive equipment, Social Security,  employment services, legislation, recreation and other disability related information is available. Referrals are made to appropriate community/provider agencies, equipment providers and financial resources.

Independent Living Skills Training is the development of daily living skills of people with disabilities. Consumers often come to us with the desire to develop or improve on a specific task that keeps them living independently and in their community.

Our History

The ground of Solutions for Independence was founded on the principles that Mike and Judith Phillips and others envisioned in 1992 when they established The Adaptables. The couple opened the non-profit to help lead an advocacy group for the range of issues that affect people with disabilities. Together, they worked on issues such as pushing for installation of wheelchair ramps in public buildings to integrating people with disability into the workplace. Their vision was to begin erasing the subtle boundaries that separate them from living to their fullest potential.

Mike Phillips was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that causes the bones to be brittle. Since childhood he has been in a wheelchair. His wife, Judith, was diagnosed with polio when she was 11, leaving her paralyzed. The couple met in college, and after receiving their degrees in journalism and english, they dedicated themselves to changing the way the public, especially in the 1950s, perceived the disability community.

Throughout the years, the community of the Piedmont region has benefited from the commitment that Solutions for Independence has demonstrated. Their first-hand experiences with disabilities are what drove them to create an organization that would eventually work with clients personally to live a more independent lifestyle. The Phillipses were honored for their work when they received a Nancy Susan Reynolds award for advocacy in Hickory. Their early endeavors and devotion to these efforts are what has shaped the organization into what it’s become today.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to support the independence of people with disabilities through consumer empowerment and community education.

We Believe in consumer choice – consumer expertise – and community based living.

Our job is to work with the consumer to identify and ultimately help pursue the goals that result in greater independence within their lives. Regardless of what disability, we have a common shared struggle that we, as a community and culture, hope to help others overcome. We advocate for equality and public awareness to remove physical and attitudinal barriers throughout our service area.

Board of Directors

Solutions for Independence Board of Directors is dedicated to high-quality governance and service. We are always seeking new members who bring expertise in business, nonprofit, public relations and specific knowledge about disability. What sets us apart from many other organizations, is that our employees have life experience with their own disabilities. The application process for joining our board is simple and begins with a call to Solutions for Independence at 336 – 767 – 7060. Board Meetings are held six times a year.

JoAnn Aherns

Board Chair

Bryan Dooley

I am Bryan Dooley.  I am proud to say I am a graduate of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system.  I am a senior at Guilford College and thinking about my next step. Although I am younger than other board members, I have been involved in the Winston-Salem disability community for many years. I began my advocacy very early in Winston-Salem working alongside the Physical and Occupational Therapists within the school system. I won several awards through my work including the “Yes I Can” award and the Matthew Graziadei award. I continue my work at Guilford College and with many other groups including Solutions for Independence.

Ron Day

I am a graduate of Elon College with a BA Degree in Mathematics and a Graduate of UNC Greensboro with a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Agency Counseling.  I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for thirty-five years as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and for the last nine years as the Vocational Rehabilitation Officer supervising approximately twenty staff members.  I am presently certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Additionally, I am one of the founding members for the Kernersville Mayor’s Council for People with Disabilities which was incorporated in 1984.  I have served several terms as the Chairman and several as the Vice-Chairman. This has provided me with the opportunity to serve as an advocate for people with disabilities.  I consider it a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors for Solutions for Independence.

I am married with four grown children and three grandchildren.

Tamara S. Rhyne

Adjunct instructor for Winston-Salem State University, Deaf Studies Minor program under the Rehabilitation and Human Services Department. Graduated from Appalachian State University. Native of Winston-Salem, Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), also has Deaf family relatives. Served as an Interpreter for the Deaf for approximately 16 plus years.  Passionate about teaching American Sign Language. Tami is married to Jim Rhyne and they have two daughters.

Bailey Liipfert III

Bailey Liipfert, III of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is firm principal of Liipfert Law Group, PLLC. He is of counsel to the firm of Walker Lambe, PLLC, Durham, North Carolina. Bailey is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation and by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. His practice focuses on elder law, disability planning, estate planning and fiduciary administration of special needs trusts. He is an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and a frequent speaker at national programs. He is the immediate past president of the North Carolina Chapter of NAELA, and is a former chairman of the North Carolina Elder Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. He frequently is appointed trustee of trusts for persons with severe disabilities in all parts of North Carolina. He is active in his local community and currently serves as vice chairman of Beyond Academics, Inc., a post-secondary school education program for people with developmental disabilities, and was formerly the board chairman of The Adaptables Inc., a Center for Independent Living. He is the Immediate past chairmen of the North Carolina Eye Bank, now known as Miracles in Sight, a non-profit that help restore sight to people with damaged corneas in North Carolina, the nation and around the world.

He is a charter member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national, non-profit organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them.

Bailey graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985 with a B.A. in Russian Language and Soviet Area Studies. He completed his legal education, cum laude, at the Norman A. Wiggens Law School at Campbell University, then in Buies Creek, North Carolina.

Bailey resides in Winston-Salem with his wife Theresa, son Stephen and daughter Nina.

R.V. Kuser

Before moving to North Carolina I worked in public education for over twenty years. I worked in every grade level from Pre-K to 12th grade and even adult education.

After moving to North Carolina I became a consultant, an advocate, a presenter and then an author. My first book, “Challenged But Not Defeated – Strategies for Coping with Autism and Schizophrenia” is non-fiction and partially autobiographical since I live with autism and schizophrenia. My second book, “Weight A Minute – Lessons a Family Learns Thru the Gift of Autism” is young adult fiction. The hero lives in Winston-Salem and also lives with autism.

I am a member of the Mayor’s Council for Person’s with Disabilities in Winston-Salem, Forsyth Mental Health Community Collaborative, Forsyth County Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Advisory Committee and Forsyth County Collaborative. I am also on the board of directors for The Greentree Peer Center.

I live with my wife, Marlene and our furry baby, Kaylie. Marlene and I have been married for 33 years.

Our Staff

The team at Solutions for Independence are here to connect with you. Here’s a little bit about each of us and our story. Contact any of us so we can learn more about you.

Keith Greenarch

Executive Director

I was born in the mountains of western North Carolina to older parents who taught me to be honest and caring and to treat everyone like I want to be treated. That has led me throughout my life and provided me with the ability to work with others. Being able to look at a situation from all perspectives and realize there is more to the story. God has given me many gifts in my life. Networking and gaining the knowledge of necessary resources has aided me in helping others. In my 22 years working in the textile rental industry, I worked with customers and fellow employees to provide the best products and services, all at an affordable cost. We maintained a 97% retention rate and were regarded as an industry leader.

The biggest decision in my life was to have gastric by-pass surgery in 2002. Complications kept me hospitalized for 364 days. It was a humbling experience. Taking me to a whole new skill set of being able to work in the disability community. My passion grew as I met more people who would tell me their stories of being isolated due to a disability and I could relate to being institutionalized and that sense of hopelessness. I connected as I saw myself walking in that person’s shoes. Their stories inspired me as mine did them.  I wanted to coach that person to a life beyond where they were at that moment. With inspiring peers and God’s guidance I have been successful in assisting consumers to become independent and affording them the opportunities through my work to live in the communities of their choice.

With my life experience and knowledge, I have gained over the past fifteen years; it is now time to share these lessons with colleagues. They will carry the disability movement forward and support consumers’ goals, providing the services and coaching them to an independent way of life.

My leadership comes through life experiences and working with people, not books. This is a field where you need to have lived the experience to know how to change the lives of people with disabilities and those lessons have taught me well.

Debbie Hennessy

MSCC-Chief Operations Officer

Debbie Hennessy, MSCC-Chief Operations Officer, a proud Army brat, raised between New York State and Germany, Debbie spent much of her young life traveling the world. Her personal experience with disabilities began over 20 years ago. Life changed, but doors opened and she returned to college, earning a Bachelors in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies and a Master’s Degree in Community and Mental Health Counseling.

She began her mental health counseling career at Job Corps, working with at-risk youth, mostly dual diagnosis and set up the first interdisciplinary team on campus, which included IEPs that were shared with both vocational training and residential living. She introduced a program Seeking Empowerment Balance and Awareness, the program provided group sessions to youth designated “least likely to complete the program.” SEBA as it was called had a 90 percent success rate, higher than that of the center itself.

The center closed and Debbie took a grant funded county position and created a Substance Abuse Task Force. In conjunction with local educators and law enforcement, the team put up billboards, held town meetings, and took every avenue to educate not only the children and youth that were dying in alcohol/drug related vehicular accidents, but also was proactive in educating the public regarding the “choking game” and overdose deaths.

Debbie has worked in all levels of government, many grant funded positions, and is a strong advocate for those with disabilities, animals, and many others. “I love working at Solutions for Independence, it gives me a chance to help others and I understand how they feel, I have been on both sides of the desk.”

Working her way from a person with a disability, which defined her in so many ways-not able to do what was needed, relying on others, fearful of change, and concerned for the future has been a great triumph. Now she works full time as the Chief Operations Officer, creating programs that help others with challenges live to their full potential. Debbie also serves as Chair for Raise the Roof, House the Homeless—a nonprofit serving a large catchment area including Davidson and Forsyth counties. “The intrinsic value I receive from our consumers is truly a blessing. I don’t see myself as a person with a disability, but as a hardworking independent woman who has some challenges.”

Tim Blake

Resource/Community Inclusion Specialist

Born in NC, Tim has over thirty years of experience with a disability and was able to become an advocate for himself and ultimately for others. Tim has joined Solutions for Independence with a belief in self-advocacy, self- determination and the rights of consumers regardless of their disabilities. Serving as Chair of the Consumer and Family Advisory Committee(CFAC) at the local LME/MCO broadened Tim’s horizons by working with and better understanding other consumer’s struggles, desires and ambitions. Tim believes in offering hope that consumers can be recognized as a person first and a person with a disability secondary. Tim has received lots of help and encouragement in his recovery from peers and professionals. Tim likes to consider himself a “hope dealer” for those with challenges. Tim proudly served in the USMC and understands the struggles of our veterans. Working at Solutions for Independence is a new undertaking and offers Tim the opportunity to work across all disabilities.

Amanda Wils

Center Support Specialist

Amanda was born in Los Angeles, and was raised between southern California, south Florida, and northern Wisconsin. In 2008, she moved to North Carolina to help take care of her mother, who had become disabled in conjunction with a cancer diagnosis. Her entire family eventually settled in the Triad, where Amanda completed her bachelors at UNCG and met her husband Dave. Amanda spent nearly a decade learning how to be an advocate for her mom through watching her mom advocate for herself as a person living with a disability. In her support role at Solutions for Independence, Amanda is able to bring together her love for service, advocacy, and creativity.

Amy Keegan

Finance Assistant