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Evolution to Independence: Making Dreams Come True

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

Elena, a client with the Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) deaf and hard of hearing program, Evolution to Independence (ETI), is deaf and struggled in the past with anger issues and program placement. Shortly after joining TMI, Elena’s Division Manager, Mary Carrington, suggested that she volunteer for awhile to learn how to improve her interactions with the hearing community in the hopes of obtaining regular employment.

Young girl using sign language

Happily, an opportunity to volunteer to teach sign language to children at the San Diego Central Library presented itself. The Children’s Section Library Manager was thrilled to learn that Elena would be able to volunteer! Elena, who suffers from depression, had the biggest grin on her face when Mary told her she would be teaching ASL to children. She said “I can see myself becoming a teacher. It’s my dream!” Mary responded with “we will help you get there!” Elena didn’t need words, her tears of happiness were all that Mary needed to know that TMI had indeed transformed her life.

TMI's ETI program offers scholarships to the deaf and hard of hearing. For more information, please contact Mary Carrington at (858) 467-0600, Ext. 392.


An estimated 1 in 6 people are born with a developmental disability. Just like you, they are born with hopes, dreams and the drive to contribute to society. Since 1981 Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has transformed thousands of lives by providing assistance to children and adults with developmental disabilities, giving them the ability to realize their hopes and dreams.

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