AIM Independent Living Center was founded in 1979 in Corning, N.Y.

AIM’s roots go back to the 1970s and Corning resident Joyce Lockhart Lubold, who couldn’t find services for her son Justin, who had a traumatic brain injury from a car accident. So she led efforts to found The Greenhouse Center in 1976 to provide day programs for people with brain injuries.

Later, The Greenhouse Center split into two agencies. One was Pathways, which focused on developmental disabilities. The other was the Corning Council for Assistance and Information to the Disabled, a service and advocacy organization for people with all types of disabilities which was incorporated in 1979.

Known as A.I.D. in its early years, the agency operated out of the “green house on the corner” (no longer standing) at Chemung and First streets, with a small staff and many dedicated volunteers. A.I.D. provided advocacy and disability services, and ran peer support groups, recreational programs and creative fundraisers. There was also a transportation service for the elderly and disabled, as well as a printing service staffed by people with disabilities.

In the 1980s, the state created a network of independent living centers which provide peer-led, community-based services for people with disabilities. A.I.D. was designated as an independent living center in 1987, bringing stable funding and a new name, Access to Independence and Mobility, or A.I.M.

Over the years, A.I.M. steadily added programs that provide local services with funding from state and federal agencies. We moved to our First Street location in 1990 and opened an Elmira branch in 1995. Some of the bigger program launches were Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Services (CDPAS) in 1997; the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Medicaid waiver programs in 2007 and 2009 respectively; and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) services in 2012.

We now have approximately 80 internal staff and 500 external employees who work directly for people with disabilities. We serve thousands of people in the Southern Tier every year with about two dozen programs and services.