Welcome to: Access Independence


Access Independence


Charlie Conway

Executive Director

Mr. Conway has spent the vast majority of is life working in the non-profit sector. His deep concerns for others and innovative approaches have lead to great success in his career. As the Managing Director of Fairfield County SAFE KIDS, an organization working to prevent childhood injuries,  he was instrumental in taking the organization that started off with a $10,000 grant into a nationally recognized leaded in childhood safety issues. He was able to get five competitive hospital in the region to work cooperatively, create two local programs that became nation models and cultivate a volunteer pool of over 200 individuals that were able to implement programing that was responsible for saving countless lives and injuries.

After leaving SAFE KIDS Mr. Conway took over as the Executive Director of Abilities Without Boundaries which is an organization that helps adults with Developmental Disabilities. This is done through providing meaningful work opportunities, as well as social interactions and activities of daily living. During his three years as the Executive Director he was able to develop a strong atmosphere of teamwork that completely reenergized and reshaped the impressions of the organization. Mr. Conway is a strong believer in the team approach. The leader often gets the credit or the blame, but it is the team working together that makes the difference. Through a systematic approach many initiatives were undertaken and successfully completed during his tenure. These include but are not limited to:

  • A rebranding campaign that revitalized the company image.
  • New and innovative job opportunities were created for those we served such as a hot dog cart, dog biscuit program, and fire wood program.
  • Company revenue increased from 1 million annually to 2 million.
  • Staff increased from 25 to nearly 50.
  • Increased the organizations signature event by 600% and developed new avenues for development and recognition.
  • Successfully developed and implemented the organizations first strategic plan.
  • Development of the organizations first annual report.
  • Built a reputation of quality care and were know for being able to handle difficult cases.
  • Worked to change the perception the general community had toward individuals with Developmental Disabilities.

Mr. Conway stated “My greatest achievements and joys stemmed from having the opportunity each and every day to make a difference in someone’s life. Adults with Developmental Disabilities have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. They are capable of so much more then society often gives them credit for.”

Since excepting the position of Executive Director at Access Independence Mr. Conway has taken the agency through a successful rebranding campaign, implemented cost save procedures, changed the organizational structure for greater efficiency. Currently he is implementing a 3D printing program to help generate revenue for the organization as well as provide jobs to the disabled community and help to create new and innovative 3D printed items to assist those with disabilities.

Julie Ferrucci

Program Director

Julie attended Assumption College and graduated with her Bachelors of Human Services. She is innovative, trusted and possesses the determination necessary to get the job done. Previously, Julie was a Case Manager at Abilities Without Boundaries. This program sought to help individuals with disabilities to seek employment and improve their quality of life. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for how non-profits seek to improve the quality of life for others.

Melissa Carter-Cullen

Administrative Assistant/Independent Living Advocate                                                          mcullen@accessinct.org

Milagro Velazquez

Money Follows the Person Housing Coordinator                                                              mvelazquez@acccessinct.org

Ashley Canapetti

Money Follows the Person Transition Coordinator                                                                    acanapetti@accessinct.org

Ashley is a Transition Coordinator for the Program Money Follows the Person. The MFP program involves helping elderly or disabled people transition from skilled nursing facilities to live independently in the community. Her previous roles helped her learn patience, compassion, good time management and the understanding that safety is the number one priority. Her previous experience translates well to her current role as a transition coordinator because she

Johanny Blalock

Deaf Services Advocate                                                                                                    jblalock@accessinct.org

Katie Smolinsky

Independent Living Advocate                                                                                                         ksmolinsky@accessinct.org

Jossie Perez

Independent Living Advocate                                                                                                            jperez@accessinct.org

Alina Lisowitch

Community Health Advocate                                                                                    alisowitch@accessinct.org

Alina attended Pennsylvania State University and graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Health Policy and Administration. As the Community Health Advocate, she spends most of her time doing outreach activities in the community such as coordinating events, advocating at town halls, and creating connections for future collaborations.