OUR MISSION

AdvanceaAbilities is changing the social and physical landscape for disabled seniors in America by listening to their stories, their challenges and their dreams. These interviews are the substance from which we will, in our series of documentaries, tell the formerly hidden story of disability in America. Through our other projects, mentioned below, we will give all disabled people and all seniors tools that will enable them to experience and enjoy our world in ways they never imagined and the rest of us take for granted.

Our hope is that as our project grows to include a wide range of individual challenges, everyone will join us as we build the first nationwide guide to accessible America. Over the last 3+ years, I have interviewed more than 300 rollator users across the nation. Aside from the common complaints about various parts of the device, what struck me was how many people wish they had a Yelp-like guide to restaurants, hotels and other locations, because they are frequently invited to join their friends for dinner, etc., and realize, after arriving, that they simply cannot handle the tight places that many restaurants tend to be. Yelp has declared that they will not be addressing ‘accessibility’ in their guide, which in my opinion is incredibly shortsighted. Not to worry, we will.

FOUNDER’S MESSAGE

Over the last 7 years, I have lived in a building purpose built with both the funding and mission to house and provide social support services for Disabled Seniors and helping us create a mutually supportive community. Sadly, I have watched the senseless decline of many neighbors merely because they have not received the support promised us all when we moved in. Adding in a lack of family support and unfamiliarity with American customs serves to make the situation even more dire for some. Now that I am well enough to give solving this problem my all, I simply cannot just sit by and watch anymore. I have frequently dreamed of starting a non-profit venture that truly makes a difference, and AdvanceAbilities, Inc is it. After 4 years of learning, and experimenting, I realized that there are many things I had never considered when I started. Now, however, it seems impossible not to get rolling. I feel confident about our documentaries’ ability to inspire others to act with me. I have met many inspiring people along my way, and am certain to meet many others. I am more certain than ever before that we will make a difference – a big difference. I hope if you are reading this that you come and join our efforts.

OUR TEAM

At Advance Abilities, we curate our talent from all over the country. We’ve been lucky to find such an amazing group of individuals, with a diverse set of backgrounds. Our collective experience is ready to tackle new challenges.

Eight years ago, Jim went from being a lifelong athlete, to needing the assistance of a walker, called a “rollator”, to get around. His mobility issues are the result of volunteering for one of the earliest clinical trials at the NIH, aimed at treating HIV Infection and AIDS. He is the study’s sole-survivor, and now lives without cartilage in any of his major joints or spine.
Amidst the 80+ surgeries over the past 12 years, Jim faced the grave realization that he wouldn’t walk without a walker. It was eye-opening. He not only saw his own limitations, but also of those around him. It was in this moment he came to know his new calling—to help his fellow disabled community.

During the last 14 years, much of which was spent in a hospital, he concentrated on volunteering for LA County HIV commission, The National AIDS Housing Coalition, The West Hollywood Disability Board, and other organizations. Learning the value of service work and attributing it to his very survival. His activism is inspired by his mother’s life-long dedication to the fight against discrimination as Chief of Fair Housing at HUD in D.C. After moving into his current residence, a facility designed as supportive housing for disabled seniors, he noticed a great need for improvement with most of the assistive devices used by himself and other residents. He also noticed a gap between the amount of support provided by the facility, and the amount required by its residents.

Jim earned his Architecture B.A. at Yale University, and worked on his Master of Counseling Psychology at ASU, finishing the degree on-line. His work experience included stints with USA Today in its startup phases and several other startups in D.C., Silicon Valley, Europe, and briefly in Venture Capital in New York’s financial district.  Jim Credits both Yale’s insistence that one can do whatever they desire and his experiences around some of the strongest personalities on Wall Street with giving him the drive and courage to take on this large project. After both watching and participating in the non-profit activism that changed the life-trajectories for those living with HIV/AIDS, he is determined to do the same for America’s low income and disabled seniors, through AdvanceAbilities.

Eight years ago, Jim went from being a lifelong athlete, to needing the assistance of a walker, called a “rollator”, to get around. His mobility issues are the result of volunteering for one of the earliest clinical trials at the NIH, aimed at treating HIV Infection and AIDS. He is the study’s sole-survivor, and now lives without cartilage in any of his major joints or spine.
Amidst the 80+ surgeries over the past 12 years, Jim faced the grave realization that he wouldn’t walk without a walker. It was eye-opening. He not only saw his own limitations, but also of those around him. It was in this moment he came to know his new calling—to help his fellow disabled community.

During the last 14 years, much of which was spent in a hospital, he concentrated on volunteering for LA County HIV commission, The National AIDS Housing Coalition, The West Hollywood Disability Board, and other organizations. Learning the value of service work and attributing it to his very survival. His activism is inspired by his mother’s life-long dedication to the fight against discrimination as Chief of Fair Housing at HUD in D.C. After moving into his current residence, a facility designed as supportive housing for disabled seniors, he noticed a great need for improvement with most of the assistive devices used by himself and other residents. He also noticed a gap between the amount of support provided by the facility, and the amount required by its residents.

Jim earned his Architecture B.A. at Yale University, and worked on his Master of Counseling Psychology at ASU, finishing the degree on-line. His work experience included stints with USA Today in its startup phases and several other startups in D.C., Silicon Valley, Europe, and briefly in Venture Capital in New York’s financial district.  Jim Credits both Yale’s insistence that one can do whatever they desire and his experiences around some of the strongest personalities on Wall Street with giving him the drive and courage to take on this large project. After both watching and participating in the non-profit activism that changed the life-trajectories for those living with HIV/AIDS, he is determined to do the same for America’s low income and disabled seniors, through AdvanceAbilities.

As an avid outdoorsman, Jeremy Irons entered product development through his interest in sustainable design and developing innovative technologies. From engineering migratory bird tracking
solutions in Alaska, to designing novel medical devices in New York City, Jeremy has a diverse background managing projects and engineering creative solutions. Also dabbling in PR and marketing, Irons has helped his company, Creative Engineering, see national exposure in various online publications so that Creative can help other businesses efficiently see their big ideas to market.

Previous positions:

  • Design Engineer -Creative Engineering
  • Biological Technician – US Fish and Wildlife Service

Education:

  • BSME, Montana State University