About Us

“We evaluate and respond to needs in the community and work to end the stigma associated with disabilities.”

– Jill Hrinda-Patten, Executive Director


Mission Empower is seen as a catalyst in supporting families and organizations to successfully access the resources that will empower families and their children, so that all children and youth with disabilities utilize their talents to reach their potential and become productive members of the community.


Serving as a Community Resource Center, Mission Empower provides advocacy, education, and the promotion of inclusion, assisting families and their children with disabilities to enable their children to use their gifts and talents to reach their potential and become productive members of our community.

Background of Mission Empower

Mission Empower, founded as Educational Advocacy for the Inclusion of Youth (EAIY) was formed to address the dire need to integrate youth with disabilities into their communities and society as a whole. Prior to the inception of Mission Empower, there were no other groups or agencies exclusively empowering, educating or advocating for families and youth with disabilities in Erie County. Advocates and parents of children with disabilities rallied around this common vision to create this organization. In December of 2007, EAIY was incorporated as a non-profit in Pennsylvania and received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in June of 2008.  EAIY changed its name to Mission Empower in August of 2009.

Mission Empower strives to integrate the current generation of all youth with disabilities to be fully included, productive, participatory citizens of their community. through education, advocacy and empowerment. Mission Empower has developed a multi-pronged approach for promoting inclusion: educational advocacy, parent engagement, and community education programs.

About Our Executive Director

Jill Hrinda-Patten, the Executive Director and founder of Mission Empower, is a successful individual with significant disabilities. In 1991, Jill received her BA degree in psychology from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Jill has had more than ten years of experience in the Independent Living Movement and in educational advocacy. Her passion is to integrate future generations of youth with disabilities into all aspects of society.

Jill is a former member of the Gaskin Settlement Advisory Panel for Least Restrictive Environment. This panel advised the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide the inclusion of students with disabilities in the public school system.

Clck here to meet our board of directors
Click here to meet our staff