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Staff Bios

Teresa Torres

Executive Director




“Disability Rights, Independent Living – by whatever name, what we believe in

hereis the PES principle. We give people Permission to want whatever they choose,

Empowerment to go out and get it, and Support to make it all happen. Then we help

other folks learn how to be appropriately supportive or get out of the way.”


As the founder and Executive Director, Teresa is primarily responsible for working with the

board of directors to make sure that the doors are kept open. She developed and initiated

most of the many successful programs and services for children, parents and adults that

Everybody Counts  has sponsored since 1981 (see Our History), and is actively engaged

 in both direct services and systemic advocacy.


A self-proclaimed 'reformed professional,' Teresa happily gave up advisory

positions with various local, regional and state government agencies

 to become an activist and community organizer.


“After a while, you come to understand that you can only hold

 so many meetings to discuss what ought to be done before it’s time

to just go out and gather up the people to get it done.”


A long time active member of ADAPT, strong supporter of Not Dead Yet and

regular contributor to various national magazines, Teresa has conducted various

workshops and trainings for  colleges, businesses, government entities, law enforcement

personnel and social service agencies, and has been featured speaker

for several state and regional conferences.


“Getting such a wonderfully successful presence on the internet through

our ever-growing website has really jumpstarted some new and productive

 developments.  It’s exciting to see the  enthusiasm our newer team members

have for bringing about the kinds of systemic changes that are needed so

that people with disabilities  can live their lives as they choose.”



She attended Valparaiso University and Indiana University Northwest before beginning

a diverse career that included journalism, advertising, public relations, personnel and sales

before moving into public administration and holding Assistant Director positions with the

Calumet Forum, the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program of Indiana and

the Northwest Indiana Public School Study Council.


“Over the years, our folks have touched the lives of many people. I’m always so very

 happy to see familiar faces dropping by to tell us how they’re doing and ask what

 they can do to help others achieve their goals as well.”


Teresa lives in Merrillville, and is the proud parent of two children and four grandchildren.

 She credits her late furry room mate Molly with getting her through some rough times, and

thanks all of the many friends and colleagues who have continued to support her

and Everybody Counts through the rough waters of difficult decisions.


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