ARC of IL 16th Annual QIDP Conference

ARC Illinois logo, ARC Conference theme is "Unite, Empower, Act"The Arc of Illinois will be holding the 16th Annual Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP) Leadership Conference on January 23 in Alsip, IL. This year’s conference will feature John Dickerson, a leader in the field whose key career milestones included the transformation of services in Indiana – the closure of all state hospitals by creating community supports for the people who lived in five state institutions; lowering the waiting list from 12 years to less than 1 year. As a lobbyist and community organizer, he has seen the power of both the individual and those who come together to create change – make incredible progress.

John’s presentation will focus on “Making a Difference” by providing John Dickerson, presenter at ARC QIDP Conferencespecific tools to bring people closer to the people they support, more engaged with the organization, and feeling more supported and better about themselves. Participants will leave with specific, easy to use ideas that they can begin implementing tomorrow. John is the founder and CEO of Quillo, a unique new approach to the workforce crisis facing organizations serving people with disabilities.

Break out sessions later in the afternoon feature topics around Government Benefits, Healthy Relationships and Healthy Sexuality for People with Developmental Disabilities, and Creating Trauma Informed Organizations. Speakers include Sherri Schneider, President of Family Benefit Solutions, Inc., Susan Kahan, a member of the clinical staff at the University of Illinois at Chicago Developmental Disability Family Clinics and Krescene Beck, program coordinator for the Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance.

Arc of Illinois Belief & Mission

The Arc of Illinois truly believes that we are all people first and because of that, regardless of any developmental or intellectual differences, everyone deserves the same rights and opportunities. The Arc regularly hosts events to gather family members, self advocates, and professionals in the field and educate them on the latest and best practices.

California, Here We Come!

Logo for Club 21 in red with blue and green people illustrations to the left.With the bitterly cold weather hovering over the Chicago Area, three of the Center for Independent Futures staff will cheerfully head off to sunny California to present at the Annual “Tools for the Journey” Conference sponsored by Club 21 Learning and Resource Center. Club 21’s mission is to provide the educational tools and resources that enable individuals with Down syndrome to be fully included. Founded in 2009, the organization offers a variety of services for individuals and their families designed to support, educate, advocate and celebrate.

Meeting with Club 21

In April 2017, a phone call from Nancy Litteken, Club 21’s Executive Photo of Club 21 ED Nancy LittekenDirector, began our relationship with this eight-year-old California non-profit. We discovered very quickly that our values are the same, and that this organization has made incredible strides to support individuals and families in their area. As our conversations continued, Nancy and her team immediately saw the value of our Full Life Process™, and they are piloting the online application in California.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to bring our work to the west coast,” remarks Ann Sickon. “Nancy and her team are creative and innovative, and we anticipate a long relationship that will benefit both of our organizations.” Presentations at the “Tools for the Journey” Conference will focus on Center for Independent Futures’ Full Life Process™ online application, the Bridge Builders & Community Connectors Project to foster Community Inclusion, and our New Futures Initiative Training to create community-based housing solutions.

For more Conference information and registration, visit Club 21’s website.

Openings Available at Community Living Option

Current residents smile outside their Community Living Option.Home is a place where you can be yourself, make your own decisions, and have a place to call your own. If you or someone you know is looking for a new place to call home, Center for Independent Futures would love to share opportunities available in a Community Living Option. Located in Evanston, Illinois, this residence provides individuals with disabilities supports to live independently.

Accessible and Friendly Community Living Option

This Community Living Option has two openings in its first-floor, wheelchair-accessible apartment. The building is on a quiet street within close walking distance to restaurants, shops, public transportation, parks, a post office, and a library. It has free laundry facilities and storage in the basement. A staff member called a Community Builder lives on the third floor and provides overnight support, daily check-ins, weekly meetings, and social events planned with input from the community.

The apartment with openings has a total of three bedrooms and two Photo of Harrison House CLObathrooms, one recently renovated, a large-screen TV in the living room, and a dining room with a table big enough for community meals. One individual, Jonathon, currently lives in the first-floor apartment. Jonathon, who recently celebrated his tenth anniversary of living independently, is excited to welcome new housemates who are kind, thoughtful, and enjoy music.

New residents and their families would be able to get to know the community through their potluck dinners and other events, including a traditional Fourth of July cookout.

“Center for Independent Futures really creates a sense of community among the residents and their families,” Jonathon’s parents share. “Jonathon has prospered here.”

Find Support Within Community

2 members of CLO walk a dog together.Center for Independent Futures provides personalized supports for each resident using our person-centered approach to creating a full life. Our residential and educational model offers adults with disabilities opportunities to learn independent living skills in a safe and supportive environment. In addition to Community Builder support, each resident works one-on-one with a Skills Tutor to strengthen independent living skills. Together, residents and Center for Independent Futures staff foster individual choice and exploration while supporting community connections.

“Our son Cody moved in June and has enjoyed the independence of living onRoommates sit around a wooden table together. his own and the friendships he has made with his roommates,” Claudia and Kevin Conlon share. “There’s a sense of family with Center for Independent Futures, the supportive Community Builder, and the neighborhood. It’s a warm place and we are lucky to be part of it.”

If you think this community sounds like a good fit for you or someone you know, call us at (847) 328-2044. For more information about our Community Living Options, visit this link.

BLOG UPDATE: January 15, 2018 – In addition to the space at Harrison Street, a one-bedroom apartment will be available soon in the Chicago Avenue Apartments Community Living Option.

Our Top 10 Moments of 2017

Join Center for Independent Futures in celebrating our favorite moments from 2017, our fifteenth anniversary year. We look forward to supporting more full lives and stronger communities in 2018!

Our Top 10 Moments

  1. We published our 2016 annual report to share stories of support, including Nestor’s full life, students planning for the future, and communities 3 members of 2017 Bike the Drive team smile after successful ride.creating connections. Read the annual report here!
  2. Our annual SPARK gala was an evening of glamour under the stars. Staff member Rob Larson, participant Matthew LaChapelle, and community partner First Bank & Trust received Jane Doyle AWESOME! Awards. Check out the Facebook photo album here.
  3. Staff members traveled internationally to Canada to work with Community Living Essex County and across the country to train Club 21 in Pasadena, California. Click here to learn about our Full Life ProcessTM resources, being shared in Illinois and beyond.
  4. The Dream Team soared down Lake Shore Drive in Bike the Drive, raising funds for Center for Independent Futures while enjoying amazing views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. Read about the ride here.
  5. Life Tools Campers from Evanston Township High School explored their community and learned new skills. Find out where their week took them.
  6. Our young professional board welcomed new members, including a new board chair. Learn about the Auxiliary Board and how to get involved.
  7. Eight runners representing Team CIF took the 26.2 mile journey of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, every step supporting the journeys individuals with disabilities take along the way to full, independent lives. Read more about race day here.
  8. Our community celebrated Halloween in style at our annual party. Check out the creative costumes in our Facebook photo album here!
  9. We celebrated community and local cuisine at our fourteenth annual Executive Director Ann and Board co-chair Jeff smile at Something's Cooking. Something’s Cooking. This fall classic was updated with a new venue, new restaurants and breweries, and live music. Read more here.
  10. Our community raised over $27,000 in 24 hours on #GivingTuesday, supporting individuals with disabilities and the friends, family members, and communities that they interact with every day. Learn about the success here.

Support Ladies’ Night Blessings Bag Event

During this cold winter season, count your blessings and then join our Ladies’ Night participants to give back. In February, the group will host a blessings bag event.

After learning about the issues surrounding homelessness, participants will create bags with supplies for individuals experiencing homelessness. The blessings bags will hold items like travel-sized toiletries, gloves and socks, tissues, and non-perishable snacks.

Before the event on February 9, we hope to collect enough items to fill 150 bags. If you’d like to help us reach this goal, shop using our Amazon Wishlist, found at this link, to send items to the Center for Independent Futures office or contact twickey@independentfutures.com.

Thank you for your support to help individuals with disabilities engage withPhoto of blessings bag supplies. their community!

To donate items for the blessings bags online, click here.

Reach Your 2018 Goals with Team CIF

Every mile of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a chance to test your strength and achieve a dream. For runners on Team CIF, those miles mean Chicago Marathon Team CIF runner in front of Chicago skylineeven more.

As an official member of the Chicago Marathon’s Charity Program, Center for Independent Futures offers guaranteed race entries for runners who pledge to raise funds and awareness for individuals with disabilities and their families. Since 2007, Team CIF has raised over $100,000 by running for possibilities.

When you join Team CIF, you’ll become part of a community that values all dreams and will provide you with one-on-one support along your path toward a dream of your own. During your weeks of fundraising and training, you’ll engage with our dedicated staff, meet Center for Independent Futures community members, and see the difference your efforts are making. To read more about the benefits of being a Team CIF runner, click here.

The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is Sunday, October 7. Registration is open now, and guaranteed entry spots are limited. Contact Elizabeth Male today at (847) 328-2044 or emale@independentfutures.com to join Team CIF for the race of a lifetime.

Team CIF Reaches the Finish Line

Participants, staff, and runners enjoy the pre-race pasta partyOn Sunday, October 8, eight runners representing Team CIF took the 26.2 mile journey from the start to the finish line of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Every step of their route supported the journeys individuals with disabilities take along the way to full, independent lives.

Race weekend kicked off with a Pasta Party at the Center for Independent Futures office, where runners, staff, board members, and participants gathered for a meal. Thanks to a generous donation from the Lincolnwood

On Sunday morning, a cheering squad of participants and staff members set up a tent at the marathon’s Charity Block Party. As the runners ran by at mile 14, the group kept their energy up with their encouragement. Despite the heat, all eight Team CIF runners crossed the finish line.

During their months of training for the race, our runners raised over $11,000 for Center for Independent Futures. Celebrate the team’s success by visiting their Crowdrise page here and clicking on the red button on the right that says “Donate to this fundraiser,” or donate to an individual runner by clicking on the names at the bottom of the page.

Team CIF will be back at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October A runner smiles with supporters at Chicago Marathon7, 2018. If you or anyone you know would like to achieve the dream of running a marathon while helping others reach their own dreams, contact Elizabeth at (847) 328-2044 or emale@independentfutures.com.

Registration opens on October 24, and spots are limited, so call or email today to guarantee your entry into this incredible event!

October heARTwords Feature: Jake and Jenna

This month’s heARTwords spotlight features writers Jake Joehl and Jenna Hardacre. HeARTwords writing workshop is a creative, supportive community of writers and volunteers who support each other to express thoughts and feelings while practicing communication and self-advocacy skills.

Jake and Jenna responded to two different prompts, both sharing how they get around their community. Read on below to find out more.

Jake Joehl

What most often gets in your way of accomplishing your goals?

heARTwords participant Jake poses for professional photoNot all of my goals have been hard to accomplish, but some of them have been a bit difficult. For instance, I have a goal to be more independent with transportation. This goal has been a bit difficult for me but not impossible. Several years ago I applied for ADA paratransit certification, and at the time this service was rather disastrous. To reserve a single ride, I or my mother had to get up at the crack of dawn on the day prior to my scheduled trip. So for example, if my trip was on a Saturday I or my mother would’ve had to phone in on a Friday morning. At the time there was only one reservation line, and it was only open for a half hour each morning. Often times the carrier would call back at suppertime, and inform us they were going to have to bump my ride times back or ahead of schedule. The drivers at the time would often get lost, and they had to ask for directions from the passengers. I felt uncomfortable doing this, primarily due to the fact that I cannot see anything but light and dark, but also because these drivers were the ones supposedly getting us where we needed to go.

But there have since been several improvements made to our ADA paratransit service, and it is now so much better than before. As a matter of fact, I took a paratransit bus here to the heARTwords workshop. Today’s trip went very well. However, there is still the thought in the back of my mind that one of my drivers will get lost and ask me for directions to my destination. This would be “Destination Unknown!” When I took paratransit to my parents’ house a couple weeks ago, my mother was kind enough to email me directions to get there. Keep in mind that I had not previously traveled to this place by myself. But as it turned out, I didn’t need her directions because these drivers now have GPS devices in their vehicles.

Jenna Hardacre

Do you tend to follow the crowd or walk to the beat of your own drum?

HeARTwords participant Jenna poses for phtooI like walking. Definitely, I like walking. I walked three miles today. See this shirt? 5K run and 3K walk. I can walk; I cannot run. I don’t know why. Do you know why? Some people with disabilities don’t run. Some people run by themselves. I like to walk.

I stopped for water. I was so thirsty. I should have brought my water bottle. It was so hot. There’s the thing–I don’t like people giving me hugs when I’m hot and sweaty. If people try to give me a hug when they’re hot and sweaty, I give fist bumps.

I was dancing all day. I just want to take it easy tonight. Do you think I should take it easy tonight? My feet are really hurting. I’m gonna be sore. I took a nap on a chair, and I forgot what time it was. I was like “Wake up!” I can’t believe I would wake up early for the race–4:30. I usually sleep in! Someone said, “Huh! Waking up at 4:30 in the morning?” I said, “I have to. I’m doing this for Susan. That’s why I’m doing this.”

We all miss Susan. I talked to Dr. M. at the Down Syndrome Center, they know me and Susan pretty well. They asked me how I was doing living alone. I miss Susan. Susan has two brothers, and I talked to one of them recently on Facebook. Susan’s mom thinks I’m avoiding her. I’m just so busy. I’m not avoiding her. I’m just worried about my family. That’s all I’m worried about. I can give her a call. I still have that number on my phone. I’m not erasing it. I’m not erasing it at all.

When I was at walking, I was wearing Capri pants. And then I did Zumba. We did songs by your favorite instructors. I don’t do Thursdays. I just do Wednesdays. Kristen missed me a lot. She’d never seen me for a while. I’ve been working a lot. You know that. I saw her and she was pregnant. Nobody told me at all. They should have told me that. I think she’s gonna be a good mom. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a boy or a girl.

Strengthen Community on #GivingTuesday

After indulging on Thanksgiving, shopping on Black Friday, and searching on Cyber Monday, we celebrate our community on a day of generosity.

Giving Tuesday logoOn #GivingTuesday, November 28, your gift to Center for Independent Futures supports the full lives of individuals with disabilities—and goes much further. Your generosity impacts the communities surrounding our participants: the coworkers, family members, friends, and neighbors that individuals with disabilities interact with every day.

Thanks to the generosity of The Coleman Foundation, your online #GivingTuesday contribution also goes further. If you give $25-$99, the Foundation will add $25 to your gift. If you give $100-$499, $100 will be added, and if you give $500 or more, $500 will be added. If you have questions about this opportunity or how to make your gift, call us at (847) 328-2044.

In the coming weeks, we’ll share stories of how your support creates stronger communities and fuller lives. Last year, our community raised more than $33,000 in 24 hours. With your support, we’ll continue growing our community, this year and every year.

Something’s Cooking Updates a Fall Classic

Two Something's Cooking attendees poseCenter for Independent Futures’ fourteenth annual Something’s Cooking featured a new venue, new entertainment, and new menu items, for an updated version of a fall classic. We are grateful to all who helped make this festive afternoon a success!

Nineteen of the area’s favorite restaurants and bakeries shared their signature dishes. Returning favorites included Koi, Edzo’s Burger Shop, Farmhouse, Peckish Pig, and more. New this year were three restaurants from our block on Davis Street. Yeero Revolution served Greek meatballs and salad on a stick, LuLu’s shared chilled sesame noodles, and Table to Stix Ramen featured tuna tartare. Check out the list below to see the complete menu!

To toast Center for Independent Futures’ fifteenth anniversary, three local breweries and one distillery served samples of their products. FEW Spirits shared their small-batch spirits, while Revolution BrewingSketchbook Brewing Company, and Temperance Beer Co. all poured tastes of different beers.

The afternoon was complete with a dessert display and a silent auction, including Cubs tickets behind home plate, passes to a WXRT Studio X performance, and culinary-themed packages. To finish the event, Van Go Go, a collaborative of musicians with and without developmental disabilities played a lively set of their signature blend of reggae, roots rock, and funk.

Thank you the Woman’s Club of Evanston for hosting this celebration in Something's Cooking attendees happy to taste food from Evanston communitytheir beautiful, historic venue. We’re grateful to the businesses who contributed to our menu and silent auction, to our volunteers for your time and enthusiasm, and to all of our guests who joined us for this celebration.

All funds raised by Something’s Cooking support individuals with disabilities and their families to access to all of the opportunities of a full life. Click here for a complete album of photos from the afternoon!

Something’s Cooking 2017 Menu

Bagel Art Cafe: Bagel Bites
Celtic Knot Public House: Mini Shepherd’s Pie
Edzo’s Burger Shop: Nutella & Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes
Eli’s Cheesecake: Assorted Cheesecakes
Farmhouse: Butternut Squash Soup with Golden Raisin Pesto
Flat Top Grill: Chicken Pot Stickers, Chilled Edamame
Gigio’s Pizzeria: Assorted Pizza
Hearts & Flour Bakery: Cookies and Bars
ILOVESWEETS: Assorted Shortbread Cookies
Koi: Vegetable Maki with Mango Sauce
La Macchina Cafè: Vegetable and Meat Lasagna
LuLu’s: Chilled Sesame Noodles
Nothing Bundt Cakes: Assorted Bundt Cakes
Peckish Pig: Chorizo-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Blue Cheese Dressing
Table to Stix Ramen: Tuna Tartare
That Little Mexican Café: Barbacoa and Pork Tacos
Trattoria D.O.C.: Orecchiette con Spinaci
Yeero Revolution: Greek Meatballs and Salad on a Stick

Success Stories

tue04aug3:00 pm3:45 pmGroup Meditation

tue04aug4:30 pm5:00 pmAfternoon Exercise with Niki Moe

wed05aug11:00 am11:30 amMorning Exercise with Niki Moe

wed05aug1:00 pm2:00 pmSocial Hour in the Park

wed05aug4:00 pm5:00 pmYoga

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