New Staff Member and a New Milestone

The first month of 2017 brought a new beginning and a long-term milestone to the Center for Independent Futures staff. Chrissy Lewis joined the staff as a Full Life Process Consultant. With our schools consultation team, Chrissy will support schools to use our innovative Full Life Process software to help students set goals, access resources and curriculum, and communicate with their entire support team.

“My vision is to continue the work that has been done and create new opportunities for students to engage with the software,” Chrissy shares. “The Full Life Process software will allow students to access a comprehensive life skills curriculum and support their individual growth through a student-centered approach.”

Chrissy began her career in sales and marketing before earning her master’s degree in education. She gained experience as a teacher, case manager, and guidance counselor in Chicago Public Schools while receiving a master’s degree in counseling. After transitioning into the non-profit sector, Chrissy joined Center for Independent Futures to advocate for educational access and resources for students with disabilities.

While welcoming a new member, the staff also commemorated a milestone as Cynthia Witherspoon celebrated ten years of working for Center for Independent Futures. Currently a Community Life Coordinator and Life Skills Tutor, Cynthia has also worked on the school consultation team and supported the administrative operations of the organization. We’re grateful to Cynthia for all of the effort, insight, compassion, and humor she has shared with us over the past decade.

Founders Reflect on Fifteen Years

More than fifteen years ago, Kay Branz and Jane Doyle came to a realization about the opportunities their daughters, Elise and Paige, would have available to them after graduating from high school. The conclusion was stark: the options that their daughters desired and deserved simply did not exist.

“To discover that there was really nothing to transition to for young adults with disabilities once they left the school system was breathtakingly eye-opening,” Kay said. “The two of us realized that if there was going to be any opportunity, we’d have to do something.”

From gathering at their kitchen table to gathering families who shared similar visions for their loved ones, that “something” became Center for Independent Futures in 2002. Today, Center for Independent Futures has supported hundreds of individuals with disabilities and their families through our innovative product and service models. And every day, our community members learn new independent living skills, achieve goals, and work toward their dreams.

Kay and Jane’s daughters have been no exception. When Kay and her husband, Glen, moved to Seattle, they knew that Elise had enough support to stay in her own apartment in Evanston, and she frequently travels to visit them. “The support Center for Independent Futures provides has helped Elise have a positive relationship with her family,” Kay shared.

Jane has also seen her daughter fulfill dreams since Center for Independent Futures was founded. From achieving employment goals to planning her wedding, Paige has defied any limits. “Paige has been my greatest teacher because she’s always surprising me,” Jane said.

Like Elise and Paige, Center for Independent Futures has grown in many ways over the past fifteen years. But although the staff and office are larger, the vision has remained the same, and success can be measured by each goal accomplished and every dream fulfilled.

“The greatest joy and testament to Center for Independent Futures’ founding and continued existence are all the individuals with disabilities who have been given the opportunity and supports to contribute to our larger community,” Kay said. “We are all the richer for their participation and contributions.”

Two Ways to Shop Online and Benefit CIF!

Here are two easy ways you can get your shopping done and benefit Center for Independent Futures at the same time!

Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile logoAmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support us every time you shop on Amazon.com, at no cost to you. Through AmazonSmile, you’ll find the low prices, wide selection, and convenient shopping experience of Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase price to Center for Independent Futures.

Get started! To shop at AmazonSmile, go to smile.amazon.com. Search for Center for Independent Futures and select us as your organization. Add the page to your bookmarks or favorites bar to make it even easier to start your shopping at AmazonSmile.

Goodshop

Goodshop can also turn your online shopping into donations for Center for Independent Futures in a few easy, free steps! Shop your favorite websites through Goodshop, and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to back to your community.Goodshop.com works with more than 5,000 stores (including Target, Apple, Petsmart, and more). The site also offers thousands of coupons and free shipping offers.

Get started! Follow this link and select the “Get Started Button.” Search for Center for Independent Futures and sign up through Facebook or log in to start shopping.

You can also raise money by signing up for Gooddining or searching the Internet using Goodsearch, a Yahoo-powered search engine.

If you have any questions about how to use AmazonSmile or Goodshop to support Center for Independent Futures, contact us at (847) 328-2044.

Happy shopping!

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