Reflecting on Recent Events

When our staff gathered virtually this week for our Monday morning meeting, we reflected on the extraordinary events of the previous weeks. Together, we talked about how staff and participants are dealing with these trying times. Our thoughts and reactions included shock, disbelief, and fear of the future. 

Why is this happening in our country? 

Why are people so angry? 

What will happen next?

Many feel saddened and fearful hearing daily reports of deaths due to COVID-19 and the recent violence and hatred attacking the foundations of our democracy. The news has overwhelmed many people’s hopes for the fresh starts and new beginnings that often accompany the New Year. Instead more worries and concerns are added to our already strained lives. 

At Independent Futures, we are mindful of participants, their families, and our staff as we all try to navigate these chaotic times. Our feelings of disbelief and fear are real and valid. 

But how do we pivot from fear to courage? Can we choose to be hopeful?

Our Next Steps Forward

While the times we live in are stressful, we can choose to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. Individually, we can reach out to family, focus on self-care by listening to what our bodies need, and make choices that will keep us safe from the virus and violence. 

As a community, we can have conversations and be open to new ideas. We can choose to be tolerant of different views, and choose to be brave and open. We can chart new courses with new perspectives. We can continue to create opportunities for individuals with disabilities to live full lives in their communities.

Together, we have strength. Together, we can choose hope. Together, we can work towards a more strong, equitable, and collaborative community. 

5 Reasons to Give

Looking back on 2020, it is clear that this year has brought many unexpected challenges. However, 2020 prompted us to be better, more creative problem solvers. Each unprecedented moment of this year showed us that when our communities support each other, nothing is impossible. 

While we reflect on the past year, it is also time to look forward to 2021. The next year holds many exciting challenges and opportunities for Independent Futures. To keep Independent Futures moving forward, check out these 5 reasons to give, helping us create momentum into 2021.

Activities Like Never Before

Screenshot of Zoom screen from bingo night with many faces.When the pandemic began, we quickly moved our activities into virtual spaces. Since then, these virtual activities have been a bright spot for individuals who are used to exploring their community. Being required to stay inside has meant there is an increased need for the supports that Independent Futures offers to adults with disabilities. 

In 2021, we will continue offering virtual activities for any individuals who want to sign up. Your support makes it possible to continue offering ways to lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation during the rest of the pandemic.

New Ways To Learn Life Skills

My Full LifeOur My Full Life™ team is working on ways to get skill development support to more individuals than ever before. Even before the pandemic began, many agencies had waiting lists for supports that would last months. With the changes we are making to My Full Life, Independent Futures hopes to help reduce those waiting times. Keep watching for more news soon, but your support is key to making opportunities accessible for adults with disabilities nationwide. 

Creating Housing Options Online

Tall apartment building where several individuals with disabilities live in an integrated setting.
Sienna communities, an apartment building where several Center for Independent Futures participants reside in an integrated setting.

The New Futures Initiative™ team is creating new ways to expand access to our housing training too. The team is testing online training with our partners at Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin. For family groups across the country, this online option could make a big difference. In 2021, our consultation teams will focus on growing access to our unique programs.

Continuing Incredible Supports

Sarah smiles in foreground of photo with two women standing behind her, one in green and the other in blue.Independent Futures’ Direct Support team never stopped providing supports to our community. By creatively problem-solving with participants, life skills tutors have used Zoom, social distancing, and mask guidelines to keep our community safe while continuing to provide support. The need for support couldn’t be paused, and the need will continue in 2021. 

Sustaining This Community

Ann & Niki hold a sign saying "Thank You Independent Futures Drive-Thru" while wearing masksWith virtual events and online activities, sustaining our community has taken a village. By working together, our staff was able to provide supports and fun through even the hardest moments of 2020.

Together, we have all experienced things differently than ever before. But it is clear that the work of building and sustaining community is never done. With your support, our community can reach more folks than ever in the new year. Make a gift online today at our online giving page

A SPARK Like Never Before

On Saturday, November 7th, Independent Futures hosted our first ever virtual SPARK! This community has grown so much over the past year. It was time to celebrate! Whether you were able to join us or not, you can watch the video on YouTube. Until then, check out the recap of a night we will never forget. 

Wonderful Performances At SPARK

A young man sits with face illuminated as he reads poetry. Purple intro banner reads "Adrian Drower, poetry reading"

Did you know that the Independent Futures community is fortunate to have artists of all types? At SPARK, three individuals treated us to performances of their talents. Sheila Serota sang an original song for us. Adrian Drower performed an original poetry reading. Finally, Carlos Coleman played a lovely piano duet. Check out the performances and learn more about these artists in the clip below.

 Our Awesome Community

Like always, we announced the recipients of the Jane Doyle Awesome Awards at SPARK. First, our outstanding Community Partner has always offered their support during our events. Dennis Clarkson and Gigio’s Pizzeria are like a family, and they have always helped out whenever they could.

A woman stands in front of a gray/green background with a gray shirt and  light blue scarf on. The purple intro banner reads "Sharon Purdy, Awesome Award Recipient"

The Staff recipient puts equity and access at the forefront of all that she does. In her work with the Evanston Township High School Transition House, students develop important life skills before leaving school. Sharon Purdy truly embodies what it means to be community focused. 

 

Finally, the Participant recipient is someone who has a vibrant social life and is always willing to lend a hand. Jenny Mottola serves on the Advisory Council and has been part of our community for many years. 

Aiming For The Stars

At the end of the evening, we were joined by our favorite Chicagoland band, Euphoria! With a 45 minute set, Euphoria helped us make SPARK 2020 an evening to remember. Audience members got out of their seats and danced through every song Euphoria played! 

Illustrated graphic that shows a red Alfa Romero car behind an orange construction sign reading "Detour Rescheduled Sat. Nov 7 2020"And to make the evening even better, we met our fundraising goal thanks to all of your support! Not only did we reach our goal, but we were also able to fulfill the match offered by generous donors. Now we are ready to take on 2021 and everything the new year will bring. 

We don’t have all of the information about SPARK 2021 yet, but we expect to hold the event in the fall. We hope to see you all there! 

Discover How to Celebrate Giving Tuesday!

Two light-skinned hands holding a red heart against a dark grain wood backgroundThanksgiving week is packed with great opportunities to treat yourself these days. Starting with great meals and lots of family time, Thanksgiving kicks off a week of fun. Next, many of us enjoy Black Friday for the deals, and local shoppers celebrate Small Business Saturday. On Monday, we search the web for more deals, and then we can finally turn our attention to community on #GivingTuesday.

Two years ago, Independent Futures hit our $20,000 #GivingTuesday donations goal for the first time! Thanks to your support, we are hoping to raise $20,000 on Tuesday, December 1st this year. 

Wondering how to celebrate Giving Tuesday with all the holiday bustle around you? RSVP to our #GivingTuesday calendar event to receive a reminder to donate on December 1st! 

Independent Futures Needs Your Support

2 pictures of people under the words "Essential workers keep us safe." Below it reads "Your support keeps essential workers safe too, from direct support professionals to grocery store employees. #GivingTuesday • December 1, 2020"When our office was closed, Independent Futures in-person activities were placed on hold. Our activities director quickly learned how to move activities into virtual spaces, and we have been able to have a full calendar of virtual activities that participants say ease the loneliness of staying home.

Our tutors and Community Life Coordinators have continued support services while complying with pandemic related guidelines. With masks, social distancing, and some Zoom meetings, the Direct Service team has risen to meet these vast challenges in supports. 

Our adaptations have not ended. Independent Futures has creative  plans and is continuing to adjust to our ever-changing world. The New Futures Initiative consultation team is creating an online training program to make our housing creation expertise more widely accessible to families and organizations across the country. This month we will start a virtual training with a family group in Wisconsin, and will continue to support  more groups throughout the coming year.

Photo includes testimony from a Young Professionals Board member about how Independent Futures positively impacted her life.So far, each of you has helped Independent Futures transform a difficult year into an inspiring story of communities coming together to support each other. That is exactly who Independent Futures is: united, creative, and resilient. 

When you contribute to our work, you are an advocate for a better future: a world where all individuals have access to the opportunities of a full life, whether that is building friendships, getting a new job, or simply choosing where to live. 

By supporting Independent Futures’ work, you make a difference in this community every day. We hope you will support us in continuing this momentum on #GivingTuesday.

How to Celebrate Giving Tuesday

3 women smiling together underneath the words "Independent Lives Full Friendships" and a green and purple cross-hatch heart. The bottom says "Support independence & friendships during #GivingTuesday on 12/1."On Tuesday, December 1st, we are participating in #GivingTuesday. Donate to Independent Futures on December 1st to show your support for Illinois nonprofits! With your support, we know we can meet our goal of $20,000 on #GivingTuesday.

 

Every dollar donated in honor of independent futures means we can continue to support individuals with disabilities and their full lives. Through #GivingTuesday, you help us create a future where individuals with disabilities have equitable access to the opportunities of a full life.

Vote in Illinois’ 2020 Election

The next chance to vote in Illinois is on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. During this election, Illinois citizens will vote for a new president, choose our senators, and answer important questions all through their powerful ballots.

A photo of the Capitol building at night against a clear blue evening sky.There are several steps to preparing for an election, like we outlined in our primary voting blog back in February featuring information about primaries, registering to vote, and how to vote. While our primary voting guide has important information, a few things have changed since then!

Steps To Vote In Illinois

First, make sure you are registered to vote. You can check your registration at this link. If you have moved or changed your name recently, you will need to re-register. You can register to vote online until October 18th.

Next, you can decide whether you want to vote in-person during early voting, in-person on Election Day, or by mail. Early voting information can be found on this State of Illinois website.

However, due to COVID-19, the safest way to vote this year is by mail. In order to vote by mail in Illinois, you will need to visit this website to request your ballot. When you fill out this form, you will be asked if you need a military/overseas ballot or a standard vote by mail application. If you choose the standard application, you will then choose your “jurisdiction,” meaning where you live.

Next, you may be directed to another website that is specific to your location. Read and follow all of the directions on the website pages, and write down any important dates on a calendar. If you submit your vote by mail application by September 24th, you will receive your ballot by October 5th. Remember: If you vote by mail, your ballot must be returned in the mail on or before November 3rd.

This image contains information about voting by mail for Chicago. To vote in Illinois, visit the Board of Elections website for more information.

Once you have submitted your information, like your address, the site will redirect you to a confirmation page. This page is important because the page will tell you if your application was successfully submitted!

 

Being A Smart and Prepared Voter

Now that you have checked your voter registration and requested your vote by mail ballot, it’s time to learn about the candidates.

BallotReady logoOne of our favorite tools is BallotReady.org. On this website you can enter your voting address, and the site will break your ballot into each race. It will then give you the opportunity to click on a candidate’s name to learn more about them and their positions. When you make a decision about a race, you select the candidate you want, and BallotReady will save your choice. When you’re ready to cast your ballot, you can use this site to pick the candidates you believe in most.

Don’t forget about the AAPD’s Voter Resource Center! These resources are helpful to people with disabilities because they collect information about candidates specific to disability issues.

Are You Ready To Vote In Illinois?

Does it feel early to get ready for an election in November? We understand that it might. Before COVID-19, many of us could wait until the week before Election Day to start preparing to vote.

To guarantee that you are able to vote this year, start getting ready today. Check your voter registration status and request your vote by mail ballot by August, and then use the time between then and late October to make educated decisions about who represents your interests the best.

Teaching Life Skills to Adults During a Pandemic

Teaching life skills to adults with disabilities is the main responsibility of our life skills tutors. Before the COVID-19 pandemic led us to close our office doors temporarily, a tutor’s daily life varied widely. One day, a tutor would meet with one participant in the office to go over budgets, and the next day they might meet at the McGaw YMCA to support healthy living goals.

New Skills Inventory client practices her kitchen skills as a tutor is teaching life skills to adults.Because of our person-centered philosophy, our tutors’ experiences are different with each participant. Each individual determines their own goals based on their hopes and dreams. After that, tutors work with the individual to create action plans, which are the basis for tutoring sessions. These individualized plans mean that tutors are usually out in the community, supporting local cafes and shops while teaching life skills to our participants.

The pandemic disrupted much of the work we do at Independent Futures, but our Direct Support team pivoted quickly. With many local businesses closed and a stay-at-home order, our tutors needed to start teaching life skills remotely.

Teaching Life Skills To Adults During A Pandemic

Three months into our stay-at-home order, tutoring looks a lot different than it used to. “Tutoring during the pandemic has evolved,” reported life skills tutor Dee Dee Goldman. “Much of what I do is teaching and modeling, so the physical distance has changed that.”

Features Cynthia, winner of staff Awesome AwardAnother tutor, Cynthia Witherspoon, said, “During the first week Independent Futures instituted the work from home policy I met with the participants I tutor using texts, FaceTime, and phone calls.” However, as the governor modified the stay-at-home order, “I returned to meeting in person with most of my participants in their homes. We practice safe distancing and I always wear a mask. For those who have not felt comfortable returning to face to face meetings, I stay in touch with FaceTime or phone calls.”

Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

Photo of two women smiling, one a direct service professional and one a participant.Working and tutoring remotely meant new challenges for tutors and participants. The first step was figuring out how sessions could continue. Dee Dee shared, “We have been very creative by using screen share, dictation, and new forms of learning to do daily tasks.”

Because tutors are teaching life skills to adults with disabilities using new tools, the topics individuals are learning have changed too. The challenges associated with teaching someone how to cook, combined with adapting to remote learning, meant tutoring topics changed too.

During Cynthia’s tutoring sessions, she and participants have gone for walks to change their scenery. She also used the pandemic as an opportunity to discuss, model, and practice safety through personal hygiene routines. But the need for distance learning with life skills led to new technology challenges. 

“One learning opportunity was understanding how to order groceries online,” Cynthia said. “It is surprising how many things need to be considered, like choosing which store you want, using a debit or credit card to pay for groceries, and scheduling time to have groceries delivered. It’s a complex process with a lot of steps to learn.” 

Adjusting To A New Normal

Many of our participants work in grocery stores and remained working as essential employees throughout the pandemic. Still, some participants felt their anxiety increase. For participants who were furloughed, the changes to their routines were difficult. These types of changes in day-to-day activities were difficult for many of us to grow accustomed to.

Some of Independent Futures team in a GoToMeeting video callAs we all adjusted slowly to the necessary COVID-19 precautions, our tutoring participants adjusted too. “At first, participants would tease me about wearing a mask and gloves, maintaining 6 feet of distance, and putting items on the ground,” Cynthia said. “Now everyone sees these as common practices, and they are respectful of the guidelines I follow. They know I am doing it to protect them.” 

Moving Our Supports Forward 

Throughout this time, individuals employed their independent living skills to face brand new challenges. However, only 3 of Dee Dee and Cynthia’s participants left their homes to live with family. Tutoring continued in a new format and adjusted to individuals’ changing needs.

We learned that teaching life skills to adults with disabilities during a pandemic required new tools and flexibility. Our tutors rose to meet this new challenge. By creatively using Zoom, screen sharing, and other tech solutions, the team continued supporting participants near and far. As we prepare for the rest of this year, we are deciding which tools we will continue using. Have thoughts you’d like to share? Email center@independentfutures.com to let us know what you think! 

 

Reopening Update for Independent Futures

June 19th Update: For the foreseeable future, our office will be open from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. We are open to visitors only by appointment, so please call ahead. The rest of the information in this blog still applies, including requirements regarding face coverings and taking temperatures. 

Dear community members,

On March 16th, Independent Futures closed our office, and our staff started working remotely. As Illinois moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, we can begin informing you about our reopening update. 

Beginning June 8th, our office will be open from 11:00 am-2:00 pm. In following weeks, we will increase our open hours gradually. To limit risk, all office visitors must call (847) 328-2044 to make an appointment. Along with these limited hours, we have installed a sneeze guard at our front desk and marked 6 foot areas throughout the office. The following policies will apply to everyone entering our office.

  • Everyone must wear masks during any and all in-office meetings. We ask that you bring your own, but if you do not have a face covering, one will be provided for you.
  • We will take your temperature when you arrive at the office. Our staff are also asked to follow this procedure to protect our whole community.
  • Safety practices such as frequently washing our hands for at least 20 seconds and maintaining social distance will be required of all staff and guests.
  • There will be hand sanitizer available in the office. We recommend that anyone entering or leaving the office use hand sanitizer to reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to others.
  • Out of respect for everyone’s health, please stay home if you feel unwell or have a temperature.

While our office has been closed, our Activities Director has continued to provide activities services online. Moving forward, we will be exploring blended activities options. To make our activities as accessible as possible, we will continue providing as many options as possible for the community. Please keep an eye out for our upcoming Summer Activities schedule

We remain thankful for everyone’s patience and support as we make these transitions, and we look forward to seeing you all in person as soon as we can. We will update this blog periodically when we receive new information.

If you have any questions about our reopening update, please email center@independentfutures.com. We will forward your question to the appropriate staff member. In the meantime, stay healthy and take care! 

Warm regards,

Ann Sickon, Executive Director

Community Is A Lifestyle: Community Builders

“I had never heard of Independent Futures before, nor was I aware of any type of supported living model like their Community Living Option (CLO). So when the opportunity to apply for the Community Builder opening came across my desk nearly a decade ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. However, it was clear to me that Independent Futures was something incredibly unique and quite special. From the moment the opportunity presented itself to the day I moved in, it was only a span of two weeks. Needless to say, I was sold. Over eight years later, I’m still a believer.” – Aby Karottu, Community Builder 

Over the past 20 years, Independent Futures’ work has centered the best ways to bolster opportunities to be independent for adults with disabilities. Out of this work, we created the New Futures Initiative™, a training program to help families create housing options for their loved ones. 

Adam poses with friends he has made through Center for Independent FuturesOur training is based on our own experience creating Community Living Options™. Our CLOs are creative solutions to support adults with disabilities who want to live in a community of their choice. 

A key piece of our Community Living Options is our Community Builders. A Community Builder lives in their own apartment in the CLO. They provide support for their building’s other residents as needed. For this blog, we asked a couple of our Community Builders to share what it’s like to navigate their supportive role.

Daily Community Builder Routines

Before the stay-at-home policies, Aby Karottu, Community Builder for Harrison Street, started his mornings early. By 5:00 am, he would start a HIIT workout at Evanston Athletic Club. Then he went to work in Skokie as a special education teacher. When he came home, Aby checked in with the other CLO residents. Every day, he stopped by to say hello to his neighbors. After that, Aby played with his dog, hung out with friends, went on dates, rock climbed, or practiced a number of other hobbies. 

Chicago Marathon Team CIF runner in front of Chicago skylineFor Nick Connell, Community Builder at the Chicago Ave. House, the routine is similar. He and the other residents meet for a daily “hello and chat,” and then he would spend time with his family, play soccer, or practice one of his hobbies. 

Community Builders play a crucial role in supporting the full lives that CLO residents develop. But as Aby shared, “I’ve come to recognize and embrace my role as a Community Builder most closely to that of an overly-concerned neighbor.”

Challenges for Community Builders

When families in our New Futures Initiative learn about Community Builders, they often wonder how they could find anyone who would accept the role. The family members sometimes ask how Community Builders can maneuver the challenges.

Two Something's Cooking attendees poseNick and Aby each face different challenges. For Nick, scheduling and communication can be challenges, “especially in the beginning of forming our community.” These are two challenges that can only be overcome with practice.

As a special education teacher, Aby had trouble taking off his “teacher hat” in the beginning. Since then, he says he has grown into the role of Community Builder. “While I’ll always be an educator at heart, I also honor my very unique role, not as an authority figure, but rather as a role model who’s just here to lend a caring ear and a helping hand.”

Truthfully, the role of Community Builder can be demanding. But there are people who believe in community and are happy to support adults with disabilities in their daily lives. 

Finding Joy in Community

One of our Community Builders makes balloon animals at our annual benefit, SPARK.Though Community Builders face many demands on their time, they find joy in the small interactions the community shares. They see each resident every day. Though the Community Builder may offer support and advice, they also receive support in their lives. 

For Nick, his daily check-ins have brought unexpected connections. “Currently one of my neighbors and I share ingredients and recipes, and then we share whatever we bake or cook. I greatly appreciate the opportunities to give and receive.” 

“I appreciate the intimate nature inherent in living amongst the residents I serve. As such, I greatly value the relationship aspects of what I do,” Aby says of the joys he finds as a Community Builder. “Because of the journeys I’ve experienced, I have a type of joy that’s been unparalleled in my life.”

Finding Community Builders

Though becoming a Community Builder is certainly not easy, “it’s a wonderful way of life,” according to Nick. When families ask how we find folks willing to do that work, we share that it’s not always easy. 

Being a Community Builder is both challenging and joyous. It requires dedication and the willingness to support individuals with disabilities. Agreeing with Nick, Aby says, “It’s not a job. It’s a lifestyle. If you value service, compassion, and community, it will be worth it.”

Creating Housing For People With Disabilities: How To Form A Family Group

At Independent Futures, we offer our New Futures Initiative training program to families who want to see their loved ones find a place to call home. Our training facilitators support families as they explore various housing options and decide which options meet their needs. Most importantly, these trainings allow families to work with others who share the same goal.

What Is A Family Group? 

Family members and staff gather around a group of sticky notes from a planning sessionFor our New Futures Initiative training, we ask that the initial families find others to go through the training with them. A New Futures Initiative training typically includes 5-10 families all seeking to create housing for a loved one with a disability. We call this a “family group.”

The most important aspect of family groups is that you can all work together. Our trainers can help you navigate challenges that arise. Throughout the training process, there will be opportunities to explore what housing options are best for your loved ones.

How Do I Form A Family Group? 

Forming a family group is easiest if you can start with your existing relationships. Existing friendships are a natural starting place to form a family group. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find other families who share your goal of creating a housing option in your community. The following are ideas that can help you find opportunities to connect with other families in your community.

Call to Action Meeting with Independent Futures
A square brown house with red door that is one example of housing options for people with disabilities.
Harrison House created by Independent Futures families, an example of housing options for people with disabilities.

Host a “call to action” meeting in your community. Our staff will explain the need for creative new housing solutions and the New Futures Initiative process. Our staff will work with you to publicize the event, and we will lead the presentation in your community.

Schools – Public and Private

Start by contacting special education professionals in your local schools. Connect with families whose students are in high school transition programs and even families with younger students.  Don’t forget about private schools – in your search, try including faith-based schools and schools specifically for students with disabilities.  

Post-Secondary Schools and Programs (Colleges, Universities, Job Training Programs)

Use ThinkCollege.net to learn about college programs for students with intellectual disabilities in your area. Get in touch with post-secondary programs and service providers focused on employment and job training.

Area Service Providers

Check with service providers in your area. Many may know of families who are also looking for supported independent living options. Some service providers cannot meet the demand for housing and have waiting lists of families looking for a housing option for a loved one.

Disability Advocacy Groups
A tan and beige apartment structure with green awnings over businesses
Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) in Maryland/DC, created with the support of the New Futures Initiative training.

Engage local disability-focused advocacy groups such your chapters of The Arc and Center for Independent Living. If you’re able, attend conferences, meetings, and events sponsored by these organizations to meet other families.

Disability-Specific Advocacy Groups

Contact disability-specific advocacy groups such as Autism Speaks, National Association for Down Syndrome, and others. Join these organizations and attend their meetings to make connections with other families.

Faith Based Organizations

Faith-based organizations such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and inter-faith organizations may have inclusion coordinators or inclusion services. They could help you get in touch with other families who have loved ones with disabilities.

Social Media

Meetup logoUse social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to publicize your efforts. You can set up a “Meetup” gathering for families in the area who are looking for housing options for their loved ones. Throughout these strange times, our staff can even work with you to organize a virtual meeting through a conference call app like Zoom.

Civic and Community Organizations

Contact your public library to use their space or services, and ask your librarians about other organizations. Your town or city’s Inclusion/ADA Coordinator and community foundations, Rotary Club, or other service organizations might help you connect to other families.

Social/Sports/Arts Organizations

Staff poses to welcome a family group attending New Futures Initiative training to create housing for people with disabilitiesEngage families through programs such as Best Buddies, Special Olympics, Special Recreation Departments, camps, arts and theatre programs, and other types of recreation. 

Taking The Next Step

The process of creating housing solutions for loved ones with disabilities is a journey. The Independent Futures staff who work on New Futures Initiative know this personally. We can help you and your loved ones craft the future they deserve – with a place to call home.

A Message From Our Executive Director on COVID-19

This message was updated Friday, April 24th to reflect an extension of our remote working hours through at least May 30th and a new date for SPARK 2020. 

 

Dear community members,

Over the past 2 weeks, our staff at Independent Futures has considered several options to meet the challenges posed by effects of the Covid-19 virus. Ultimately, our office staff has decided to work remotely until at least May 30th to comply with the state’s stay-at-home policy. 

Thankfully, we are prepared for this type of remote work, and we are prepared to continue moving forward on crucial projects that can be done remotely. Additionally, our Direct Service team is looking into how much of our life skills tutoring programs can be done through technology like FaceTime and Google Hangouts. However, all of our non-essential activities, such as Walking Club and Art Club, have been cancelled through April. 

At this time, the Direct Service team will provide the same comprehensive support to participants that they always have. However, we will also take necessary precautions to keep participants and staff healthy. 

If anything changes, tutors will reach out to participants and family members to coordinate details about tutoring sessions. This will include answering questions like “Are we still meeting?” or “Where will we meet?”

Right now, we are working on coordinating a Plan B for SPARK, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 18th. We will no longer meet in April. Instead, we hope you will join us on the new date of Saturday, November 7th. If you have purchased tickets already and are unable to attend on November 7th, please reach out. We will work with you to find the solution that best suits you.  

To make things easier for our community, we will keep our communications as clear as possible and centralized. You may receive some more emails than usual from us in the next few weeks, and you should keep an eye on our social media for important updates. But as information becomes available, we will update this blog to reflect the most current information at all times.  

We are thankful for everyone’s patience and support as we make these transitions, and we look forward to seeing you all in person as soon as we can. We will update this blog with more information by March 31st.

If you have any questions, please email center@independentfutures.com. Your question will then be forwarded to the appropriate staff member. In the meantime, stay healthy and take care! 

Sincerely,

Ann Sickon, Executive Director

Success Stories

mon18jan1:00 pm2:00 pmSocial Hour

mon18jan2:15 pm2:45 pmDance Party with Suzy Crawford

mon18jan4:00 pm5:00 pmYoga

mon18jan5:00 pm5:45 pmMeditation

mon18jan5:00 pm6:00 pmBook Club

Volunteer your time and talent

Regardless of your expertise or experience, giving of yourself can change lives for the better and create new possibilities for those with disabilities.

Volunteer »

Give the gift of independence

Your tax-deductible contributions help us provide life-changing services, develop innovative solutions, and increase community education and outreach.

X
X
X