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.

Philadelphia Organization Trains to Create Housing Options

When Sara Crimm heard about Center for Independent Futures’ New Futures InitiativeTM housing process, she decided to fly across the Midwest to see it for herself. Sara is the executive director of Families CCAN, an organization in Philadelphia led by families and individuals with disabilities seeking new solutions.

“I was following other housing projects across the country, and they were giving promises about visions and dreams, but there was nothing there. I looked at Center for Independent Futures and said wow, these people are really doing this. They have a track record,” Sara said.

Proven successful in our Community Living OptionsTM in Evanston, the New Futures InitiativeTM provides family groups and organizations with the tools and materials needed to create housing solutions. The process helps families tap into professional and community resources and offers the flexibility to create solutions that work for a range of support needs.

In November 2016, eight families gathered by Families CCAN came to Evanston to begin the workshops that make up the New Futures InitiativeTM training. During this trip, the families coalesced as a group, determined their methods of working together, and took inventory of their assets. For Lisa Nicholson and her husband, touring individuals’ homes was especially memorable. “Reading something and looking at a binder is one thing, but to see these young people in their own homes, and thriving—there’s nothing more impactful than that,” Lisa said.

When the group returned to Philadelphia, they began moving toward their vision using the tools they developed during the training. “Our meetings are productive and organized because of the framework, wealth of information, and guidelines about the timeframe of specific action steps. The structures Center for Independent Futures has provided are very powerful,” group member Amy McCann said.

As more members of the Families CCAN community prepare to take steps toward creating housing solutions, the organization will be ready to facilitate the process on their own. Two individuals are being trained by Center for Independent Futures to become process facilitators, providing Families CCAN with a sustainable way to continue creating solutions.

“We are really inspired by Center for Independent Futures,” Sara said. “Our vision for the future is to establish a variety of housing settings in Philadelphia that work for adults with disabilities. The more things that get developed, the better it is for everyone.”

2016 Annual Report Shares Stories of Connections

Center for Independent Futures is excited to share our latest annual report, sharing stories of our community and supporters. Read the annual report at this link!

In the 2016 annual report, you’ll find updates on our work with individuals, families, students, and other organizations. Read about how we support Nestor Gonzalez to live his dream of independence and how we’ve partnered with Equip for Equality to help students to plan for community life. Learn how we work with Lo Que Puede Venir to support Hispanic communities and get the update on our nationwide housing work.

The annual report includes a list of our supporters during the past year, including gifts given in tribute to or recognition of individuals. This edition of the annual report features a special update from Center for Independent Futures’ co-founders, reflecting on fifteen years of supporting hopes and dreams. We are grateful to all of our supporters and community members for another successful year building on this legacy.

 

Collaboration with Lo Que Puede Venir Creates Connections

Every community, like every individual, has unique resources and needs. In 2016, Center for Independent Futures worked in communities in the Chicagoland area on our Community Connectors and Bridge Builders Project, an effort made possible by an investment by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In Chicago’s Little Village, Cicero, and Berywn neighborhoods, we worked with Lo Que Puede Venir, an organization that supports individuals with disabilities and their families in the Hispanic community. Through the Community Connectors and Bridge Builders Project, individuals with disabilities connected with other community members with shared interests to attend events, volunteer, and enjoy their hobbies.

To make these moment possible, Lo Que Puede Venir and Center for Independent Futures each contributed organizational assets and collaborated to overcome obstacles, explained Maria Castillo, Program Director of Lo Que Puede Venir.

“Center for Independent Futures said, we might not speak Spanish, but we’ll look for ways to make it work. Our office might not be located in the center of your community, but we’ll bring the program and our efforts to you,” Maria said. “This approach makes all the difference in the world.”

Building on the success of the Community Connectors and Bridge Builders Project, Center for Independent Futures will expand efforts to create community-wide changes, allowing more individuals to access the opportunities of full community participation. Through changing mindsets about what’s possible, this work has already begun, shared Consuelo Puente, Executive Director of Lo Que Puede Venir.

“Everyone had a story to share about how expectations changed through this project,” Consuelo said. “Families realized that there are possibilities for their child with a disability and that there are ways to engage in the community rather than being isolated.”

Success Stories

mon28sep1:00 pm2:00 pmSocial Hour

mon28sep2:15 pm2:45 pmDance Party with Suzy Crawford

mon28sep4:00 pm5:00 pmYoga

mon28sep5:00 pm6:00 pmBook Club

tue29sep3:00 pm3:45 pmGroup Meditation

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