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Garden Center Services


GCS team thanks Walgreens for their support during our very snowy vaccine clinic


It is unimaginable that last week we sent out our 50th internal status report of how we are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus! That is almost a year since we temporarily closed our day programs and had to begin taking comprehensive steps to safeguard the health and welfare of the individuals we support through our residential services. I am so proud of and awed by the management and direct care staff that have demonstrated such tenacity and dedication to ensure that our persons

continue to receive quality services in settings that are very safe and sanitized. Additionally, through the persistent work of the agency’s executive team, we have been able to collaborate with the Stickney Public Health Department and with Walgreens to get many of our staff, our participants, and their family caregivers, vaccinated! It is so wonderful to begin seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! But we are not there yet, and we must continue to be vigilant when it comes to wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing. Many of you reading this newsletter may have a direct connection with a family member or friend that is supported by Garden Center Services, and some may have simply

embraced our mission and decided to walk this journey with us. All of you, with our staff and the wonderful individuals we are honored to assist, make up the community of care known as Garden Center Services. It is for this reason that we mindfully crafted a mission statement that reads as follows: Advancing lives of connection, contribution, and meaning for persons with developmental disabilities and the individuals that support them. We value the many ways that you contribute your time, energy, and resources to help our staff provide our participants with the experiences and lives they deserve. Some individuals go the extra mile by volunteering to fill continued on page 4

GARDEN CENTER FAMILY INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH In 1987, President Reagan proclaimed March as Developmental Disability Awareness month. Since then, each year during the month of March, Garden Center and other organizations that support people with intellectual disabilities across the country, work to raise awareness about the ways people with and without disabilities work together to create strong communities.


This March, help us spread the word by sharing our Awareness Month social media posts and the posts we share from our partners with your social media network using the hashtag #DDawareness2021. March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month


COMMUNITY DAY SERVICES REOPENING We are excited to announce that GCS’ Community Day Services program at the State Road location will re-open on March 3, 2021! Individuals who live in our CILA homes will be invited back first, then later in the month, attendance will be expanded to include those who live with their family, following State and CDC guidelines for building capacity. Everyone who will be working/attending the program will have been fully vaccinated and will have completed the 2-week waiting period. Though we are all fully vaccinated, it is important to point out that we will still follow CDC and IDHS guidelines to ensure were are in compliance. So be sure to wear your cutest masks, practice social distancing, and wash your hands!!! Staff have been busy getting the program ready to ensure the day program experience will be as close to “normal” as we remember. We will still participate in our fun curriculum, as well as incorporate community-based experiences. We plan a return to small outings, volunteer sites, job sites, and will resume our focus on supported employment efforts. As mitigation guidelines change, we will shift our practices as necessary. We can’t wait to see you all!


d e e n e W p! l e h r u yo

This month, Governor Pritzker released the 2022 State budget. As we head into the legislative session, Garden Center will continue to be involved in advocacy work to ensure those we serve and our staff receive the support they deserve.

How you can help: As we move forward, Garden Center may need your voice to help us advocate for funding. Watch Garden Center’s social media and your email for easy steps you can take to make your voice heard. This may include sharing social media posts, following a link to share a pre-populated email that will be sent to your representatives, or making a call to share in your own words, or with the use of a script, why funding for agencies like Garden Center is essential to supporting the adults with intellectual disabilities we serve.


It may not seem like much, but the minute or two of time you spend advocating for Garden Center, adds to the chorus of voices that support disability services, and has a significant impact on decisions made by those who represent us. Get ready to make a difference!

17+ INCHES OF SNOW CAN’T STOP GCS & WALGREENS! On February 16th, braving the over 17 inches of snow that fell overnight, Walgreens and Garden Center Services’ staff teamed up to make Garden Center’s scheduled vaccine clinic for the people we serve, their caregivers, and Garden Center staff, move forward as planned. Despite the difficult conditions, the team vaccinated 154 people at Garden Center’s State Road location (that’s 94% of the people who were signed up!). Some people Garden Center serves weren’t able to get to the State building for their appointment, so part of the Walgreens team went to the homes to make sure they didn’t miss out on their vaccine.

The Walgreens Team

Fedda, Shea, Tricia, Sheila, Ethel, and Team Lead Chris

154 People vaccinated!

Garden Center is grateful for the Walgreens Team; Fedda, Shea, Tricia, Sheila, Ethel, and Team Lead Chris for their commitment to making sure Garden Center’s persons served, staff, and caregivers, GCS Current COVID Vaccination Stats received the vaccine they need. There’s still time! If you attend GCS programs, your QIDP will be reaching out soon to sign you up for our final vaccination clinic on March 9th. If this will be your first shot, we will help you get set up to receive your second dose at another location.

Inday gets her vaccine GCS Final Vaccination Clinic

MAR 9 calendar...



Mark your



People who live in GCS homes

GCS Staff

We are unable to share vaccination numbers for those who live with family at this time.

AUG 7 is the

Tentative Date for the

2021 GCS Super Sunny Walk ‘n Roll!

If Illinois coronavirus numbers continue to decline, and provided such outdoor gatherings are allowed in the Restore Illinois phase for our region on that date, GCS plans to hold our in-person Super Sunny Walk ‘n Roll this August. This year’s event will likely look different than those in years past, but we are excited at the possibility of celebrating together.

August 7th

Please mark your calendars with this tentative date!


Growing dignity


and independence 8333 S. Austin Ave. Burbank, IL 60459 10444 S. Kedzie Chicago, IL 60655 phone 773-941-4151 email info@gardencenterservices.org

Maureen gets to work on an art project

Moody House game day

Veronica shows off her manicure

web www.GardenCenterServices.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS John Dahlke Lisa Beemsterboer Anthony Di Miele Shannon Benaitis Mary Gill

Chrissy admires her beautiful Mardi Gras mask

Mardi Gras prep at the ICF

Donna Blair Rep. Fran Hurley Dr. Chris Grunow

Perry puts away a food donation from American Airlines

Ava Rhodes - Smith Maria Zeimen, OSF Cindy Malloy

Marnesha shows off her cool Mardi Gras mask!

Karen shows off her snow globe craft

OUR MISSION Advancing lives of connection, contribution, and meaning for persons with developmental disabilities and the individuals that support them.

Genel and Genia collect a donation

Shelby gets ready for pizza & mocktail night

Krista modeling her awesome Mardi Gras mask!

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a position on the agency’s Board of Directors. This is a real commitment of time and effort as the Board fulfills their responsibility to provide backing, guidance, and input to the Executive Director and his management team. We presently have four such persons that are coming off the board due to term limits, after serving diligently for six years. They are Mr. Tom Beemsterboer, Ms. Florence Head, Mr. David Rauen, and Ms. Joan Strainis. They deserve our praise and gratitude for their devoted service and I thank each of them for their help and contribution. The persons chosen to fill their spots on the board are Ms. Lisa Beemsterboer, Ms. Shannon Benaitis, Ms. Mary Gill, and Dr. Chris Grunow. We will learn more about these individuals in the next newsletter. Please continue to be cautious, safe, and healthy. I so look forward to the day when we can gather together again and celebrate Garden Center Services! Thank you.

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The Leaflet ISSUE MAR APR 2021  

Garden Center Services Newsletter The Leaflet ISSUAE MAR/APR 2021

The Leaflet ISSUE MAR APR 2021  

Garden Center Services Newsletter The Leaflet ISSUAE MAR/APR 2021