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Garden Center Services


Chrissy & Gerry at the Super Sunny walk ‘n roll


The National Direct Support Professional (DSP) Appreciation Week this year is being held from Sept. 12th through Sept. 18th. It is a great opportunity to highlight the dedicated, innovative direct support staff that are the heart and soul of our agency. Throughout that week we will be highlighting and celebrating the devoted services provided by these staff, day in and day out, 24/7, 365 days a year! This recognition of the DSPs at the center of our field is part of a nationwide party

that is thrown every year to showcase the amazing and often unsung work of these incredible professionals, and mark just a small fraction of the recognition that they deserve throughout the year.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Mahatma Gandhi During normal times, whenever that was, our staff have a very challenging and responsible job. Working with the individuals we serve to help them develop greater independence while also supporting them to achieve their personal goals, requires an enormous amount of commitment and compassion. Add to that the additional stress and concern we’ve experienced

over the last year and a half due to the pandemic, and you can understand why we refer to our employees as heroes! I am so, so proud of the conscientious and dedicated support that are staff provide and how they have worked tirelessly to keep our persons safe and healthy. We are reaching out to you to ask your help so that we can really show these staff how appreciated and invaluable they are! Please read the article on the inside of this issue for details on how you can help Garden Center celebrate the DSPs who support your loved ones every day. As always, thank you so much for your ongoing support.

GARDEN CENTER FAMILY NATIONAL DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS WEEK This September, Garden Center, along with agencies across the country, will be celebrating National Direct Support Professionals Appreciation Week. The goal of the week is to honor the essential staff who enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to live full, healthy lives in their communities. This September 12th through 18th, Garden Center will celebrate our amazing Direct Support Professionals with raffles, gifts, parties and more. In the past, many of you have taken time during National DSP Recognition Week to show your appreciation to the amazing DSPs who support your family at GCS. This year we ask again for your help in acknowledging the extraordinary work they do each day of the year. READY TO SHOW SOME LOVE? Here are a few ideas... • Share a message to our facebook page or email • Send in a card with a heartfelt note • Send in some snacks or candy • Donate a gift card to be used in our recognition week drawings (Or use the link

QUESTIONS? Contact Cindy at chaworth@

on our website and GCS will purchase gift cards for you.)

or 815-263-7419

A word from you means so much to our staff. Please consider being a part of this year’s celebration in whatever way you can.


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ance Thrift Ch

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GCS’ Kedzie Building

We will let you know when we will begin accepting designated donations. If you are interested in volunteering at the shop, please contact Ms. Denise Rau, Director of Behavioral/Community Day/Vocational Services, at 708-3986576. We will also be looking for an individual with retail and/or thrift shop experience to manage the shop. Interested individuals may contact Michele Hula at 773-941-4151 Ext. 212. Thank you for all of your support.

Secon d

We’re excited to share with you that Garden Center recently acquired the business license required by the city of Chicago to establish and operate a thrift store at our 10444 S. Kedzie location. With our day program services now being offered only at the Burbank location, we’ve decided to re-open the Second Chance Thrift Shoppe in Mt. Greenwood. Obviously, we need to make a number of changes to the site, build up our inventory, and amass the dedicated volunteers needed to make the shop successful. This will take at least a few months, but rest assured, we will keep you informed of our progress.

tin g

G a rd e n C e nt er S


ROUND UP Your Spare Change for GCS! RoundUp is a secure system that lets you automatically donate the change from your credit card transactions to GCS. It makes giving effortless and provides a critical source of consistent support that allows GCS to do our work. Your gifts naturally move up and down with your spending and you can set a cap for the maximum amount you’d like to donate in a month. Make changes to your info at any time on their site.

to get started



How It Works RoundUp App allows you to automatically donate the change from your credit/debit

How it Works 1. Sign Up 2. Spend like normal 3. Donate Nothing to download. Once you set up your account, RoundUp will take care of the rest. Use the QR Code to the left or go to to get started.

GCS’S 2021 WALK ‘N ROLL A little heat can’t stop Garden Center from having a good time! August 7th, the GCS family gathered together for the first time since the pandemic started. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces at Newcastle Park for the Super Sunny Walk ‘n Roll. We are especially grateful to the volunteers who help make this event possible. A special shout out to the Marist Dance & Pom team for their support with warm-ups, serving meals, and even some karoke entertainment! A big thank you also goes to the Knights of Columbus #14553 & Women’s Auxiliary for another super tasty, Super Sunny cookout! We are incredibly humbled and thankful for our many event sponsors, peer-to-peer fundraisers, and donors who helped GCS bring in over $50,000 for programs and services during what has been a very challenging time for many of them. Please check out the list of businesses and individuals below who generously sponsored the walk and help us show our appreciation to these great supporters of GCS. Thank You!

OUR SPONSORS SILVER SPONSORS Twin Hearts Foundation Wegner Family Charitable Fund Special Needs Tax Consulting Chuck’s Southern Comfort Cafe’ David Cobb REMAX Make it Matter Foundation The Heinemann Family Insperity Services M&O Insulation Rita Jurkiewicz Linda Sherwood Beagles-Haworth Family

Sibik Family BRONZE SPONSORS Burbank Park District Mueller & Company Pete’s Service Center RJ Till & Sons Cesario Family Citizens for Viverito Barnabas Foundation SUNNY SPONSORS Howard Beagles 19th Ward Youth Foundation

Mark your

GOLD PARTNERING SPONSORS Amber Mechanical Burbank Community Bank Bush Family Eye Care Conway Family Durbin’s Restaurant Edward Jones - Tom Walsh Flanagan/Bilton, LLC Friends of Bill Cunningham Friends of Fran Hurley GCG - An Alera Group John Gino’s Pizza Mahoney, Crowe & Goldric Mayor Dan Foy

The Lovelady Family

State Farm Insurance - Tom Porter Station MD Marathon Sportswear Michael Kowalik DDS, LTD Athenian Body Shop Albatross Training Frances Mientus Whittingham Meats

It’s Almost Tootsie Roll time again!


The Knights of Columbus have held their Tootsie Roll drive to collect funds for GCS and programs like ours since 1970 & they need volunteers like you to make it a success. It’s Garden Center Night at the Windy City Thunderbolts Game SEP 2 7:05pm a lucky GCS participant will throw out the first pitch! Free Tickets at Will Call first come first serve

$11 to purchase at the door

This year’s drive will be Sep 10 & 11 Visit their facebook for more info @Knights14553


Growing dignity and independence 8333 S. Austin Ave. Burbank, IL 60459 10444 S. Kedzie Chicago, IL 60655 phone 773-941-4151 email web


John Dahlke

Vice President

Donna Blair


Anthony Di Miele


Cindy Malloy


Lisa Beemsterboer

Garden Center is Garvey’s 3rd Quarter Recycle for a Reason Recipient! Our friends at Garvey’s Office Products, have chosen GCS as this quarter’s Recycle for a Reason recipient. That means any items you donate for recycling through the end of September will be recycled into cash for GCS! Our own Garden Center Advocacy Dream Team, will be collecting your donations. WHAT WE CAN ACCEPT • Flattened Cardboard Boxes • Empty toner cartridges (inkjet, laserjet, and printer toner) • Electronics (hard drives, routers, modems, servers, That’s a LOT of recycling! telephones, cell phones, printers, keyboards, mice, cables/cords, DVD players, Copiers, fax machines, microwaves, toasters, flat screen TVs). Sorry. We can’t accept big/bulky monitors. DROP OFF to Garden Center’s State Road Building: 8333 S. Austin Ave. in Burbank LAST DAY TO DROP OFF is SEP 30th.

Shannon Benaitis Mary Gill Dr. Chris Grunow Rep. Fran Hurley

GCS COVID STATUS UPDATE We remain vigilant with regard to the COVID-19 virus. Thank you for all your support as we move forward. We continue to mask at all times and stress vigilant hand washing and cleaning. Our overall vaccination rate is 89%. Vaccines are mandated for all day service staff as well as all new employees. Last week, the State of Illinois issued an Executive Order mandating all employees who work at or with ICFs to be vaccinated, and we are moving forward to meet those requirements. Once complete, our agency vaccination rate will be well over 90%. The remaining unvaccinated staff will continue to be tested weekly.

Ava Rhodes - Smith Maria Zeimen, OSF

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

All program participants attending our community day program are vaccinated. Our residential participants have a vaccine rate of 99%. This has been a big undertaking and we can’t thank our employees and program participants enough for their dedication and commitment to keeping each other safe. We also thank you, for your dedication and commitment to getting vaccinated and using safe practices at your homes as you visit with your family members. While we haven’t had any employees or participants test positive yet in this most recent Delta wave, we are certainly hearing of family and friends of our Garden Center family who have tested positive. Sadly, we are again hearing of significant sickness and even some recent deaths at other agencies like Garden Center in our area. People with disabilities continue to have a much higher risk in this pandemic. We know Garden Center is a strong community and never before has this been more evident.

Thank you for all you do to help keep Garden Center safe!

Profile for Garden Center Services

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