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Garden Center Services


Cindy, Santa (Tim), & Gerry


As we begin the new year I am very grateful for all the strides we’ve made together at our agency over the past years. It truly has been a collaborative effort put forth by the staff, the individuals that attend our programs, their families, the agency’s Board of Directors, and the many friends and businesses that support us. I am pleased with the quality of our programs and the stability of our financial position, but it is the kind and caring

culture that one experiences throughout the agency that I am most proud of. The changes that have taken place and the various new training and community experiences did not occur by happenstance, but are the product of strategic planning efforts and regularly scheduled sessions of evaluating past goals and objectives, and establishing new ones. I am very proud of the leadership team Garden Center Services has been able to attract, retain, and develop, and would like to identify them here: • Cindy Haworth Associate Executive Director • Ralph Storino Director of Fiscal Management • Teresa Viebach -

Director of Nursing • Michele Hula Recruitment and Retention Administrator • Denise Rau - Director of Behavioral/Day/ Vocational Services • Sandi Coleman - Director of Development • Joanne Steinz and John Schuetz - CILA Administrators This group and myself, many of whom are extremely busy managing the day-to-day oversight of our programs or financial issues, will devote a day off-site from the agency to identify and establish those initiatives and targets that we would work toward in the coming years. Part of that process is looking at the strengths and weaknesses of our current programs, the continued on page 4

GARDEN CENTER FAMILY A VERY KUNKES CHRISTMAS Holidays can be a difficult time for those who don’t have family to gather with for the traditional festivities of the season. For the past five years, the Kunkes Family has made the holidays brighter for many people at Garden Center who don’t have a place to go. The Kunkes Family hosts both a Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas dinner complete with all the trimmings - and gifts! Their generosity has made the holidays a wonderful time for those we serve who do not have the family support so many of us take for granted. Sharing the joy of the season

A gift and a good me al are an important part of th e holidays

Thank you to the Kunkes Family for ensuring the holidays are Merry & Bright for everyone.

AWARENESS & ADVOCACY IARFuture LEADERSHIP CLASS Congratulations to Garden Center’s Denise Rau & Joanne Stienz and all of the 2019 IARFuture Leadership Initiative Class Graduates!

GCS’ Denise Rau & Joanne Stienz pose with their fellow 2019 graduates of the IARFuture Leadership Class

This group completed a yearlong course consisting of multiple trainings on topics related to leadership in the developmental disability field through the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.

MORE IARF NEWS I am very pleased that I have recently been elected to the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Since its inception in the early 70s, IARF has been a leading voice of human service organizations in the government. Garden Center Services is one of nearly 80 member agencies throughout Illinois. I am hopeful that over the next few years I can be helpful to the Association as we work with the political environment in Springfield to make strides for individuals with developmental disabilities.

TENDING OUR GARDEN GivingTuesday started in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, the movement has grown worldwide and in 2019 alone, GivingTuesday raised over $511 million dollars! Garden Center has been participating in GivingTuesday for the past four years and has been fortunate to receive generous support from our community. This year, GCS raised $23,353 with a $20,000 match by a donation from our friends at the UMCMG Foundation for a total of $43,353! THANK YOU!!!


GivingTuesday donors and fundraisers who donated/ raised at least $120 will receive a cool GCS ball cap. Although it took a bit longer than we planned, the hats are now here! They will be making their way to those

ANOTHER DREAM COME TRUE! Housemates and long-time friends, Mary & Shari, had been wanting to take a vacation for some time and Garden Center was excited to help make that dream a reality. Last month, Mary, Shari, and Garden Center staff, Valencia, took off on an amazing adventure to the Royalton White Sands Resort in Jamaica.

Mary & Shari relaxing outside of their beautiful poolside room

There was some swimming, a lot of relaxing in the sunshine and a few piña coladas. “It was so much fun!”, Mary said of the trip, “We danced until we were tired.”

Mary, Shari & Valencia



We’re crazy about “Old School Cool” and are going to start putting some of our own back-in-the-day photos in the Garden Center employee newsletter. If you would like to share some pics of your loved ones as younger adults or children, we would love to share them with our staff! Forward pictures to Cindy at

Mark your



opportunity Party is a rare ay id ol H r u O who work er with staff to get togeth tions & shifts different loca TBD

We are so grateful to everyone who volunteered their time to help cover our homes so staff could attend the Garden Center Christmas Party!

REV UP - Presidential Forum on Disability Issues- watch Facebook for Details

Keep an eye out for Membership Info in the comming weeks

More Dates...

JAN 19 Second Chance Super Sale JAN 20 GCS Day Programs CLOSED for Martin Luther King Jr. Day FEB 9 TBD

Second Chance Super Sale Sweetheart Dance

MAY 15

Spring Clean up at the CILAs & ICF - watch Facebook for more info

MAY 30

Sunny Smash Co-Ed Softball Tournament - Watch our facebook for registration details

JUN 6 Super Sunny Walk ‘n Roll


Growing dignity


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


Paul Krutulis

Vice President

Joan Strainis


Anthony Di Miele


Florence Head


Tom Beemsterboer

arnesha M & n a Deju

Donna Blair Representative Fran Hurley Dave Rauen Ava Rhodes - Smith

More Info Coming Soon!

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

2020 Kelly Jo, Shelby & Veronica having holiday fun

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obvious opportunities for growth and development that are possible, and any threats to the agency’s long-term stability. After considering these variables, we will share ideas of any and all goals that could improve the quality of life experience for the persons we serve. From that list, we will narrow down and choose those projects and objectives that we will begin to focus on. After these choices are shared and discussed with our Board of Directors, and they are able to provide their perspectives and input, we then formalize our vision and performance indicators for the coming years. In the next article I will share the targets chosen for one of the agency’s program areas. Take care, and have a happy & healthy 2020!

Profile for Garden Center Services

GCS Newsletter THE LEAFLET Issue JAN FEB 2020  

Garden Center Services Newsletter

GCS Newsletter THE LEAFLET Issue JAN FEB 2020  

Garden Center Services Newsletter