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THIS MONTH’S ISSUE The View From My Chair


GCS Family Spotlight


The Waiting Game


Around GCS



The View From My Chair a message from our Executive director

Recently two staff at the agency celebrated their 23rd year anniversary of working at Garden Center Services. Twenty three years! Kim O’Brien started as a direct care staff in our developmental training program and is now the director of the day program located at the main building; Jill Smith began as a bus driver and is now the manager of the Business Office. Check out Gerry's Blog at

OUR MISSION Garden Center Services is committed to supporting and empowering persons with developmental disabilities through innovative and person-centered services. Our commitment to the excellence of our programs is surpassed only by our devotion to the people we serve and the communities in which they live.

Both of these women have provided me invaluable support and assistance over the last nine years as the agency has gone through significant changes. It awes and inspires me when I imagine the number of interactions, small and large, that they have had with the individuals we support, and how their kindness has truly improved the lives of these consumers. Any disability provider is defined by the character and values of their staff, and this is why I am so proud to be employed at this agency. Kim and Jill are representative of the many staff that work with, or on behalf, of the individuals that attend our programs. Providing the assistance and guidance our participants may require can be a challenging

and tiring task, and yet I find most of our staff offer this encouragement with great patience and compassion. From getting to know the staff I am keenly aware of the circumstances they deal with in their personal lives, and how many of them juggle the care of their own children and families with the dedicated service they provide while on the job. One of my most important responsibilities is making sure that our staff feel valued and supported. Sometimes in the day to day busyness I don’t feel I give this enough attention. Please help me in this effort by remembering to share expressions of gratitude with the staff for all the goodness they bring into the lives of our consumers, and our lives as well. On the back page you will see a notice for a fund raising event to be held on Sept. 8th at the Bourbon Street Restaurant on behalf of Abide In Me. Abide In Me is a non-profit organization that is collaborating with Garden Center to develop a small community home for some women that are currently supported in the Harvey House ICF/ DD. These are consumers that are being provided the opportunity to move into smaller settings because of the Ligas consent decree. Much of the revenue that will be raised at this event is going to be donated to Garden Center to help us with the purchase and rehab of the new home. Please make an effort to patronize this benefit!

Kim and Jill celebrated 23 years with GCS!

A 5 0 1 ( c ) ( 3 ) N o n p r o fit organi zation

Garden Center Family Spotlight

Ashley joined the Garden Center family in June of this year. She is a bubbly and energetic 23-year-old. Although Ashley has only been here a short while it didn’t take her long to get involved! In addition to work in her group, Ashley is a member of the GCS Prayer Club, paints at the Garden Gallery & Studio once a week, and never misses the weekly sing-a-long. Ashley is also busy at home. She lives with her mom and says she enjoys helping around the house, even sometimes with the laundry which “isn’t really [my] thing”. Ashley is also a valued member of her church where she enjoys helping in the nursery, going to bible study and singing in the choir.


Ashley grew up in Chicago and is a “die-hard Cubs fan”. She also loves to travel. Some of her more memorable trips include visits to Florida, Hot Springs, Arkansas and her most recent family vacation to Wisconsin Dells. When asked what she thinks of Garden Center so far, Ashley says, “I love it! I love the people here.” Antoinette is called Toni by most people, but a few at Garden Center call her “Toto”. She got the nickname as a result of a silly Easter song she made up while driving a group to the day program years ago. In the song, she dubbed herself “Toto” to fit in with her melody and the name just stuck. Toni started with Garden Center in 1999. She transported people as a van driver until 2004 when she left to work full-time at her second job. She couldn’t forget her friends at Garden Center and came back in 2009. Now Toni works as a DSP floater at the main building and that job suits her just fine. She says she loves that she gets to do so many things and isn’t “stuck in one place”. “I love to be with everybody. It is like a second family.”


Those who work with Toni admire her positive attitude and ready smile. They say when you ask her to do anything, her response is always, “beautiful!” And we think that is beautiful!

GCS Business Corner

Garden Center currently has six support businesses. Revenue from those businesses go back to programs for the people we serve. Over the next several issues we will highlight each of our businesses and what they can do for you. Garden Center started creating and printing our own marketing and event materials as a cost saving measure over eight years ago. Last year, Green Thumb Design & Printing was born as we began taking on print and web design work from outside businesses. Since our inception, Green Thumb has printed materials and created websites for groups including SRCA, Chicago Office Products, Heart and Sole Dance Foundation, and the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. Garden Center’s Green Thumb Design & Printing designs and prints eye-catching, high-quality print materials

What we do: • Brochures • Calendars • Event Books

• • • • •

Newsletters Flyers Posters Letterhead Envelopes

• • • •

Call John for your business or personal printing/design needs at (708) 398-6520.

Business Cards WebDesign Logo Design and More!

Nicholas has a larger than life passion for art. He can paint for hours everyday. Nick’s subjects for painting cover a wide range. He especially enjoys learning new techniques and trying out new mediums in his work.

2nd Annual Garden Center Serv AFRICAN WOMAN - Nicholas Harris

ices Potting Party

July 2012 Sunday





































Independence Day

April 6th 28 @ 115 Bourbon Street 7pm - Midnight

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” - Booker T. Washington

Th e Wai ti ng Gam e. . .

Garden Center’s NEEDS List

It is estimated that nearly 75% of people in the United States use the internet regularly. The internet, and computer use in general, is equally popular at Garden Center where people request computer time on the handful of machines we have dedicated for that purpose. Many people like to keep in touch with friends and family through their Facebook account, or email. Some like to listen to their favorite music or catch up on the news.


As the computer continues to become an even more essential part of daily Only one computer is available for the 15 people who live at the Burbank ICF life, Garden Center is looking for ways to make up the shortfall. If you have a computer you would like to donate to our cause please email amcferron@ gardencenterservices.

Sofa/Chairs for our reading area


Bar-type stools

Free-standing shelf units Printer

GCS in the NEWS


Don’t forget to watch ABC 7 Sunday Morning News with Karen Meyer this Sunday at 8am to see her story on Garden Center’s Garden Gallery & Studio!

Office desk Microwave

Large coffee maker Books

Electronic keyboards (music)

SECOND CHANCE THRIFT SHOPPE NEEDS YOUR HELP! A new Salvation Army store is moving into Lemont and our Second Chance Thrift Shoppe needs your help. To continue to provide the high-quality items that keep our customers coming back, we need your great donations! Bring your gently used clothing, toys, household items, books and electronics and make a difference in the lives of the people we support. Donations accepted: Monday thru Saturday from 10:00am – 3:30pm Thursday 10:00am – 6:30pm 44 Stephen Street in Lemont

Thank You!

Event tickets

Craft supplies

Frames for artwork Blank canvases

X-Box and Wii games

GCS BULLETIN BOARD Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll Drive Date: Friday Sept. 21 and Saturday Sept. 22 Time: 6am-6pm Details: We need as many volunteers as possible to help collect donations at various checkpoints in the Burbank area- we receive our share of donations based on how many volunteers we have so tell you family, friends, neighbors to come out for a couple hours! Contact Michele Hula to volunteer at: (773) 941-4151 ext. 212 or mhula@

SAVE THE DATE ! GCS 56th Annual Fa shion Show Sunday, Novembe

r 4th Doubletree Hote l 5000 W . 127th St . Alsip, IL

If you have an item to donate, please email Anne McFerron at

Where we grow


dignity and

independence phone 708.636.0054 email web

Board of Directors President

Daniel Wenzler

1st Vice President

Scott Hardek

2nd Vice President

Doug Combs


R. Pat Ballis


Annmarie Caulfield


John J. Kunkes

GCS’ staff brave the July heat at our first ever employee 5k Run/Walk

Melissa gets some much anticipated computer time

Mary and Chris pose for the camera

Wednesday Sing-a-Long brings out the smiles

Linda Stearns Linda Sherwood Sharon Duncan Jenny Wojcik

Don’t Forget!

NEFIT ABIDE IN ME BEber 8th em pt Se y, rda tu Sa t 3-8pm 115 Bourbon Stree ROLL DRIVE KOC TOOTSIE rday ember 21st & Satu Friday, Sept22 nd September ION SHOW ANNUAL FASH r 4th be vem No Sunday, sip at noon Doubletree in Al

ABIDE IN ME’s Celebrate Me Home Benefit

September 8th 3-8pm


115 Bourbon Street Restaurant 3359 W. 115th St. Merrionette Park, IL Silent Auction & Raffles Adults $30 Children $15

Dinner, dessert, beer, wine and Entertainment.


$21,800 Only $700 to go!

Prepare Building for Occupancy

August 19th 12pm-4pm


GOAL 22,500

GCS Businesses http://gardencenterservices.

Another way you can help us make a difference... COFFEE Co. gardencenterservices

. Tastes Good. Does Good. Feels Good

For sale online, at day sites, & at Garden Gallery Gift Shop gardencenterservices

17459 S. Oak Park Ave. Tinley Park

44 Stephen Street, Lemont

GCS Ink Cartridge and Small Electronics Recycling

For more information, visit

GCS Newsletter: The Leaflet ISSUE Aug 2012  

GCS Newsletter