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THIS MONTH’S ISSUE The View From My Chair


Garden Center Family Spotlight


New Literacy Program


Around GCS



The View From My Chair a message from our Executive director

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.

Let me begin by wishing you all, on behalf day program; art, cooking, music, etc. of myself and the Board of Directors, a joyful • Development of GCS’ businesses to holiday season and a peaceful, healthy enhance agency revenue and create New Year! During this wonderful time of meaningful jobs for the consumers; in year our days at the agency are filled with house print shop, commercial shredding, the preparations for Christmas events or and recycling program. actually participating in them. The holidays • Moving forward with the opening of the provide opportunities for new people to Garden Gallery & Studio in Tinley Park. visit our various locations, and it is always • Purchasing a house in Oak Lawn that is with a sense of pride that I’m able to being prepared to open as a women’s share examples and stories Community Integrated of what Garden Center has Living Arrangement in Christmas gift accomplished. I’m so aware early 2012. suggestions: to your and appreciative of the contributions made by many enemy, forgiveness. To an These are just a few of the of our families that allow us successes of 2011. I’m to support our consumers opponent, tolerance. To very proud and thankful in the ways they deserve. I a friend, your heart. To a for the management team am also thankful for the hard customer, service. To every and direct care staff that work and dedication of the work so hard, day in individuals that serve on the child, a good example. To and day out, to create agency’s Board of Directors. and provide the quality yourself, respect. supports for which our Oren Arnold agency is known. Following are bullet points highlighting some of our achievements over the past year: In closing, I am most grateful for the presence • Establishment of a formal strategic plan and participation of all the individuals that for the agency. attend our programs. As much as they • Implementation of a new organizational receive assistance from us, they are the structure that provides for stronger ones that encourage and nourish us through operations oversight and fund their incredible goodness and genuineness. development activities. Peace, • Expansion of curriculum offerings in the

A 5 0 1 (c ) ( 3 ) N onp r of it o rg ani zati on

Garden Center Family Spotlight Karen has attended Garden Center’s vocational program since 1998. She works on jobs including assembly of ceiling installation components for Chicago Metallic Corporation, applying bottle labels for Val-A Chicago, and assists with mailings for a local insurance company. Karen says what she loves most about Garden Center is that all of her friends are here. She has a lot of responsibilities in addition to her work. Karen assists with payroll for her coworkers, regularly restocks the soda machine and washes tables in the lunch room. Karen also enjoys cooking with Judy in the GCS Cooking Class and working on the computer. She says she is looking forward to getting her email account set up to keep in touch with friends and family. Karen also finds time in her schedule for lots of hobbies. She says she enjoys music, especially country and 80s rock, and enjoys writing and painting.


John officially started working for Garden Center in 2002, but he has been a part of the Garden Center family much longer than that. John began volunteering at Garden Center 20 years ago as part of his high school community service hours. It was an easy commute for him since he lived across the street. At that time, John volunteered in Garden Center’s swimming and bowling programs. He enjoyed it so much he continued to volunteer well into his college years. John won the Walgreen’s Extra Effort Award during his volunteer time and was filmed with Garden Center consumers for a news report. After college, John was working for a family member when his cousin, then a DSP at the Burbank ICF, let him know about an opening for a case manager position. John interviewed and was immediately hired when the Executive Director remembered him from his award-winning volunteer days. When John started with Garden Center, there were no computers in the homes. John began to get donations of old computers and built working computers from the parts. From those humble beginnings, as Garden Center’s use of technology expanded, John transitioned from case management services to Garden Center’s Director of Information Technology. Luckily John doesn’t have to build our computers anymore, but we do seem to find things to keep him busy.




Tour of Hom

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Date: Decembe Time: 6 - 8pm omes den Center H Location: Gar sit, have Stop by to vi d hments, an some refres on. as se ay lid enjoy the ho


By just spending time with the people we support you can provideIfopp you ortu havenitie an item s forto donate, meaningful connections.please email Anne McFerron at

Contact Michele Hula to learn more about how you can make a difference in someone’s life at Garden Center (708) 398-6506.

New Literacy Program at GCS According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 87% of adults with developmental disabilities are at the lowest level of literacy. Studies show improved literacy is important across multiple life domains. Increased literacy, including all forms of communication conveyed through reading, writing, visual media, speaking, listening, and sign language, is related to many expected outcomes such as expanded employment opportunities and health benefits. Garden Center has embarked on a new project aimed at helping the people we serve develop literacy skills. Garden Center received financial support for our project from RR Donnelley, a Chicago-based global provider of integrated communications. With those funds Garden Center will purchase computers, software, workbooks and other materials for the project. Literacy project activities will occur at both our Wesbrook and Main buildings.

Garden Center’s NEEDS List Electronic Keyboards (music)

Pool table

Picnic tables Zoo passes

Garden Center has secured an experienced volunteer to assist with the project, Jo Liebermann. Ms. Liebermann has numerous years experience teaching literacy skills to adults and children with developmental disabilities. Ms. Liebermann will assess interested individuals’ literacy skills and use that information to assist Garden Center staff in developing individualized teaching plans for those involved in the project.

Event tickets

Food, Fun, and Fashion

Vacuum & attachments

GCS’s 55th Annual Fashion Show

Garden Center’s 55th Annual Fashion Show was a resounding success. Held at The Doubletree in Alsip, attendees enjoyed a great meal, with even better company, while seeing the season’s latest clothing trends up close. The fashion portion of the evening was organized by Anne Marie Casey who has worked with Garden Center’s Fashion Show for the last 15 years. Anne Marie is the owner and operator of Annie’s Contemporary Classics for Women in Oak Lawn. She puts on a lot of fashion shows this time of year and says she always loves working with the Garden Center group.

Sue shows off the latest fall fashion

New dishes

Flat screen TV Bookshelf

New gardening tools Laptop computers Craft supplies Wall art

Frames for artwork Blank canvases

X-Box & dance games Living room set Xbox Kinect

Gym dues/passes Club dues

Garden Center models Sue, Carla, Lynn and Inday strutted their stuff on the catwalk. The silent auction, basket raffle, and the Grand Raffle were big hits. Winners walked away with great prizes ranging from paintings and decorative furniture to weekend getaway packages, and Blackhawk tickets. We can hardly wait until next year!

Raffle winner poses with her winnings

GCS Models strut their stuff on the catwalk

We are especially grateful to our own Michele Hula who did a fantastic job organizing the event - Thank You!!!

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

AROUND GCS Where we grow

dignity and

independence phone 708.636.0054 email web

Board of Directors President

Barbara Clarke

1st Vice President

Scott Hardek

2nd Vice President

Doug Combs


R. Pat Ballis


John J. Kunkes

The GCS Family enjoys a Wolves hockey game Thanks Melissa Schaefer for the tickets!!!

Charlie, Rich and Sal visit Willis Tower Skydeck

Frances Mientus Linda Stearns Daniel Wenzler Linda Sherwood


Contemporary Classics for Women

5203 W 95th Street Oak Lawn 708-636-9800 Affordable Women’s Clothing (Sizes 2-18), accessories, and gift items.

Gerry accepts a check from The Knights of Columbus Council #14553 - Tootsie Roll Drive

Big Gifts You Can Make During Hard Times

A charitable bequest through your will, revocable trust, retirement plan, or life insurance policy, doesn’t require you to part with your gift during your lifetime. Because bequests are revocable, you can change your beneficiary designations if your needs or your family’s needs change over time. OCTOBER - Genia Cunningham JUNE - Karen McGhee

MAY - Ruben Belmares

NOVEMBER - Veronica Hein JULY - Nicholas Harris

DECEMBER - George Brown, Jr. AUGUST - Rolando Rodriguez

For more information, contact Michele Hula at or (708) 398-6506 JANUARY - Paul Franklin

FEBRUARY - Jackie Mullen

MARCH - Genel Cunningham


SEPTEMBER - Jonathan Steinfort

Programs will be Main & Wesbrook th, and Jan. 2 close d De c. 23rd, 26

Advance Garden Center’s mission, by helping build our long-term financial strength. Garden Gallery & Studio©

Impo rt ant Date s!

APRIL - Kathy Guthrie

GCS Gallery Calendars Now on Sale! http://gardencenterservices.

S gardencenterservices 8333 South Austin Avenue Burbank, IL 60459 708-636-0054

CALENDAR 2012 gardencenterservices


Visit our Main Building or website to buy yours today!



SUPER SALE IS December 11th 12pm-4pm HALF OFF EVERYTHING IN THE STORE! 44 Stephen Street Lemont, IL

The Leaflet: ISSUE DEC 2011  

GCS Newsletter The Leaflet DEC 2011