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Garden Center Services



Ken & Gerry


To say last week was a wonderful one for me, would be an understatement! On Thursday, May 2nd, I celebrated my 10 -year anniversary as the Executive Director of Garden Center Services! Then on Saturday, May 4th, my son, Danny, and his wife Karen delivered a beautiful baby boy, Patrick, our first grandchild!! A great bridge between these two marvelous events is the fact that Danny and Karen met at the agency while working summer jobs at the end of their freshmen year in college. As much as I’d like to share photos and discuss my grandson, for this newsletter article I will focus on the last 10 incredible years here at Garden Center.

I arrived at the agency already having worked in the field of developmental disabilities for thirty-one years; several years as a volunteer and student intern, 20 years with the Illinois Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities, and seven years working for other community based disability providers. For many of those years, I often dreamed about what it would be like to lead an agency in valuing and supporting persons with developmental disabilities in the ways that they expressed to me would truly meet their needs. I am so grateful that the opportunity came at Garden Center Services.

“I often dreamed about what it would be like to lead an agency in valuing and supporting persons with developmental disabilities in the ways that they expressed to me would truly meet their needs. When I got here in the spring of 2003, the agency was supporting 67 individuals through our one day program on State Street, and our three residential sites; the Moody CILA, the Lorel CILA, and the Burbank ICF. Garden Center had been established in 1956 and maintained through the selfless, dedicated efforts of our families, and the evidence

of their values and support was experienced throughout the organization. It became obvious fairly quickly that our programs needed to expand in order to meet the needs of an aging guardian population, and to broaden our financial base. A commitment was made by myself, the board of directors, and our staff, to do this in a way that kept the consumers at the center of every decision, and that each new program would improve the quality of our services and supports. The agency now offers training and assistance to approximately 150 individuals through our three day programs and 14 residential sites. Included in our expansion is also the Second Chance Thrift Shoppe and Garden Gallery & Studio! I am so pleased with what we have accomplished over the past 10 years, and am excited about the plans we have to enhance the agency in the years to come. None of this could have happened without the extraordinary collaboration and encouragement of so many of you. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the families, the staff, the board of directors, our community partners & friends, and most of all, the persons that attend our programs which have enriched my life beyond measure. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

GARDEN CENTER FAMILY SPOTLIGHT Jennifer joined the Garden Center family as Director of CILA Services almost three years ago. In this position, she is responsible for overseeing Garden Center’s seven community integrated living settings. Jennifer has been in the business of supporting people with developmental disabilities for over 13 years and has been in social services even longer. ”I LOVE the people I work with, both staff and people receiving services,” she says, and adds she can’t imagine doing anything else. A self-admitted Words With Friends addict, Jennifer also makes time for one of her other passions, running. Jennifer just completed a half marathon this past weekend and is currently helping coordinate Garden Center’s newest addition to our Annual Walk n’ Roll-a-Thon, the Super Sunny 5k that will be held Saturday, June 8th at Newcastle Park in Burbank. Nick has been attending Garden Center’s program at our Burbank location since January 2010. He is a “guys’ guy” who likes to hang out with the boys, especially his dad and brothers. He is also known as one of the biggest flirts at Garden Center! Nick loves to laugh and finds the humor in every situation, which endears him to everyone he meets. He is a guy on-the-go and visits his friends all over the building throughout the day.



Nick makes a bird seed wreath with a Mother Mc-

Cauley HS student for Earth Day

Nick also likes to be on the move when not at Garden. He loves shopping and visiting family (especially his grandma for some Wheel of Fortune time), soaking up the sun in his pool or just sitting outside visiting with the neighborhood kids who drop by. He loves the Cubs (his brother, Jeremy, says he is “forced” to be a fan out of loyalty to their dad). A family guy, Nick watches the Bears game with his family every Sunday and can hardly wait for the next get-together.


GARDEN CENTER SERVICES’ NEWLY ELECTED EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Elections were recently held for the Garden Center Board of Director’s Executive Committee. Our newly elected officers are: President: Dan Wenzler, 1st Vice President: Jenny Wojcik, 2nd Vice President: Doug Combs, Treasurer: R. Pat Ballis, and Secretary: Annmarie Caulfield. GCS’ Board Members at Large are Sharon Duncan, Scott Hardek, John Kunkes, Sean O’Shea and Linda Sherwood. We deeply appreciate the time and dedication off all of our Board Members and their commitment to the ongoing enhancement of Garden Center programs and services.




Spring cleaning got you down? We can help! Drop off your gently used clothing, electronics, toys, home decor, housewares, furniture and more to Second Chance Thrift Shoppe. We will find your old treasures a new home and help Garden Center at the same time! 44 Stephen Street, Lemont (630) 243-1279 Mon - Sat 10am to 4pm Thurs till 7pm Follow us on facebook for great deals and alerts on unusual new items as they come in!


Looking for something special? We’ve got you covered there too. Shop Second Chance for everything you need to make this your family’s best summer yet!

Do good when you shop... COFFEE Co.

. Tastes Good. Does Good. Feels Good

Our helpful staff will even unload your car!

needs list • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Computers Vacuum sweepers Books Event tickets Puzzles Games Art/Craft supplies Art frames Blank canvases CDs & players VHS/DVD players Exercise videos & equipment Music instruments Digital cameras X-Box and Wii games G a r d e n i n g supplies Storage bins Storage cabinets Electric Stove

If you have something to donate, please contact Anne McFerron at

GCS’ 3rd Annual Potting Party Continues to GROW On April 5th, over 250 supporters descended on 115 Bourbon Street restaurant in Merrionette Park for the 3rd Annual Potting Party. The Potting Party raises essential funds for Garden Center programs and services. These funds are desperately needed as state funding alone does not allow Garden Center to provide the level of care our consumers deserve. We’d like to give a special shout out this year to newly elected board member, Sean O’Shea, as well as to family member and volunteer extraordinaire, Jeremy Zientek for their time and assistance in planning and organizing the event. Another special shout out goes to the amazing band, The New Class (formerly known as Last Call) for donating their time and talent to make this event a huge success.

GCS Potting Party 2013

GCS’ SUPER SUNNY 5k and WALK n’ ROLL-a-THON On Saturday, June 8th, Garden Center Services will hold its inaugural 5k and annual Walk N’ Roll-a-Thon. This event brings together over 300 friends, families, and advocates to raise funds that help maintain the supports we provide to persons with developmental disabilities. NEW THIS YEAR - Both the 5k and Walk ‘n Roll-a-Thon will be held at Newcastle Park in Burbank (81st & Oak Park Ave.) For individuals interested in the 5k, early race registration is available online by following the link provided on our website, www. 5k race day registration will be available from 7:30am-8:45am at Newcastle Park. 5k packet pick up will be 9am-5pm on Friday, June 7th at Garden Center Services - 8333 S. Austin Road in Burbank.

Join us for fun in the sun!

Walk ‘n Roll-a-Thon participants will register with Jennifer Georgis at the contact numbers provided below. Following the event, please stay to enjoy a cookout provided by the Knights of Columbus St. Louis de Montfort Council #14453. If you are interested in sponsorship or making a donation, please contact Jennifer Georgis at or by phone at 773-941-4151 Ext 218.

9am Saturday, June 8th at rbank, IL Newcastle Park in Bu

Mark your calendar...


Sunday, May 19th 12pm to 4pm at Second Chance Thrift Shoppe - 44 Stephen Street, Lemont


Wednesday, May 22nd 4:30pm to 6:30pm at 10444 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago


Friday, June 7th 7pm to 9pm at Garden Gallery & Studio - 17459 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley

SUPER SUNNY 5k and WALK n’ ROLL-a-THON Saturday, June 8th 9am at Newcastle Park - 8050 S. Newcastle Rd., Burbank


Thursday, June 20th 7pm at Garden Center Gym 8333 S. Austin Ave. Burbank Membership Meetings will now be held on Thursdays



Thursday, July 11th 5pm to 8pm at Garden Gallery & Studio - 17459 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park

Join us to celebrate the GRAND OPENING of our Mount Greenwood Day Program Enjoy refreshments and a tour of our newest location. Wednesday, May 22 10444 S. Kedzie Ave. Chicago For questions or to RSVP, please contact Jennifer Georgis at 773/941-4151


Growing dignity and independence 8333 S. Austin Ave. Burbank, IL 60459 phone 708.636.0054 email web

Board of Directors President

Daniel Wenzler

1st Vice President

Jenny Wojcik

2nd Vice President

Doug Combs


R. Pat Ballis


Annmarie Caulfield


Sharon Duncan

Jaime has so m Oak Lawn Ch e fun volunteering at the ildren’s Mus eum with th GCS Comm e unity Crew

Annie and Gerry share a quiet moment in a busy day

ith his Eddie poses w Ron Magers of c pi autographed

Scott Hardek John J. Kunkes Sean O’Shea Linda Sherwood

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.

f The Director oabilities ve ti u ec x E ano, tal Dis Sheila Romncil on Developmen and met with u s o C am gr is o ro in p ll I ured GCS ecca B. recently to den Center’s own B Gar

Tina showin’ off her Bear Pride!

CONGRATULATIONS GERRY On being named a Stickney Township Star! Gerry, Sen. Viverito and Hector Cesario at awards luncheon

Thank you volunteers from Mother McCauley HS for celebrating Earth Day with us!

Inside Tinley Park Magazine May Issue: Breaking Barriers with Art: Local studio gives people with disabilities an outlet to create.


Visit our website to read a copy of the article .

Discover Tinley Television

GCS in the NEWS


9am Start at Newcastle Park in Burbank

GCS Newsletter The Leaflet ISSUE MAY 2013  

GCS Newsletter

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