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Winter 2020

Inside: Monumental Gifts Made for Little City’s Future


A Note From Our Executive Director

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” ­—Eleanor Roosevelt

Dear Little City Family and Friends, Welcome to the new Tapestry! For years, the Tapestry has been a vital tool to speak to those who matter most to Little City – our families and supporters. As the way people communicate rapidly changes, Little City knew now was a perfect time to change our Tapestry. While the design will make for a more appealing and enjoyable reading experience, the stories that make the heart and soul of Little City will not change. Stories of success, touching relationships and people breaking barriers will continue to be at the core of the Tapestry. But we also hope to add new elements of interest as well. Readers can expect more features on some of the leaders and Board of Directors at Little City to better know those who have been entrusted with shaping Little City’s future. Stories on the issues that affect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be explored to help our families and supporters learn more about Little City’s potential challenges and how to help find solutions. And stories will connect with our website and digital platforms to allow for additional content in videos and pictures and to make the Tapestry as accessible as possible.

The Tapestry


There will continue to be a lot of new breakthroughs for Little City in 2020. From the new Tapestry, to a new website later in the year and expanding into new areas like DuPage County where a community employment center is being planned. And amongst all the new, we hope there is something that will renew your passion for Little City in 2020. Your constant and reliable support has helped make Little City the truly special place it is for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But as we challenge ourselves in new areas in 2020, we ask all of you to try something new as well. Volunteer at a new event or in a different way, tell a new friend or colleague about Little City or learn about a new issue or program at Little City. There are often pleasant surprises to be found when embracing the new! Yours in service,

Shawn E. Jeffers Executive Director

Table of Contents 4. M  onumental Gift to Expand Center for Employment 6. Bohrer Family Leaves a Legacy for Little City’s Future 8. Twisted Hippo Brewery Features Little City Artwork

10. Center for Employment Creates Rewarding Opportunities 11. Jerry & Victoria’s Special Reunion 12. Dad to Dad Podcast 13. New Board Member: Monu Kalsi 14. Poker & Casino Night Returns a Winner Winter 2020


Gift Will Help Expand Center for Employment Whether it is a renovation at the Center for Employment & Business Opportunities, a donation to support an ambitious expansion into DuPage County or a Little City job seeker finally landing community employment – the Little City Project has been making life-changing differences for years. The Little City Project is unlike any support program in the organization’s history. It is not a Little City led project as the name may imply, but a widescale campaign of giving and support by the Chicago Club Managers Foundation. The Chicago Club Managers Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Greater Chicago Club Managers Association – which represents over 112 private city, yacht, athletic, riding, dining, golf and country clubs in the Chicagoland area. The Foundation’s Board of Directors, charged with engaging and giving back to the greater community, chose the unique approach of supporting a single community agency to the strongest level possible and that agency was Little City. “Little City is just very special to all of us,” said Gavin Speirs, Board President, during the 2019 Foundation Golf Outing this past September. “We are honored to support them and help create job opportunities those at Little City deserve.” The Foundation has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as their time and knowledge in support of Little City. The next step in the Foundation’s Little City Project comes courtesy of a groundbreaking $250,000 donation to establish a community employment training center in DuPage County. The center will provide training in life skills, experiences such as job shadowing and volunteering and practice in job interviews to prepare people with disabilities for a job in the community – similar to Little City’s Countryside Center in Schaumburg. And though the Chicago Club Managers Foundation has done so much for Little City already, board members do not expect the Little City Project to end any time soon. Jeff Belting, Chief Operating Officer at Indian Hill Club and former Foundation Board President “It has been the most rewarding relationship I’ve had in my decade on the Foundation Board. A lot of it has really been a growth through a combination of us learning more about Little City firsthand through visits or meetings and learning about potential opportunities to do more. Everything Little 4


City does makes us want to build on the relationship to do more. For me, I spent the first few years on the Board talking about how we can be more relevant in our community. There had to be a way for us to do more. To have Gavin introduce us to Little City and have this grow has been incredible. We were on this quest to find more meaning for our Foundation and now we have this great story to tell our membership. For us to do something in the community directly, hopefully it helps us get a message out that we’re not just sitting behind our fences and golf courses blind to what is going on around us. It wasn’t about getting a platform to change those misconceptions, because the reality is our members do support charities all over the community, but it was important for us as a Foundation to do things on our own. To make the commitment we made to Little City, to be pretty much a sole partner as far as charity work goes, increasing our support ten-fold since we started with them, all of that really was driven by the fact we found a great partner and wanted to do everything we could to help it grow.” Mark Jablonski, General Manager at Hinsdale Golf Club “While I am a relative newcomer to the Foundation Board, the partnership experience that I have been able to witness in the last year has been incredibly impactful. The Foundation made a significant commitment to Little City over the last few years beginning with an idea to assist in developing hospitality industry skills for participants. The full service kitchen build that was supported by the Foundation helped further this initiative and was instrumental in creating meaningful for job seekers. At Medinah Country Club we hired Andy, one of the first to go through the program, and a resident at Little City. Andy is not only an amazing part of the team showcasing his new skills, but his attitude and sense of humor are a morale booster for the entire kitchen staff every day. Seeing how Andy has continued to develop and succeed in this environment has been incredibly rewarding for me and the Foundation.”


Little City Parent Leaves a Lasting Legacy Abe Bohrer has been a supporter of Little City since day one. Actually, he’s been a supporter of places like Little City since before those places existed. “In the beginning, we would write 40 letters a day asking for money,” Abe said. “We needed to get this place running.” And get it running he did, along with the like-minded families who saw the potential in Little City. They have been instrumental in transforming Little City from a small campus in Palatine to a fullservice provider that helps more than 1,300 people today. Abe was driven to help build a place like Little City for his son Mitchell because there simply were no options for people with developmental disabilities at the time. Now 68, Mitchell has grown and excelled at Little City for nearly 60 years and Abe wants to make sure other families have even better opportunities for their children. To make that dream a reality, Abe made one of the most generous gifts in Little City’s 60-year history by donating his 3-acre property in Addison, Illinois to Little City, valued at roughly $3 million. “I do this to help all the kids with disabilities grow. There are always more to help,” Abe said. “When Mitchell was growing up, I know how hard it was to care for an individual with disabilities. It’s tough. That’s why I help because I know how hard it is.” “We are humbled and awed by the incredible generosity of the Bohrer family in this gift and in their legacy of support over decades,” said Shawn Jeffers, Little City Executive Director. “This gift has opened so many doors for people with developmental disabilities and will make profound differences for countless people for years and years to come.” From funding and supporting some of the earliest programs Little City had to offer when Mitchell first came as a young boy, to making generous donations for the Duffey Family Children’s Village, Abe and his wife Judith have always focused on securing the future of the next generation of families who have loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “I did this to ensure Mitchell and the rest of the people are taken care of for years to come,” Abe said. “It’s important to make sure they are.” 6


“I do this to help all the kids with disabilities grow. There are always more to help.�

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Twisted Hippo Brewery Features Little City Artwork Over the years, Lori Couvé has had her acclaimed artwork featured on everything from T-shirts to postcards to music festival duffle bags. But of all those different ways to enjoy Lori’s artwork, none are as delicious as her most recent masterpiece. Lori’s artwork was selected to be featured on a limited-edition beer at the Twisted Hippo Brewing Beer and Art Festival. The competition featured six artists recommended by We Are Lions – a brand that features art from individuals with disabilities. “A lot of artists working (with a disability) don’t always have a platform or a gallery that is in an everyday setting,” said Shawn Smith, creative director at Twisted Hippo. “It is usually a very specific kind of gallery or kind of show created for them. We wanted to make sure that we highlighted and elevated all artists (at the art show), and let the work speak for itself. Yes, these may be artists with some “One of the things sort of disability, but that doesn’t matter.” The Chicago-based brewery featured two to four pieces of artwork from each artist during the brewery’s Beer and Art Festival in September. Around 120 people attended and voted on the artwork. “Of those six artists, Lori was far and away the top pick, by almost double if I recall,” Shawn said.

that amazes me most about Lori is her ability to run with a subject like this...”

“It was all great work, and we were really pleased with all of the artist’s work, but we particularly liked Lori’s work, so we were all happy that she was selected as the crowd favorite.” After winning, Lori was asked to do a version of “The Creation of Adam,” but use the mascots from Twisted Hippo and We Are Lions. “One of the things that amazes me most about Lori is her ability to run with a subject like this,” said Frank Tumino, Center for the Arts administrator at Little City. “I printed out source material for her and after she finished it, I saw that little figure there, she added pushing up a basket of bottles of beers. 8


I asked where she got that from and she showed me just a very small hand in the bottom corner of the source material I gave her and that is how she decided to fill it out because she knew what this was for. It was right on topic. It’s just amazing.” “Lori’s artwork lives on,” Shawn said. “People love the label, they love the art, they love the beer. To be clear, the beer is very delicious, but we sold more cans featuring Lori’s artwork the night of the release than we have sold since we opened, which is a real testament to the beer and the artwork. People really loved it.” Along with designing the beer label, Lori’s work was featured in a solo gallery at Twisted Hippo from November 2019 through January 2020.

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Employment Creates Rewarding Opportunities A new business meant a new opportunity for Deborah. When the new Topgolf opened in Schaumburg this past December, it didn’t take long for them to see the potential in Little City’s Employee Development Services (EDS) program as they hired two people, including Deborah, from the EDS program in time for their opening. The hirings emphasize the growing success of the Employee Development Services program as it has placed an average of two people per month in community jobs over the last six months. “Deborah was a particularly big accomplishment because it was her first community job,” said Lori Palmer Kane, EDS Coordinator. “She has made tremendous progress in EDS. I didn’t know her prior to the program, but what I kept hearing was she was a completely new person after joining EDS.” Lori said Deborah’s rate of improvement was about as fast as she had ever seen as she learned to take instruction and feedback much better, improve interpersonal skills and develop the confidence to learn new skills such as planning the needed public transportation to get to and from work. Already at Topgolf, Deborah is working three days a week helping to do prep work for kitchen and dining needs. She has already shown the motivation and work ethic to build off that foundation and Lori said there is little doubt she will achieve those goals. “She so tremendously wants to be able to work without the need of a job coach and to be as independent as possible and I know she’ll get there,” Lori said. “I’ve had to give her difficult feedback in the past and she handles it amazingly. She never says ‘I can’t,’ despite some of her physical limitations, without trying first. She always takes on challenges and tries.” Another person who received a long sought-after job in the recent slew of placements was Howard. Howard has been a part of the EDS program for a long time and had previous work experience, including a successful position at Twin Orchard Country Club on a seasonal basis. But Howard wanted more than just seasonal work and found it at the Cheesecake Factory. Howard’s love for the food service industry and history of success in community employment has him poised for a long, successful career. “I’ve seen a lot of progress in him and he’s worked so hard. It’s not always an easy road and he faced some challenges, but he always kept his focus on getting that job,” Lori said. “He came up to me, he was jumping up and down, saying ‘I got a job!’ I don’t think I’ve ever been hugged so tight. He started to cry he was so happy and I cried with him.” 10


A Special Reunion Victoria Kilgannon was crying at her wedding. While it probably had something to do with her upcoming nuptials, that wasn’t the main reason for the tears in this specific moment. In this moment, the tears of joy came because Victoria was hearing Jerry Rose sing a song. “I was a mess. My makeup was just completely gone and the guests hadn’t even come yet,” recalled Victoria. “I had always wanted Jerry to sing at my wedding, and for him to make that video was just so special. It was incredible.” The special friendship between Victoria and Jerry was an unexpected one to begin with, as the native Englander and Little City resident first met at Camp Red Leaf in 2001. For Jerry, the Inglesidebased camp for people with disabilities had been an annual summer tradition. For Victoria, it was an exciting opportunity to get experience in a camp counselor role in the United States. The two quickly hit it off and Victoria was immediately blown away by Jerry’s incredible music talent. Whether it was playing his guitar at nightly campfires or his electric guitar inside, Jerry’s music resonated with Victoria. Victoria ended up being a counselor at Camp Red Leaf for three years and left with a lifelong friendship with Jerry and her fellow counselors. In fact, it was a fellow counselor who reached out to Jerry’s sister Andrea to set up the special video that was played at Victoria’s wedding back in England several years ago. The two had their long-awaited and emotional reunion this past September, the first time they had seen each other in person in well over a decade. The two met outside of Little City’s Horticulture Center, where Jerry had sang years ago for the wedding video, to enjoy some songs and celebrate a mutual birthday they never knew they shared. Victoria, eager to hear Jerry play guitar in person again, asked him to play any song that came to mind. Without hesitation, Jerry went into James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end,” Jerry sang. “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought that I’d see you again.” And just as she did at her wedding years ago, Victoria cried tears of happiness. But before she left this time, she told Jerry she would have the surprise for him next time they met. She’d bring him a duet partner – her young son, who has already heard about his mom’s special friend with the special musical touch. 11


Little City Parents Featured on Dad to Dad Podcast Dan Tepperman and Mark Paterson know what it is like to make the decision to send a child to Little City. While it can be a difficult choice, both fathers know how beneficial the decision is to both the child and family. Dan and Mark took the time recently to speak about the struggles, joys and experiences as fathers of sons with a profound disability on the Dad to Dad Podcast – a show focused on mentoring fathers raising children with special needs. The show – hosted by David Hirsch, author of “21st Century Dads” – covered everything from the day they found out about their respective child’s diagnosis, the decision to send their kids to Little City and how the agency has benefitted them over the years. “As fathers of kids with developmental disabilities, we are advocates for special needs,” Dan said. “I look at it as an honor and a privilege to give a voice to the voiceless … and hopefully someone can listen to me and be inspired.” To hear the full interview and learn more about the Dad to Dad Podcast and Special Fathers Network, visit www.littlecity.org/podcast. Here are some of the highlights from the two episodes: DAN TEPPERMAN: I remember Scott was 3 and we went to a neurologist. He had to do a certain exercise and we knew there was something wrong. I remember it was a really hot summer day. Really hard memories. I knew we were going to have a different life from then on. People are well meaning but they don’t really understand the nature and gravity of it until they live with it. On choosing Little City: It was getting really hard as he was getting older. Little City had a place for him and it was probably the best decision we ever made. It was bittersweet of course. Heartwrenching. But we knew it was necessary and we knew that we would be better parents to make that decision. You can’t go it alone. There is the old saying if you’re in a plane crash, god forbid, the parent is supposed to get the oxygen before the child so the parent can then properly take care of the child and I think that saying holds true. Little City is our oxygen mask. MARK PATERSON: Tim was a wonderful little kid with just a sweet little disposition. Even in the context of his autism, Tim is still a wonderful person and taught us a lot about life and how to be a good person. They say if you meet a person with autism you’ve met one person with autism because they are all different. Tim likes being around other people. We would have a party at our house … and it would come time for people to go home and Tim would stand in front of the door and try to push people back in because he didn’t want the party to end. On choosing Little City: He’s in a house that is purpose-built for taking care of him. He’s going to school every morning. We’re seeing him four times a week. We’re very involved in his life. He’s well taken care of, we know all the care givers, we know his teachers, we’re very plugged in to Little City and it was life changing for us as a family to be able to, for our two younger ones, to sit down and do homework. To pay attention. To do a lot of little things … we just weren’t able to do. 12


Little City Welcomes Monu Kalsi to the Board Welcome to Little City, Monu! Little City is excited to have you take on this important leadership role. Could you tell us a little about your background? Thank you! I am thrilled and honored to be accepted to the board at Little City. It has been my longtime wish to join such a unique organization and I am excited to get this opportunity to serve. I most recently served as the Vice President of Marketing at Stericycle where I led our corporate marketing team in North America, focusing on growing our business, enhancing our brand, and managing all aspects of marketing and communications. Prior to Stericycle, I have held various leadership and management roles over a span of 20 years in global consulting, leading agencies, and Fortune companies. I have an MBA from Ross School of Business and also hold a Masters and Bachelor degree in Engineering. What was it that stood out to you about Little City as a place that you wanted to support? Little City’s mission and purpose to serve adults and children with developmental disabilities is quite unique, especially in how it is achieving its purpose through the Palatine campus and other facilities aimed at providing a community and critical services to these individuals. What also made me gravitate toward the organization was the leadership team and their unwavering commitment to the purpose and the clarity and genuineness in their servant approach. I also believed that the organization could benefit from my extensive experience in marketing and I can add real value to the board immediately and in the long run. What have been your first impressions of Little City? Are there any early goals you have as a board member? I have been thoroughly impressed with Little City and every person I have met thus far including the leadership team, support staff and some of the residents who I had the privilege of spending time with during a recent campus tour. Every individual connected with the organization is committed to its mission and living the core values. I have seen a strong sense of pride and accomplishment in their eyes which makes me very happy about my decision to join the board. My early goals are to get immersed into some of the core programs and board initiatives aimed at taking the organization to the next level in 2020. I have started to spend time with the Development and Marketing teams and I am glad to say that the wheels are already turning! Outside of your professional responsibilities and duties on various boards, what are some of your favorite activities and hobbies? When I am not working or serving on boards, I like to spend most of my time with my family or investing time in activities that help me grow as an individual or help me relax - these include traveling to new cities or state parks, reading books, serving in our community center, running, or playing light sports with my two boys. 13


Poker & Casino Night Returns After a three year hiatus, Little City revived its popular Poker Tournament & Casino Night. Over 200 attendees came together in late September for a night filled with mission-filled fun. The event provided an exciting evening of chance for lucky players and returning poker players looking for another chance at winning the grand championship prize. Congratulations to Ryan McFarland who won the tournament and a seat at the World Series of Poker. Thank you to our loyal sponsors: World Series of Poker Sponsor: Identiti; Straight Sponsors: Builtech, Kovitz Investment Group, Matthew & Tina Schubert, and Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC.; Three of a Kind Sponsors: Venture One Real Estate, Wintrust, Miller Cooper & Co., Ltd, Pabcor Management, and IBEW Local 701 Union; Aces Sponsors: MVP Staffing, Pasquesi Sheppard LLC, Sherman Residential, RSM US LLP, and Jonathan Clark Green; Official Beverage Sponsor: Cutwater Spirits. Stay tuned for exciting announcements regarding the next Poker Tournament & Casino Night scheduled for October 2020!

Community Partners

• The Davee Foundation • DuPage Community Foundation • DuPage County • Edmond and Alice Opler Foundation • George M. Eisenberg Foundation For Charities • Greater Chicago Club Scholarship Foundation • Lake County • Libertyville Township

• Richard A. Perritt Charitable Foundation • Russell and Josephine Kott Memorial Charitable Trust • The Schwaben Society Charity Fund • Village of Arlington Heights • Village of Schaumburg • Wauconda Township • Westfield Insurance Foundation • Wheeling Township

Helping Hands

• Ernst and Young • Foster Care Holiday Party Volunteers • Friends of Countryside • Giving Tuesday Volunteers • Hands on Suburban • Holy Family Catholic Community Parish and Academy • Jewel Osco: Palatine • Kantar Group • Knights of Columbus • Kutchins Robbins and Diamond, Ltd • Little City Book Run Party Volunteers • Little City Parent/Family/Guardian Group • Little City Fall Festival Volunteers • Looney & Associates

• Lou Malnati’s: Schaumburg • Motorola Solutions • Netrix LLC • Nitel • Omron • Optum • Poker & Casino Night Volunteers • Pulte Homes - Chicago Office • St. Edna Catholic Church • Turkey Bucks Volunteers • Volunteer Match • Village of Schaumburg • William Rainey Harper College • Zurich Foundation

Thank you to the following funders for their generous grants that support the work and mission of Little City. The below referenced grants were awarded on or after September 2019: • Adreani Foundation • Chicago Dental Society Foundation • Citigroup • Cole-Crone Family Foundation

Little City extends its appreciation to the following groups and countless individuals for their recent volunteer work with us since September 2019: • Abrams Home Solutions • Adult Transition Program: District 211 • Aetna • AstraZeneca • Berkshire Hathaway Koenig Rubloff: Schaumburg • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois • Chicago Cares • CrossCountry Mortgage • Discover 14


Wrapping Up the Holidays For the third year in a row, Motorola Solutions hosted their annual gift-wrapping event, where they wrapped over 250 presents for Little City residents to open. “This event not only brings awareness to Little City but provides resources to residents and their homes that typically would not be possible. Without the help from Motorola, we would not have the new resources we have today,” said Stephanie Darnell, associate director of volunteer engagement at Little City. The Motorola team helped buy deep freezers, entertainment centers, gift cards for outings and much more. “Every year, we educate more employees at Motorola about Little City and more community members get to see what an amazing effect this has on our participants,” Darnell said. “It brings us closer to a corporate organization and gives us the opportunity to teach them about Little City’s mission. Every year, I look forward to this event, and every year it keeps getting better and better.”

Little City Hero Little City is full of heroes. Direct Support Professionals who save lives. Participants who shatter limits. Volunteers who go above and beyond to create opportunities. In spite of adversity, our participants, staff and many others still get up every morning wearing an invisible cape. In honor of our 60th anniversary, we will be featuring 60 heroes throughout the year that help make Little City the resilient place it is. Read about our special heroes at www.littlecity.org/hero or follow along at #LittleCityHero on Facebook or Instagram. Stay tuned for more featured hero stories throughout 2020. 15


www.littlecity.org/links Fall 2020 | Top Golf Schaumburg

Little City Links

www.littlecity.org/poker Fall 2020 | TBD

Poker Tournament & Casino Night

www.littlecity.org/lci Monday, June 15, 2020 | Twin Orchard Country Club | Long Grove

LCI Golf Invitational

www.littlecity.org/gala Saturday, April 4, 2020 | The Drake Chicago

Annual Dinner Gala: Unmask the Possibilities

2020 Calendar of Events

1760 West Algonquin Road Palatine, IL 60067 www.littlecity.org

NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID Palatine, IL Permit No. 2775

Profile for Little City

Tapestry Winter 2020  

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