Little City bridged the gap between children and adult services in a historic way, transitioning five participants in the children’s program into the same adult residential CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) – helping each to remain in a constant and foster continued growth and learning into adulthood.

It can be difficult for a single person in Little City’s children services to make the jump to the adult program, whether it is because of a lack of space, life skill development or a return home or to another agency. But with five participants turning 22 within roughly a year, the opportunity to try something that had not been done was too great to pass up.

“It really is an incredible achievement by so many people on our team in children’s, adults, and facilities,” said Kelly Holm, Chief Program Officer for Adult Services. “It’s such a unique situation and it’s something that might not come around again for some time.”

The five residents have virtually grown up with each other, with Tommy and Wyatt having graduated around the same time from the ChildBridge Center for Education with Blake leaving just before them. Jesse and Evan, who went to Kirk, were still familiar faces to the other three and have felt right at home in their Newport residence.

Home manager Ross Jaske said the five of them are like brothers, sharing a lot of the same interests, wanting to go out in the community to the same places and even getting in the occasional sibling spat.

“They’re all pretty good friends and they act like brothers,” Ross said. “They like doing the same things, it’s easy for them to agree, they want to go out and get pizza together. It’s different than if they are 22 and living with someone who is 61. They’re still learning, so it’s been good for them.”

The five young men have also paved a way for more children to successfully transition to Little City’s adult program. Before arriving, the previous residents at the Newport Home were transitioned to other CILAs and Newport was left vacant as renovations were made for the anticipated arrival of the five. That vacancy meant Little City took on a shortterm loss for long-term gain.

The goal is not for the five to live together long term, but to move on to other CILAs and even more apartmentlike settings such as the Port Center as their life skills and independence improve. The Newport Home would then welcome a new set of young adults still working on the skills needed to thrive in a CILA.

Joanne Kuhstoss, Director of Adult Residential Services, said because of the successful transition of Blake, Tommy, Wyatt, Evan and Jesse, the Newport Home is set to bridge that gap between children’s and adults for years to come.

“When I first got here, the number of referrals from the children’s program could be challenging because the adult residential program is pretty different,” Joanne said. “Now we have a home that really is focused on that transition, and we can constantly monitor when they are ready to take that next step.”

So far, all the residents have excelled in their new surroundings, including four of the five exploring the day programming at Countryside Center while Evan continues to grow and thrive in the autism program at the Recreation Center. Some may even be ready sooner than later for Employee Development Services – a step once not thought possible during their early days at the ChildBridge Center for Education.

Because of the opportunity to remain together, these individuals are continuing to find success and grow each day

When you donate today, you help provide the best opportunities – like these young men to remain together – so growth, learning, and success are achieved each day … for a lifetime.

Over 150 adults with disabilities are thriving in 20 CILAs throughout the Chicago suburbs – enabling individuals like Tommy, Wyatt, Blake, Jesse, and Evan to live productively for a lifetime.