Since 2006, Rachel had been working at the Countryside Center. The work opportunity was recently phased out to encourage more equal-pay opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. This change, however, was difficult for many in the program, including Rachel.

“She would ask ‘are we going to work today?’ and you could tell how much she missed it,” said Maggie Kukielka, life skills program director.

But because of the generosity of donors, the new day programming at Countryside is now enabling many just like Rachel to gain more independence and work towards community employment. The campus, located in Schaumburg, now offers a variety of classes that includes vocation and life skill development – and as well as targeting academic areas like math, recreational activities like art and Zumba classes, and even providing minimum wage work opportunities for participants to fulfill on-site.

For Rachel, this was exactly what she needed in order to take the next step in reaching her unique potential. She currently works a few hours each weekend at a retail store and has started to go to Little City’s Employee Development Services program to work on important soft skills for community employment.

But as she continues working through the program at Countryside Center, she will further her skills and abilities to work more in the community and need less of the program … growing her independence, her confidence, and her ability to find great success in her life. That is the impact of your giving on someone just like Rachel.

“She is really a perfect candidate for community employment,” Maggie said. “She’s been able to show others that changes are good and now everyone seems to really love the new programs.”