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CHICAGO CLUB MANAGERS FOUNDATION DONATES $250,000 FOR EMPLOYMENT CENTER

Little City was recently the grateful recipient of a $250,000 donation from the Chicago Club Managers Foundation to expand the employee training program into DuPage County. The generous donation will help establish a community employment training center to provide training in life skills, experiences such as job shadowing and volunteering and practice in job interviews to prepare people with developmental disabilities for a job in the community. The center will be similar to Little City’s Countryside Center in Schaumburg which has successfully placed people in community jobs at places such as Lou Malnati’s, Culver’s, Wyndham Hotels and Twin Orchard Country Club among other employers. Gavin Speirs, president of the Chicago Club Managers Foundation and manager at Twin Orchard Country Club, said he wanted to continue his longtime support of Little City by helping more people with developmental disabilities earn community jobs after seeing firsthand the value someone like Howard B....

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THE STORY OF LITTLE CITY & LUKE

The story starts with an empty coffin and an idea. Luke has been here before and knows this is no scary story. In fact, Luke has always had a special way of making life out of death. Even from the moment he was born, Luke wasn’t breathing. So he was rushed to a Munich hospital with his parents – who met and fell in love through their mutual survival of concentration camps – and he was revived. Luke, born out of the ashes of war, had snatched life out of death. That empty coffin doesn’t stay empty for long in Luke’s world. He makes it a beautiful piece of art and often a tribute to one of his favorite composers whether it is Beethoven or Mendelssohn. At 72 years old and after a lifetime of critical acclaim for his art from places such as the Art Institute and Northwestern University, Luke is still making something out of nothing and changing the morose into magnificence. “He still has flashes of brilliance,” said Little City Center for the Arts Director Frank Tumino as he held up a...

Events

THE VALUE OF CARDS

Auggie M. won’t be winning the World Series of Poker seat that is up for grabs at the Little City Poker Tournament & Casino Night, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t find just as much value in playing a game of cards. Auggie, who works at the Countryside Center, has been playing a post-work game of Uno (and sometimes Go Fish) with his friends Valerie G., Natasha M., Nicole F. and Chris H. for as long as Lisa Cluster can remember. Lisa, who often supervises the workers at Countryside Center, said the often daily game started as a way to pass some time when the group would get their work done early and wait for their pick up, but it has turned into a truly social and educational event. “They’ve all worked together for a long time and I think it started as something for them to do together while they wait,” Lisa said. “But you can see how they use cooperation, communication and teamwork to play. It helps them learn about following directions and they all help each other.” It...

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LOIS: AGING WITH DIGNITY

To hear it from Lois, age is just a number. “I love it here,” she said of Cedar Home, where she currently lives. “I still like to go out and be with friends.” At 73 years old, Lois is still young at heart and eager to be out and about as much as she can. But the reality is age can make a difference – both for the person and the home in which he or she lives. Just four years ago, Lois was still independent enough to live in a Supported Living Arrangement (SLA), which is nearly complete independence as residents live in their own apartment, can cook their own food and maintain their own personal care and living space. But physical and health complications began to happen more regularly for Lois, prompting her move to the Cedar Home, which is a Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) where staff is on site 24/7 to assist the residents who share the home. Crystal Valley, manager of the Cedar Home, said Lois now uses a walker and has a higher risk of falling – the most recent...

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DAVID: AGING WITH DIGNITY

David F. is a 67-year old Little City resident with developmental disabilities who is quickly aging out of his current home. David has lived at Little City’s Cherry Home for seven years. And while David – who is now legally blind – has needs that have changed, the home has remained virtually the same. Within the next four years, 65 percent of Little City’s adult residential population will be over 50 years old. And as the residents age, their needs and level of care increases. Whether it is walkers, handrails or modifications in bathrooms, Little City currently does not have the proper equipment or space to meet the rapidly growing needs of the residents in our community homes. With no handrails or any tools to assist the visually impaired, David must feel his way around his own home – reaching out for walls or furniture to not only prevent himself from falling but to also know if he is walking into his own room, a bathroom or a housemate’s room. Even the light switches, which are...

Events

56TH ANNUAL LCI GOLF CLASSIC RAISES VITAL FUNDS

The 56th Annual Little City Invitational raised more than $260,000 on June 17th as roughly 170 golfers came to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a beautiful day at Twin Orchard Country Club in Long Grove. Funds raised at Monday’s event will go to support programs across Little City and vital training courses for the staff who care for and support those served at the agency. Little City Executive Director Shawn Jeffers said the impact of the long running event has only grown over the years and was especially memorable this year as Little City celebrates its 60th anniversary. “In many ways the Little City Invitational was the first big event that helped Little City gain the public awareness and support that has helped it grow into what it is today,” Jeffers said. “To see the event so strong and people coming together to celebrate our past and support our future was truly inspiring.” This year’s event honored Gary Shutan with the Morrie Kellman...

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THE STORY OF SIMONE & STAVI

This story written by Little City Coach Maggie Brennan Two new friends bound by one hug from someone with Down syndrome. Special Olympics State Games were approaching and 18 athletes from Little City were participating in their final practices, packing their suitcases, grabbing their pillows and blankets and making their way to the Recreation Center on an early Friday morning. For most, this was the weekend they had been looking forward to pretty much all year. The moment they received their gold medals at their qualifying events they started counting down the days until we left for Bloomington. For Simone, this was her story. For others, this wasn’t their story. For some, this weekend led to anxiety over a new schedule for the weekend, the fear of not knowing where we were going and not having gone in the past. And for some people, this anxiety gets expressed physically. For Stavi, this was her story. Day One: Stavi was anxious about taking the bus ride to a place she did not...

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BIG WINS FOR A SMALL TEAM

The 2019 Little City Special Olympics team is proof that big things can come in small packages. Whether it is the big-time strength of Jimmy S. – who swept his powerlifting competition to take home four gold medals, the big heart of Simone who helped a first-time Summer Games athlete feel safe instead of nervous or the impressive haul of 37 medals despite a team of only 18 athletes, Little City did big things at the 2019 Illinois Special Olympics Summer Games. In all, the team won 18 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze medals. The competition, held on the weekend of June 7 in Bloomington, had more than 4,000 athletes from around the state gather to compete in swimming, track and field, gymnastics, soccer, powerlifting and bocce. Head coach Tim Lahart said it was a memorable year for the group, in part because of the unique accomplishments. Little City had one of its youngest competitors ever in Wyatt E. and oldest competitors ever in Jerry R., win gold medals while first timers Cindy...

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60TH ANNUAL DINNER GALA AN EVENING TO REMEMBER

CHICAGO – Little City celebrated its 60th anniversary in style Saturday at The Drake Hotel, raising well over $500,000 for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The elegant event attended by 320 people honored the pioneers of Little City and the incredible growth of the nonprofit into one of the nation’s premier service providers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today, Little City serves more than 1,100 people through services that include residential, recreational, employment, educational and foster care and adoption. “Standing here tonight among some of the very first people who had the vision and passion to grow Little City in to what is today is truly humbling,” said Little City Executive Director Shawn Jeffers. “What sets Little City apart is its people. We have had very special people support us for 60 years now and, as this night showed, we know that will continue for the next 60 and beyond.” Among the most influential...

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