Avenues Success Stories
Avenues to Independence supports adults with autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome and other physical, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities so that they may live, work and learn in the most independent settings possible. Here are few examples of great client success stories.
Super outgoing, full of energy, and a positive attitude are just a few words that describe Cindy Wroblewski. Even when Dominick’s closed its doors and she lost her job of 20 years, Cindy didn't let it get her down. In fact, she has a new job she calls “way cool.” Cindy was recently hired at NIMFA (Advance MyoTherapy& Pain, Inc.) in Park Ridge four days a week to clean and prepare the therapy rooms between client sessions. According to her job coach Calvin Keyes, her enthusiasm and work performance is very good.
Rick’s independent life with Avenues started when his parents first learned about Avenues through the school Rick attended - the Institute of Logopedics (now Heartspring), a leader in the treatment of speech and hearing disorders in Wichita, Kansas. When Rick, who is hearing impaired, left the school, he moved into an Avenues’ townhome in 1991 (then known as Builders of Skills) and has become good friends with his roommates – Kevin Healy, David Roma, and Scott Kurschner.
Although his job at the Work Center means a great deal to him, especially operating the blister pack machine to heat seal I-PASS units, David has another strong passion. He loves to knit. It’s a passion that began more than eight years ago when he was 19, and a passion that was for the most part self-taught. “It’s a calling, his mother Susan explained, “and he’s very proud of what he does and he understands it’s important to give things.” As a result, David donates the scarves he knits.
Charlie has been a part of the Avenues family for over 33 years, and in many ways he and members of the Avenues family have literally grown up together. In fact, when Charlie left a large care facility to become an Avenues resident in 1980, Residential Director Floyd Kortenhof had just joined Avenues a year earlier. Through the years, Charlie and Floyd have shared a special bond, and until Charlie was recently reunited with his sister, his roommates and friends at Avenues were the closest thing to family he knew.
Ordering food at restaurants, preparing scrapbooks of mementos, writing notes and letters daily, making phone calls, and even posting pictures on his Facebook page; these are just a few of many ways Kevin Healy expresses himself. Kevin also loves to dance and participate in sports - bowling is his favorite - and is so proud of the medals he wins at various activities through M-NASR (Maine –Niles Association of Special Recreation) that he wears them for weeks afterwards. What makes all these accomplishments so remarkable is the fact that Kevin is deaf.
A big Chicago Bulls fan, Jevon decided to send them a “pep speech” letter when the Bulls needed a final victory to play in the finals. When he completed the letter, he was so proud to print it out and send it to them. The Bulls responded by sending Jevon a 2011-2012 yearbook, and a personalized certificate to their No.1 fan – Jevon Plummer. Recycling Avenue Manager Kristin Beusse presented the package to an elated Jevon.
“Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their rounds,” as the saying goes, but it’s also true for Nora Prindiville. Nora, a volunteer worker at Avenues Thrift Shoppe, didn’t want to miss work when her parents were on vacation and couldn’t drive her to the store. Determined not to miss work, Nora walked over a mile – in the pouring rain - to the Thrift Shoppe.
Every Thursday at the work center Kevin Brazeau works as receptionist in the front office; answering the phone, greeting visitors and checking for incoming messages on the computer. But every day during lunchtime and breaks, he also runs the store for the workers - doling out refreshments, collecting money, giving change and keeping track of the store inventor y. Plus he keeps tabs of the store inventory.
Double the pleasure and double the fun! That’s what Avenues gets from having not one but two members of the Dziedzic family in our work and residential programs. Meet siblings DeeDee and Jenny Dziedzic. DeeDee has been part of the Avenues family for 30 years, and lives at Herbst Family House in Park Ridge. Jenny became part of the Avenues family in 1998, and lives in one of our Niles townhomes. Despite living in different suburbs, Avenues staff members take them to visit each other, and a favorite pastime is having dinner together, playing games and watching movies.
“I was scared,” said Avenues’ Workcenter employee Jeff Romano, when he discussed his call to Governor Quinn’s office. Scared or not, Jeff phoned Springfield to state his objection to the latest 15% cut to organizations serving people with developmental disabilities.
Jeff opposes these cuts, and the talk of future cuts, because they threaten the stability of his job. If the cuts continue, the amount of hours Jeff and his fellow employees work at our Wheeling facility could be reduced. Instead of getting his hours cut, Jeff wishes that he could have more.
When PJ Flaherty earned his associates degree from Harper College in 2006, he naturally thought he would find employment, but he soon discovered there weren't many job opportunities for full or even part time work. That changed when Recycling Avenue was born three years ago. Since then, co-founder PJ helped recycle hundreds of used phones, computers, and monitors received from the bins Recycling Avenues has set up at local municipalities.
PJ feels a strong sense of accomplishment in his role of protecting the environment and being productive.
Laurel's Success Story Video
Lenore's Success Story Video