Become an advocate by supporting human services, in particular community services to individuals with disabilities. Find out how and Take Action!


Action Sertoma Club is selling greeting cards designed by individuals with disabilities this year.  This is just one of their many fundraising efforts to support Sertoma Centre, Inc. and the individuals we serve.

The box of  25 cards features five different designs and verses.  The greeting cards were created by the individuals with disabilities who participate in the programs and service provided by Sertoma Centre.

A box of cards is only $20.  To purchase your cards, you can stop in at one of our three locations and pick up a box or two.  You can also order cards by printing this order form The form can be faxed, mailed or emailed to Mary Larmon.

You can support individual with disabilities and send your friends and family a one of a kind greeting card this holiday season.

Budget that Invests in Community Care Requires Maintaining Tax Levels

Urgent Action Needed to Ensure FY15 Budget Invests in Community Care


The Illinois General Assembly is poised to take action on a critical issue this week that will decide the fate of community-based services and supports for children and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, and/or substance use disorders -whether or not they will vote to maintain existing income tax levels.


A vote to maintain existing income tax levels means revenues are available to maintain community-based services and supports as well as invest in priority areas. For example, the current budget plan would do the following:

• Provide a $1.00 per hour wage increase for direct service personnel working in community-based ID/DD agencies;

• Ensure a 3% rate increase for community-based mental health and addiction treatment services (first since 2006);

• Increase the personal needs allowance for residents of ICFDDs and CILAs to $60 per month (no increase since 1987); and

• Increase funding for addiction prevention.

HOWEVER, no action by the General Assembly to maintain tax levels will eliminate these critical invesments AND lead to severe and destructive cuts to community-based services!


To ensure your voice is heard and your support for community-based care is clearly communicated during these important days, we need you to call your Senator and Representative IMMEDIATELY and urge them to take responsible action to preserve community-based services and supports!!!


Please take the link below for call-in information and specific talking points we would like you to leave with your legislators and their staff.


Click the link below to log in and make your call:


Please Take Action for Before March 26.

In the winter edition of Sertoma Centre’s quarterly newsletter, Executive Director Gus van den Brink asked each of us to actively support the statewide effort to bring up the wages of our DSPs so that they are paid a living wage, by supporting the Care Campaign at

Please Take Action Today – You can do this by sending your message to Illinois Govenor Pat Quinn before he delivers his annual budget request on March 26. Just click the link below!

March 26, 2014, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will deliver his annual budget request. The Care Campaign – a coalition of Direct Service Personnel (DSPs) working in community-based I/DD agencies, family and friends, community providers, advocacy associations, and labor unions – are asking for your support in urging Governor Quinn to formally request funding to support increased wages for DSPs, and to support pending legislation in the Illinois General Assembly that will provide a long-term path to lift DSPs out of poverty.


Click the link below to log in and send your message:



News from Sertoma United
Sertoma’s Self Advocacy Group
Contributed by: Melissa Sands, Consumer Support Services Specialist

On September 25, five Sertoma United members (Archie, Nathaniel, Derrick, Tanya, and William) represented Sertoma Centre at the Alliance’s Fall Training at the Joliet Library. The Alliance is a statewide team of self-advocacy groups in Illinois. This training discussed user-friendly changes to the DHS/DDD website, employment and benefits. There was a fun art activity about leadership. The training had presentations from the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and the Social Security Office. The group enjoyed the experience and shared these topics at their Sertoma United, self-advocacy meeting.

On December 6, Pam, Nathaniel, and Ramone, represented Sertoma United by volunteering to wrap presents at Sertoma Centre’s Holiday Bazaar. These individuals were chosen to represent the group after showing off their gift wrapping skills during one of the group meetings.

On December 11, Josh represented Sertoma United by participating in an Alliance Webinar titled, “Looking to the Future.” In the past, different Sertoma United members have participated in various webinars offered by the Alliance. At the beginning of December, with the help of Work Area #14, and Lynn Kolbe, DSP, Sertoma United was able to create almost 200 holiday cards that were delivered to Manor Care Health Services in Palos Heights. The group hoped to bring a little holiday joy to individuals that might not be able to celebrate with their family or friends. The group did not want individuals residing within the nursing homes to be forgotten, especially during the holiday season.

CARE Campaign

We ask you to actively support the state-wide effort to bring up the wages of our Direct Support Professionals (DSP’s ) so that they are paid a living wage. You can do this by supporting the Care Campaign at


The Care Campaign is the joint effort of a coalition of service providers, direct support workers and their unions, associations and individuals to raise wages of direct care workers in Illinois. This coalition is concerned and committed to making a difference for the thousands of direct service professionals in Illinois who tirelessly work to care for our fellow citizens with developmental and other disabilities.

Currently over 24,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are supported in community settings and the State of Illinois is working to move additional individuals into community services from state and private institutions. This makes the importance of hiring and retaining skilled direct support professionals as important as ever. Yet the average direct support wage in Illinois is $9.35 per hour according to a recent IARF (Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities) salary survey. That’s 21% below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty threshold of $11.32 for a family of four.

Low wages are a consequence of the historically low reimbursement rates for community services. According to the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities report Illinois ranks 41st of 50 in fiscal effort for these services.

Please go to the Care campaign website at to sign their petition and read more about how you can support this important effort.

You can find this article in its entirety in the Network Newsletter – Winter 2014

Editor’s note: This article contains information and direct quotes from the Care Campaign website.



Sertoma Centre Needs Your Help!

Sertoma Centre is one of only five charities allowed to receive donations from McCormick Place’s International Housewares Show. Products from this event benefit more than 725 individuals with disabilities served each year. We need more than 150 volunteers to make this night happen. Volunteers will be assigned to booths at McCormick Place and will pack up their donated houseware items. This one-night volunteer opportunity is

Tuesday, March 10, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Buses load from Sertoma Centre at 4343 W. 123rd Street, Alsip, IL at 1:00 pm.

This is a great opportunity to volunteer and give back to your community all in one night. Transportation will be provided via luxury coach bus. A boxed dinner and beverages will be provided along with a ton of

FUN and CAMARADERIE!! Participants must be 18 years or older to volunteer and community service hours are available if needed.

BOOTH WORKER: Volunteers will be assigned to booths to wrap, pack up, box, and place houseware items on pallets. Please note that booths are located throughout all of McCormick Place making even the closest booths a far distance to walk from the buses to the showroom floors.

BOOTH LEADERS: We need people to be in charge of several booths and the volunteers assigned to the booths. Organizational skills, flexibility, and problem solving skills are a must. This person will maintain contact with our Communication Hub and move onto other booths as needed to pack up.

SUPPLY RUNNERS: Volunteers to deliver boxes, tape, and bubble wrap to our booth locations throughout the night. This is a great workout for the walking enthusiast!

How to Register: Contact: Laura Gardner,,  (708) 730-6211  or use this form.

We hope you can join us this year!


Consumers Shop, Snack and Sell at the Holiday Bazaar

James enjoyed shopping the bazaar

Consumers from all three of Sertoma Centre’s facilities participated in another successful Holiday Bazaar on Friday, December 6. Some consumers came to shop, searching out the perfect gift for family and friends. Others came to socialize and have a snack from the North Pole Café or the bake shop.


Ebonie takes a break from shopping for piece of cake

Then there were the consumers who had a primary objective, to sell the crafts they had been working on for weeks. They took great pride in being successful at this event, because they knew the money they earned with their crafts would go directly to their department. Some departments use the funds for outings like trips to the museums, some like to treat their work area to pizza other are trying to gather funds for items like a TV.


Patty and Michael were very succesful selling crafts from their work area



We were pleased with the attendance and with how many of consumer families, friends came to support this event. Board member and Sertoma Club member stopped by to check out the bazaar.


Students volunteer from Mt. Greenwood National Jr. Honor Society

We want to say a big thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help. We had so many awesome volunteers who helped prior to the event, or at set-up, during the event and for clean-up. We could not have done it without you!


Winners of the Five Years of Service Award

On November 24, Sertoma Centre consumers celebrated the holidays and their accomplishments during the Consumer Holiday Awards Luncheon held at the Lexington House in Hickory Hills. Almost 300 consumers, staff, family and friends were in attendance.


Enrico and Preston perform together!

Each year the consumers look forward to this event, especially the awards presentation and of course, Enrico Hampton’s “Michael Jackson Tribute. When Enrico makes his appearance you can feel the excitement as the consumers rush to the stage.


Nancy and Santa pose for a picture

In addition to the luncheon, there was a raffle, a photo booth, music and dancing. Back by popular demand, Santa Claus stopped by and was more than willing to have his picture taken with all the guests.



Congratulations to all the consumers who have given Sertoma Center their dedicated years of service.

35 Years of Service – Robert Sniegolski


Cora accepts her 25 Year Award from Paula Phillips and Gus van den Brink

25 Years of Service – Cora Bowden


20 Years of Service – John Mazetis, Annette Rumisek, Mark Mitchell


15 Years Of Service – Colleen Corcoran, Joel Manzo, Jason House, Eleanor Slapa, Beverly Ochylski


10 Years Of Service – Lamar Bradshaw, Algirdas Jurjonas, Wayne Carlson, Leon King,
Michael Corcoran, Jane M. Pisha, Bernard Cronwall, Keidre Pugh, James E. Ellis, Darcel Robinson, Clarence Gifford, Terence Scott, Andre Jordan, Verna Williams,


10 Years of Achievement – Susan J. Hoffman, Lisa E. Scheiber, James Young


5 Years Of Service – Brent Acey, Jozef Molek, Nathaniel James Ayala, Michelle Purrazzo, Mark Blanusha, Charles Robinson, Robert Byrnes, Hanna Salman, Antonio Cherry, Devyani Shah, Ebonie Coleman, James Sumner, Raymond Chiarito, Nicholas Tomaszewski, Margaret Doering, Beatrice Vega, Billy Evans, Kenneth West, Dominique Jones, Preston Williams, Dana Whalen



Agency Hosts Annual Awards  Presentation

Sertoma Centre honored several supporters and volunteers at their 42nd Annual Recognition Dinner on Nov. 7 at Palos Country Club in Orland Park. Honorees were recognized for their contributions to helping the Centre provide programs and services to individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness. Sertoma Centre is a nationally-accredited not-for-profit agency that serves more than 725 individuals each year. The Centre operates three facilities, two in Alsip and one in Matteson, as well as 10 residential homes throughout the Chicago suburbs.


The following individuals and organizations were recognized:


Spirit of Sertoma Award was presented to Joe Racine, resident of Tinley Park and President of In-Print Graphics, 4201 166th St, in Oak Forest. He and his staff at In-Print Graphics print Sertoma Centre’s brochures, newsletters, stationary and the annual report which was given to attendees at the event. In addition, Racine is an active member of the Action Sertoma Club since 1981 and has served on the Club’s Board of Directors and numerous committees.


Service to Mankind Award was presented to Frank Tomecek, a former resident of Palos Park. Tomecek has dedicated his life to the mission of Sertoma and has served on both the Sertoma Centre Boards for countless years. Tomecek is the president of the POW-R (Palos, Orland Park, Worth and Chicago Ridge) Sertoma Club and the guiding force for their annual football bash fundraiser. Mayor of Palos Heights Robert Straz presented the award to Tomecek.


The Michael L. Colella Community Leadership Award was presented to John Hyland from Marist High School, 4200 W 115th St, Chicago. Karen Ramirez, chairperson of the Religious Studies Department at Marist, accepted the award. Four Marist students who are currently volunteering at Sertoma Centre, Inc. were also in attendance. They are Dan Anzelmo, Brooke Schmidt, Ryan Mayer, and Nora Khani. Marist has partnered with Sertoma Centre for more than 20 years providing students an opportunity to volunteer as part of their service program.


The Contract of the Year for Janitorial Services was awarded to Dennis Ridenour from Prestone, an anti-freeze compounds manufacturer located at 13160 S. Pulaski, in Alsip. Prestone has utilized Sertoma’s Janitorial staff for their general cleaning and hard surface floor maintenance since 2001. They are dedicated to the mission of Sertoma and helped create a strong partnership.


The Contract of the Year for Sertoma Centre’s Production Services was awarded to David Brand from La Preferida, Inc. La Preferida has been in the Chicago region making authentic Mexican food since the 1920s. For over 10 years La Preferida has been working with Sertoma Centre, always trying to bring more work to the individuals with disabilities, once such project is the assembling of their retail displays for use in grocery stores.


DRS (Department of Rehabilitation Services) Counselor of the Year was awarded to Kim Mokris, a DRS Counselor from the Wrightwood Office. Mokris’ relationship with Insite Employment Services has led to more jobs for the individuals with disabilities at Sertoma Centre. In addition, she has been instrumental in ensuring that individuals are getting supplemental things they need such as new work clothes, bus passes, and even prescription glasses. Mokris is a great example how a funding source and community agency working in tandem leads to positive outcomes for the individuals served by both Sertoma Centre and the Department of Rehabilitation Service.


Insite Employer of the Year was awarded to the Marshalls Store in Oak Lawn. Marshalls has been a valuable asset to job seekers at Sertoma Centre. Hiring Manager Katherine Krenze holds mock interviews, gives valuable feedback and even speaks at the Insite Job Readiness Class. Since working with Marshalls, two individuals with disabilities have been hired there.


The Insite Employee of the Year is Victor Hojek. A participant in Sertoma’s Insite Employment Services program, Hojek works at Meijer in Evergreen Park as a utility clerk. Hojek is an individual who is a perfect example of how Sertoma Centre services should operate. He started in the school transition program in 2005 and aged out at the end of 2009, at that time he began working with Insite program. Despite a difficult job market, Victor had patience and kept working hard at his job search.


For more information, to schedule a tour, volunteer or to make a donation, please contact Amy Chmura, Director of Advancement and Communications, Sertoma Centre, 4343 West 123rd Street, Alsip, IL 60803. (708) 730-6206, or For additional resources visit


On Monday, October 14, the consumers who participate in day programs were visited by members of Brownie Troop 60084 and Daisy Troop 60084 along with their troop leaders Melissa and Emily. The Girl Scouts came here to take part in a Disability Awareness Day as well as to volunteer.


The girls worked in small teams assisting consumers at a bowling game station, a ring toss game and Halloween coloring projects. It was interesting to watch the consumers and children working together to have a great time.


Troop Leader Melissa, became involved with Sertoma Center when she had a volunteer opportunity through a Moraine Valley school project. She enjoyed the experience so much she volunteered for the BIG Event and then later contacted the Volunteer Services Manager, Laura Gardner to schedule a time with the Girl Scout troop. The girls are coming back to help wrap consumer holiday gifts.


If you are interested in volunteering or have a group that might wish to volunteer please contact: Laura Gardner at 708-730-6211 or

Mental Health Training to Benefit Community
Sertoma Centre’s Mental Health Services was recently awarded a Title XX Grant to provide prevention and education programs to raise awareness about mental illness. Programs will be offered to community groups, schools, law enforcement agencies, religious organizations, schools, and other community groups. Programs will include Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), Mental Health First Aid for Youth, Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) and Anxiety/Depression Screenings.

MHFA is a 12-hour, interactive training and certification program, which enables participants to identify and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training focuses on: understanding the risk factors and identifying warning signs of mental health problems, gaining an understanding of the impact, responding appropriately, and providing referrals for professional treatment.
MHFA Youth introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents (ages 12-18), builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and most importantly, teaches individuals how to help a youth in crisis or experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. This program demonstrates how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
QPR Gatekeeper Course is the CPR for mental health. Just as people trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained as QPR Gatekeepers learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help.
QPR Suicide Triage Training is for anyone wishing to learn how to conduct a first level suicide risk assessment and to establish a collaborative crisis management and personal safety plan for someone considering suicide. This is a “best practice” approach for how to engage with a suicidal person, determine immediate risk of a suicide attempt, and how to reduce risk factors while enhancing protective factors.

Our trained staff will provide the Anxiety and/or Depression Screening at your college, place of business, health fair, community organization, club, social service agency, faith community or other organization. Referral information for treatment will be provided, when needed.
Other trainings will include a mental health overview, “Hearing Voices That Are Distressing,” presentation and Specific Disorders Presentations tailored to your group.
To learn more or schedule training, contact Gia Washington at 708-748-1951, Ext. 418 or email at
DSP Cafe Was A Sweet Retreat!

Sertoma's Executive Director Gus pours a cup of coffee for DSP, Giedre.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Sertoma Centre provided their Direct Support Professionals a complimentary coffee cafe. The staff lounge was decorated to look like a cozy cafe. Sertoma Centre Managers served coffee, iced coffee, tea and sweet treats like mini cinnamon rolls and kolacky cookies to their DSP team.

DSPs, Sherri, Lauren and Kim enjoy a break a the DSP cafe.

On Monday Sertoma acknowledged our DSPs with banners in all their facilities with “Great People Doing Great Things” banners and by wearing Sertoma teal. A gift basket raffle was held on Tuesday and there are special activities planned for the rest of the week. Check back to see more about how we celebrate our DSPs!

Director of Residential Services, Kim serves DSP, Lori some delicious kolacky cookies.

Sweets for the Sweet - DSPs, Stephanie, Selena and Mel enjoyed the ice coffee and a few sweet treats.

DSP Week at Sertoma Centre!
What is a DSP?
A direct support professional (DSP) is a person who assists an individual with a disability to lead a self-directed life and contribute to the community, assists with activities of daily living if needed, and encourages attitudes and behaviors that enhance community inclusion.

Lori, Rhonda and Tiffany are Direct Support Professionals who dedicate themselves daily to serving individuals with disabilities at Sertoma Centre, Inc.

Sertoma Centre Celebrates National DSP Week!

Sertoma Center wishes to acknowledge the Great People Doing Great Things the week of September 9-13, 2013.


A direct support professional is a person who assists an individual with a disability to lead a self-directed life and contribute to the community, assists with activities of daily living if needed, and encourages attitudes and behaviors that enhance community inclusion. A DSP may provide supports to a person with a disability at home, work, school, church, and other community places. A DSP also acts as an advocate for the disabled individual, in communicating their needs, self-expression and goals, according to the source Wikipedia.

Target Volunteers plant flower boxes in front of the Ridgeway residential home

The 11 Crew Members from Target in Crestwood, IL

Youth ministry voluntees help plant flower plots to adorn the Alsip residential home deck.

Consumers worked with volunteers from the youth ministry of St. Daniel the Prophet Church in Chicago.

Sertoma Centre was very lucky to have two new groups volunteer with us during the month of July.  Volunteer Coordinator, Laura Gardner was contacted by United Way of Metropolitan Chicago to see if Sertoma Centre would welcome a group from Target who wanted to volunteer with an agency near them.  On July 10th, 11 crew members from Target in Crestwood, IL came out to the Ridgeway residential home to clean out the shed and plant flowers in the front of the house.  The shed had not been cleaned out in years, and is one of those jobs which needed to be done, but there never seems to be any time to do it.


The Target volunteers were enthusiastic about cleaning out the shed and removed items which were taken to the dumpster.  While the hard working crew was in the shed, other Target volunteers set to work beautifying the front of Ridgeway home by planting flowers in the two flower boxes located in the front of the house.  All of the flowers, dirt and storage cases were donated by Target in Crestwood.  Ariane Arlie, coordinator for Target’s volunteer projects said, “Target is truly dedicated to helping out the surrounding communities and they were happy to volunteer at Sertoma Centre”.


The next day, Sertoma Centre was treated again to a wonderful group of volunteers from the youth ministry of St. Daniel the Prophet Church in Chicago.  Annette Danielewicz who is the director of the youth ministry for the church brought a group of youths with her to help plant a long awaited garden at the Alsip residential home.  Alsip home has a huge backyard and the ladies of that home have been wanting a garden for some time.  The youth group helped till and prepares the soil for planting tomatoes, radishes, carrots, squash and pumpkins.  The ladies of the Alsip home took the afternoon off from programs at Sertoma and helped the youth group plant the garden and several large pots of flowers that now adorn their deck.  All the ladies at the Alsip home had a wonderful time interacting and working alongside the youth ministry.  Annette said: “they were happy to volunteer at Sertoma and look forward to coming out again in the near future”.  All of the youth worked really hard and the result is a beautiful garden which will hopefully yield fresh veggies for the house to enjoy all summer long.


Sertoma Centre is always looking for individuals or groups to volunteer at the agency.  We have been working with local schools, churches and other organizations to help foster community integration and opportunities for the individuals we serve.  If you are part of an organization, company or an individual who would like to volunteer, please contact Laura Gardner at (708) 730-6211 or We always have fun and creative ways to volunteer!!

IARF Conference and Expo

Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities
Educational Conference and Expo
October 15-17, 2013
Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center
Springfield, IL
Event Information Link

SouthtownStar Newspaper
Aileen S. Andrew Foundation
Action Sertoma Club
Chicago Lawn Sertoma Club
Lemont Sertoma Club
POW-R Sertoma Club
Hickory Hills Sertoma Club
The Lombard Company
MPS Mulcahy, Pauritsch, Salvador & Co.
Proven Business Systems
Knights of Columbus
Great Lakes Bank
Ram Products, Inc.
D.M. Dykstra & Company
ESPO Engineering Corp.
Plastipak Packaging, Inc.
EXPO Answers
Tinley Park Sertoma Club
City of Palos Heights
Beggar’s Pizza
Denton Cartage
Pronger Smith Medical Care
Alliance Insurance/ Dom Porto
Stronghold Construction
Ultra Foods
Willow Florist
Mike’s Barber Shop
American Heritage Sertoma Club
Budget Sign Service
Fanning Communications
G & L Fire Gifts
Game Pazzo
Image Pact
Visit our Booth at Business Expo

Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 28th Annual Business to Business Expo  “Advocacy In Action”.  Sertoma Centre will be exhibiting a variety of services and products at Booth # 603-703, please stop by and say hello.

Tinely Park Convention Center, 18451 S. Convention Center Drive

7:00 – 7:00 pm –  Exhibit Hours
5:00 – 7:00 pm –  Business After Hours



Autism Awareness Cake

Sertoma Centre launched Autism Awareness Month with a great big delicious cake beautifully decorated with Autism Colors. Everyone in the agency got to try it!  Like Sertoma on Facebook and show your support by commenting: You support Autism Awareness!

Tomorrow, April 2 is Wear Blue and Celebrate - check out this link to learn more.

April 12 – Autism Health Awareness

April 19 – Autism Walk

April 26 – Autism Jamboree

We have activities planned all month and we invite you to celebrate with us! Click this link to download the Autism Awareness Calendar.


Thursday Is Cooking Class


Contributed by Sandra Baker, Direct Service Professional (DSP)

  • Italian Sausage with green peppers, onions and fresh garlic?
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce?
  • Homemade chicken soup?


Linda, Ivery and Donald take turns preparing the ingredients for today's entree.

Every Tuesday the consumers in our DT program area, patiently await the chance to give their suggestion for Thursday’s cooking class. The choices are recorded, then they vote.

On Wednesdays our shopping list is completed, 6 consumers and 1 staff head out to the grocery store. The consumers locate the ingredients, check the quality of items, and learn how to get the most value for their money.

Erik carefully chops the onions.

It’s finally Thursday….. After completing exercise, the consumers set up the cookware and utensils needed. Each consumer puts on a pair of gloves and participates in preparing our entrée. They clean and dice the produce, add the ingredients using measuring spoons, and cups, and assist in cooking the meat. During preparation the staff teach and quiz the consumers on the type of meat that we are preparing, where it comes from , how the produce is grown, and the importance of following proper temperature guidelines.

Ivery enjoys the soup she helped prepare.

After the entrée is finished, the consumers all sit together and enjoy the meal that they have prepared.

Sandy, Pam, and Lauren also cook breakfast every Monday for the consumers to make sure they start the week off right!



March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Spread some awareness in your world. Since many people with disabilities rely on publicly funded services to fully participate in their communities, policy makers need to know you are concerned about continuing those services in the face of budget cuts during difficult economic times. Contact your legislator today and let them know you expect them to enact public policy to assist people with Intellectual and developmental disabilities. You can make a difference.

You can also support Sertoma Centre, Inc. an organization whose mission is to “to provide opportunities that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve personal success,” by commenting on the Sertoma Centre, Inc. Facebook and Twitter pages.

To learn more about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities visit     Link to additional resources.

Housewares Super Sale is Back!

 Shoppers, enjoy deep discounts on brand new houseware items fresh from the International Housewares Show.

Watch for our big postcard mailing and save the date.  You can stock up on great new items not yet seen in stores: cookware, dishware, cutlery, candles, décor, brooms, mops and much more. Check this list of vendors who donated!

The Housewares Super Sale will be held in the spring.  The exact dates, location and hours will be posted soon.   We hope to see you there.

Like us on Facebook to check out some of the Super Sale Sneak Preview Items!

Together We Cope Benefits from Sertoma United Food Drive

Sertoma United Members (left to right) Baltazar Alpuche, Archie Garrett, Derrick Hudson and Tanya Crew, delivered a vanload of food, diapers, clothing and personal hygiene products to Together We Cope in Tinley Park, IL.

Sertoma Self-Advocates Pay It Forward

Sertoma Centre, Inc. is a social service agency serving individuals with disabilities which depends on the community for support. Those who provide financial support or donate their time often feel good about making a difference in the lives of others. Sertoma United members also enjoy the feeling of paying it forward. On Friday January 4th members of Sertoma United delivered a vanload of non- perishable items to Together We Cope in Tinley Park, IL. This is their 3rd food drive and the second year they donated to Together We Cope.

Their timing could not have been better with so many food pantries and crisis centers running on empty after the holidays. The group also felt that since our country has been struggling through tough financial times, there was no more important time than now for this project.  Sertoma United is Sertoma’s Self Advocacy program which encourages its members to advocate for themselves and others. Member, Derrick Hudson said, I want to thank Together We Cope for helping to get food to those people who need it. I would like to participate with Together We Cope more in the future.” The program seeks to teach individuals with disabilities at Sertoma Centre the skills to advocate for their goals and desires in life. For more information about this program please contact Melissa Sands at 708-730-6343 or

Together We Cope is a not-for –profit that serves families and individuals who are going through a crisis. The organization provides clothing, food, financial assistance and guides families in more than 20 communities throughout Bremen, Palos, Orland and Worth townships.

Sertoma Centre, Inc. is a nationally-accredited, not-for-profit agency that provides services for more than 725 individuals with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities, and/or mental illness. For more information, to schedule a tour, volunteer or to make a donation, please contact Amy Chmura, Director of Advancement and Communications, Sertoma Centre, 4343 West 123rd Street, Alsip, IL 60803. (708) 730-6206, or For additional resources visit

During the recent lame duck Session of the previous General Assembly, many of you made calls, sent emails & faxes, and wrote letters to your
Senators and Representatives urging them to pass a state fiscal year 2013
supplemental spending bill that restored $12 million in cuts to
community-based mental health programs and included language to move
supportive housing projects that are currently at a standstill forward.
While we were unsuccessful in getting a supplemental bill passed during
that frantic week of session - we know for a fact that your efforts built broad
bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature for passing such a
Now that the new 98th General Assembly has been sworn into office, we need
to keep the momentum we built going by reminding existing legislators of
their support AND convincing new legislators of the importance of taking
immediate action to pass a supplemental bill!
We need to focus immediate outreach on Members of the House of
Representatives to get them to support including our mental health
supplemental request in a broader supplemental that may be negotiated in
early February.
The good news is we have a bill filed - HB 149 -
that includes the items we all need to see included in a supplemental bill.
We can use that in our communications with Representatives over the
next few days.
Please take the link below to take immediate action to secure support for
including mental health in a supplemental!
Click the link below to log in and make your call:

Sertoma Centre Executive Director Named to State Association Board


Alsip, IL January 2, 2013: Sertoma Center Executive Director Named to State Association Board

Gus van den Brink, executive director of Alsip, IL -based Sertoma Centre, Inc., has been named to the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF).

IARF is a leading trade association comprised of community based organizations whose missions are to support individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness in achieving their maximum independence and live their lives to the fullest in communities throughout Illinois.

The Board encompasses talented individuals from across the state who lead organizations that support individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities, and persons with mental illness. With the membership’s diverse perspectives, IARF and its members are prepared to lead in these times of change.

“What Illinois needs now, more than ever, is leadership,” said Janet Stover, president and CEO of IARF. “Many changes are occurring in the way supports are provided and when you top that with the anticipated numbers of newly eligible individuals coming into the system in 2014, it can be overwhelming. The IARF Board of Directors is fully engaged in the discussion of these important issues and with the strong support of staff are crafting solid policy and advocacy goals to prepare our membership for the future.”

Van den Brink, of Orland Park, IL, has served as executive director of Sertoma Center for 20 years. Sertoma Centre serves more than 725 individuals annually through 14 programs including autism services, developmental training, employment services, residential programming, mental health services, school transition, senior services and more. The mission of Sertoma Centre is to provide opportunities that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve personal success.

Sertoma Centre provides services through two facilities in Alsip, IL, one in Matteson, IL and 10 residential homes in the south and southwest suburbs. They serve 45 communities in the suburbs and parts of the city of Chicago.

Sertoma Centre, Inc. is a nationally-accredited, not-for-profit agency that provides services for more than 725 individuals with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities, and/or mental illness. For more information, to schedule a tour, volunteer or to make a donation, please contact Amy Chmura, Director of Advancement and Communications, Sertoma Centre, 4343 West 123rd Street, Alsip, IL 60803. (708) 730-6206, or For additional resources visit

Gus van den Brink, executive director of Sertoma Center has invested a lifetime in the service to individuals with disabilities.

National Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week

Help Sertoma Centre Win $25K

Charity Toolkit Banner

Vote for Sertoma Centre, Inc. before Wednesday, September 19, to help us receive $25,000 in grant money to support programs and services that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve personal success.

Chase customers with an online Chase account and Facebook users can vote. Go to or .

Please share with your Facebook Friends so they can vote for Sertoma Centre, too! Visit to learn more about our work.


Human Rights Day

United Nations Human Rights website:


National Family Caregivers Month

National Family Caregivers Association website:

Make a Difference Day


National Disability Employment Awareness Month

U.S. Department of Labor


ABC7 Disabilities Segment on Sertoma Centre

Sertoma Centre, Inc. was featured with Karen Meyer from ABC 7 News in the Disabilities Segment which aired on May 31, 2012

The segment  featured Sertoma’s Seniors who participate in the Bridge Program. Click this link to see the video:

We are extremely proud of our Seniors and Staff who participated in this segment.  We thank everyone who contributed to its success.


Dear Illinois Partners Member

The latest news out of Springfield keeps getting worse… Illinois is facing catastrophic cuts to human services and even bankruptcy.

We need you to contact your legislator immediately and tell them we need them to BE A LEADER and VOTE NO ON ANY BUDGET WITH CATASTROPHIC CUTS TO HUMAN SERVICES.

• Proposed cuts to human services are now expected to exceed last years’ cuts and could be permanent.
• Providers could be put in the position where they are asked to sign year long contracts but with only 6 months pay guaranteed, at best a 50% cut.
• Tax increases won’t likely be considered until Jan 2011, so there is no guarantee the funding will be there when you need it

Contact your legislator via Capwiz (Take Action link) immediately and let him/her know how the catastrophe will unfold in your district if services are cut more and how many jobs will be impacted.


Take Action

Please review the information below and click on “Grassroots Action Alert” in the update below to contact your legislators. There is very little talk among our legislators about helping community services. It seems to be all about education. We must have our voices heard and this is our chance to do it if the adjourn on May 7th as scheduled.

As always thank you for your support or community services for individuals with disabilities.

Gus van den Brink
Executive Director
Sertoma Centre, Inc.
708 37109700 Ext. 216



Hi Everyone,

As you are probably aware the Governor’s introduced budget has big cuts for human services and education. Sertoma Centre alone is estimated to see a funding reduction of $215,000.

We are now a member of a broader human services coalition, Illinois Partners for Human Services. This is a Call to Action from them to contact your legislators to tell them this is unacceptable.

Please click the “Take Action’ icon and send a message to your legislators.

Thanks for taking the time to support human service and in particular community services to individuals with disabilities.

Gus van den Brink
Executive Director
Sertoma Centre, Inc.
Take Action!


No Final FY11 Budget in Place – Continue Pressuring Legislators to Pass a Sustainable Budget for Community Services

Please continue to keep our needs in front of your legislators.  Even if they say they already support us and make statements like you should not be bothering to contact them, remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease and legislators keep count of the number of calls/contacts they get on various issue.

As always thanks for taking the time to support community services for individuals with disabilities.

Gus van den Brink
Executive Director
Sertoma Center, Inc.
708 371-9700 Ext. 216

The General Assembly missed its self imposed May 7th deadline for adjournment without final approval of an FY11 budget.  Legislators are back in their District Offices while budgeteers continue working towards a final agreement for an FY11 budget.

Starting today
for as long as legislators are away from Springfield, we need to call our legislators at their District Offices and tell them they must approve an FY11 budget that: 

- preserves funding for community services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities and mental illness at FY10 levels; and
- provides for a timely and consistent payment cycle for services provided!

Click the link below to TAKE ACTION!

Click the link below to log in and make your call:



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