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 email@example.com. For additional resources visit www.sertomacentre.org.
Eight consumers who participate in the Insite Employment Services Program attended the Disability Mentoring Day held on Wednesday, October 9. Elizabeth Overman, General Manager and Jamie Leech, Service Manager of Olive Garden in Orland Park, IL hosted the special day.
The Mentoring day included a presentation about Olive Garden philosophy, of being a family, a team. The presenters provided information about the details of their positions as well as other positions at the restaurant. They talked about the day to day activities and that Mother’s Day is their busiest day.
Other Disability Mentoring Days have been scheduled at other Olive Gardens in the area. We are truly grateful for the relationship we have with Olive Garden and how they support individuals with disabilities. If you are interested in employing an individual with disabilities, please contact Insite Training Systems at 708-371-9790.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sertoma Center wishes to acknowledge the Great People Doing Great Things the week of September 9-13, 2013.
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 email@example.com We always have fun and creative ways to volunteer!!
Ignite the Light, the Volunteer program at Sertoma Centre, has seen a wonderful increase in the amount of youth that are volunteering with the agency. Through outreach efforts and family involvement, more and more young kids, mostly aged 12 to 18 are volunteering on their own, through school requirements or religious organizations. According to a fact sheet released from the University of Nevada, the following benefits are awarded to youth who volunteer in their communities: Young people who volunteer are more likely to have a stronger work ethic, are 3x more likely to volunteer as adults, gain important job skills and experience while exploring career options and are able to expand their social circle and enhance their social awareness. And 81% of Americans who have volunteer experiences when they are young give to charitable organizations as adults. This is great news for Sertoma Centre as we expand our youth volunteer opportunities.
In June, 21 National Junior Honor students from Mt. Greenwood school, along with two of their teachers volunteered with our consumers for a day of fun activities run entirely by the students. Consumers participated in five different activity stations including bingo, arts and crafts, indoor bowling, freeze dance and Pictionary. The 6th, 7th and 8th grade students from Mt. Greenwood were amazing. They were so polite, very interactive with our consumers and when the fun started they jumped right in and volunteered with us for several hours. When asked how the volunteer event went for them, the students said they had a great time and felt that bowling and bingo were the biggest hits of the day.
This Volunteer “field trip” is not the only event to see more youth volunteering at Sertoma Centre. We have welcomed young volunteers at our Super Sale, Big Event, Silent Partner Dinner and our Holiday Bazaar. Our youngest volunteer to date, little Anne Gardner, age 8, said she had the “best day ever” volunteering for our recent Autism Jamboree on June 14th. Anne and her brother, Joshua, age 12, ran the ring toss at the event and enthusiastically cheered on consumers as they won prizes for playing the games.
Our Ignite the Light Volunteer Program is a perfect opportunity to expose your kids and family to a great time while helping others in the process. We are looking to expand our volunteer relationships to other schools, churches, and even local boy or girl scout troops. If interested in volunteering, please contact Laura Gardner at (708) 730-6211 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fourth annual High Tea was held Wednesday, June 5 at the Crystal Tree Country Club in Orland Park. This special event was co-hosted by Sertoma Centre, Inc. and Sertoma Speech and Hearing Centre. We thank all the attendees and those who contributed to the success of the High Tea.
The photography included in this post was graciously provided by Backbeat Photography in Tinley Park, www.backbeatphotography.com
WHICH WILL IT BE?
Contributed by Sandra Baker, Direct Service Professional (DSP)
- Italian Sausage with green peppers, onions and fresh garlic?
- Spaghetti with meat sauce?
- Homemade chicken soup?
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.
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.
After the entrée is finished, the consumers all sit together and enjoy the meal that they have prepared.
It was smooth sailing at the Silent Partner Dinner on Friday, February 8.
We thank those who helped make this evening possible:
- Culinary Creations by Angie
- Lisa Scherer of Aged 2 Perfection
- Oak Lawn Hilton Consumers from Sertoma Centre and the CILA Homes
- Sertoma Centre Volunteers
Special Thanks to Those Who Generously Donated Items for the Raffle:
- Egon and Dorothy Menker
- Jenny’s Steak House
- Patio Restaurant
Silent Partners – Their Generosity is our Anchor, and their Support Keeps us on Course.
Sertoma consumers know how to have a good time. They enjoy, good food, great music, and an nice award presentations. However, if you throw in photo booth and a Michael Jackson impersonator then you really have PARTY. The more than 300 guests who attended this event had an awesome time at the Lexington House in Hickory Hills on Dec. 2.
The consumers, their families and many of the Sertoma staff joined together to celebrate the holidays and the consumers achievements. Each year at the luncheon, service awards are presented to consumers who have been with Sertoma Centre for a significant number of years. Those with 5 years receive a certificate. Individuals with 10, 15, 20, 30, 35 and 40
years of service are presented with engraved plaques by Gus van den Brink, Executive Director of Sertoma Centre, Inc.
Special thanks the staff committee who plan this event each year. They work hard to insure that everyone has a wonderful time.
If you were not able to attend the Holiday Bazaar held on December 7th, there is always next year, but you missed out on a great time. Attendees were treated to wonderful day of shopping, browsing, eating, laughter and good cheer as everyone hunted for that perfect Holiday Gift. The North Pole Café served hot dog and hamburger meals while Holiday music played in the background. You could even enjoy coffee, hot cocoa and a baked treat from Mrs. Clause’s Bake Shop. All the elves in the gift wrap station were tuckered out from wrapping gifts purchased at the Bazaar.
Many consumers, family and friends joined the fun and frivolity the first week of December to help ring in the Holiday, Cheer. Above everything else, as I looked upon the Winter Wonderland before me, I was struck by the camaraderie and generous spirit of Sertoma Centre. There were so many staff, consumers and volunteers all working together to ensure everyone had a wonderful time.
Seeing our consumers interacting with one another as they shopped for gifts for loved ones, touched me deeply as I realized this is what it is all about: the Human Spirit. I realized that I am so lucky to work at a place that helps people foster their spirit as they strive for their own personal successes every day. Sure some people may say, “it was only a Bazaar, a place to shop like every other day.” But that’s the catch: for some of our individuals they don’t have the same opportunities that we do to do everyday things such as shop in a marketplace and buy a gift for someone they love. That was the sole driving force behind the Holiday Bazaar-giving everyone the chance to spread their own Holiday magic for the people they care about.
So if you didn’t get a chance to stop by this year, mark your calendar for December 6th, 2013 as the Bazaar promises to be bigger and better next year. On behalf of Sertoma Centre and Volunteer Services, we hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and
good luck for a fabulous New Year! More Event Photos!
Click this link to see all the photos from the event
Insite Employee of the Year – Robert Mundy. The presenter- Dana McFarlin-Lloyd, EDS Program Coordinator.
Yes, Christmas Shopping. This is not a misprint although some of us would like it to be as the holiday season quickly approaches. But have no fear, Sertoma Centre has all your shopping needs covered this year. Introducing Volunteer Services’ Winter Wonderland ~ A Holiday Bazaar and Shopping Extravaganza. Who ever coined the phrase, “Go Big or Go Home” was right and we are going BIG this holiday season. Please join us on Friday, December 7, as we offer a unique opportunity for consumers, family members and the local community to shop for holiday items while also supporting the different services and programs at Sertoma Centre. We will be offering a Craft Fair and Shopping Bazaar composed of many different items: ornaments, holiday décor, stocking stuffers and boutique items. We’ll also be bringing our Good As New Thrift Store to you. Here are the details:
Friday, December 7, 2012
9:00 am to 2:00 pm
4343 W. 123rd St.
Upstairs Lunchroom and Board Room
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We need volunteers and small donations to make this Shopping Extravaganza possible for our consumers who may not be able to get out and do traditional Christmas shopping. Below are just a few of the volunteer jobs and donated items we need to be a success:
Santa’s Helpers: Now through December 7, we need volunteers to assist consumers in creating and making the crafts they will be selling at the bazaar.
Rudolph’s Reindeer Boutique: Set up Good as New Thrift Store items the day before the event and/or help work the boutique on day the of the Bazaar.
Mrs. Claus’s Bake Shop: We need baked goods and people to manage this area.
North Pole Café: Snack food will be available for purchase.
Donner’s Donations: Simple donations are needed to make this a magical time for our consumers: craft items (please call for specifics), holiday themed wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, Christmas tags, baked goods, gift cards to local craft stores, etc.
Spread some holiday cheer this year by donating your time, treasures and talents to the Holiday Bazaar before or on December 7. If interested in volunteering or donating, please contact our Head Elf, Laura Gardner in Volunteer Services at (708) 730-6211 or email her in-box at the North Pole: email@example.com. Hope you can join us in some way to support our Winter Wonderland!
WISHING YOU AND YOURS A HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!!
Sertoma Centre celebrated National Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week by recognizing the 115 Direct Support Professionals who are committed to serving the individuals with disabilities.
On Monday, all DSP staff received “Great People” buttons and banners were hung at all the Sertoma locations thanking “Great People Doing Great Things”.
Tuesday included a “Lunch on Us Raffle” where winners at each location received a gift for a free lunch.
Thursday morning, DSPs enjoyed complimentary coffee and snacks served in the staff lounge – which was decorated like a Coffee Cafe.
The finale on Friday included a tailgate lunch and Jersey day – which featured grilled burgers and dogs, plus tons of delicious side dishes provided by Sertoma Staff. Sandra Baker, a Direct Support Professional with Sertoma for eight years said, “[The week was] very nice, and much appreciated. Thanks to all who took the time to make us feel appreciated.”
Sertoma Centre is extremely proud of our DSP staff and thank them for the Great Work they do each day.
The luncheon included an exhibt area where Sertoma Centre provided attendees an opportuntiy to learn more about the many programs and services Sertoma Centre offers individuals with disabilities in the community.
The Abby Foundation’s mission: raise money and distribute it to established nonprofit organizations, who apply for a grants that help women and their children and fund scholarships for both young women and returning women.
Sertoma Centre requested the grant to expand the “Our Rights, Right Now” Healthy Relationships Group which focuses on prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault for women with disabilities. The goal of this group program is to educate women with disabilities about domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention, rights and resource options. The expansion of the program will include curriculum materials to add training modules focused on healthy relationships, sexuality, family planning and communication and interactions with significant others (such as partners, family members and legal guardians).
Funds will also be used to develop a speaker’s series with professionals in various related industries and an agency-wide awareness and education event that will be planned and implemented by the women in the group.
Sertoma Centre celebrates our four-legged friends each year with Bring Your Dog to Work Day. As part of our special day, Bill Downs and his CCI (Canine Companions for Independence) service dog Garrison demonstrated several of the 40 commands Garrison can perform.
Tom Dornback, a volunteer puppy raiser brought his puppy, Fennel to explain the 18 month process of raising puppies. Tom shared how much he enjoys training puppies like Fennel to someday be a canine companion for someone with a disability. Training service dogs like Garrison and Fennel can create life-changing independence for a person with a disability.
Consumers and staff were amazed by the types of tasks these dogs are able to perform like; turning on the light switch, pulling a wheelchair, opening a door or picking something up off the floor. Even more astounding, is the amount of time and training that goes into raising the 4 different types of assistance dogs: Service, Hearing, Facility and Skilled Companions.
Canine Companions for Independence is non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. If you are interested in volunteering, raising a puppy, making a donation or applying for a puppy go to cci.org or call 1/800-572-BARK.
Everest College in Merrionette Park, IL hosted a Hygiene Products Drive for Sertoma Centre.
On the 3oth of May, representatives from Everest College dropped off bins of hygiene products including soap, tissue, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. ”We were more than happy to make this wonderful contribution,” stated Bernadette Fumbanks, Admissions Representative Campus Sr. Accompanying Bernadette were Ambassador honor roll students, Amber Barajas and Kimberly Milan, and the Director of Admissions, Ross Rosenberg.
These products will be given to the individuals with disabilities served by Sertoma Centre in the Residential Services Program which includes Community Integrated Living Arangements, (CILAs) providing 24-hour residential support and Intermittent CILA, (ICILA) which provides part-time support to those individuals who wish to live more independently.
On Saturday June 8th, the classmates of Carver High School Class of 1982 celebrated their 30th graduation anniversary at Orland Chateau. Wishing to make a difference and give back, the class reunion organizers decided to collect donations for a cause near and dear to their hearts, children with autism.
One in every 88 children in the US has autism. It is estimated that approximately 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. has autism. Several classmates spoke that evening of how their lives have been effected by having a child on the autism spectrum.
Rev. Kenneth Lee graciously invited Sertoma Centre to stop by their reunion and speak briefly about Autism. Sertoma Centre sincerely thanks Rev. Lee for including us in their celebration and the Carver High School Class of 1982 for their generous donation to the Autism Services Program.
BIG Event 2012 – Highlights From SouthtownStar Newspaper’s Casey Toner