The following individuals/organizations were recognized in 2014:

  • Janitorial Contract of the Year – John T. Rogers from the Illinois Department of Employment Services
  • Sub-Contract of the Year – Crown Packaging, Merrillville
  • Employment Services Manager of the Year – Jim Henniton of Chili’s in Calumet City
  • Employment Services Employer of the Year – Amanda Smith and Christina Villagomez from Culver’s Evergreen Park
  • Employment Services Employee of the Year – Peter Stazewski, Red Robin in Orland Park
  • Michael L. Colella Community Leadership Award – Bob Hopper
  • Spirit of Sertoma Award – Don Haraf
  • Service to Mankind as Sertoman of the Year Award – DJ Fioretti

Lots of event photos

We thank Sonido for the beautiful music provided during the cocktail hour. The talented duo violists , Kayla Cabrera and Steven Baloue were amazing.  Special recognition was given to Dr. Chris Sarlas who recently retired from the Board after seven years of dedicated service.  We appreciate his many years of volunteer service and leadership.   We also celebrated Sertoma Centre’s top ten achievements with a great deal fanfare!  The pompons and cheering made this one of the evenings favorite moments. There was an original music video starring several Sertoma Centre Consumers was viewed by the audience.  The concept for the video as well as all the filming was provided by Melissa Sands, Consumer Support Services Specialist.  Sertoma Centre was pleased to introduce some of the members of the new Associate Board to the event attendees. They conducted a 50/50 raffle and sold Carson Community Days coupon books as part of their fundraising commitment.

Sertoma Centre was very grateful to the Hickory Hills Sertoma Club and the ACTION Sertoma Club for the checks they presented Gus van den Brink the night of the event. We thank all our attendees and supporters for making this one of the most memorable Annual Award Dinners.

2014 BIG Raffle Winners

Congratulations to all the BIG Raffle Winners and Thank You for Supporting Us!

Sertoma Centre Foundation Extends a Special Thanks to the John Cosich Family and Proven Business Systems for their Support of the BIG Raffle

Frank Tomecek $10,000

Johnstone Family $1,000

Fran Wallace $500

Leaf Capital $300

Rick Namen $200

Richard Balkcom $ 100

JR Estep $ 100

South Suburban Heating $100


Tennis Program at Sertoma Centre

On Jan. 30 Leah Friedman from the United States Tennis Association, (USTA) Chicago District came to Sertoma Centre to demonstrate the Adaptive Tennis Program. The purpose of this program is to promote and develop recreational tennis opportunities for individuals with varying abilities and circumstances through inclusion, knowledge and support.

Leah worked with our individuals using slower moving balls, lighter racquets and portable nets demonstrating that tennis can be played anywhere and adapted for different ability levels.

Jason Clark, Operations Manager at 127th Street stated “since Leah’s visit to Sertoma Centre, we were able to purchase the $150 equipment package which includes racquets, the lower compression tennis balls, targets and bean bags, enabling us to train staff. The Adaptive Tennis training for staff will be provided by CDTA at no charge.

Amy Chmura, Director of Advancement and Communications added “we are applying for a grant which will allow us to purchase additional equipment packages for all the facilities.” With some practice and coaching our consumers will develop the skills to participate in the tennis portion of the Special Olympics if they wanted to pursue that goal.






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


Sertoma Thankful Videos

Individuals with disabilites at Sertoma Centre shared what they are thankful for. These videos were shared at the 42nd Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation held on November 7,  at Palos Country Club in Orland Park.


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



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.


In addition they covered interview preparedness and provided a tour of the entire restaurant. The consumers received Olive Garden pins and were served lunch.


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

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!!

Tinley Park Sertoma Club Recognizes Sertoma Centre, Inc.
Non-Profit Organization Celebrated for Contributions to the Community

Several members of the Tinley Park Sertoma Club hosted an appreciation dinner to recognize local charities for their work in the community.

Alsip, IL July 3, 2013: The Tinley Park Sertoma Club recognized Sertoma Centre, Inc. for their dedication and hard work in the community at their annual appreciation dinner. The dinner was hosted on Wednesday, June 19, at Ed & Joes Restaurant in Tinley Park.
The Tinley Park Sertoma Club, chartered in 1983, consists of men and women from Tinley Park and surrounding communities who enjoy helping people. Tinley Park Sertoma Club is part of Sertoma, Inc., an organization of service clubs across the United States and Canada which was founded more than 100 years ago by volunteers with a purpose to meet the needs in the communities they serve. The name is an acronym for Service to Mankind. Through their many fundraisers, the Sertomans of Tinley Park support local charitable organizations and individuals in need of assistance. All funds raised by Tinley Park Sertoma Club remain in the community and provide support for local programs.
During the course of the evening, a representative of Sertoma Centre, Inc. was asked to speak to the attendees about recent developments. Tinley Park Sertoma Club members presented a donation to Sertoma Centre to help further their efforts within the community.

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


2013 High Tea Photos

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,


Left to Right: People's Choice Winners: Joe Dinovo & Ken Dompeling, Blue Island Fire Dept., Best Ethnic/Other: Christopher Drozd, Chicago Fire Dept. Engine 42, Best Chili: Bob Hopper, Lombard Fire Dept. Station 1, Best Ribs, Steve Zook & Jim Leibach, Niles Fire Dept.

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!



Sertoma’s IN THE KNOW Interview – Amy Chmura


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.



Over 300 people attended the event.

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.

Rico the Michael Jackson impersonator, got the crowd on their feet.

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.



Welcome to the Holiday Bazaar
Holiday Bazaar – Huge Success
Welcome to the Holiday Bazaar

Welcome to the Winter Wonderland Holiday Bazaar

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!

Sertoma Centre held its Annual Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 25th at the Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park.
Click this link to see all the photos from the event

Welcoming faces at registration (L-R Laura Gardner, Regina Robinson, Archie Garret

This enchanted evening  was organized and hosted by the Annual Dinner Planning Committee whose members include Alex Boerner, Dennis Dureno, Laura Gardner, Allison Kinczyk, Bob Scott, Gail Schenk, Karen Stauder and Regina Robinson.
The room was decorated in purples and blues. Magic hats, wands, balloons, and cards decorated the tables. Each guest received a decorative 5 x 7 picture frame as a gift.

Gus van den Brink shared consumer success stories

Guests were graciously greeted by volunteers and entertained with strolling magic.

Magical entertainment provided by John Measner and his lovely assistant, Robin.

Gus van den Brink shared heartfelt stories of consumers who chieved personal success, the mission of Sertoma Centre.  The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the


Sertoma Centre Recognition Awards.
Janitorial Contract of the Year was awarded to the Illinois Department of Transportation. (not pictured)
Sub-Contract of the Year was awarded to Wilton. (not pictured)

L-R (Lorraine Barnes and Carol DeVries)

Insite Manager of the Year was awarded to Lorraine Barnes of Southwest Community Services. The presenter – Carol DeVries, Job Developer, Insite Training Systems.
Insite Employer of the Year – Dave Peksenak, Manager,  Ultra Foods
Insite Employee of the Year – Robert Mundy. The presenter- Dana McFarlin-Lloyd, EDS Program Coordinator.

Dinner attendees were invited to take part in the on stage magic show as well.

Michael L. Colella Business of the Year was awarded to Corrie Smith, State Use
Coordinator,  Central Management Services (CMS), The presenter, Ike Riley, Janitorial Services Manager.
Spirit of Sertoma Award was presented to Fanning Communications by presenter Amy Chmura, Director of Advancement and Communications.
Service to Mankind Award was presented to  Joe Varanauski, the presenter was John Savaglio, President of the Action Sertoma Club.

L-R (Dave Peksenak, Robert Mundy, Dana McFarlin-Lloyd)

Joe Varanauski

John Fanning, Fanning Communications with staff members.


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


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.

Gift Wrapping Elves: We will have a FREE gift wrapping service to all who purchase items 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: Hope you can join us in some way to support our Winter Wonderland!



National Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week

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.

Special activities and treats were provided each day of the weeklong celebration.

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.

On Wednesday there were beautiful cakes served at the Sertoma locations and cupcakes for the CILA homes.

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.

Sertoma Centre is Named Abby Foundation Grant Recipient
Sertoma Centre, Inc. recieved one of the six Abby Foundation Grants which were awarded on Friday, August 17th at their annual luncheon held at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

Regina Robinson, Lynn King, Laura Gardner, Amy Chmura were thrilled to be awarded the Abby Foundation Grant.

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.






Consumer Garden Project
We are so excited to show you this picture! We want to thank everyone who purchased a brick and helped make this dream a reality.
The consumer garden project which was started in October of 2011 has finally been completed. The planters, benches and personalized bricks are now in place.
Consumer Garden Then and Now Video:

The Consumer Garden is a like an oasis, a wonderful little spot to take a break, your lunch, or read a book. Stop by one day and take a look at the many patio bricks which offer messages of encouragement, pride or a warm remembrance of a loved one who has passed. We will accept orders for the small personalized bricks for the next few months. The order will be processed when there is an order a total of ten or more bricks. A brick is a nice way to remember someone for the holidays.
Everyone here at Sertoma Centre is very proud of what has been accomplished during one of the hottest, driest summers in twenty years. Staff and consumers took turns watering and weeding. Plans for next year are already in the making. Who knows you may be able to stop by and by some green beans or a watermelon from the Consumer Garden next year.
We would like to thank everyone that helped make the garden a success, family, friends, supporters, staff and our Sertoma Clubs. We have received so much support from everyone including donations of garden tools and supplies.
If you would like to order a small personalize brick in time for the holidays, please contact the Advancement Department at 708-371-9700.


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.



Left to right; Bill Downs, Garrison, Fennel, Tom Dornback

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.



Turning on the light

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 or call 1/800-572-BARK.

Thank you to Bill, Tom, Garrison and Fennel for making our day and also to Jean Henry the volunteer coordinator from Canine Companions International, who coordinated the presentations for Sertoma Centre, Inc.


Everest College in Merrionette Park Host Drive

Pictured: Student - Amber Barajas, Director of Admissions-Ross Rosenberg, Sertoma's Executive Director-Gus van den Brink, Student-Kimberly Milan, and Bernadette Fumbanks, Admissions Representative Campus Sr. from Everest College in Merrionette Park.

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.

Carver High School Class Reunion Makes Donation

Pictured: Curtis Harrell, Lorez Stevens, Rev. Kenneth Lee, Suzan Simmons and Andre Moore

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.


From left to right:

People’s Choice Award  - Ken Dompling and Joe Dinova from Blue Island Fire Department - Ken and Joe’s Pulled Pork
Ethnic Category - Dennis (Max) Malloy from Riverdale Fired Department - Jambalya to the Max
Chili Category -  Bob Hopper from Lombard Fire Department  and his Dad,  Bob Hopper Sr.  - Smoke Showin Chili
Poultry Category -  Bob Hopper from Lombard Fire Department -Fireground White Chili
Ribs Category - Steve Zook and Jim Leibach from Niles Fire Department - Tillerboy Ribs


BIG Raffle Winners Could Win a Grand Prize of $10,000


           2012 BIG RAFFLE
$10,000 Bill O’Reilly
$1,000 Phil Salvador
$500 E.J. DalBello
$300 Barbara Vanerio
$200 Lillie Neal
$100 POW-R Sertoma
$100 Georgia Sarlas
$100 Jeff Kowalis
BIG Event Highlights From SouthtownStar Newspaper’s Casey Toner

BIG Event  2012  – Highlights From  SouthtownStar Newspaper’s Casey Toner

Ladies High Tea Highlights

Sponsored by Sertoma Centre and the Sertoma Speech and Hearing Center.  Held on Friday May 20, 2011 at Crystal Tree Country Club in Orland Park, Illinois

Pictures from the 40th Anniversary Celebration

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