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.
The Residential Department hosted their annual Halloween Party on Friday, October 18 at our facility on 127th street.
The evening included pizza, soda, games, music and much more.
There were lots of scary characters in attendance and the consumers who participate in our residential program had a spook-tacular time.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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
|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.|
|Tinley Park Sertoma Club|
|City of Palos Heights|
|Pronger Smith Medical Care|
|Alliance Insurance/ Dom Porto|
|Mike’s Barber Shop|
|American Heritage Sertoma Club|
|Budget Sign Service|
|G & L Fire Gifts|
for biggest fundraiser
Sertoma Centre Inc., which helps individuals with disabilities, is
Certified International Corp.
Old Williamsburg Candles
R Squared (Formerly Zrike)
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. For additional resources visit www.sertomacentre.org.
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.
Submitted by Laura Gardner, Holiday Bazaar Head Elf
I could not let this opportunity go by without thanking everyone for making the Holiday Bazaar such a success. So many people were involved in creating this wonderful event and I would be remiss not to mention them.
First and foremost I have to thank our Volunteers for whom without you, the Holiday Bazaar would not have been possible. There were over 25 volunteers that came together that day who put on a marvelous event. Family, friends, co-workers new and old and even a few high schoolers and one middle school student volunteered in any and every capacity you could think of to create a successful event.
To all our customers who shopped and supported our vendors and programs, thank you for choosing the Holiday Bazaar as one of your shopping destinations this year.
I would also like to thank our Janitorial crew at Sertoma who do a
marvelous job every day, but really helped us out with set up and take down and everything in between.
A big thank you to the transportation department for bringing over consumers from 127th street and Matteson to enjoy shopping at the Bazaar.
Thank you to the 123rd street consumers as they gave up their lunchroom for the day.
We appreciated all the help the team from Good as New provided with set-up and moving the Bazaar materials to the second floor!
Also a HUGE thank you to all our vendors who created and tinkered and glue gunned and crafted to make such lovely gifts for all to buy. We hope to see more in house vendors next year. A huge “WAY TO GO” to all our gift wrapping elves, especially from PepsiCo and our community who wrapped all gifts purchased at the Bazaar for FREE.
And of course to all the staff, family and friends who donated gift wrap, tissue paper, holiday bags, tape, ribbon, decorative boxes, craft items, Good as New items, and of course baked goods (YUM) a super duper colossal THANK YOU!! I keep asking and you keep delivering—your generosity is AMAZING!
I would also like to thank my wonderful Advancement team mates for keeping me sane and for all you did to help pull this Bazaar together: from creating crafts at Good as New, to making beautiful signs, to hanging decorations in stocking feet – you all make my job a wonderful thing to treasure! Thank you again to everyone who helped make the Winter Wonderland Holiday Bazaar such a phenomenal success!
With much gratitude,
Holiday Bazaar Head Elf
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.
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.
Best Golf Outing in the South Suburbs!
The Action Sertoma Club is having their 12th Annual Golf Outing on July 11th, at Silver Lake Country Club in Orland Park, IL. Registration is at 8:00 a.m., Shot Gun/Best Ball start 9:00 .m., cost $135, includes continental breakfast, Bloody Mary starter, lunch, refreshments on the course, cocktails and steak dinner after golf, prizes and games all day. Men and women golfers are invited to participate. To register, call or contact Joe Varanauski 708-921-0159 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Avalos appears on NBC5 News Today’s weekday morning newscasts from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. He has more than 25 years of weather experience at NBC5 and previously at WLS-TV, where he worked as weekend forecaster from 1984 to 1994. Avalos also anchored weather reports on weekday mornings on FM-100.
The Action Sertoma Club is a friend and supporter of Sertoma Centre, Inc. which is a nationally-accredited, not-for-profit agency that provides services to nearly 700 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, (708)730-6206 or email@example.com. at Sertoma Centre, 4343 West 123rd Street, Alsip, IL 60803. www.sertomacentre.org.
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.
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.
BIG Event 2012 – Highlights From SouthtownStar Newspaper’s Casey Toner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Local Celebrity Judges Determine the Fate of Firefighter’s at Cook-off on April 28th.
Mayor Patrick E. Kitching, of Alsip, and Mayor Robert S. Straz, of Palos Heights, Illinois will participate as judges for the Firehouse Cook-off at Sertoma Centre’s BIG Event. Joining them on the judge’s panel is the award winning columnist, Phil Kadner and reporter Casey Toner, both from SouthtownStar Newspaper.
BIG Event is not just a chili cook-off, the participating firefighters from Chicago and the suburbs present the attendees with a wide variety of tasty dishes to sample. In addition to the great food the event offers:
- Dave Fleming, magician and juggler
- Live music by Sound Barrier
- Boomer from Windy City Thunderbolts
- Kids crafts, activities, video gaming and face painting
- Raffles and fun for the entire family
BIG Event 2012, is sponsored by SouthtownStar Newspaper, the Aileen S. Andrew Foundation, Chicagoland area Sertoma Clubs and many local businesses. Please join us on Saturday April 28th, from 5 – 9 p.m. at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park, IL. Adults are $10 for entry fee donation/food sample tickets, children 12 & under $5, children under 3, free. Proceeds from the event benefit nearly 700 individuals with disabilities served by Sertoma Centre, Inc.
For more information, call 708-730-6206 or go to www.sertomacentre.org. Sertoma Centre, Inc. is a nationally-accredited, not-for-profit agency that provides services to individuals with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities, and/or mental illness.
Big Thanks to all the amazing people who helped with this years’ International Housewares Show at McCormick Place on March 13th.
We had such a great response this year! There were 130 volunteers from the community, family & friends of Sertoma Centre Consumers, Sertoma Clubs and Sertoma Centre staff. Everyone chipped in to do what they could. Anyone who has ever participated in the Housewares Show pack-up knows it takes the effort of many to make this undertaking a success.
We encourage everyone to stop by the Good as New Thrift Store to check out the latest merchandise from the 2012 Housewares Show.