Serenada Highlights WGCIL's Local Stylings PDF Print E-mail

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By Heidi Terry-Litchfield - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

JOLIET – As summer winds down, Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living was winding up Saturday Night with its 15th annual Summer Serenade.

The center, over the last few years, has stepped up its commitment in Grundy County, as residents find out about the programs it has to offer.

This past spring, Mary Tisdale, independent living advocate with the center, coordinated a legislative internship program for adults at Narvick House in Morris.

Chris Book reported the internship was a free, eight-week, program where participants got a "civics refresher course," and were taught by guest instructors, including Illinois State Rep. Careen Gordon and Grundy County Clerk Lana Phillips.

Pam Heavens, executive director for Will Grundy Center for Independent Living speaks with their newest board member, Brent Newman, CEO Grundy County Housing Authority. (Herald Photo by Heidi Terry-Litchfield)

The residents were taught how a bill becomes a law, as well as the best methods for communicating with elected officials.
The center has also had regular visits with residents of the Grundy County Housing Authority's Saratoga Tower.

"Our staff has regular visits to Saratoga Tower to provide information and resources to residents," Book said. "Medicare Part D, reintegration information, transportation training, financial education training and a wide range of other services are brought to residents who have shown a growing interest in getting involved with the Center."

She said many other partnership opportunities abound with the GCHA.

"As the Center hopes to expand its presence in the region, it plans to bring programs and services to residents in the way of independent living skills training, ongoing workshops, assistance with Medicare Part B, LIHEAP, and other offerings," Book said.

Denise Winfrey, WGCIL board president, said the organization has felt the pinch of the economy this year.

"When DHS grants are cut, we are cut as well," she said. "We're trying to keep all of our programs going and, with the sound fiscal management of our director, Pam Heavens, we are doing well, but we need the support from our fundraiser and other sources."

Another Grundy County addition came in the way of new board member, Brent Newman, CEO of the GCHA.

"I've been watching the Center take a more and more active role to help people in Grundy County who have disabilities," Newman said. "They're doing good things, and I want to be a part of that.

"My great hope is that we're able to work to make the Center the very first place people with disabilities will consider when they need help, and that we'll be able to help them meet those needs."

As they celebrated 20 years of service to individuals with disabilities, Summer Serenade guests danced to the musical stylings of the Teddy Lee Orchestra.

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