As it nears its 50th anniversary, the Riverwoods-based Center for Enriched Living will bring its adult day program for people with developmental disabilities to a new location in Hoffman Estates Monday.
The nonprofit program serves adults above the age of 22, picking up where programs provided by public school districts like Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 stop as participants age out.
Special education officials in the district say the need for such adult services in the area can hardly be exaggerated.
"We're thrilled for our students and families," District 211 Special Education Director Renee Erickson said.
The adult day program's Northwest suburban location will be at Church of the Cross, 475 W. Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates.
"This has taken about two years to get this program up and running in the Northwest area," said Center for Enriched Living Executive Director Harriet Levy.
The center got help on its decision on the location of the center's first major expansion after the nonprofit organization Connect to Community reached out to it on behalf of the individuals with developmental disabilities in the Northwest suburbs.
The center then worked closely with about 40 families in the area to narrow down a location. One family suggested its church, Church of the Cross, and the subsequent negotiations worked out, Levy said.
One parent involved in those early talks expressed some despair that the program under discussion sounded too ideal to actually happen. But center officials insisted they've already been running the REACH program out of Riverwoods for many years, Levy said.
Nevertheless, she said it's easy to understand why a parent in a currently underserved area should feel that way.
"The problem is there's not enough choices," Levy said. "We shouldn't be the only one."
In the REACH program headquartered in Riverwoods, participants spend about 70 percent of their time out in the community.
Among the activities they regularly take part in are volunteering, playing sports such as tennis and learning skills related to daily living, working, personal finance and keyboarding.
Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod was among the community leaders already talking with the Center for Enriched Living a year ago. He said he is pleased the agency's plans materialized.
"I think it's a great enhancement to the services the people in our community have," McLeod said. "There's so much need in all our communities. The need isn't over after someone turns 22."
Mary Pat Krones, assistant director of special education in District 211, said the school district's role will continue to be supporting its students and families and sharing all the possibilities for future services with them.
The new program is expected to serve five or six people during its first week, but it has an initial capacity of 20. A different location could later raise that capacity, but it's hoped Church of the Cross will be REACH Northwest's home base for at least a year, Levy said.
The individual cost of the program is based on so many variables -- from how many hours or days per week a person will attend to how much personal support he or she requires -- that it can't be generalized, Levy said.
For more information on the Center for Enriched Living and how to enroll, visit centerforenrichedliving.org, call (847) 948-7001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.