Marklund clients celebrate Arbor Day in Geneva

Clients, volunteers and employees of Marklund's Hyde Center campus in Geneva celebrated Arbor Day on Friday by playing games and planting a spruce tree.

"I've never worked for an organization that celebrated Arbor Day," said Marklund's chief executive officer, Gil Fonger, as he prepared to plant the spruce with one of the clients. The crowd cheered as landscaping workers rolled, then tipped the tree into the hole. He told the crowd a little bit about the history of Arbor Day, and about how much oxygen a tree returns to the atmosphere.

Before that, people played a bean-bag-toss game, and another where they tried to knock down windows in a board with a hose, courtesy of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District. The firefighters also gave clients toy fire helmets and badges.

Marklund provides educational, therapeutic and residential services to infants, children and adults with profound developmental and physical disabilities.

"At Marklund, we strive to make everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities, so taking part in a tree planting ceremony on Arbor is certainly part of everyday life," Fonger stated in a news release announcing the event.

Marklund, a not-for-profit organization, has residences in Geneva and Bloomingdale, and a day school in Bloomingdale for children and teens who have autism and have complex medical issues.

  Lucas Gardner, a maintenance technician at Marklund Hyde Center in Geneva, and Lola Badmus, a medical records coordinator, play a bean-bag-toss game with Marklund client Sophia Friday. The center marked Arbor Day by playing games and planting a tree. Susan Sarkauskas/
  Marklund Chief Executive Officer Gil Fonger helps Marklund Hyde Center client Mack prepare to plant a spruce tree at the Geneva campus Friday. Susan Sarkauskas/
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