Helping the Helpers: How pandemic has impacted Association for Individual Development

  • During the pandemic, AID staff continue to make sure clients have food, medicine and shelter; that they remain engaged with one another and their families; are apprised of current events and are working to promote physical and emotional self-care.

    During the pandemic, AID staff continue to make sure clients have food, medicine and shelter; that they remain engaged with one another and their families; are apprised of current events and are working to promote physical and emotional self-care. Courtesy of Association for Individual Development

 
 
Posted7/14/2020 1:00 AM

The closing of day service centers is one of the ways the COVID-19 crisis has affected the Association for Individual Development's ability to serve its clients.

The nonprofit, based in Aurora and founded in 1961, provides developmental disability and behavioral health services throughout Kane, Kendall, DeKalb and McHenry counties. AID works closely with a variety of law enforcement agencies across Kane, McHenry and DuPage counties to support Victims of Crime and improve community response and run the Crisis Line of the Fox Valley (630) 966-9393 available 24-hours a day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Daily Herald checked in with Lore Baker, AID president and CEO, who provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the strategic goals of the organization.

Q. Whom does your agency serve, and how do you serve them?

A. AID serves individuals with developmental, intellectual, physical and/or mental health challenges, those who have suffered a trauma and those at risk.

AID offers vital, life-enriching services that promote the highest level of independence and community immersion, including: autism programs; permanent supportive housing; in-home support; developmental and vocational training; job placement and on-the-job coaching services; crisis intervention; victims services; mental health treatment; behavioral intervention; health and wellness; community education; and advocacy.

Q. From where do the majority of your donations come? Is there an annual fundraising event?

A. AID receives a majority of funding from state/federal Medicaid billing and grants, local businesses, generous individual donors, multiple United Ways and community mental health boards.

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For many years, AID has hosted an annual Fall Benefit Auction. Due to COVID-19, AID will be hosting an online fundraising event this October. Information about this virtual event will be posted to AIDcares.org in the near future.

Q. About how many people per year does your agency help?

A. More than 4,800 children and adults.

Before COVID-19 hit, some AID clients volunteered at other nonprofits such as Animal House Shelter in Huntley.
Before COVID-19 hit, some AID clients volunteered at other nonprofits such as Animal House Shelter in Huntley. - Courtesy of Association for Individual Development

Q. How has the COVID-19 crisis affected your organization and its ability to help those in need?

A. Due to COVID-19, Illinois Department of Human Services required all Community Day Service locations to temporarily close. The AID CDS program helps individuals with developmental disabilities stay active and connected to the community. Other AID services such as in-person mental health groups and psychiatric/therapy services were also suspended.

Throughout the pandemic, AID continued to provide residential supervised living services for individuals with developmental disabilities or behavioral health needs. Telehealth services were offered to those in need of psychiatry services, and our victim and crisis program continued to operate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Our in-person Behavioral Health services are just now starting to resume and IDHS has tentatively scheduled Sept. 1 as the reopening date for CDS.

AID has spent money well above our budget to provide technology to staff in order to meet the need to deliver remote services as much as possible, and in order to provide protective equipment -- masks, gloves, gowns -- and disinfecting supplies. We have struggled with obtaining enough food to meet the needs of the more than 160 people with disabilities and the more than 800 persons with behavioral health needs we support in their own homes.

AID residential clients enjoy the warm weather by planting a garden to beautify their home.
AID residential clients enjoy the warm weather by planting a garden to beautify their home. - Courtesy of Association for Individual Development

Q. How can readers help?

A. Individuals can help AID purchase PPE for staff/clients, much-needed household essentials and nutritious food for our homes by making a donation online at AIDcares.org/donate.

We are also asking our generous community members to consider donating gift cards, wine/liquors or special themed raffle baskets for our October virtual fundraiser. To make a donation, contact Angela Cudmore, AID Events Coordinator at (847) 931-2293 or ACudmore@AIDcares.org

Q. If someone is in need of your organization's help, what should they do?

A. AID services can easily be accessed by calling (877) AID-0001 or emailing info@aidcares.org. AID also offers a 24/7 crisis hotline for any person needing immediate support: (630) 966-9393.

Q. How can readers reach someone at your organization if they have questions?

A. All questions received at info@aidcares.org are forwarded to the appropriate AID staff member and are promptly answered.

Q. Is there anything readers can do if they're not able to donate at this time?

A. Since AID offers a multitude of services throughout multiple counties, we are always looking for individuals to help spread awareness of AID by liking us on Facebook (facebook.com/AIDcares) and sharing our posts.

We also encourage the community to subscribe to our email list to receive weekly news and agency updates. You can learn more about AID and sign up for our e-newsletter at AIDcares.org.

About this series: Helping the Helpers

"Helping the Helpers" is a series of short stories on how you can support suburban social service agencies impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Know of a nonprofit or agency we should feature? Email sklovstad@dailyherald.com.

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