WILMETTE, Ill. (CBS) — It’s amazing what people can do when they get together to solve a problem.
Up in the northern suburbs, a group of parents got together to do something special for their adult children with specials needs.
There’s nothing like hanging out with your chums over lunch, especially if it’s your own digs.
This is Our Place, a meeting room at the Community Church of Wilmette on Forest Avenue. It came into existence when a group of 26 parents got together to develop a program of activities for their over-22-year-old sons and daughters with developmental disabilities.
Founder Jane Gallery says the availability of programs for her son, Frank, were plentiful until he left the school system.
“When he turned 22, it all ended,” she tells CBS 2’s Harry Portefield. “There were no programs here in our community for him. He went from this wonderful rich life to hanging out with his mother.”
The idea is to support these young adults so they can live meaningful productive lives in their home community and with family and friends. To foster a sense of team work and to provide a vocational learning experience, participants help out at the New Trier Township Food Pantry.
“What we’re working on is building those skills to learn to become independent, working on focusing, staying on task in hopes that in the future we’ll be able to have some kind of paid employment,” Stacia Swan, program director, says.
The group continues to get township support, and funding comes from through fundraisers, individuals, families and reasonable program fees.
“I’m so amazed at the way everybody has come together, parents and staff,” Gallery says. “This community that we have built within our larger community has made a difference in so many lives. I feel very proud, very grateful.”