Social Issues

Self-Sufficiency For All
Michael Stephan, Heart of Illinois United Way

The Heart of Illinois United Way funds many self-reliance programs in central Illinois—programs that help people of all ages fulfill their potential and develop long-term skills and behaviors that lead to an improved quality of life for them, their families, and the community.

Whether it’s going back to school or learning money management skills, there are many self-reliance programs available, including childcare so parents can go to work or school, job training that includes resume writing and interview skills, and employment services that link individuals with available positions throughout the community.

Local self-reliance programs also focus on helping those who are developmentally disabled strive for their independence through a variety of services. We’re fortunate to have organizations such as Community Workshop and Training Center, Parc Inc., and TCRC Inc. that offer employment services, community access programs, and residential living.

Employment and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities increase financial independence and instill the self-confidence that comes from knowing they’re contributing to the success of the organization. The goals of these employment programs are to provide training so they can find the job that’s best for them and to help them be as independent as possible. Not only do these agencies’ clients work in companies throughout the community, they also participate in the agencies’ contract work that includes manufacturing, assembly, packaging, shipping, warehousing, and mailing.

Community access programs provide the opportunity for integration into the community. By providing reliable and convenient transportation, these agencies are eliminating one of the major obstacles facing people with disabilities. When available, transportation allows people to secure long-term jobs and be an active member of the community. Whether it’s socializing with friends, attending events, or participating in sports, community access programs support integration in the community.

Residential programs for the developmentally disabled provide home-like environments with 24-hour support. From case management to coordinated health services, individual goals and services are in place to promote economic self-sufficiency and independence in daily living.

People with developmental disabilities want to have a choice in the direction of their lives. Our community continues to focus on helping others reach their self-reliance goals by fostering an environment of teamwork. With your support, the United Way is able to support programs that provide individuals with the strength to make a difference for themselves and others. IBI