Have Dreams Happenings – August 2017

 In This Issue:




Someone You Should Know:

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PROGRAMSVD Astellas pract int

Register Now: Have Dreams Academy’s Fall Session Begins
August 28th

If you or someone you know is interested in registering for our Have Dreams Academy on-the-job workforce training program, our Fall session begins on Monday, August 28th and runs through Friday, December 15th. The program provides adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder ages 18 and up with internships in retail, office-based settings, and manufacturing. The primary focus of the 16-week program is to teach transferable job skills that apply across industries and to gain critical on-the-job experience. For more information about the Academy, see http://havedreams.org/young-adult.


Back-to-School Transition Tips 

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We sat down with Andrea Franckowiak, Have Dreams Program Director, to get some tips regarding the transition from summer to back-to-school. Here are some of her tips for your own transition tool kit.

Q: Why is going back to school generally a stressful time for students with autism?
A: Any transition can be difficult especially after a longer period of time like a school break. Starting a new school year makes most students nervous especially individuals with ASD because of the unpredictability (new teacher, new schedule, maybe a new school, new people, etc.).

Q: What are some tips for alleviating the stress of going back to school after summer break?
 A: Answering some of these questions ahead of time for your child will be very helpful. Start talking about going back to school in August. Get a calendar so they can mark down the days and see when it is coming. Talk to the student’s teacher and see if they can send pictures of the classroom, themselves, etc. Drive by the school, ask the teacher for their daily schedule ahead of time, ask for a tour of the school so your child can see his/her locker, classroom, etc. Write a social story.


Q: Have you found that some tips work better at certain ages/stages?
A: It really depends on the student and his or her functioning level. If there is a lot of anxiety, then get as much information as possible to prepare your child. Things that will work for most students are: a social story (with or without pictures), a copy of your child’s daily schedule so they know what to expect, and pictures (if possible) of key locations (i.e., lunch room, classroom, etc.) and of key people in the school.
Q: If a student will be going to a new school this year, what are some additional tips that might be useful?
A: Going on a tour of the new school, meeting with the teacher(s), visuals of key locations and the people they should know.


Q: Are there any other tips or books on this topic you might recommend?
A: Autism Speaks’ website is a great resource for IEP tips, and more, click here.


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Houseful of Charity: September 30, 2017

Save the date for a new Have Dreams “fun-raiser” on Saturday, September 30th! A friend of Have Dreams, Colleen Gebavi, is organizing a Houseful of Charity event and all of the proceeds will benefit Have Dreams. The Houseful of Charity is a one-day sale of beautiful home furnishings staged in a local home for sale. We are accepting furniture donations as well as home accessories, such as lamps, wall art for kids rooms, decorative platters and planters. If you are thinking about fall cleaning and have items in very good condition that you no longer have a need for, let us know. We will accept pieces that you would buy or have in your own home, but that you no longer have room for or that your children have outgrown. Please no clothes, books, linens or toys. If you have a donation, or have questions about a possible donation, please call Kelly Passaneau at 847.685.0250, or email a photo of the donation to kpassaneau@havedreams.org. Further details to come!

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Omron Volunteers Spruce Up Have Dreams’ Playground

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Employee volunteers from Omron visited Have Dreams’ Park Ridge location recently to refresh the entrance and outdoor play area used by participants’ families. Working alongside Have Dreams Life SCILS participants and staff, the volunteers put down new mulch, stained the wooden play structure, scraped and painted the entrance railing, and pulled weeds around the front door.

“Omron is very philanthropic,” says Jennifer Quinn, who is on the community service committee for Omron’s Hoffman Estates U.S. headquarters. “Each employee receives 16 paid service hours per year. We try to find organizations like Have Dreams that will have a connection with our employees.”

“I’ll do anything for kids,” says Omron employee Celeste Cole-Joseph, as to why she wanted to help Have Dreams. “This was the greatest experience. I really enjoyed it and hope to come back.” Jennifer Quinn, Idalia Barrera, Eric Gehrt, and Daniel Manley also volunteered with enthusiasm, smiles, and know-how, making the day fun for everyone involved.

Omron is a global company that was established in Japan in 1933. Omron manufactures and sells industrial automation products, electronic components, and medical equipment such as digital thermometers and blood pressure monitors. The company has a history of hiring individuals with disabilities. Omron’s Kyoto Taiyo plant was established in 1985 for the purpose of providing work opportunities for employees with disabilities.

Thanks to Omron’s commitment to community service and improving lives, Have Dreams families will enjoy the Park Ridge playground for years to come!

Pictured above: Omron volunteers with Have Dreams participants and staff helped refresh our Park Ridge playground and entrance. Omron volunteers wore blue shirts with the company’s community service motto on the back.


Dream Team: Katie McGinnis, Molly Nick, and Colleen Kempner

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On July 22nd, Katie McGinnis, whose son Seamus attends Have Dreams programs, ran the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half-Marathon, along with her family members Molly Nick and Colleen Manuel Kempner, to raise funds and awareness for Have Dreams. This was Katie’s first time ever to run in a race and it was her first time running to raise funds and awareness for a charity. Altogether, the three raised $5,610 for Have Dreams in Seamus’ name.

What made Katie, Colleen, and Molly want to run for Have Dreams? “I love the katiemcginnis 2classes that Seamus currently participates in and the future ones he will be eligible for as he gets older. The support and resources from the staff means everything as a parent of a child with Autism,” says Katie. Colleen’s Crowdrise page states, “I want all kiddos with this diagnosis to have access to the help and resources they may need to be successful in life.” Molly’s page adds that Have Dreams “…has been a huge support system for him [Seamus] and our family for the past year…Have Dreams will also one day provide Seamus with vital vocational training as well as job training.”

Katie says that her favorite thing about this whole experience was running together and the financial support from friends and family that will have a positive impact for individuals who attend Have Dreams. Thank you Katie, Molly, and Colleen for being a Dream Team for Have Dreams!

Pictured in this article:

  • Above left, from left to right: Katie McGinnis, Colleen Kempner, and Molly Nick
  • Above Right/Center: Katie McGinnis with Seamus and Molly Nick
  • Below: The supportive families!


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