Have Dreams Happenings – August 2018




Someone You Should Know:









Have Dreams Academy

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Have Dreams Academy is an innovative employment training program for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who seek to obtain competitive employment. The program provides internships in a retail, light manufacturing, or office-based setting, along with soft skills training to develop the transferable skills needed to be successful in competitive employment.

The training room curriculum covers a wide range of transferable job skills, including:

  • Developing resumes and practicing interview skills
  • Time Management
  • Problem-solving
  • Appropriately asking for help
  • Accepting feedback
  • Goal setting
  • Building teamwork and leadership skills

100% of the graduates seeking jobs have been hired for competitive employment.

For more information about our Have Dreams Academy, please contact Andrea Franckowiak, Program Director at 847-905-0702, ext. 229, or ajohnsen@havedreams.org, or click here to learn more about the program.


Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism program at Northwestern University  


Danny at PSCA - resizedAnnouncing openings for Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism at Northwestern University! Gain transferable job skills for competitive employment through this innovative program offering three ten-week internships rotations on Northwestern University’s campus. Become another PSCA success story – 100% of PSCA graduates seeking jobs were hired for employment! To set up an information meeting or intake visit: http://havedreams.org/young-adult/ or email Dana Fenceroy at dlabrose@havedreams.org. 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or other related diagnoses
  • 18 years or older
  • Strong desire and plan for employment
  • Independent daily living skills
  • Maintains behavior and social interactions appropriate in the workplace

Testimonial from School Administrator:

First and foremost, let me say that working with Kris and Have Dreams has been an incredible partnership through the development and implementation of the program. As a director, I have always felt that they have always supported the districts and have never put us in an awkward position with parents. The quality of the staff and program is excellent, delivering specialized instruction to students with autism and autism-type behaviors. They have met a unique gap we had in services. They have provided proactive behavior supports. The type of opportunities students get on the Northwestern University campus are meaningful and unique (helping in student publications, working with research data, alumni relations, athletics, etc. The university from the president to the department staff have valued what the program and students have brought to the university, and I see the opportunities only continuing to grow. 



 Have Dreams Golf Classic

golf ball-happeningsChasing the Dream!

Join us for a fun-filled day on the links, where golfers can chase the dream of a great round of golf while supporting Have Dreams in its ongoing mission of Helping Autistic Voices Emerge!

Troy Murray, former Chicago Blackhawks forward and current Radio Color Analyst, joins us as Master of Ceremonies for the 2018 Have Dreams Golf Classic.

Troy was drafted by the Blackhawks in 1980 and played parts of 12 seasons with the Blackhawks, compiling 197 goals and 291 assists in 688 games. In 1986, he become the first Blackhawk to win the Frank J. Selke Award as the NHL’s top defensive forward of the year. Murray was also a member of Colorado’s Stanley Cup championship team in 1996.

If you’re not a golfer, please join us for dinner and listen to Troy Murray tell anecdotal stories from his days as a Chicago Blackhawks player and his years as a member of the Blackhawks broadcast team.

Monday, September 17, 2018
Itasca Country Club, 400 E. Orchard St., Itasca, IL

  • Registration: 10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:00 a.m.
  • Shotgun Start:  Noon (Scramble format)
  • Cocktails, Buffet Dinner and Program to Follow (Silent and Live Auctions)

We would love to have you join us for this fun day on the links – for registration and sponsorship opportunities, click here!

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Lora Slutsky

Workforce Development Supervisor

Have Dreams Academy

L. Slutsky - ResizedHow did you get into the field?

Throughout high school and college, I participated in a number of programs for students and adults with different abilities, including working at an overnight camp where I ran their vocational program. Through these experiences, I discovered a passion for teaching the skills needed for independence on the job and in the community. Since then, I have been fortunate to have found my calling working with young adults with autism, supporting them as they prepare for and secure employment.  The opportunity to play a small role in the many Have Dreams Academy success stories, watching the transformation in our participants as they successfully intern during the program, confidently interview and get hired for a job, and earn their first paycheck, has been extraordinary!

How did you become involved with Have Dreams?

In the spring of 2015, I was wrapping up the first of two internship requirements for my Master’s program in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. I was beginning to look for an opportunity that would fulfill the requirement for my second internship when a former supervisor of mine passed along the opportunity at Have Dreams. The timing couldn’t have been better and I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful, skilled, and dedicated team of professionals.

Tell us about your role at Have Dreams

As Workforce Development Supervisor, I work closely with our employment program leader, job coach, and internship supervisors as our participants prepare to graduate from the program and seek employment. In providing job development services, I play the role of behind-the-scenes advocate, networking and identifying suitable job opportunities for our HDA graduates – many of whom have been unemployed or underemployed for years.  I provide our HDA participants and graduates with customized support to set them up for success as they apply for, interview at, and get hired in a new job. This includes: helping them pinpoint their interests and strengths, identifying appropriate job openings and assisting the intern in submitting applications, following up with employers, preparing for and attending interviews, and considering job offers. Once a graduate is hired, I typically provide 90 days of follow-along support to ensure a smooth transition into employment.  I also work to expand partnerships with businesses in the Chicagoland area, identifying their hiring needs and educating them on the benefits of hiring individuals on the autism spectrum. The combination of work experience through an HDA internship, interview skill development, workplace training, and the confidence boost this program provides, paired with the behind-the-scenes advocacy and networking our job development services include, illustrates the difference a program like HDA can make in the life of a capable and job-ready young adult on the autism spectrum.

What is most fulfilling about your work?

The most fulfilling part of working with our Have Dreams Academy participants is watching them develop into confident, job-ready candidates. I feel enormous pride in our HDA graduates as they excitedly share with our team and with their families that they’ve just been hired for a job. It is a tremendous privilege to be a part of that journey.