Have Dreams Happenings June 2017

 In This Issue:




Someone You Should Know:

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Lifespan Services at Have Dreams

Did you know that Have Dreams provides lifespan services across the entire autism spectrum? That is, we have programs for all ages and stages of life and for all abilities across the spectrum. Whether your child is newly diagnosed with autism, looking to connect with peers after school, or a young adult/adult exploring independent living skills and/or career options, we have a program for you. Check out the variety of our programs for ages 16 months throughout adulthood with openings now and in the fall.



Some of our programs have ongoing enrollment throughout the year, while others have specific registration sessions that follow our program calendar. For more information about all the programs we offer, click here or contact us at info@havedreams.org. Are you already enrolled in our programs? Share this info with your friends!

Social Skills Programs


  • Variety of after-school social skills programs ages 2-25
  • Park Ridge and Evanston locations
  • 1.5 hours per program class
  • Goals: increase communication, independence, and social skills through highly structured and high interest activities

Contact: Andrea Franckowiak, M.A., at ajohnsen@havedreams.org



Adult Programs


Life SCILS (Social, Communication and Independent Living Skills) Program:

  • Monday-Friday, full-day
  • Program consists of a balance of job training, volunteer and internship opportunities in the community, field trips, fitness at the YMCA, social opportunities
  • The experiences focus on increasing independence, social skills and vocational opportunities in an inclusive community.

Contact: Andrea Franckowiak M.A., at ajohnsen@havedreams.org





Employment Services

  • The goal of our employment programs is to help adults with ASD obtain meaningful employment.
  • 90% of the graduates of these programs have secured competitive and inclusive employment upon completion of the programs.

Programs Include:

Contact: info@havedreams.org


Some of our programs have ongoing enrollment throughout the year, while others have specific registration sessions that follow our program calendar. For more information about all the programs we offer, click here or contact us at info@havedreams.org. Are you already enrolled in our programs? Share this info with your friends!


    Children, Teens & Young Adult Programs                                                                                 Adult Programs
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SCILS & Games
Tech Club young adult clubTeen &
Young Adult
Career Launch cooking-emilyLife SCILS Project SEARCH
at Northwestern
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Seven Students Graduate from Project SEARCH at Northwestern University

Congratulations to the seven students from New Trier and Glenbrook High Schools who graduated from Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism (PSCA) at Northwestern University this year! Family, friends, University department supervisors, and Northwestern University President Morton O. Schapiro (pictured second from left in photo on the left) celebrated our PSCA graduates at Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater in May. We’re proud of all seven PSCA graduates (four pictured here) as they embark on new career endeavors after participating in this one-year, transition to employment program for students with autism in their last year of high school. Five of our graduates this year have secured employment placements: three at Northwestern, one at Mariano’s, and one as a counselor at a local summer camp.

PSCA participants learn skills critical to success in the workplace and take part in three, 10-week internships within various departments at Northwestern to expose them to a variety of career options. The goal of the program is to foster independence and self-esteem to help students gain meaningful, competitive employment. The program has grown considerably in the four years since its inception where there were initially only four internship sites for students and today, there are 21.

PSCA at Northwestern University began in fall 2013 when New York Collaborates for Autism (NYCA) selected Northwestern University and Have Dreams as the first Project SEARCH site in Illinois. The program is collectively funded and operated by Northwestern University, Have Dreams, New York Collaborates for Autism, Project SEARCH, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Totallink 2 Community, and local school districts.

For more information on PSCA and our other employment programs for adults with autism, please see http://havedreams.org/young-adult.






Golf Classic Returns for Fall

There is nothing better than a beautiful fall day for golf! Mark your calendar for Monday, September 11th for the annual Have Dreams Golf Classic at Itasca Country Club. Lunch, shotgun start at noon, dinner, and live and silent auctions all included. Enjoy a day of golf while raising funds and awareness for Have Dreams! Click here for more information and to register!

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Team Have Dreams – Supporting Runners Who Support Autism

Team Have Dreams is our charity racing and fundraising team that benefits Have Dreams’ autism programs for children, teens, and adults. Since its inception in 2009, Team Have Dreams has raised over $235,000 for vital autism programs. This year, we have a full team training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with renowned triathlon trainer Jennifer Harrison. So far, our team has raised $8,329 this year, but there is plenty of time for you to support their efforts before race day on October 8th! Visit our team’s Crowdrise fundraising page to get to know this wonderful group of runners helping to make dreams come true for individuals with autism.

Do you have another race you’d like to enter? Although our Chicago Marathon team is full, you can still sign up to run and fundraise for Have Dreams in any race you like. For more information, see: http://havedreams.org/team-have-dreams.








Thank You Temperance and zen of slow cooking/Peapod! 

During April Autism Awareness Month, Temperance Beer Company and the zen of slow cooking/Peapod, hosted fundraisers to help spread the message of autism awareness and acceptance to their customers. Thanks to these wonderful partners, we were able to not only raise funds for vital programs, but also bring new awareness and acceptance about autism into the community.

Temperance, our neighbor around the corner in Evanston, hosted a fun event on Sunday, April 2nd (World Autism Awareness Day), donating $1 of every pint sold to Have Dreams. The vibrant atmosphere brought together Have Dreams friends old and new to raise a glass and some funds for autism.

Peapod, together with the zen of slow cooking (which makes hand crafted, small batch, whole spice infusions and ground spice blends for the slow cooker) donated 10% of its online sales of zen blends and zen blend Peapod meal kits to Have Dreams during the month of April. Meg Barnhart and Jane McKay, co-founders of the zen of slow cooking, are committed to helping adults with developmental disabilities work toward independence. We are grateful for their generous support of our programs!

Thank you to Temperance, the zen of slow cooking, and Peapod for your wonderful support of Have Dreams!



Ticketmaster Lends a Green Thumb

“We all keep talking about what an amazing experience we had yesterday! Our team members said it was fun and inspiring,” said Jane Ashley with Ticketmaster who coordinated this volunteer effort with the company’s TMR Volunteer Committee. Jane and several other Ticketmaster volunteers visited Have Dreams’ Park Ridge location last week to help our staff and participants beautify the entrance with hostas and container gardens.

“We started a volunteer committee about a year and a half ago,” said Jane. “We try to do something at least once a month as a group and encourage our other co-workers to join us…we just want to be active in our community,” she said. “I have been to a couple of Have Dreams events. I think it’s an amazing organization and I would like to be more connected with it; and that’s why we’re here today.”

It was a win-win for both Have Dreams and the wonderful volunteers who took the time out of their day to help plant. Everyone had a great time working together, enjoying the weather, and getting to know each other. We love our volunteers; thank you Ticketmaster TMR Volunteers for helping us make our Park Ridge entrance more colorful and inviting!

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Chris Jones Goes the Extra Mile for Have Dreams

bowling july 1 cropped“My favorite thing about Have Dreams without question is working with the participants,” Chris Jones says, “On any given day we may be on an outing to a chocolate factory, cooking a delicious recipe, playing board games, working at a food pantry, or dancing along to fun music. I never leave work in a bad mood and I’m always happy to come in. Our students are so positive and hard-working and make it very easy to forget that I’m actually working when I’m at Have Dreams.”

In fall 2015, Chris (pictured second from left) began working at Have Dreams’ Evanston location as a Job Coach for the full-day Life SCILS (Social, Communication and Independent Living) program for adult participants. In fall 2016, Chris also took on the responsibilities of SCILS Program Supervisor in Evanston, overseeing the program activities for after-school child and adolescent programs.

As both a job coach and as SCILS supervisor, Chris works with his Have Dreams colleagues to create new, stimulating activities that incorporate topics such as pop culture, science, holidays, and healthy living. As a job coach, he helps adult participants develop social, communication, and independent living skills. This takes place both on-site and at different locations in the community such as exercising at the YMCA, field trips to the aquarium, and volunteering at A Just Harvest. Additionally, Chris works with participants to increase their work stamina and flexibility when presented with different tasks and activities.

For the after-school SCILS program, Chris works with other staff to plan social activities for our child and adolescent participants. “We aim to keep everything interesting and fun, since the kids are often coming here after a full day of school. We do cooking and science projects, art, musical activities, and lots of games,” he says.

Chris’ wife, Marina, is a pharmacist and they have two daughters, Sasha and Layla; both of whom outsmart them daily, Chris says with a laugh. “I have a ton of hobbies, including running, which worked out well as I was able to complete the 2016 Chicago Marathon for Team Have Dreams (Chris is pictured below right with Team Have Dreams organizer David Murray). I didn’t win, but I’ll be doing it again this year. It’s a great goal personally and also helps raise money for Have Dreams programs.”  Chris also practices Muay Thai kickboxing and loves playing guitar, reading, painting, hiking, kayaking, cooking, baking, gardening, and anything involving zombies.Before working at Have Dreams, Chris was an ABA Line Therapist and also worked at a mental health treatment center as a residential counselor and research assistant. “I think being a part of Have Dreams was fate, since I was looking for a position with more work/life balance and I happened to see there was an opening on my Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) Alumni career website. I sincerely love being a part of Have Dreams. It’s been a very remarkable year and still feels very fresh. I look forward to many more years to come!”If you would like to support Chris in his efforts to raise funds for Have Dreams, please see his Team Have Dreams fundraising page: https://www.crowdrise.com/HaveDreams/fundraiser/cjonesrun