Have Dreams Happenings June 2018

 In This Issue:




Someone You Should Know:














Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism program at Northwestern University  

psca-happeningsAt Have Dreams, we are celebrating five successful years of our Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism program at Northwestern University. This year, our six students from Glenbrook, New Trier, and Deerfield High Schools each completed three 10-week internship rotations at various campus sites. In addition to the guidance they received from their site supervisors and Have Dreams staff, the students received expert advice on interview skills and resume writing from Kellogg School of Management mentors.

The interns’ year of hard-work culminated on June 6, 2018, at our graduation ceremony held at the Kellogg Global Hub’s White Auditorium. Kristina Johnsen, Executive Director of Have Dreams, welcomed everyone and introduced Northwestern President Morton O. Schapiro who offered congratulations and inspiration to the graduates. In addition, one of the Northwestern supervisors, Stacia Campbell, delivered a speech about the PSCA program along with one of our PSCA graduates, Morgan Rothschild. All of the interns will be working hard this summer with their chosen supported employment specialist to find their first paid employment. We wish them all the best of luck!

For more information contact Christine McQuinn, Project SEARCH Supervisor at cmcquinn@havedreams.org or click here.


Have Dreams Academy

have dreams academy-happeningsHave Dreams Academy is an innovative employment training program for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through an ​internship​ provided 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 life changing impact on those who have completed the program is demonstrated through a few of our current success stories…

Kyle interned at Walgreens while in the program. Using the training he received in HDA and from his internship supervisor, he was hired as a Customer Service Associate at another Walgreens location where he is now employed full time.

Duncan interned at I Love Sweets and FEW Spirits while in HDA and was recently hired as a full-time Spice Merchant at The Spice House distribution center in Skokie.

David interned at Thermal Laminating Corporation while in HDA and is now exploring pharmacy technician positions.

Our ​c​urrent interns are working at ILOVESWEETS Commercial Bakery, ​Thermal Laminating and Walgreens.

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.




Night of Dreams 2018

Night of DreamsIt was an elegant evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing, as over 300 community and business leaders gathered at the Ritz-Carlton, Chicago for a celebration of individuals with autism, supporters and donors, and to honor Morton Schapiro, President of Northwestern University, with the 2018 Dream Maker Award for creating inclusive communities.

The gala raised almost $500,000 to benefit the families of children, teens and young adults with autism through Have Dreams’ social, life skills and employment programs, diagnostic and family support services and specialized training for teachers.
Thank you for helping us celebrate our Have Dreams community. Together, with your support, we’re changing the lives of individuals with autism.





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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!

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

  • Golf Classic (Scramble Format) & Silent Auction
  • Registration: 10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch: 11:00 a.m.
  • Shotgun Start:  Noon
  • Cocktails, Buffet Dinner and Program to Follow

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











Running for Autism-Team Have Dreams!

team have dreams-happeningsWhether training for this year’s Chicago Marathon or participating in races here and in the Midwest, our 2018 Team Have Dreams runners have been busy running, championing and raising funds for Have Dreams.  Now entering our ninth year as a charity for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, we’re proud to share that our dedicated Team Have Dreams runners have collectively raised over $263,000 since 2009 to help fund much-needed programs and services for children, teens, and adults with autism! 

We want to give a shout out to some of our Team Have Dreams members including:

  • 2017 Chicago Marathon Team Have Dreams alum Celina Garcia who ran Leon’s Triathalon race in Hammond, Indiana on June 3rd, raising $685 for our organization. Thanks, Celina!
  • Have Dreams staff member Jessi Werner, who will be running for us during this year’s Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, being held Sunday, July 22nd along Chicago’s magnificent lakefront.
  • 2018 Chicago Marathon Team Have Dreams runners Cathy McCarthy and Chris Jones, both on staff at Have Dreams.  Chris is running a second year as a member of Team Have Dreams!

Everyone’s invited to join us at the Have Dreams tent on October 7th to cheer on our 22-member team running in this year’s Chicago Marathon.

Join Team Have Dreams to run and train with one of the top coaches in Chicago, Jennifer Harrison. Coach Jen, as her athletes call her, has agreed to coach Team Have Dreams runners as they train for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  This is an exciting opportunity to train with and learn from one of the top coaches in the country.

If you are already registered for the Chicago Marathon but want to run as a member of Team Have Dreams, and train with one of the best, join our Team!  You can also run and fundraise for Have Dreams in any race of your choice, visit our website to learn how at http://havedreams.org/team-have-dreams/



Walking the Way of St. James

bob creevy walking camino-happeningsCon​gratulations to Have Dreams board member Bob Creevy who arrived at Santiago de Compostela June 11th , completing his amazing 479 mile journey that he began on May 13th, walking from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port near Biarritz in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. We’re proud of you Bob!!

​Bob posted on Facebook about his arrival to his official last stop: “Santiago de Compostela!!! I arrived in Santiago yesterday around noon. Sarah and the kids were waiting for me in front of the official last stop, the “Pilgrims Office.” It was very overwhelming really. It had been about a 5 hour walk so I was a little tired, but as soon as I saw the family all the tiredness disappeared. It was wonderful.”

Thank you Bob​,​ for walking to raise funds ​for autism programs and services provided by Have Dreams!!​ Donations honor​ing​ Bob​ Creevy​ and his inspiring ​Walking the Camino ​journey can be made here:https://havedreams.ejoinme.org/…/D…/tabid/19396/Default.aspx




Shop and Support Have Dreams

fresh thyme-happeningsWe are elated to share that Have Dreams has been chosen by the 7501 W. North Avenue, River Forest Fresh Thyme store as the latest beneficiary of the Fresh Thyme Giving Bag Program! Every time the reusable Giving Bag featuring the Giving Tag is purchased at the 7501 W. North Avenue, River Forest Fresh Thyme during the month of June, Have Dreams will receive a $1 donation. This is a great way to support Have Dreams! Please visit Fresh Thyme and buy their reusable Fresh Thyme Giving Bag!









Ticketmaster Plants Garden at Have Dreams

ticketmaster-happeningsThank you to the team of volunteers from Ticketmaster who planted a beautiful garden at our Have Dreams Park Ridge location, joined by two of our Life SCILS participants, on May 17th.  Our staff and families love the beautiful new flowers and plants that are blooming and providing such a welcoming landscape for our Park Ridge Have Dreams location.  Employees from Ticketmaster have lent their time to other volunteer projects to Have Dreams, including planting last year’s colorful garden at our Park Ridge site in 2017.  We’re grateful to Ticketmaster employees Ashley Hanson, Monique Runnels, Alex Platt, Dana Gomez, Erin Groughman, Casey Klein, Natalie Hurtenbach, Please Jones, Andrew Flaxman, Carlo Reyes, and Jane Ashley, who organized this volunteer effort from Ticketmaster.






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Salesforce Mentor Volunteers at Have Dreams

salesforce-happeningsThank you to the team of employees from Salesforce who recently visited Have Dreams to volunteer in our Have Dreams Academy program. Their participation was part of the company’s Employment Engagement Program, where employees receive paid days of volunteer time off (VTO). The Salesforce volunteers worked with our Have Dreams Academy (HDA) interns on Customer Service practice in our Walgreens training center, role-playing as customers while the interns worked on a stocking task. HDA Interns were also paired up with the volunteers for informational interviews. The interns asked them questions about their job, their experience, and how and where they started, providing a great opportunity for our Have Dreams Academy interns to learn more about job search efforts, different types of positions, and how to gain work experience. Thank you to the great team from Salesforce for providing these vital mentorship opportunities for our Have Dreams Academy interns.To learn more about the Have Dreams Academy employment and job training program for adults with autism, visit http://havedreams.org/have-dreams-academy/



Have Dreams featured on ABC7 Chicago

walk-happeningsAdults in our Have Dreams Life SCILS and Academy programs met and interviewed Brennan Besser during his visit to Have Dreams on Friday. Brennan and his sister Rachel stopped by Have Dreams as part of their 2018 Walk On America journey to raise awareness and support for the underserved Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) community. Brennan is biking across the United States as a kick-off to start a national conversation about the IDD community. Brennan’s sister Jacqueline, a member of our Life SCILS program, along with her peers at Have Dreams enjoyed their visit and hearing about Brennan’s amazing bike ride across the country. Thanks to Brennan and Rachel for coming to Have Dreams! Good luck on the rest of your inspiring journey! Click here to see the video.








Christine McQuinn

Lead Teacher​

Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism at Northwestern University​

christine mcquinnHow did you begin your involvement with Have Dreams and how long have you been with the agency?

I met Kris Johnsen because of Morton Schapiro, President of Northwestern University.  Kris was in a meeting with Morty about PSCA@NU. He said I know somebody that is in special education, she’s not working but would love the work that you do at Have Dreams. Morty then passed on Kris Johnsen’s information to me and I emailed her. After meeting with Kris, I  became a volunteer at Have Dreams.

I volunteered for a few months starting in the spring of 2015, this was the second year of PSCA, and at the end of the school year, Kris asked me if I would be interested in teaching the Project SEARCH program for the following year. I was thrilled and accepted the offer.

What drew you to your work initially in Special Education?

I started as a general education teacher, and really enjoyed working with students with special needs, so I went back to school and got my Masters in Special Education.

I lived in California before moving to Chicago. I was a special education teacher in a self-contained, non-categorical classroom that was kindergarten through second grade.  Then when I moved here, I subbed for a while and didn’t find my niche. After moving to Chicago I did a lot of volunteer work through Northwestern Settlement House working at their charter elementary school with students with special needs.


Do you have a favorite story or anecdote about PSCA?

One of our PSCA interns was working in an internet technology department at Northwestern and his supervisor called me in to talk and I thought something was wrong.  Then the supervisor told me that he wanted to hire the student as a computer programmer.  I almost fell off my chair.  I felt like I was getting a great job offer.  It took everything I had not to leap over the table and give a big hug to the supervisor!  And later when we told the interns parents, they cried…. (tears of joy)!


What has been the most fulfilling about working with Have Dreams and the PSCA program?

The most fulfilling thing about working with the Have Dreams interns at PSCA is seeing the interns’ growth throughout the program and then seeing them get their first paid position, and also seeing how happy and thrilled their parents are.


Why is PSCA such an important and needed program?

PSCA is so important for young adults transitioning from high school to young adulthood because once they take their diploma, all of the services they’ve had for their whole life in special education through their school district, abruptly ends.  So I think for students who are not college bound but are very capable of working, this program provides the training and experience needed so they can go out and find a job and be productive once they finish high school.


Tell us about this partnership with Northwestern for the PSCA program

The relationship has been so successful because of President Schapiro’s support and all of the people at Northwestern who are willing to take time out of their busy days to be supervisors and mentors to our PSCA interns.  The program would not exist without the amazing, generous Northwestern staff who supervises our interns within the various departments, which now has 25 participating. The staff often share that they have gotten so much more out of it than our interns, in fact, the interns teach them lessons about being a good supervisor.