Have Dreams in the News
Flat Top Grill Fundraiser for Have Dreams
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 from 11am – 9pm
707 Church St. in Evanston
Save the date and bring your appetite! Tuesday, October 24th from 11am – 9pm, eat at Flat Top Grill (707 Church St. in Evanston) to help raise funds and awareness for #autism programs at Have Dreams! Just present this flyer and Flat Top Grill will donate 10% to Have Dreams. Pass this along and share with your friends, family, and colleagues! http://
Meet Jacob, Have Dreams Academy Graduate Who Works at Bag Tags, Inc.
January 16, 2017 – Interview with Bag Tags, Inc. Employees Margo and Agness
Meet Jacob, a Have Dreams Academy Graduate who has been working at Bag Tags, Inc. for a year.
Northfield Park District loans vehicle to nonprofit following vandalism
January 16, 2017 – The Winnetka Current and The Northbrook Tower
While there are many people out there who question whether there is any good left in the world, the generosity of a Northfield organization to an area nonprofit during a time of need demonstrates there are still kind locals helping others for the greater good of a community.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE (PDF)
Funds Needed for Autism Program Van
January 9, 2017 – Chicago Tribune
Have Dreams, a Chicago-area nonprofit that has been serving children, teens, and adults with autism since 1996, needs a new van to drive participants to their internships and activities. Have Dreams’ old van was vandalized, leaving participants stranded.
Support Autism with Yoga and Beer
December 8, 2016 – Chicago Now
Night of Dreams 20th Anniversary Gala
August 11, 2016 – Sheridan Road Magazine
High School Students Graduate from Autism Employment Program
August 4, 2016 – Chicago Tribune
“Good sense of humor”
These are just a few of the words and phrases that staff supervisors at Northwestern University used to describe the eight students – from New Trier High School, Glenbrook High Schools, and Deerfield/Highland Park High Schools – who graduated in June from the Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism program at Northwestern University (PSCA@NU).
‘It’s changed his view of life': Companies Find Hiring Autistic Employees Has Vast Benefits
June 10, 2016 – Chicago Tribune
An estimated 50,000 individuals with autism graduate from high school every year, entering an adulthood without the supports they enjoyed in childhood.
More than a third find themselves not working or attending school in their early 20s, according to a report last year from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University in Philadelphia. They are said to step off a “services cliff,” with half receiving no life skills or vocational training during that transitional young adult period.
‘Night of Dreams Gala’ Raises $500,000 for Have Dreams
June 23, 2016 – Chicago Tribune – Evanston Review and Park Ridge Advocate
Event: ‘Night of Dreams Gala’
Benefiting: Have Dreams, which serves children, teens and young adults with autism in the greater Chicago area
Honors: Michelle and Robert Smigel, creators of the Night of Too Many Stars biennial benefit for autism on Comedy Central, received the 2016 Dream Maker Award
Co-chairs: Joyce and Anthony Flakus of Lincolnwood and Diane and William Johnson of Northfield
Location: Radisson Blu Aqua, Chicago
Date: April 30
Night of Dreams 2016
June 20, 2016 – Michigan Avenue Magazine
Nearly 400 partygoers joined emcee Richard Roeper at the Radisson Blu for Have Dreams’ 20th anniversary soiree on April 30, 2016. The affair garnered $500,000 for the organization’s autism services.
Night of Dreams Gala
June 13, 2016 – Daily North Shore
Supporters of Have Dreams, the Chicago-area nonprofit serving children, teens, and young adults with autism, gathered at the Radisson Blu Aqua to toast the organization’s 20th anniversary in late spring. Michelle and Robert Smigel, creators of Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars biennial benefit for autism, were honored for their national support of autism causes across the nation. Film critic and Good Day Chicago co-host Richard Roeper emceed the benefit, which raised $500,000 for Have Dreams’ programs. havedreams.org
2016 Night of Dreams 20th Anniversary Gala
May 2016 – CS Modern Luxury
On Saturday, April 30th, 390 guests gathered at the Radisson Blu Aqua to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Have Dreams, a Chicago‐area nonprofit serving children, teens and young adults with autism. Michelle and Robert Smigel, creators of Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars biennial benefit for autism, were honored for their support of autism services across the nation. Chicago Sun‐Times film critic and ‘Good Day Chicago’ co‐host Richard Roeper emceed the benefit, which raised $500,000 for Have Dreams’ programs. For more information, see www.havedreams.org. Photography by Mariah Smith/Mariah D. Photography.
Bakery Owner Honored for Autism Inclusiveness
March 21, 2016 – Evanston Patch and Chicago Tribune
EVANSTON, IL – The owner of an Evanston bakery was honored this month for her work in providing employment opportunities for people with autism.
Jean Kroll, owner of “Sugar & Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats” on Hartrey Ave., was given the first ever “Employer of the Year” award by Have Dreams, a local nonprofit which serves individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Pictured left: Jean Kroll, owner of Sugar & Spice Extraordinary Sweet Treats in Evanston, Illinois.
Local Nonprofit Receives Autism Speaks Scholarship
March 9, 2016 – Chicago Tribune
Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, announced that local nonprofit Have Dreams is one of ten national organizations to receive funding through the Autism Speaks Brian and Patricia Kelly Postsecondary Scholarship. Have Dreams offers a variety of social, communication, life skills and job training programs for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from age 18 months through young adulthood. The $15,000 scholarship will fund three young adult participants attending the Have Dreams Academy workforce development program in Fall 2016.
Pictured above: A Have Dreams Academy participant practices his interviewing skills at Trustmark, a Have Dreams corporate partner located in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Have Dreams/Astellas Pharma US Win Chicago Charity Challenge Rookie of the Year Award
February 26, 2016 – Announced by Chicago Charity Challenge
Have Dreams and corporate partner Astellas Pharma US won the 2015 Chicago Charity Challenge Rookie of the Year award! The Chicago Charity Challenge (Cha Cha) is a nonprofit volunteer fundraising competition that teams businesses with charities to encourage, support and reward employees who volunteer to fundraise for their paired charity. The Have Dreams/Astellas Pharma US team won for its time and commitment to the partnership and for supporting and strengthening Have Dreams’ programs.
Autism Program to Grow “Garden of Goodness” Thanks to a $20,000 Grant from Astellas USA Foundation
February 17, 2016 – Chicago Tribune
Have Dreams, a local nonprofit that helps children, teens and young adults with autism improve their abilities to learn, function independently and socialize, recently received a $20,000 grant from Astellas USA Foundation to provide Have Dreams participants the opportunity to cultivate an outdoor vegetable and herb garden. A year-round autism-specific curriculum will help participants increase their healthy eating habits by learning how to plant, maintain and harvest the garden, prepare vegetables and herbs they grow themselves and incorporate these and other healthy foods into their daily diet.
Pictured above: Have Dreams participants and families learned to cook nutritious meals through a healthy eating initiative established through a grant from Astellas USA Foundation last year. With this new, recently awarded $20,000 grant from Astellas USA Foundation, participants will also have the opportunity to grow and harvest their own vegetables and herbs from an outdoor Garden of Goodness.
Northwestern University’s President Schapiro Honors Job Training Program for Students with Autism
January 13, 2016 – Chicago Tribune
December 8, 2015, a reception was held at Northwestern University (NU) honoring the Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism program at Northwestern University (PSCA@NU), a one-year transition to employment program for students with autism in their last year of high school. PSCA@NU interns spend their time in a classroom setting at Northwestern working on skills critical to success in the workplace. In conjunction with their classroom work, the students take part in three, 10-week internships within various departments at Northwestern to expose them to a variety of real life career options. Now in its third year, the goal for Project SEARCH students is to foster independence and self-esteem and to gain meaningful, competitive employment by the end of the program. This program has had an 80% employment placement rate at businesses such as Hart Schaffner Marx, Mariano’s, Wilmette Tennis Club and eWorks.
Pictured above: Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, second from right, with NU staff and Project SEARCH interns.
Dr. Scholl Foundation Gives Autism Program $5,000 for Scholarships
December 14, 2015 – Daily North Shore and Chicago Tribune
Have Dreams, a local nonprofit that serves children, teens and young adults with autism, recently received a $5,000 grant from the Dr. Scholl Foundation to provide intervention services for financially disadvantaged children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The grant will allow children and teens in need to attend Have Dreams’ Socia,l Communication and Independent Living Skills (SCILS) after-school programs. These autism-specific programs help individuals with ASD improve their ability to communicate their wants and needs, increase their ability to socialize appropriately with peers, and practice independence through the use of schedules and other supports. Without this grant, many children and teens would not have the opportunity to attend these programs; with 1 in 68 children diagnosed with autism, programs like this are needed more than ever.
Pictured above: Have Dreams’ Social, Communication and Independent Living Skills (SCILS) programs help children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) learn, socialize and gain independence.
Cooking Class on Food Sensory Issues a Big Hit with Parents
October 26, 2015 – Chicago Tribune
Three Evanston organizations, Have Dreams, Cooked Chicago, and NWC Food Incubator (formerly Now We’re Cookin’), hosted a free cooking class about healthy eating for individuals with food sensory issues on October 8. Chef Jona Silva of Cooked Chicago showed participants how to prepare three sensory-appealing dishes: fruit smoothies, flat bread pizzas, and a tacos. Feeding Specialist Alyson Teitel was on hand to give tips that parents and caregivers could use to help their children engage in positive eating behaviors. Everyone in the audience received hands on experience by making pizzas and tacos individualized to their own tastes and sensitivities.
Pictured left: Chef Jona Silva of Cooked Chicago at the Have Dreams Healthy Eating Community Event.
Free Community Event: Healthy Eating for Individuals with Food Sensory Issues
September 24, 2015 – Chicago Tribune
Thursday, October 8, 2015: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
NWC Food Incubator Demonstration Kitchen (formerly known as Now We’re Cookin’), 1601 Payne Street, Evanston
Free and Open to All Parents and Caregivers – Space is Limited: Adults Only, Please
Join Chef Jona Silva of Cooked Chicago as he prepares three dishes – a smoothie, a snack and a main dish – that are nutritious, yet appealing to individuals with food sensory issues, such as many children, teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. Chef Jona will provide samples and recipes and give
tips on how to cook healthy and appealing dishes so parents and caregivers can apply these tips when preparing meals at home.
Thank you to Chef Jona, Cooked Chicago and NWC Food Incubator for helping to bring this event to the community.
Pictured above: Have Dreams Life SCILS participants learning how to cook.
Autism After High School . . .
July 13, 2015 – Daily North Shore and Chicago Tribune
EVANSTON – Five students from New Trier, Evanston Township and Glenbrook High Schools recently graduated from Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism at Northwestern University, a one-year transition to employment program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in their last year of high school. Throughout the year, the students spent time in a classroom setting at Northwestern working on skills critical to success in the workplace, including career and life planning, social communication skills, job skills and problem solving. In conjunction with their classroom work, the students took part in three 10-week internships within various departments at Northwestern to expose them to a variety of real life career options and job skills.
Pictured left: Class of 2015 graduates and staff of the Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism program at Northwestern University.
Night of Dreams Gala
May 14, 2015 – North Shore Weekend/Daily North Shore
On Saturday, May 9, 2015, over 375 community and business leaders gathered at the Four Seasons in Chicago to honor Randy Lewis, former senior vice president of Walgreens and a leader in workplace inclusion, at the 7th annual Night of Dreams Gala. The benefit raised awareness and funds for Have Dreams, a local nonprofit that serves children, teens and young adults with autism.
NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern emceed the gala, which featured a sumptuous dinner, dancing to the Steve Edwards Orchestra. The Chaired by longtime Have Dreams supporters, Carol and Brian Callaci of Kenilworth, this year’s event raised over $470,000 for Have Dreams’ programming.
Pictured above: Brad and Paige Sullivan with Sara and Jeff Hoffmann at the Night of Dreams Gala 2015.
7th Annual Have Dreams’ Gala to Honor Northwestern Mutual’s Fred O’Connor for Championing Area Autism Program
May 7, 2015 – Evanston Patch
Have Dreams, a local nonprofit that serves children, teens and young adults with autism will honor Evanston resident and Kellogg School of Management alum Fred O’Connor at the 7th annual Night of Dreams Gala on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at the Four Seasons in Chicago. O’Connor, a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual, will be named the inaugural Ambassador Fellow for promoting Have Dreams’ mission throughout Chicago’s corporate, civic and philanthropic sectors.
Notably, O’Connor will be honored for assisting Have Dreams in implementing Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism at Northwestern University, the first Midwest site of a transition‐to‐employment program for young adults on the spectrum, developed by New York Collaborates for Autism.
Pictured above: Fred O’Connor, far right, with Have Dreams participants.
7th Annual Have Dreams Gala to Honor Randy Lewis, Leader in Workplace Inclusion
NBC Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern to Emcee the Event
CHICAGO – On Saturday, May 9, 2015, community and business leaders will gather at The Four Seasons Hotel to honor Randy Lewis, former senior vice president of Walgreens and a leader in workplace inclusion, at the 7th annual Have Dreams Gala, which raises awareness and funds for autism programs at Have Dreams, a Chicago area nonprofit that serves children, teens and young adults with autism.
Lewis led Walgreens’ logistics division for sixteen years as the chain grew from 1,500 to 8,000 stores. During this time, he introduced an inclusive model at Walgreens distribution centers resulting in ten percent of its workforce consisting of people with disabilities. Considered “the gold standard of disability hiring” the program has been used as model for employers around the world. After he retired in 2013, Lewis was instrumental in launching the Walgreens Retail Training Center at Have Dreams to help young adults with autism practice the skills needed to work in a modern Walgreens. Lewis is the author of No Greatness without Goodness, his first-hand account of creating thousands of jobs for people with disabilities, after watching the world through the eyes of his own child with autism, his son Austin.
NBC political reporter Mary Ann Ahern will emcee the gala, which will also honor Fred O’Connor, Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual, who has worked tirelessly for the mission of Have Dreams in the Chicago area. The evening will feature dinner, dancing and a live auction, including a trip to the Emmy’s, a Bull’s sky box suite with autographed Derrick Rose jersey, and a vacation home in Hawaii, among other items. Funds raised will support Have Dreams’ mission of serving children, teens and young adults with autism through social and life skills classes, employment programs, diagnostic and family support services and specialized training for teachers.
Gala committee members and honorary committee members include Ingrid and Mitch Basson of Glencoe, Rebecca and Charlie Besser of Chicago, Denise and Adam Hoeflich of Glencoe, Michelle and Robert Smigel of New York City, and gala chairs Carol and Brian Callaci of Kenilworth.
To learn more about Have Dreams or the Night of Dreams event, please contact Bobbi Goldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 685-0250 ext. 112. For information about sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, visit www.havedreams.org/events.
Pictured above: Randy Lewis with his son, Austin.
Have Dreams’ partner Jean Kroll was featured on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift – “Bakery owner discusses the benefits of employing people with autism.” Her interview highlights the economic benefits that hiring people on the spectrum can bring to business owners.
December 2014 – WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift:
Have Dreams made the front page of the Chicago Tribune with our workforce development program for young adults on the spectrum.
December 29, 2014 – Chicago Tribune:
Here is the special segment on Have Dreams Academy that aired on ABC7 Chicago’s Eyewitness Weekend News. Great coverage of our work place development program for young adults on the spectrum!
December 14, 2014 – ABC 7 Chicago:
David A. Vucovich of Merrill Lynch Honored for Philanthropic Contributions to Have Dreams
Park Ridge, IL – July 1, 2014 – David A. Vucovich, volunteer for Have Dreams in Park Ridge and Evanston, received Honorable Mention for philanthropic excellence in the eighth annual Invest in Others Community Leadership Awards.
The Invest in Others Charitable Foundation established the Community Leadership Awards to support the philanthropic and volunteer activities of financial advisors. Financial advisors from across the nation are nominated by their peers for exemplifying outstanding leadership qualities in the industry and actively volunteering to improve their communities and make a difference in the lives of others.
Hundreds of nominations for the Community Leadership Awards are received each year and reviewed by a diverse panel of leaders in the financial services industry. This year’s applicant pool was particularly strong. Those receiving Honorable Mention were selected based on their level of involvement, contributions, and the impact of their efforts.
Autism is a lifelong, complex neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. Have Dreams, the first organization of its kind in the Midwest, offers intensive programs led by highly trained staff for children, teens and young adults impacted by autism.
Over the last decade, Mr. David A. Vucovich has shared with us his passion, foresight and dedication to serving individuals with autism, working tirelessly to support our mission. We are grateful for the leadership and direction that Dave has brought to our organization, specifically to our development team, and for the many contributions that he has made to Have Dreams and that we have received as a result of his efforts.
About the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation
Established in 2006, the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) charity founded with the mission of encouraging, recognizing, and supporting the philanthropic and volunteer activities of financial advisors in their communities. The Invest in Others mission is achieved through a community-based approach to philanthropy that seeks to strengthen neighborhoods from within by empowering those who are committed to serving others in their professional and personal lives. As mentors, volunteers, fundraisers and leaders, financial professionals lend their unique skills and perspectives to the challenges and opportunities facing others in communities around the country and around the world. Invest in Others is proud to support and promote these efforts to better our world one community at a time. For more information, visit www.investinothers.org.
Have Dreams Recognizes International Autism Expert At The Sixth Annual Night Of Dreams
NBC Chicago Political Reporter Mary Ann Ahern to Emcee the Event
CHICAGO, March 5, 2014
CHICAGO, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On Friday, May 2 community leaders from Chicago and New York City will gather at the Four Seasons Hotel to honor one of autism’s most prominent researchers, Catherine Lord, Ph.D. at Have Dreams Night of Dreams Gala. As a founder of Chicago area nonprofit Have Dreams, Dr. Lord has led the development of the diagnostics used in early identification of children with autism. She is the author of more than 160 peer-reviewed papers and nine books on the subject.
“Have Dreams has always been a model of parent-professional cooperation in which the parts are great but the whole is phenomenal! Executive Director Kris Johnsen is a force of nature and the families, children and young adults, and staff represent the very best of innovative approaches to improving the lives of people with autism. I am so proud to have been a part of Have Dreams at the start and a devoted fan ever since.”
To see complete story, please click here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/05/annual-night-of-dream-idUSnPnDCwLrp8+168+PRN20140305