Gov. Pat Quinn's Rebalancing Initiative is enabling hundreds of people with disabilities to move out of large institutions and move into their own homes in the community. IDHS visited one of those homes in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood and found three men, all former state operated developmental center residents, thriving and living a new life of choices and dignity. They make their own meals, do their own laundry, go out for walks or play basketball at a local park. One resident works part-time earning a paycheck he uses for shopping with his girlfriend or going to concerts. This video offers a look at their lives in their new setting.
Transition Success: Michael, Dennie and Ron Video
Three former Jacksonville Developmental Center Residents, Michael, Dennie and Ron are living in their new home in Western Illinois.
Michael: I am enjoying a lot more, a lot more freedom. I like the freedom. I like going for walks. I like spending one-on-one time. I like watching on basketball on TV and we're going to take me playing basketball today and that. We just got a membership going to the Y and that. We go to the Y once a month and walk around the track and I play basketball and then lift weights.
Robin Lank, Director of IAG (Individual Advocacy Group): I oversee the management of individuals with developmental disabilities.
We provide the staff to support them in their own home environment and part of our agency's mission is to integrate the individuals in the community. They're living in their own home. Giving them opportunities for choices and provide them the staff to support them in that role, not only integrate them in their own home, but their own bedroom, their own bath, and have an ownership of their own home.
We also encourage and engage them in community integration activities, getting them out and involved whether it's going grocery shopping, banking, going to the Y, going to concerts, fairs, events - things you and I would enjoy doing in the community.
Michael: My goal is to get married to my girlfriend. I have also been learning how to take my bath and ummmmm, And brush my teeth, And for two minutes.
I get up on my own and make my bed, and vacuum my room and all that. I have to do that everyday. I do dishes. I help Karen in the kitchen, and I'm one of Karen's biggest helpers. And that. She's one of my . . . We work as a team. She's one of the best persons we have ever had so I like helping her.
IAG, Michael speaking. May I help you? My job is from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. I answer the phones and say "IAG, May I help you." Agra, you've got a phone call on line one. Agra, phone call on line one. After that . . . Every two weeks I get paid and write down my hours from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. And then I turn it in to Laura, my boss, and she pays me for it.
When I write in my journal, me and my therapist Agra, we write down my feelings and talk about how I'm feeling, like if I'm nervous or something. I come home. She comes over here and we have our therapy for an hour. And then at my meeting, we talk it over with my mom.
I have one of the best therapists there is. I didn't have one of them in Jacksonville. And that. I didn't have one of them. But now, since I came here I am now getting the help that I need and that's what I want, the help that I need.
Ron: That's a nice little dog. Hi guy, how are you feeling? I've never seen a real St. Bernard before.
Michael: I haven't either.
Karen: How about you give it a try?
Dennie: How 'bout you give it a try?
Ron: Hi. Agra set a Thanksgiving feast.
Dennie: I'll just sort out the spoons.
Ron: Yeah, Agra you can stay for coffee. Robin, there's still some coffee left if you want to stay for a cup of coffee or something?
You bet your sweet bippy it's good.