5/2/20 - A Message to Providers from Secretary Hou: Community Bright Spots

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Dear Partners,

Below are two organizations going above and beyond - they are the featured IDHS Community Bright Spots today.

TotalLink 2 Community, Northbrook IL

TotalLink 2 Community provides innovative programs and services that teach critical life skills to help prepare young adults with disabilities for the world of work. Their learning labs, skills development programs, social programs and customized employment processes empower young adults to be confident, independent and deeply rooted in their communities.

When COVID-19 impacted TotalLink 2 Community's ability to meet with their young adults, they began virtual programming. Knowing how important it is to maintain connections with each other, they all learned to "ZOOM". Each week they send out an email blast called Choose Happiness with offerings they have available. They have continued Karaoke Meetups, Art Lab, Yoga and WerQ, Girlfriends Group, Dinner with Friends and Game Night -- all creatively facilitated on the computer remotely.

Rincon Family Services, Northwest Side of Chicago IL

Rincon Family Services (RFS) is a not-for-profit organization established in 1972 which provides behavioral health treatment and wellness, counseling, case management, prevention and youth services for individuals and families across the Chicagoland area.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, RFS took a leadership role with the newly formed Illinois Latino COVID-19 Initiative which is a collaborative of health experts, elected officials and front line community based organizations.

This collaborative works to ensure that the Latino community has resources and access to information at critical times like this. Through extensive partnerships, RFS collaborates with city and state government partners, and a vast array of community-based organizations. Through its commitment to a community focus, RFS has launched "Operation Counting Lives, Saving Lives," which is a multi-faceted grassroots campaign premised on the values of self-determination, collaboration and using a hub-and-spoke model to address critical community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This campaign also promotes the importance of every individual being counted in the 2020 Census.

At this moment, RFS has its staff and team of volunteers on the ground serving as essential and front-line workers distributing hand sanitizers and other equipment to their community and their most vulnerable members on the northwest side of Chicago. For "Operation Counting Lives, Saving Lives," they are working with partner organizations (like Norwegian American Hospital, New Life Covenant Church, ASI Home Care Services, local clinics, small businesses and others) to ensure that life-saving PPE equipment reaches their community and their residents have access to additional resources in English and Spanish. All of the PPE distributed contains a QR code that links recipients to the RFS website with information on current, vital resources and census info

Keep an eye out for more Community Bright Spots and continue to send submissions to DHS.Stakeholder@illinois.gov.


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS