November 07, 2014
Everyone deserves a chance to achieve their dreams. To figure out what it is they want out of life, and to do everything in their power to make it happen. Jennifer Foushee’s dream is to become a special education teacher. As a person with disabilities, there are many barriers to achieving this dream that require hard work and determination to overcome. Many people would simply give up, perhaps choosing instead to travel a road less bumpy, but Jennifer is determined to achieve her dream.
Jennifer attends Community Link, and has worked in the Production department for over two years. With help from her Program Manager, Courtney Kuhl, she developed a plan to work toward her goal of becoming a special education teacher. She applied to Kaskaskia College and took her placement tests. She scored so high on the reading comprehension test that she does not have to take any reading classes. Jennifer placed into English 101, which she took at the Kaskaskia College Trenton Education Center during the spring semester. With the support of her family, friends, and staff members at Kaskaskia College, Clinton Manor, and Community Link, she was able to overcome the odds. Since Jennifer learns best by hearing, KC set her up with an audio textbook which she could download to her computer and provided her with a tape recorder so she could record her classes and listen to them again on her own time. Her parents purchased speech recognition software, Dragon Naturally Speaking, for her, which she used to dictate her assignments. Jennifer’s program manager, Courtney, went above and beyond to make sure Jennifer had the opportunity to succeed. She helped her complete her application, taught her how to use her student email account, helped her to arrange transportation to her class, helped her to set up her computer and tape recorder, and met with her regularly throughout the semester to review study skills and help with assignments. Jennifer commented that she was “the brains” and Courtney was “the hands”. Jennifer’s determination and discipline paid off when she received an A in her first college class. Courtney stated, “It was amazing to type her papers with her and see how they developed from simple outlines into fully formed compositions. She did a great job on her papers, and in the class in general.”
Some people come into your life and make a lasting impression. For Jennifer, one of these people is her high school teacher, Pamela Unger, who motivated her to become a special education teacher. Jennifer stated, “People like her make me want to strive to do more.” Jennifer plans to complete her associate degree in liberal arts at Kaskaskia College and then transfer to a four-year college where she can earn a degree in education with a focus on special education.
October 24, 2014
Community Link recently recognized Mike Nettemeier for the volunteer years of service he provided as a member of Community Link’s Board of Directors. After serving on the Board for 7 years, Nettemeier retired due to term limits. He held the position of Treasurer for all seven years and was also a member of the Planning and Development committee for his entire term, serving also on the Executive and Governance committees. He also played an instrumental role in the strategic planning process for the agency. Community Link has benefitted from the insight and expertise that he brought to the Board, and is grateful for his years of service.
July 15, 2014
Community Link is pleased to announce the appointment of Laurie Hemker as the new Director of Children’s Programs for Community Link’s First Step Early Learning and Family Support Program. In addition to overseeing the First Step program, Laurie is also the Infant Mental Health Specialist for Prevention and Early Head Start. Community Link’s First Step Early Learning and Family Support Program consists of Early Intervention, which is a state funded program of services for children with developmental delays or disabilities; Early Head Start, which is a federally funded program of prenatal services and children’s home-based services; Infant Mental Health Services, which identify children at risk for developmental delays and/or for social-emotional and mental health problems; Child Waiver, which assists families in keeping their loved ones in their own home rather than seeking a more restrictive environment; Community Services, which include free parenting classes on a variety of topics; and Developmental Screenings, which are conducted annually through local school districts and child care centers, as well as by parent or guardian request.
Laurie is a graduate of Mater Dei High School, received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Laurie lives in Germantown with her husband, Jeremy, and their three children.
July 15, 2014
Community Link is excited to announce the appointment of Sandy Harris to its board of directors.
Sandy Harris comes to Community Link with 34 years of corporate accounting and management experience. Sandy retired in August 2013 from Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. where she held the position of Vice President – Tax Administration.
Sandy welcomes the opportunity to help Community Link continue promoting its mission and to provide personalized support services to developmentally disabled individuals. Her brother, Kenny Loepker, was a participant at Community Link and lived in one of its CILA homes until his passing in 2007.
Sandy and her husband, Glenn, currently reside in Freeburg. Originally from Clinton County, she maintains close ties to the region. Her son, John Becker, works and resides in Breese, providing ample opportunity for frequent visits.
June 02, 2014
Please join us for a Family & Friends Support Group meeting on Tuesday, June 10th at 6:30 PM at Community Link, 1665 N. 4th St, Breese, IL. Please call Kathy at (618) 526-3903 with any questions. Looking forward to see all of you!
May 08, 2014
Community Link held their 8th annual Buddy Walk this past Saturday, May 3rd at Carlyle Lake. With over 750 registered walkers, this was the biggest and most successful Buddy Walk yet! This event, which helps raise awareness for people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities, brought in over $28,000 in gross proceeds. The money raised at this event goes to Community Link to fund local programs and supports for individuals in our community with developmental disabilities and other difficulties, and a portion goes to the National Down Syndrome Society to fund national advocacy initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome. Thank you to all of the individual teams that raised money on Community Link’s behalf for this year’s Buddy Walk. The top fundraising team this year was Team B.E.S.T., raising over $4,600!
A special thank you to this year’s Buddy Walk sponsors, who made this day possible. The Gold sponsor was Foppe Insurance Agency. Silver sponsors included Henken Storage & Pecan Cracking, FCB Banks, Kelli Gilbert – In loving memory of Linda K. Johnson, and Strano & Associates – Angie Zahn. Bronze sponsors included AKA Concrete, Inc., Clinton County Electric Cooperative, Edward Jones – Jim Kueper, First Bank – Breese, and Peerless-Premier Appliance Co. Thank you to the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers, Clinton County Parrot Head Club, First Bank employees, Mater Dei track team, Mater Dei, Carlyle, and Central High School Students, and Community Link staff members for their tremendous help the day of the event. Other donors who made this day possible include Carlyle IGA, CC Food Marts, Excel Bottling Co., Hardees, Peek/Huelsmann Rentals, St. Augustine Church, Taylor Made Signs, Wal-Mart-Carlyle, WSI Vending, and WCXO Radio.
To kick off this beautiful day, John Huelskamp, Community Link’s Executive Director, spoke about Community Link’s new strategic mission, and the dedication to providing increased opportunities for our participants. This starts with identifying the dreams our participants have, and finding ways to realize them. A shining example of someone who identified her dreams and was able to achieve them, is Karrie Brown, Community Link’s special guest at the Buddy Walk. Karrie has Down syndrome, but that has not stopped her from following her dream of becoming a model. Thanks to her mother, the power of social media and her unwavering sense of self-confidence, she was recently flown out to California for a professional photo shoot for Wet Seal. Community Link strives to help the individuals they support to define their own dreams and ways to achieve them, and Karrie’s story is truly an inspiration. Before the walk officially began, Community Link participant Jill Husted took the stage to perform the National Anthem. With a group of her peers behind her holding the American flag, Jill bravely stood in front of the large crowd gathered, and sung beautifully, dedicating the performance to her three younger brothers. After the walk, everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch and various activities. Thank you to all who came out to enjoy this special day.
To view photographs of the day, choose the link to our Facebook page and Buddy Walk 2014 Photo Album, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.648005845273384.1073741862.206882929385680&type=3
April 07, 2014
Download the newest edition of the Possibilities. 2014-02_FEB_Possibilities_Final.pdf
April 04, 2014
Community Link is excited to welcome Karrie Brown as a special guest to the 8th annual Buddy Walk on May 3rd. Karrie is such an inspirational young woman, who doesn’t let her disability define her. Karrie has Down syndrome, but that has not stopped her from following her dream of becoming a model. Thanks to her mother, the power of social media and her unwavering sense of self-confidence, she was recently flown out to California for a professional photo shoot for Wet Seal. Community Link strives to help the individuals they support to define their own dreams and ways to achieve them, and Karrie’s story is truly an inspiration. You can help individuals in your community who have big dreams like Karrie by supporting Community Link’s Buddy Walk on May 3rd at Carlyle Lake.
The Buddy Walk consists of a one-mile fun walk from Carlyle Lake Dam West Recreation Area Pavilion #2 on an accessible path on top of the main dam and back to the pavilion for picnic lunch. Check-in and on-site registration begin at 9:00 AM. The $15 registration includes Buddy Walk T-shirt (guaranteed in size of choice for those registering by April 4) and lunch ticket. Walk officially starts at 10:30 AM. Other activities: music, kids' activities, info table, bake sale and sale of crafts made by individuals with developmental disabilities.
You can register online to participate in Community Link’s Buddy Walk and build your own personalized fundraising page to raise funds online by visiting our website at www.commlink.org/buddywalk. Come out for a fun, heartwarming day and meet some of the people who are benefiting from this wonderful fundraiser.
March 31, 2014
Community Link’s 8th Annual Buddy Walk is coming up on May 3rd, 2014. This is a very important fundraiser for Community Link. In addition to raising funds to support the many program offerings at Community Link, this particular fundraiser is also an opportunity to raise awareness for the many individuals with a diagnosis of Down syndrome. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common genetic conditions. Community Link recognizes that people with Down syndrome are valued members of their families and their communities, and contribute to society in a variety of ways. We are asking for your help to make this event better than ever! You can help by creating a fundraising page at www.commlink.org/buddywalk and inviting your family, friends, and co-workers to get involved by pledging to donate to your Buddy Walk campaign. All donations are tax-deductible, and the groups with the highest fundraising totals will receive special recognition during the Buddy Walk event. There will also be special recognition for the groups with the most members walking on their Buddy Walk team. We truly appreciate your support of Community Link throughout the years and hope you will join us in making our 2014 Buddy Walk our best one yet!