News Category : Feature Stories

Possibilities February 2014

April 07, 2014

Download the newest edition of the Possibilities. 2014-02_FEB_Possibilities_Final.pdf

Karrie Brown Buddy Walk Special Guest

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.

8th Annual CL Buddy Walk

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!

CL Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

March 28, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated each year on March 21st, symbolic of a third copy of the 21st chromosome that characterizes Down syndrome. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common genetic condition. Approximately 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year. 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.

The value, acceptance, and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities are celebrated year round at Community Link, but we are inviting the members of our community to join us for Community Link’s 8th annual Buddy Walk on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 at Carlyle Lake to raise awareness about Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities, and to raise funds to support community inclusion and services for people with special needs. We hope you can join us by getting together with your family, friends, and co-workers and forming a Buddy Walk team.

The Buddy Walk was developed by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. The Buddy Walk has grown from 17 walks in 1995 to more than 250 walks worldwide in 2013. In 2013, $16,500 was raised by Community Link’s Buddy Walk to benefit programs and support services, as well as the national advocacy and public awareness initiatives of NDSS that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.

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. Help increase Down syndrome awareness right here in the heart of Southern Illinois by collecting pledges and building a team.

Community Link, a non-profit organization and proud United Way member agency, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. The mission of Community Link is to challenge, teach and inspire both participants and community, linking them in ways that enhance their lives.

Payless Gives™ Shoes 4 Kids Program Helps CL

February 06, 2014

2014-02_FS_Payless_Shoes_Grant.JPGCommunity Link’s First Step Early Learning & Family Support Program has been chosen by Payless ShoeSource to receive 100 merchandise certificates through their Payless Gives™ Shoes 4 Kids program. Each merchandise certificate is redeemable for, or toward, a pair of children’s shoes at any Payless ShoeSource store. Community Link accompanied some families enrolled in our Early Head Start program to the Payless ShoeSource store in Centralia and Shiloh to purchase shoes for children in need.

Bellevue Pharmacy Helps Needy Families

January 16, 2014

2014-01-14_100_Neediest_24.JPGEach year the United Way of Greater St. Louis publishes a list of 100 Neediest Cases for needy families in the metropolitan area. Community Link submits stories to United Way for donors to adopt families enrolled in their programs. Thanks to Sherry Kiser and the staff of Bellevue Pharmacy who adopted two of our First Step families to make their holidays a happy time with much needed items such as mattresses, pillows, bedroom furniture, pots and pans, toys for the children, and gifts cards for gas and necessities. One of the families who received new mattresses paid it forward, and gave their egg crates that they were sleeping on to another family in their building so they would no longer have to sleep on the floor. Community Link, along with these families, are so thankful for the Bellevue Pharmacy and their willingness to give during this holiday season!

Health Matters Leaders Head To Boston

January 14, 2014

2014-01-09_Health_Matters_Boston_Trip.JPGCommunity Link has partnered with the Health Matters CAP team from U of I in Chicago and Northpointe Industries to start and implement a physical activity and health education program to improve health among the individuals we support. Community Link has received training to enhance the staff’s skills, knowledge, and abilities to work with persons who have disabilities to become more physically active, make healthy food choices, and incorporate healthy lifestyles into daily living.

Chris Gebke, Associate Director of Adult Day Programs, and Heather Holthaus, program participant and Certified Training Instructor, were invited by the Health Matters CAP team to attend the National Public Health Convention in Boston, MA in recognition of the agency’s commitment to promote healthy lifestyles among consumers.

Chris and Heather attended several seminars on various topics, as well as a round-table discussion about the Health Matters and Peer to Peer programs that are currently being utilized by Community Link.

They were also able to get away for a little sight-seeing and toured the New England Aquarium and walked the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile brick-lined walk through 16 historical sites to discover the rich history of the American Revolution.

A focus on healthy lifestyles continues to be the forefront of quality services for Community Link. This month Community Link will be co-hosting a train-the-trainer seminar on the Health Matters programs for other agencies that wish to promote healthy lifestyles for individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information, please call Chris Gebke at (618) 526-3941.

Categories: Blog Feature Stories

CL Appoints New Board Member

December 06, 2013

Ricky_Johnson.jpgCommunity Link is excited to announce the appointment of Ricky Johnson to its board of directors.

Ricky Johnson retired from the Air Force in 2007. Upon returning to the United States, he pursued a degree in Business Administration from McKendree University. With an adopted son enrolled in Community Link’s First Step Early Head Start program, Ricky is an active First Step Early Head Start committee member and chairperson. Ricky brings 21 years of culminated leadership and management experience from the Air Force and looks forward to progressing the vision and future of Community Link’s commitments. Currently residing in New Baden, Ricky and his wife, Tracey, are proud parents of two sons, Ricky III and Shawn, and two daughters, Erin and Elise.

CL Receives Grant from Clean Energy Community Foundation

November 14, 2013

2013-11_Illinois_Clean_Energy_Grant.JPGCommunity Link, Inc. is pleased to announce that it recently was awarded a grant in the amount of $29,484 from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for lighting upgrades to the Breese East and West facilities as well as the Metro facility in Fairview Heights. This grant assisted Community Link in defraying some of the costs associated with retro-fitting current T12 fixtures to hold T8 bulbs that will reduce monthly energy costs by an estimated $15,863 per year. The retro-fitting project will also provide greater task lighting for Community Link’s program participants as they learn work skills in the facilities’ workshops and Recycling Center.

The mission of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation is to improve energy efficiency, advance the development of renewable energy resources and protect natural areas for people in communities all across Illinois.

Community Link, a non-profit organization and proud United Way member agency, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. The mission of Community Link is to challenge, teach and inspire both participants and community, linking them in ways that enhance their lives.

Linette Korte Memorial Donation

November 06, 2013

Thank you to the Linette Korte family for remembering Community Link in the loss of their mother, grandmother, sibling, aunt, and friend. The Community Link family sends their condolences to the Korte family. Linette’s son, Allen, has been with Community Link for over 14 years. He lives in one of our Community Integrated Living Arrangements (CILAs) and works at the Breese East site. We appreciate the continued support from the Korte family.

2013-11-08_Korte_Family_Donation.JPG

Pictured is Wayne Korte (l), Allen’s brother, presenting a donation
from the memorials collected in the loss of his mother to John
Huelskamp (r), Executive Director of Community Link.