29In 1972 a Skokie-based attorney Bernard Saltzberg, proud father of three sons with developmental disabilities, envisioned a nurturing community wherein his growing boys and other young people might thrive after their formal schooling ended at age 22.

Bernie envisioned a residence— a “home” in which people with disabilities could share a safe, caring and comfortable environment. After much hard work to obtain funding for the project, Bernie and other community parents purchased a residence located on a small cul-de-sac in Skokie. Soon after, the group purchased a six-flat apartment building on the same street and began welcoming even more individuals. In September of 1973, Bernie suspended his legal practice and was appointed Orchard Village’s first Executive Director.

Today, Orchard Village takes a more community-integrated residential approach, with more than 70 individuals now living in 10 residences spread throughout the Skokie, Glenview, Morton Grove and Niles municipalities. Another 25 live more independently in community apartments. In 1977, the organization began its vocational/job-placement program, which serves more than 100 individuals each year. In the 1980s Orchard Village began serving families who care for their loved one(s) with a disability in the family home. And in 2007, Orchard Academy was launched to address the transition and therapeutic needs of certain high school special education students.

Orchard Village employs approximately 150 full and part-time individuals who bring a wide range of credentials, skills and training to their work.