News

Back to School with Orchard Academy and Niles Lands’ End

Fifteen Orchard Academy students returned to in-person learning on August 18th, after mostly hybrid classes last school year. Before classes began, Academy Director Nancy Otter stated, "We are looking forward to being together as a team and with our students. We are happy to be back full-time in person. It is great that we can resume many of our typical activities." Academy students attend classes as they would in high school. The Academy houses classrooms, computer labs, and work simulation areas. One difference, though, is that students spend much of their time participating in ...

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Golf Classic Breaks Records

Seventy-four golfers enjoyed an afternoon of fun and philanthropy at Orchard Village’s 29th Annual Golf Classic on the beautiful greens of the Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette. Event participants were greeted with a complimentary Bloody Mary bar (sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka) followed by a lavish lunch buffet before heading out to their foursomes for the shotgun start. Golfers played a full 18 holes despite a short rain delay before heading back into the clubhouse for cocktails, dinner, prize drawings, and live auction. The outing raised a record-breaking $94,000 to ...

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Thank You DSPs: Meet Nike

Direct Support Professional, Nike, has worked at Orchard Village for the last six years and considers the individuals she serves as family. “I love working with them. It’s part of me. They really, really trust us and believe in us”. Before joining Orchard Village, Nike worked as a DSP at other organizations and has been in the field for 24 years, having found her passion. “, you love what you’re doing, and you know you’re there to help.” Nike currently works at the Oleander residence, where her evening includes cooking dinner, helping with laundry, and administering ...

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Thank You DSPs: Meet Deidre

Deidre has worked at Orchard Village as a direct support professional for the last 12 years, and previously from 1999 – 2002. She currently works at the Bel-Air residence, where she assists clients in their daily living and maintaining independence. Her favorite part of the job is being a caregiver, although Deidre would call being a DSP more than a job. “I wish people knew what a blessing it is . It’s not an easy job; you have to have the heart for it… the compassion to be a family.” And like a family, they are. Deidre, who residents affectionately call DeeDee, was quarantined at Bel-Air ...

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Staff Highlight: Vonkisha

While 2020 was a year of many firsts for us all, our clients at Orchard Village faced no exception. All of our residential clients were sheltered-in-place during the stay-at-home orders and had essentially been quarantining together over the fall and winter last year. We interviewed one of our staff members, Vonkisha Jordan, who quarantined with clients in their home not just once, but twice. The first time Vonkisha was quarantined, she stayed in Orchard Village’s Floral home for seventeen days straight. This was right before Thanksgiving, and just a week before someone at Orchard ...

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Orchard Village Receives $3,050 Grant from the Oliver-Hoffmann Foundation

In March, Orchard Village received a $3,050 gift from the Oliver-Hoffmann Foundation, whose mission is in part to support charitable organizations serving individuals with disabilities. The funds donated to Orchard Village have been used to purchase equipment for its therapeutic recreation program, Abilities in Motion. Abilities in Motion is an innovative program that gives clients recreational skills and opportunities that helps them to live fuller and more integrated lives in their communities. The equipment to be purchased will serve individuals with disabilities and help ...

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Charitable Giving in 2021

Much of what was new in charitable giving in 2020 through the CARES Act continues in the new year through the Congressional spending package passed last December. Plus, the spending package also has some unique benefits for donors. Contributing to charities could help lower your taxable income, even if you don't itemize deductions on your taxes. Speak with a professional tax advisor if you have any questions. The first change is an increase in above-the-line tax breaks for gifts of cash to charity. The tax break is $300 for individuals and has increased up to $600 for joint filers for 2021. ...

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Welcome Theresa

Welcome Theresa Kopitzke! Theresa Kopitzke recently rejoined Orchard Village as the new Senior Director of Vocational and Community Day Services. Theresa, who holds a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling and is a certified rehabilitation counselor and licensed professional counselor, served as Orchard Village's Director of Vocational Services from 2014 - 2017. In 2017, she stepped away from Orchard Village to pursue her private practice. She is very excited to be back at Orchard Village now in her new role. The relationships built with clients ultimately brought Theresa ...

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Orchard Village Mask Donors

To remain safe and to protect others, individuals at Orchard Village wear face masks. It is especially important we have enough new masks to regularly replace old or lost ones. Safety is our highest priority and we continue to ensure clients have access to the masks they need to remain healthy. While vaccines are coming, we continue to benefit from the donation of masks for Orchard Village clients and staff who are essential workers. Last fall, we received 250 KN95 masks from The Oliver-Hoffman Foundation. KN95 masks help block virus particles and will help protect everyone. Working through ...

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ComEd Energy Force Ambassador

Our very own Alex A. was featured on Fox 32 news! Alex has been working hard, teaching the public how to save energy as an Energy Force Ambassador for ComEd. "ComEd's Energy Force is a one-of-a-kind program that trains adults with developmental disabilities to serve as ambassadors for ComEd's Energy Efficiency Program," states ComEd on their website. Alex has been involved in the program since 2015 and has traveled all over the Chicagoland area, educating people about the importance of conserving energy. Alex has become a pro at navigating places like Navy Pier or the Chicago Botanical ...

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