Success Story: Harrison

Harrison and his manager, Patti

Harrison works at Panino’s Pizzeria in Evanston and is currently living in his own apartment in Skokie, but he didn’t always. Harrison started out in 24-hour supervised living at Orchard Village with the goal of his own apartment and job in the future.

Orchard Village’s Residential Transitions Program is a 24-hour supervised program that is dedicated to giving residents the skills they need to move into a more independent living situation on their own. Staff in the Transitions Program worked with Harrison to build and refine his independent living skills such as managing his medication by himself, cooking meals and maintaining a living space as well as social behaviors (like leaving a message when you call someone). The Transitions Program staff also worked closely with Harrison’s Orchard Village Vocational Specialist that helped him find and maintain his job at Panino’s Pizzeria, where he’s been working for the past 2 years.


Harrison worked hard to transition:

  • He learned to manage and administer his own medication
  • Manage his finances and bills with oversight
  • Complete daily living tasks (cleaning, cooking, etc.)
  • Use a cell phone and know who to call and what to do in an emergency when alone
  • Schedule and attend some medical appointments without assistance.

While in the Transitions Program, Nancy Palella was Harrison’s Case Manager. “I have never met anyone like Harrison when it comes to transportation,” Palella says. “He can tell you the route numbers, and how to get to a specific location just by giving him the address and/or cross streets.” This knowledge of transportation was a valuable asset in learning how to get to and from work, meet up with friends and see his family.

Harrison’s Vocational Specialist, Dan Vishny, says that Harrison is enthusiastic, reliable, and a wonderful role model for others to follow. His manager at Panino’s Pizzeria, Patti, says “with Harrison, every day is an adventure in the best way. He is fast, he’s a hard worker and he’s so fun.”

Chad Burgess, his new Case Manager, said Harrison is “probably one of the happiest people you would ever meet.” Orchard Village is proud to have empowered Harrison to achieve his personal goals.