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LifeStyles Academy Opens New Advocacy Center

  • Posted on 27 Oct 2015
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LifeStyles Academy Opens New Advocacy Center

Community Services Foundation (CSF) is pleased to announce that our newest member agency, LifeStyles Academy (LSA), was awarded a grant from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities this past spring. The funding will be used to launch LSA’s Advocacy Center, where individuals with developmental disabilities will learn to self-advocate for their individual passions and goals.  By participating in programming at the Advocacy Center, individuals will be able to discover their own, unique talents and goals and staff members at LSA will work diligently to help them further develop their skills so that they are able to pursue their dreams.

The Advocacy Center that is being implemented at LSA is a reflection of what the future of person-centered services will look like for individuals with developmental disabilities: where supports and services focus on individual needs and desires and where individuals are provided more expansive options to pursue independence and attain self-sufficiency. Person-centered services will be at the forefront of support available to individuals with developmental disabilities, as the field expands their efforts to truly focus on individual and unique needs. No longer will individuals with developmental disabilities have a limited amount of choices for the services they receive; rather, they will have a wide variety of options to choose from and will have a louder say in all decisions made towards their unique goals for independence.

At the Advocacy Center, individuals will be given the opportunity to explore various vocational and lifestyle options, from working within the community to creating their own microenterprises to volunteering at local organizations. Further, they will be given the tools they need in order to pursue their choice. While often individuals’ goals do include employment, LSA will not limit the options provided or restrict the choices made by participants.  After all, sometimes members might prefer to pursue other interests, such as: hobbies, self-advocacy in legislature, or participation in sports or the Special Olympics. The Advocacy Center is where individuals with developmental disabilities can discover their passions and have the nurturing environment that supports the decisions they make.

Mike Kaminsky, Executive Director of the Academy, is eager to introduce the new program both to his current members as well as to individuals still waiting for services: “The Advocacy Center brings an opportunity for people to be able to meet their goals of working in the community, starting their own business, or continuing with hobbies that make them happy and fulfilled.” For more information on the Advocacy Center, or to schedule a tour of LifeStyles Academy, please feel free to reach out to Mike Kaminsky at (708)480-2085 or mike@lifestylesacademy.org.

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