The last year has been a tough one for Illinoisans who rely on social services. We have, during this time, downsized and closed homes, made the tough decision to close Secure Recycling Services, and postpone other important projects. If you look around, this is the norm in the charitable and social services world today. What I want to tell you about is not what you already observe, but the things you might not see.
You are all aware that the State of Illinois has not been a consistent partner in meeting our mission. We have gone nearly a decade without any new funding. What you might not know, or see, is the people and businesses that have stepped in to fill the gap in both big and small ways. We rely on the state, but it is the support of our community that keeps us going.
Families and our community helped us build a new basketball court. Families and communities helped us implement a new learning curriculum in our Day Services program. Local governments support our Early Intervention program and have given us grants to update and improve residential homes.
Local businesses, even those responsible for the production of this report, have worked with us to reduce our cost, and in some cases donate their services, helping us stretch our dollars. This is a sacrifice on their part, but they do it in support of the people we serve. The love and generosity our community shows for people with disabilities is amazing, and unfortunately, not as common in other parts of the world.
Our community includes our staff who work in a sometimes difficult environment that is required to be open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Some of them have been with us for decades. Their dedication is amazing! A staff workgroup recently completed an employee-driven update of our mission, vision, and values to keep them relevant and meaningful to them and their colleagues.
You may notice Kreider Services in television ads, on Facebook, or the web. As the world has changed, we are changing, too. We have had to find new ways to fill job vacancies and let people know what we do in our programs. These short ads give you a small glimpse of the joy we find in our work.
I’m amazed at the financial gifts given daily and weekly. There is so much we are able to accomplish because of these generous gifts. Gifts are opening doors. Clients are trying new experiences.
Even as we deal with generational changes in our workforce, communication changes, and historic disruptions in Springfield, there are a few things we can count on as we enter our 65th year – our community, our clients, and our staff. With the power of these folks, we will make it another 65 years and continue to meet the challenge of our mission to “provide meaningful supports to people with disabilities to live, work and participate in their community.”
All the best and thanks for supporting Kreider Services.