Learning the ropes

Margarita at Rimland

Margarita Stoimenova, a college intern with Neumann Family Services in Chicago, contacted Rimland to meet with us, discuss our programs, and gather ideas on how to improve the programming at Neumann for adults with developmental disabilities. This is Margarita’s second summer interning with Neumann. She met with Terrance Wimberly and Carolyn Keel to learn more about how Rimland provides excellent programming. They also toured one of the homes in our Residential Program to observe the innovative ways in which Rimland is supporting adults with autism.

Like a good neighbor…

Good neighbors from Heeyoung Kim State Farm

Three employees from the Heeyoung Kim State Farm agency in Skokie, IL, came to one of the homes in our residential program and painted the back porch.

We thank them for reaching out to us and seeking opportunities to volunteer. This is a great example of community-building relationships in the Evanston/Skokie area.

Save the last dance

Swing your partner…

Several Rimland clients attended a social dancing event in July at Evanston City Hall. The participants enjoyed the music, dancing, and interactions. This was a fun event and a new way for them to get active and involved in the community.

Deepening our Impact

We are proud to share that Rimland was recently selected to present at the Impact Nation conference in Orlando this October. Associate Executive Director Michael Christopher will be presenting on Rimland’s merit pay structure and how it is an innovative approach to recruiting and retaining talented Direct Service Professionals. Impact Nation has never before featured a presentation on this subject matter and is eager to give Rimland the platform to share our expertise.

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, November 12, 2017.

We’re very excited to announce that Rimland’s Second Annual Benefit will take place Sunday, November 12, 2017, at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Please save the date and stay tuned for more details!!!

Social Media Odds and Ends…

Did you know…Rimland has a Facebook and LinkedIn page? Links to these pages can be found at the bottom of Rimland’s website or by going directly to Facebook/LinkedIn and searching for Rimland Services. Please visit and “like” our pages on these social media platforms when you have a chance.

We would  also like to take this opportunity to remind our loyal supporters that we have an Amazon Smile account where a portion of select purchases on Amazon can be donated to Rimland. Shoppers can go to to do their regular shopping and select Rimland as their designated charity. To learn more about how you can help Rimland through your Amazon purchases, please contact Amy Werner at

Water, water everywhere…

Storm damage in Evanston

This past June, Evanston was hit with a very bad storm, called a “microburst.” The intensity of the storm was so severe that part of the roof of the parking garage at Evanston Hospital was ripped off.

There was also severe flooding at Rimland’s Developmental Training headquarters, and the building was closed for a week.

We performed safety inspections and began repairs as quickly as possible, while clients were kept at home for their safety. We took all precautions to protect our clients’ health and safety by assuring that the environment is free from mold and other dangers.


While it was an inconvenience, this was necessary to protect clients because they aren’t always able to communicate distress from environmental allergies. etc. All interior walls are being replaced. Despite these issues, we turned it into a positive situation for clients and made sure they were able to enjoy various summer activities in the meantime, such as going beaches, parks, etc.

A happy 4th, indeed!

Frolicking on the 4th!

A happy 4th, indeed!

Although the Developmental Training Center was closed, we moved our annual 4th of July BBQ to the Fleetwood Jourdain Center in Evanston. We ate burgers, fries and mac and cheese outside. Inside the gym,  the clients enjoyed yoga and basketball.

At last, an Illinois state budget!

A message about the Illinois state budget from the They Deserve More Coalition:

As you probably know, earlier this month, the Illinois House overrode the Governor’s veto and put a state budget into law that includes additional support addressing the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This state budget provides an important first step in the right direction – a 75-cent per hour raise which will help providers get over the $10 mark with average starting wages for DSPs. But it is only a first step.

Your voices were instrumental in securing this badly needed support for those who care for people with disabilities. Legislators heard about this issue from providers, DSPs, and friends and family of people with disabilities like they never have before. Because of you, for the first time in nearly a decade, DSPs in Illinois will receive an increase in their average starting wages. But again, this is only a first step.

We appreciate the support that our state leaders included in this FY 18 budget. As we move forward, we hope that they will make good on their intention to make the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a priority. That includes ensuring that we address the ongoing workforce crisis facing DSPs by funding a living and competitive wage of $15.00 per hour.

Thank you for taking part in this critical effort on behalf of our state’s most vulnerable citizens. Our work is far from over, but we have made important progress today.

Thank you,
The They Deserve More Coalition

Fun and Games

We took all of our clients to Quad Indoor Sports, a new state-of-the-art sports, games, and athletics facility that provides an environment where clients can exercise, train, have fun, or play competitively. During Rimland’s visit, clients played with balls, relaxed on the field, did some yoga, and ate Browns chicken afterwards.  This was a fresh and fun experience for clients that gave them a new kind of fitness opportunity. It was also a good learning and growing experience, because it gave clients an opportunity to choose which activities they wanted to do in a new environment.

Hard to say goodbye…

So long

Caseworker Sarah Vitek has worked with Rimland at a fellow agency, CAU, for a long time and will be retiring soon. Below is a quote from one of Rimland’s Associate Executive Directors commenting on her dedicated service to Rimland’s clients:

“Sarah was an amazing support to our clients and will be missed greatly by them and the agency. Sarah has done both sides of the big picture: working one on one with clients to case management for CAU. From stories she has shared with me, she has worked directly with clients at an agency on a daily basis for many years working hands-on, from helping clients reach their daily goals to going into the communities with clients to taking individuals on field trips and everything in between for many years before she became employed at CAU. Because of her experience, background, and personality Sarah was, and always will be, a wonderful, kind-hearted mentor, advocate, and support for individuals with disabilities. She will be missed dearly by all of us here at Rimland.”

Butcher, baker…candlestick maker!

We are in the developing stages of a new client candle-making venture. Clients recently began learning about horticulture in the classroom, and they planted organic herbs as the first stage of the project. Once these herbs grow, clients will pick them and incorporate them into candles they are making. Clients will then go on outings to the store to purchase candle-making materials (mason jars, organic soy wax, and wicks). They will work with direct service professionals to warm up the wax and pour it into the mason jars – along with the herbs and wick – to create their very own organic candles. They will then decorate the candles and sell their products at local farmers markets. We are very excited about this project. Stay tuned for more information about the launch of the project and how you can contribute to clients’ success!

Survey says…

Autism Speaks recently released a survey to get feedback on their three-year strategic plan. We want to make the survey available to Rimland families so that your voice will be counted! Here is the link and blurb from their website:

We at Autism Speaks want your input as we develop our next three-year strategic plan for science. Please take this brief survey on the kinds of research you want us to emphasize. Your guidance is vital as we reassess how we meet the evolving needs of the autism community.

We look forward to sharing the survey results – as well as our new strategic plan – in the months ahead.


Dr. Thomas Frazier
Chief Science Officer

At Airports, Making Travel Easier for Autistic Passengers

From the New York Times: For Gearoid Mannion and his wife, Michelle, who live in County Clare, Ireland, air travel with their two autistic sons, Conor, 9, and Darragh, 7, is usually nothing short of a nightmare. The noise level, crowds and announcements at airports overwhelm the boys, and waiting in security and boarding lines is a concept that they don’t understand, Mr. Mannion said. “They get red in the face and start running around and crying and screaming or run toward the exit, because they want to go back home,” he said.

To continue story, click here

Rimland’s Growing Global Influence!

Terrance Wimberly with a visitor from India

Early this June, Rimland was contacted by an individual traveling from India on a business trip. This individual is the father to a teenage son with autism. He toured Rimland with Associate Executive Director of Client Services Terrance Wimberly and was very impressed by our programs. He acknowledged that Rimland’s residential homes far exceeded his expectations of a group home. He is taking information from his experience at Rimland back to India to share with the parents and other family members of individuals diagnosed with autism.

NU Comes Back

Down the garden path

On Saturday, May 13, for the fourth year in a row, Rimland participated in Northwestern University’s NU Gives Back event. NU Gives Back is a student-led, campus-wide day of service that educates participants about the neighborhoods surrounding the University and raises awareness of issues that need attention in the Evanston community. This year, we hosted 12 student volunteers. The students put together a new walkway outside of Rimland’s Developmental Training (DT) Program, organized the DT Program storage closet, and painted two murals within the DT classrooms.

New murals at Rimland

Many thanks to all the volunteers who donated their time and talents to Rimland!

Carolyn Keel and Ronnie Sandridge with volunteers

Mexico in May

Pinata Power!

Last month, our Developmental Training Program clients participated in an event recognizing Cinco de Mayo, a celebration that commemorates Mexico’s unlikely victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5,1862. In the US, the day has also become an opportunity to celebrate Mexican and Mexican-American culture. At Rimland, we served a special menu inspired by Mexican cuisine that featured chicken burritos, rice, refried beans, and churros for dessert. Festivities included making maracas and knocking down a piñata containing Hersey’s Kisses.

Special Olympics, Bowling Edition


Following events in swimming and the track and field “Spring Games” in March and April, Special Olympics Illinois Area 18 hosted its spring bowling tournament. This year, the tournament was held on June 3 at Elk Grove Bowl in Elk Gove Villiage, Illinois. Ten Rimland clients took part in the event and were rewarded with various medals and ribbons for their success and participation.

Carnival! 2.0

Bouncing in the bounce house

In May, the Developmental Training Program hosted a spring carnival for the second year in a row with program participants. Event activities included face painting, games, prizes, and music. This year, for the first time, we had a “bounce house” for clients, which was a huge success.

Our 2016 Annual Report is here!

Take a look back at our landmark anniversary year and a review of our many accomplishments and program highlights. Check out the annual report here


and on our website.


And while you are on our website, don’t miss our video documenting Rimland’s 45-year history and our array of programs and services!  Check out the video here.