Because of Elim Sustainers like you, we can create and sustain new initiatives that improve the experiences for Elim’s students and adults. Since the Sustainers society was first formed in 2020, we have pursued the goal of increasing community engagement for our adult services participants by hiring a Community Instructor.
At the end of October 2022, funding from the Elim Sustainers allowed us to fill a role on the community engagement team. Finding someone to fill this role was also helpful in ensuring Elim conforms to the mandates of Illinois State Law.
Nicole – who was working as an Assistant Instructor on our Crestwood Adult Services campus – stood out when she submitted her name for the role. She already had previous experience developing community engagement programs, and we knew she would be the perfect fit. Now, her position is possible. Your generosity creates these new engaging opportunities for our adults – and they love this program!
The community engagement program runs on a budget, and Nicole searches for low-cost activities that still appeal to the eight participating adults. The group has been taking advantage of Free Museum Days, recently visiting the Field Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Garfield Park Conservatory.
Some activities remain more local, like visiting neighboring communities’ libraries and partaking in activities offered there – movie matinees, color therapy, and crafts! Thanks to kind gift card donations, Nicole took the group to a local Barnes and Nobel to purchase books; they plan to create a book club to discuss what they read! The adults also attend fitness classes during the week and participate in a Praise and Worship activity every Friday morning.
Nicole is full of ideas about where she wants to take this program in the future. She plans to create more volunteer opportunities for the adults and have classes on diversity, different cultures, and learn about other religions. Once the weather gets warmer, she wants to plan plenty of outdoor activities, including nature walks at local Cook County Forest Preserves, games of bocce ball, and exploring more of the city of Chicago!
A community engagement program at Elim provides our adults with the opportunity of choice. They can make their own decisions, like which book they should buy or what museum exhibit they could see next; these decisions foster their independence and encourage them to experience things they normally would not do.
While this program is still getting off the ground, there is room for expansion. There are currently only 8 participants in this program, and Nicole and her fellow instructors would love to see it grow. Hiring Nicole’s position has had a significant impact on the engagement of these eight participants. Still, the need for additional staff is critical for the program’s success and to meet the compliances put in by the state of Illinois.
Thank you for your continuous support in creating positions like Nicole’s that positively change our adult programs. The impact this program can have on our participants is exponential, and we are excited to see Nicole and this program grow as time goes on.
It is the Standard of Elim Christian Services to admit children and adults to agency services regardless of race, color, national and ethnic origin, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to agency service recipients. Elim Christian Services does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered policies. Read Full Disclosure.