For over 60 years, Garden Center Services has provided a safe place for persons with developmental disabilities to learn independent living skills and develop their capacity in vocational areas. The main building and workshop is located at 8300 South Austin Avenue, Burbank, IL and there is a satellite workshop located at 1044 South Kedzie Ave, Chicago. The two locations enable over 120 individuals to attend the Day Program and Work Shop. The Day Program encourages development of basic skills such as, speech, coordination, social interaction and for higher functioning individuals, math and reading. The Work Shop gives the clients an opportunity to have a “job,” just like everyone else. The clients earn a paycheck and more importantly, they are proud of their accomplishments.
The more profoundly disabled residents live in the 15 bed Immediate Care Facility (ICF) located at 8345 South Austin Avenue, Burbank, IL. These individuals have their own room and require 24 hours-a-day assistance for all their basic needs (bathing, oral hygiene, grooming, dressing, etc.). Clients help with meal preparation, meal clean-up, laundry, etc. The ICF is where Father Paul and Father Andrew conduct prayer service on the first Monday of each month.
Father Andrew started visiting the ICF 21 years ago and Father Paul picked up the torch and started visiting the clients his first year at St. Luke’s. The clients look forward to each visit and always ask the same question, “When’s the Priest coming?” Each month Father Paul or Father Andrew reads a short story from the Children’s Bible that St. Luke provided for each client. The stories are simple enough for the clients to understand and they have questions after each story.
After the story, Father conducts a short prayer service. The clients sing along and participate enthusiastically. Each month they have some family member or friend that needs our prayers. Father Paul or Father Andrew’s homilies are on the clients’ level and they often invoke spirited interaction. We have blessed fruit, celebrated Valentine’s Day, St. Pat’s Day, Pascha, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and of course, Christmas. After the prayer service, we join the clients in snack time and interact on a social level.
I believe that our monthly visits are very important to the clients because attending the service is always their choice and each month, all the clients choose to attend the service. I believe it is also very important to the members of St. Luke’s who attend on a regular basis because it is always their choice to attend and they always do. Please join us for one of the monthly visits and enrich your life as well as those at Garden Center Services.