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  • Trinity Services Responds to Governor Rauner’s Veto of Community Disability Living Wage Act

    Aug 29, 2016

    NEW LENOX, IL — Trinity Services, Inc. and other Illinois community disability service providers have been contending with a workforce crisis for nearly 10 years. On Friday, Aug. 26, Governor Bruce Rauner disappointed advocates, families and people with disabilities by vetoing House Bill 5931, the Community Disability Living Wage Act.

    These organizations are unable to fill necessary staff positions that provide care for the 27,000 Illinoisans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The average wage direct support professionals (DSPs) make in the state is $9.35 an hour, as the reimbursement rates for agencies contracted by the State to provide these services have not been increased in eight years.

    These workers provide invaluable support every day, ensuring the people they serve have all of their needs — such as toileting, bathing, dressing and eating — met. They teach life skills, like money management, ensure the people they serve are active participants in their communities and help increase each person’s independence to the greatest extent possible. Their work can be taxing, as they often face challenging and problematic behavior while assisting people who struggle with anger management or communication problems.

    The low wage directly hurts people with disabilities by impacting the quality of the care they are able to receive. High staff vacancy rates result in DSPs working excessive overtime, which not only takes a toll on their health, but their personal lives as well.

    “It is certainly true that it would cost more money to pay staff a living wage, but in terms of health, safety, and quality of life, we can’t afford not to pay more. If the system collapses it will cost a great deal more to fix it,” Trinity Services Executive Director Art Dykstra said.

    Raising the wage for Illinois DSPs would increase their quality of life, as well as the quality of life for the people who rely on their services each day.

    The veto of HB 5931 continues the workforce crisis with which Trinity Services has been contending. It also came just two days after Rauner personally acknowledged the workforce crisis in a proclamation designating Sept. 11-17 Direct Support Professional Week in Illinois.

    The bill received 107 “yes” votes in the General Assembly, and more than 7,000 people took action to show they were in favor of the measure. With such support, it is hoped that the wage issue will be on the table when a full budget deal is reached.

    Trinity Services intends to work with Rauner, his administration, and the General Assembly to find a solution to the ongoing workforce crisis to meet the needs of the people we serve, to help them flourish and live full and abundant lives.

    Trinity Services, Inc. is a 66-year-old, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization that serves 3,500 children and adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities and mental illness in 30 communities in Will, Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Peoria, Jackson and St. Clair counties, and Reno, Nevada. To learn more, visit

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  • Trinity Services’ Horticulture Program to Offer Mums, Asters, More During 2016 Fall Sale

    Aug 26, 2016

    JOLIET, IL — Trinity Services’ Horticulture Program has a variety of decorative fall plants available for purchase during its 2016 Fall Sale Sept. 15 through the end of the month at 100 N. Gougar Road in Joliet.

    Program participants are preparing mums, asters, straw bales, Indian corn, ornamental kale and cabbage, and a variety of decorative and hanging baskets that are scheduled to be available for pickup beginning Sept. 15.

    Orders can be placed now through Sept. 7 for any of the aforementioned products, and order forms are available at

    Beginning Sept. 15, customers are also welcome to visit the program’s greenhouse anytime between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday to purchase fall products directly. Those who would like to set up a time outside of regular business hours to shop the program’s available items can contact the Horticulture Program directly at (815) 485-8146.

    Before the fall shipment arrives, Horticulture Program participants who are served by Trinity Services spend time cleaning the greenhouse, and upon arrival of the plants, they organize the greenhouse, and trim, arrange, water, and carry out plants for customers.

    Approximately 12 people served by Trinity spend time at the Horticulture Program each day helping out and enjoying the outdoor garden space.

    Richard Larrabee frequents the program and checks on the vegetable garden to look for ripening crops. He said he enjoys gardening because he gets to be outside more often.

    Independent Living Coaches June Bass and Valerie Woodkirk organize the program and explained that it teaches both gardening and business skills.

    “We keep busy all the time,” Larrabee said. “The day goes by fast.”

    For additional information about the Trinity Services Horticulture Program 2016 Fall Sale, visit or call (815) 485-8146.

    The Horticulture Program is an Adult Learning Program operated by Trinity Services, Inc. All proceeds from sales benefit the people served by Trinity, a 66-year-old, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization that serves 3,500 children and adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities and mental illness in 30 communities in Will, Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Peoria, Jackson and St. Clair counties, and Reno, Nevada. To learn more, visit


    Independent Living Coach Valerie Woodkirk (left) hands a ripe tomato to program participant Richard Larrabee at Trinity Services’ Horticulture Program in Joliet.

    Hanging mum baskets are available for order during the Trinity Services Horticulture Program 2016 Fall Sale.
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  • Increasing Ability through Technology

    Dec 11, 2015
    Technology is hot at Trinity Services, Inc. With help from great partners, like Ablelink Technologies, and Create Ability, people with disabilities are using the latest technologies to move toward more full and abundant living. Communication options, work skills, entertainment choices, and relationships are all enhanced with the use of computers, tablets, and even smart phones. Check out the video to see what is happening right now!
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  • Grocery Shopping. It's not a chore; it's a skill

    Jan 15, 2015

    Grocery shopping—many of us take it for granted and view it as a chore. However, for a person with an intellectual disability, this experience, like many others, is an opportunity. Taking charge of one’s normal, everyday activities and routines, like grocery shopping, for instance, is the definition of independence. It’s hard for some of us to think about such boring activities as victories, but for someone who doesn’t get to experience them often, if ever, learning to do something like grocery shopping is an important accomplishment.

    Menu planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation are opportunities for people receiving services  from Trinity Services, Inc. to participate in the daily operation of their home to the fullest extent possible. As an organization, Trinity has embraced enabling practices in this area and suggests the following guidelines.

     Shopping for groceries can be as simple as running to the local Jewel for bread and milk or as complicated as using sales papers to plan a trip to multiple stores to purchase a week’s worth of groceries. In both instances the people who will be eating and cooking ideally will be doing the shopping.

    Grocery shopping for a large household requires a bit of planning and thinking ahead. Relevant factors include having a menu, creating a list, sales, coupons, comparison shopping, and quality and freshness of food.  All things considered, it can be a time consuming event and it can be it is tempting for busy staff to leave persons with disabilities out of the process. However, shopping is chock-full of opportunities for learning.

    Considerations for maximizing the learning experience:

    Prior to shopping, assist several people with making a grocery list.  Always use the menu to determine items needed.  Teach people to check existing supply of needed items prior to including them on a list.  Remember to check the expiration dates for those items that are less frequently used.  It can be helpful to use a preprinted list that allows someone to simply circle or check the items that are needed.  You might also use a picture list.There's even apps to explore for shopping lists that can be downloaded to someone's phone or tablet.

    Minimally one person should shop with staff while learning the process.  When deciding who should participate, consider the specific needs of the individuals.  Shopping with four or five people is likely not as conducive to learning and should be avoided.

    The appropriate amount of time should be scheduled so that shopping can be completed in a learningful manner rather than a mad dash.  People who are able to do so should participate by pushing the basket and selecting food from the shelf. The motorized cart available at many stores can facilitate shopping for some persons with physical limitations.

    Most people increase efficiency and comfort by knowing the layout of the stores where they shop most often.  Familiarity with a store develops with repeated visits.  Note that people learn the store layout more quickly if entering via the same door and shopping in the same direction or order of food on every visit.  (Many people start with produce and end with the frozen food section.)  It is also helpful to check out using the same clerk.  Grocery store cashiers come to know their regulars.  People should complete as much of the process as possible independently or with assistance, including checking out, paying, bagging etc.  Certainly after returning home everyone in the house can help unload and put away the groceries.

    Considerations for maximizing the budget:

    Recognizing that purchasing groceries for a large house can be costly, every attempt should be made to help people learn to minimize the cost of food while maximizing the quality of healthy foods.

    Generally speaking senior staff who has demonstrated an understanding of assisting individuals with shopping as well as an ability to balance cost should be the staff working with people around budgeting/cost issues.

    Shopping is typically done at discount stores.  Larger chains are used when sales are particularly good or when shopping for an item or two.  Sales paper review and comparison shopping when planning menus should be standard practice.  Couponing can be beneficial and fun and is encouraged.  Shopping at multiple stores for sales should be balanced with the time and gas cost of the extra travel.  People with disabilities who have a limited personal budget can become very skilled at finding coupons and great sales and planning around these.
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Upcoming Events

  • 27th Annual Dinner Dance & Auction

    Please join us for a night of fellowship, fine dining, dancing, and silent and live auctions at our 27th Annual Dinner Dance & Auction, Saturday, Sept. 17, at Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park.

    This year's theme is "Puttin' on the Ritz: A 1920s Soiree."
    The evening starts with cocktails at 5 p.m.
    Tickets are $100 each. You can purchase tickets here.

    If you'd like to receive an invitation, please email If you'd like to sponsor the event or place an ad in the program book, please call (815) 717-3750. The sponsorship and ad deadline is Friday, Aug. 26.

    Dinner Dance Sponsors 2016

    We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

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