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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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  • Encouraging Better Grumbling

    Sep 19, 2016
    By Art Dykstra

    For some people discouragement seems to be a way of life. Perhaps it's in their genes, their wiring. I'm not sure. What is apparent is that negative thoughts and worries are the dominant feature of their lives. It's no wonder that they experience life as getting worse instead of better and succumb to self-defeat.

    For others discouragement is something that happens on the way to the theater or on Monday morning after a staff meeting. It intrudes in their lives from many different directions, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes during the light of day. Its sources are many.

    A Loss of Energy
    Of all the necessary elements of successful leadership, the variable most likely to be written about least, though it probably matters most, is having sufficient energy to keep on going--in the good times and the bad, on Monday as well as Friday, in the beginning and the end. Without energy, organizations become perilous places.

    A Lack of Direction
    Not knowing where you're going can be a frightening experience--especially when others are following you. And it's easy to become lost today. One may journey into the Managed Care Forest and never be seen again. Others disappear behind the many piles of insignificant paperwork and lose sight of the challenges they must face. It is easy for an organization to get lost when corporate fog has replaced the clarity of the organization's vision. Turning your brights on won't help, either.

    The Experience of Failure

    Not all of life is a walk in the victory garden. The ugly truth is that each of us fails in something every day--some of us more than others. And when we fail, it is easy to begin to lose our confidence. Maybe we can no longer do it; perhaps we're too far behind. "What if" thinking replaces our spirit of optimism and discouragement sets in.

    It is a rare person who does not appreciate genuine encouragement. Indeed, in the face of discouragement, whether by a loss of energy, loss of direction or failure, to be emotionally bolstered, supported, heartened or affirmed is to experience hope. Encouragement may come from many sources--a colleague, supervisor, spouse or friend. Encouragement may come through a homily or sermon, in the words of a novelist or poet, through meditation or prayer.

    Encouragement may also be found when one is not looking for it. Such was the case when I read Richard Farson's book, Management of the Absurd (Touchstone, 1997), a collection of thoughts that illustrate the paradoxes of leadership. In a short chapter entitled "The Better Things are, the Worse They Feel," Farson shares the insight and paradox that, "Improvement in human affairs leads not to satisfaction but discontent, albeit a higher order discontent than might have existed before." Motivation for change, growth and progress therefore comes form the development of higher quality dissatisfaction.

    What encouraged me in reflecting upon this bit of leadership wisdom was the relevance to organizational grumbling. All of us are grumblers at one time or another, and organizations, because they are made up of people, are made up of grumblers.

    Building on Maslow's work in this regard, one is struck with the organizational application. Don't worry whether or not people grumble. They will. Instead, listen for the content of their complaining, the quality of their gripes. Based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I suggest a "hierarchy of organizational needs" that identifies the least healthy organizations as those whose members engage in low-level grumbling, expressing basic deficiencies, for example, "It's too hot." "My pay stinks," "The work day is too long," and so on.

    Organizations functioning at the next level have grumblers who are no longer concerned about themselves, but others. Their concerns may include the way other employees are treated and safety or environmental conditions.

    The headiest organizations have an added dimension, the "meta grumbler," or one who deals with the need for self-actualization. For example: "I don't feel that my talents are being fully utilized." Or, "I don't fell like I'm in on things enough around here."

    There, Farson points out, lies the absurdity. Only in an organization in which people are in on things and their talents are being utilized would it occur to them to complain about those issues.

    So what was so encouraging? To be reminded that in all organizations, whether large or small, urban or rural, accredited or not, people grumble. And to know that improvement does not bring an end to grumbling, but moves an organization from lower to higher order discontent and higher order grumbling.
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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!

    technology and disability square
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Upcoming Events

  • Third Annual Dinner and Concert Gala

    Please join us for "An Evening of Holiday Music" at our Third Annual Concert Gala at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Butterfield Country Club in Oak Brook to support our mission to help people with disabilities and mental illness flourish and live full and abundant lives.

    This showcase of holiday music paired with dinner and fantastic company is a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season. 

    This year's event features the Hinsdale Central Chamber Choir and the Western Springs School for Talent Education Allegro!!! Violin Ensemble.

    Tickets are $125 per person. Call (815) 717-3750, or click here to purchase tickets or sponsorships.

    Sponsorship opportunities and program book ads are available now. For more information about how you can help, please email

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