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Second “Next Steps” event gives students “roadmap” to future

Sam Knight, an Independent Living Advocate with the Disability Resource Center in Joliet will present a program titled, “Roadmaps to the Future” at the second of District 202’s “Next Steps Transition Program” meetings for this school year, on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the District 202 Administrative Center, 15732 Howard Street, Plainfield.

Dee Mack of Five15 Fitness will also speak. Five15 Fitness combines exercise with professional counseling.

The “Next Steps” program helps parents and caregivers plan, transition and advocate for their children with disabilities. 

This is the fifth year that District 202 is offering the Next Steps Transition training for community members interested in helping parents and caregivers plan, transition and advocate for their children with disabilities.

According to its website, the Disability Resource Center advocates and strives for “equality and empowerment of persons with disabilities in the Will and Grundy County areas.” The organization “informs and educates clients about their rights and responsibilities, provides support services, promotes advocacy and raises community awareness about disability issues.”

Knight started working as a community organizer in 2006 in suburban Cook County with the Progress Center for Independent Living. He came to the Disability Resource Center in 2012. Knight particularly enjoys teaching students about the importance of voting, among other important aspects of living independently.

The Next Steps team comprises District 202 Vocational Education staff focused on improving delivery of services to families of students with disabilities; increasing family awareness of disability options and resources; and linking families in need to agencies that can support them with issues related to transition, said Dee Graves, District 202’s assistant director of private placement and transition.

“Next Steps” team members include Kathy Thomason, who coordinates the Work Training Program at Joliet Junior College; Plainfield Academy Vocational Coordinator Colleen Goldenberg; Project SEARCH teacher Colleen Kelly; and Work Training Program and Plainfield Academy teacher Sarah Bell.

Additional Next Steps trainings will be held regularly throughout this school year. All trainings will start at 6:30 p.m. Community members can attend as many of the trainings as they want.

Meetings are scheduled for:

  • December 18, 2018 – Cindi Swanson, The Arc of Illinois, Life Span
  • January 15, 2019 – Jamie Hagen, Connection of Friends
  • February 19, 2019 – Britney Qualls, Work Incentive Planning (WIPA)
  • March 19, 2019 – Sherri Schneider, Family Benefits Solutions
  • April 16, 2019 -- Speaker and topic TBA

For more information please contact Dee Graves at (815) 577-4023 or