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Third “Next Steps” features advocate for people with disabilities

School social worker and advocate Cindi Swanson will share information about the Illinois Lifespan program and related topics at the third of District 202’s “Next Steps Transition Program” meetings for this school year, on Tuesday, December 17, 2018

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

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.

Swanson has been a vocal advocate for people with disabilities for more than 30 years. She has worked as a referral specialist for the Illinois Lifespan Program since its inception in 2003 as part of the Arc of Illinois organization.

Swanson and her husband also co-founded the We Grow Dreams program in West Chicago, where people with disabilities can earn wages while getting job training.

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:

  • 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