Family Support Center Promises a Happy Life After High School

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Olivia is 26 years old and is diagnosed with an intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) and is a lifelong Cicero resident. In high school she was a happy girl who was involved in numerous activities including track and field in the Special Olympics and other special recreation groups. But after graduation, things changed. The transition from high school was a tough one for Olivia. Her happiness and health declined. Gone were the days of friends, learning, and fun—she missed the routine and consistency of school life. At home, she spent more and more time alone and felt disconnected. Her family worried that she watched television too much and sometimes even refused to leave her room. The once happy, social young lady was becoming shy and withdrawn.

Olivia’s family learned about the Family Support Center (FSC) in Cicero, a bilingual/bicultural center designed for people just like her. FSC is run by Community Support Services (CSS), one of the largest nonprofit organizations serving individuals with I/DD in the state. Her family quickly enrolled Olivia in several classes. Since then, Olivia has learned she is creative and enjoys Art class every week. She attends Zumba on a regular basis where she loves moving to fun music. She is getting stronger through regular running and walking classes, and is always learning new healthy recipes such as green smoothies that she makes on her own. She even makes sure her parents to join her in her healthy snacks. The staff members at FSC have lovingly coaxed her out of her shell and provided a place where she belongs, learns and thrives. With the guidance of the staff, she is more independent and outgoing than ever. She has become so comfortable she even volunteers in the office. Each week, she eagerly marks her calendar with dates of upcoming classes and tells her mom how excited she is to see her new friends. Olivia is her smiling self once again. The Family Support Center provides classes in Health & Wellness, Creative Arts, and Life Skills and Technology that are available year round. To learn more, visit or call (708) 354.4547 109. CSS offers a myriad of services to support individuals with I/DD including Respite and Customized Employment. Classes are available in English and Spanish.

Comments are closed.