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C.A.N. successfully matched Rotary challenge grant, now seeks program assistant

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Above / In 2014, Community Access Naperville participated in Pass the Friendship Plate, an awareness campaign that celebrated the 130th birthday of Martin Mitchell Mansion. The Naperville Municipal Band gave the commemorative plate of chocolate zucchini cake to the group. In turn, C.A.N. passed the plate to M. Brown & Associates, Ltd.

Community Access Naperville (C.A.N.) seeks Program Assistant 

UPDATE, Oct. 8, 2016 / Community Access Naperville (C.A.N.) empowers young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work in, contribute to, and enjoy their community. Vocational skills are developed while creating C.A.N. products, volunteering for local nonprofit and municipal partners, and contracting with local businesses.

Currently, C.A.N. has available the opportunity of Program Assistant, a paid position on two Saturdays per month for an individual age 25 or older.

The Program Assistant works with the Program Leader, interns and volunteer peers to provide guidance and assistance to a maximum of 6 participants, as they engage in community-based activities.

The Program Assistant will assist the Program Leader to provide direction and advise volunteers, paying special attention to welcoming and mentoring new volunteers. In case of emergency, the Program Assistant must be able to lead the group, if separated from the Program Leader. Occasionally, minimal assistance with changing clothes or personal hygiene may be necessary. Effective communication with staff and parents is essential.

Additionally, the Program Assistant will be responsible for gathering/preparing work tasks at the church; advising the Program Coordinator regarding new/replacement materials; reviewing/advising/editing or writing the daily summary. When necessary, the Program Assistant will drive the 12 passenger van to and from community outings within a 25 mile radius.

C.A.N. seeks an individual with strong special education or social services experience to work as Program Assistant 10AM-3PM on Saturdays. A degree, or pursuit of a degree, in special education, therapeutic recreation, vocational rehabilitation, or social services, and experience managing behaviors and working with a variety of disabilities (especially autism) is ideal.

REQUIRED: Must be at least 25 years of age with a clean driving record.

For more information, contact Sherry at 630-460-7098 or sherry@communityaccessnaperville.org.


Original Post, January 1, 2016 / Community Access Naperville (C.A.N.) empowers young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work in, contribute to, and enjoy their community. Vocational skills are developed while creating C.A.N. products, volunteering for local nonprofit and municipal partners, and contracting with local businesses.

Recreational outings provide exercise and enrichment. Integrating typical peers into the program enables C.A.N. participants to practice their social skills and maintain a network of friends in the community.

Outings often require transportation.

The Rotary Club of Naperville – Downtown recently presented a Community Service Grant to C.A.N. to help underwrite transportation costs. Originally, the $1,000 grant was approved to help fund a 12-passenger van.

In light of the fact that C.A.N. has successfully secured a partnership with the Young Life Naperville and Aurora chapter to share their 12-passenger van on a regular basis, funding now will assist their preference to utilize public transportation whenever possible, according to Sherry Healey, President of C.A.N.

“We felt it made the most sense to pursue this opportunity as the first option,” Healey said, noting the organization’s young adults volunteer for nonprofit organizations such as West Suburban Community Pantry, Naperville Public Libraries, North Central College Enactus, Naperville Police Department and Sharing Connections.

Healey also noted that in 2016, the organization is expecting transportation expenses to be $3,000, including non-owned automobile insurance (to match their partner’s policy) and rental fees of $1,000 and public transportation costs (bus/train tickets) of $2,000.

Challenge grant presents chance to fund transportation needs, growth

Mindful of Community Access Naperville’s mission, Rotary-Downtown offered an additional challenge grant of up to $1,500, giving the nonprofit organization an opportunity to match dollar-for-dollar donations that will help fund transportation and expansion needs.

First Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Naperville generously donates space for the group to use as a home base. The first half of the day generally consists of vocational/volunteer work; while the second half of the day is spent in the community enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, utilizing the library, exercising at the YMCA, shopping at the mall or bowling.

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Small group settings provide opportunities for vocational work.

C.A.N.’s program is offered in a small group setting to meet the needs of the individuals. Professional life skills instructors lead each session, while peer volunteers from local universities help the participants to remain fully engaged.

Community Access Naperville is planning to expand its program in 2016, adding a third weekday to the group offering.

“We expect the cost differential in the first year to be approximately $4,000, while we build our participant base,” Healey said. “Any contribution from the Downtown Rotary Club that could help us cover this gap while we build our capacity is much appreciated.”

Healey continued, “While we’re a small group, we’re definitely meeting a need of young adults with developmental disabilities in the Naperville community. We always are grateful for interest in our organization and grants that support our mission.”

According to Pat Benton, Community Service Director who coordinates the Rotary Grant program, the Rotary Club of Naperville Downtown offers qualifying nonprofits the opportunity to match a grant that provides up to a $1,000 contribution from the club.

“For instance, one of the first challenge grants our club matched was for the benefit of Naperville CARES when Brookdale Elementary school raised over $1,000 at an all-school bake sale,” Benton said. “Rotary-Downtown matched the first $1,000 raised.”

Donations welcomed!

Within the 3-month ask period, the community successfully helped C.A.N. match $1,500 in order to receive the Rotary grant that will help fund transportation for participation in vocational and recreational programs; thereby, C.A.N. raised a much-appreciated and needed $3,000.

Donations of any size always are welcome to support ongoing programs at C.A.N. Send to: Community Access Naperville, P.O. Box 234, Naperville, IL 60566. Write checks payable to Community Access Naperville.

For more information about C.A.N. and the Program Assistant position, visit www.communityaccessnaperville.org or call (630) 352-1928.

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