Libenu Foundation, the organization dedicated to providing opportunities for Jewish adults with developmental disabilities to live independent, meaningful lives as respected members of the Chicagoland Jewish community, recently hosted their annual “Share the Dream Gala”, celebrating a “year of firsts” for the organization. The evening was extremely successful, with over 300 people in attendance.
As Dr. Shana Erenberg, president, explained, “It’s been a year of firsts for Libenu, a year of incredible accomplishments, and a year in which the dream of independence and inclusion for Jewish adults with special needs came to fruition.” One of Libenu’s major accomplishments this year was the opening of a new home in West Rogers Park. At the end of December, six young men, who had been living in a Libenu home in Skokie, moved to their brand new, customized home in West Rogers Park. This three story home has been completely renovated and expanded and is now a state of the art facility which is completely ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant. Every aspect of the home was designed with the disabled in mind and includes such features as an elevator, wide hallways, and a ramp leading to the back of the house. Located in the heart of the West Rogers Park, the clients are able to live as fully-included, active members of the Jewish community.
After being vacated by the young men, the Skokie home was renovated and made ready for occupancy by six young disabled women, creating Libenu’s second group home. “The new home has been incredible,” says Dr. Erenberg. “The young women have had a surge of independence, a tremendous amount of growth, in just a couple of days. It has exceeded our every expectation.”
Vocational instructors have been hired to work with the clients, provide them with job skills, and help them find suitable employers. In addition, Jewish high school students and others from the community are being trained to work with the clients on a volunteer basis. Libenu also plans on opening additional homes in the near future. As Debra Silverstein, Alderman of the 50th Ward in Chicago stated, “We are thrilled that we have been able to help these young adults and maximize their independence and inclusion in the Jewish community, fulfilling the dreams of the parents, community, and ourselves.”
People in other cities, who also wish to establish group homes for their disabled relatives also attended the gala event, and have sought the advice and guidance of the Libenu Foundation. To find out more about Libenu, please Dr. Shana Erenberg, at 847-213-0514, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.libenufoundation.org.