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Celebrating our Interdependence

None of us can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another’s salvation, and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light.

-Dean Koontz

I was thinking this past weekend, as many of us were finding ways to celebrate July 4th, a holiday set aside to recognize our declaration of independence from our British forebears, how what is truly needed is a daily acknowledgment of our real interdependence on one another. I appreciate the quote you’ll find on this page as it emphasizes that our journey towards real liberation and understanding can only come about if we are making that walk hand in hand.

I want to believe that it is this quality of connection that makes Garden Center the nurturing place that it is. There is constant experience of how the overlapping lives of the individuals that attend our programs, their families, and our staff, become a source of joy and healing for all of us. During the on-boarding of new employees at the agency, they participate in a 120-hour training program, and during that time I’ll have an hour or two to discuss the history of Garden Center and more importantly, our philosophy around service delivery. I will typically weave into the conversation how for me, over the many years that I’ve spent time with persons with disabilities, one of the greatest perks has been the incalculable impact of being with others that accept you as you are, and to know that you can provide that to them as well!

One of the new sites where these wonderful connections are happening is the Second Chance Thrift Shop that opened June 15th at the 10444 S. Kedzie location. We’re very pleased to have the store opened and have been happy with the steady flow of customers that are stopping by. It brings me great joy that every weekday, Tuesday through Friday, there is a small group of participants from our Community Day Services program accompanied by a staff person that are providing real help at the shop while receiving training on a myriad of skills. 

The store is generating some revenue for the agency and is also helping us to have a greater presence in the Mt. Greenwood community. I also want to stress that we are still in need of volunteers! If you have a few hours a week you can dedicate to help us out, it would be greatly appreciated. Just contact our delightful store manager, Alaina Roche, at

Please have a safe and happy rest of the summer. I hope to see many of you at the 15th Annual GCS Walk ‘n Roll. Don’t be surprised if I try to reach out and hold your hand!! 

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