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Illinois Grants an Increase!

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Gautama Buddha

Dear Friends of Garden Center Services; the picture of me this time is of me finding a fun way to announce to our wonderful employees the news regarding a substantial increase to our rates from the Illinois Department of Human Services! To share important information like this I some times take on the persona of newscaster Gerry “Specs” Beagles 😊!!

Through the efforts of the They Deserve More Coalition, the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, and the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities, all of which Garden Center Services belongs to, an incredibly focused and convincing message was delivered to the Illinois legislature advocating for a much needed increase in the rates we are funded at for the services we provide.  The positive outcome is that the state has granted an increase of $2.50 per hour effective January 1st, 2024, to help raise the hourly wages for those employees that work directly with our participants, and to cover other costs as well. This increase is one of the largest the state has awarded for some time, and gets us closer to the amount of necessary funding as identified by the Guidehouse Rate Study.  

We have a profound understanding at our agency that the quality of the services we provide our individuals is directly tied to the value of our workforce, and how well the management of GCS is taking care of them. At agencies such as ours there are always many things we can spend money on, but we are choosing to flow through 100% of our increase to our incredible staff! This is borne of our promise to keep strong our mission of “Advancing lives of connection, contribution and meaning for persons with disabilities and the individuals that support them!!  And we will accomplish this by always holding true to the agency’s core values of Respect, Empowerment and Compassion!!!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank all of you that took the time to email, write or phone your legislators. It is really so true that the squeaky wheel get the oil!! Your efforts are also part of the reason for the increase.

We still have uncovered expenses at the agency and that is why we continue to hold various fundraisers throughout the year. I want to express my gratitude to all of you that helped to make our 2nd Annual Sunny Smash Softball Tournament such a success! After costs we netted over $34,000 to help support the agency’s programs and to maintain our physical properties. And as a reminder, our next event will be the Walk & Roll that will be held September 23rd at St. Christina’s field in Mt. Greenwood.

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