Dear Parents, Guardians, Team Members and Friends:

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well.

These past six months have been among the most challenging in Search's 50+ years. All of us have had to cope with disruptions to our daily lives and uncertainty about the future. To be honest, the weight of it all has felt overwhelming at times.

To all of the parents, family members and guardians of Search participants who have had to deal with program closures and limits on home visits, thank you for your understanding, patience and support. This has been hard on everyone. Please know that the health and safety of everyone at Search is our first priority. I know that for many of you, the uncertainty around when, how or even if Search Adult Learning programs, what the State refers to as Community Day Services, will resume has been a major concern. 

In this update, I want to take the opportunity to share more details with you about our plan for Community Day Services (CDS) over the next few months.
What's next for Community Day Services?

As we shared with you last time, per Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) guidance, as of September 1st, CDS program sites may reopen for services, conditioned on the submittal of a reopening plan and individual assessments that ensure the safety of individuals, families, caregivers, and support staff.

However, because of the continued spread of the coronavirus in Illinois communities, and the inherent exposure risks associated with congregate indoor settings, we have decided not to immediately reopen our CDS sites and are instead taking a slow, cautious approach as we continue working towards the safe resumption of onsite day services when conditions permit.

At the end of the day, if just one person gets sick as a result of attending a congregate site, it’s one person too many. That is why, for the time being, we will continue to provide in-home day services to our residents. 

Later this month, we plan to resume services for small cohorts of between 3-6 individuals at each of our smaller CDS sites in Des Plaines and Evanston. Opening these programs on a limited basis for a handful of community participants will provide us with valuable insights into how we might be able to open up to serve more people in the near future.
Search’s CDS programs in Lincoln Square, Norwood Park and Mt. Prospect will be used as drop-in locations where small groups of our residents can access specialized program offerings such as therapeutic arts, sensory integration activities and curriculum-based learning experiences. Out of an abundance of caution, and to minimize the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak occurring, onsite groups will be limited to individuals who live together in the same home.

We have also begun to reintroduce community-based employment and activity opportunities for our residents who can safely particpate.

Search is also planning to launch a Virtual Day Service (VDS) program. IDHS has shared the exciting news that they intend to reimburse providers for VDS in the near future. We have been working on this since the state shutdown of CDS and have been offering virtual experiences to our 173 residents and a handful of community participants every day in conjunction with our in-home day services.

If you would like to help us continue to improve the technology available to the individuals we serve and our staff please make a donation below. Technology within our homes has become more important than ever before. Our ability to deliver quality day services, and keep our residents connected with their healthcare providers, family and friends depends on access to virtual platforms. Any contribution in any amount will help. Thank you.
Unfortunately, one of the six day program sites Search operates will be closing permanently. We have shuttered our Waukegan CDS program because it simply isn’t financially feasible at a time when we are facing decreased demand and the corresponding loss in revenue. This was a difficult decision to make, but necessary to preserve the rest of our CDS capacity over the long-term. Search is not planning on closing any other day services sites permanently

The landscape has truly changed beneath all of our feet these past six months. Please know that the process of evaluating the health and safety of all of our participants at Search is an ongoing process that we will be revisiting continuously. We want nothing more than for everyone to experience the freedom of group gatherings, large community outings and congregate Adult Learning Programs again. We are committed to all these things as safety allows. We truly appreciate your understanding as we navigate our new world.

We will get through this together.
Pand-Epic Birthday Shout Outs!

Send a Pand-Epic Birthday Shoutout! We're asking our Search Community to help us celebrate individuals with birthdays in September!

This is how it works - simply choose a name from the list below, and mail them a card to 625 Slawin Ct, Mt Prospect, IL 60056. Be sure to include the person’s name you have chosen on the envelope. Let’s make their day special! 
Direct Support Professional Recognition Week

Every year we set aside a week to honor our incredible Direct Support Professionals. This year, DSP Regognition Week is September 13-19. Throughout this week we will be celebrating our dedicated and compassionate DSPs. We are inviting everyone in our Search community to join us Saturday night (September 19 at 8pm) to shine a light on our heroes - our DSPs and frontline staff members who are providing love and care to our residents during this pandemic.
 
Saturday, September 19 at 8pm, set your candle out on the porch or in the window of your home. Please take a couple of pictures so we can share the support on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. You can email your pictures directly to sdurr@keystonealliance.org , or share to the Team Search Facebook group or message the Search Facebook page with your photos here.
 
Our houses will be participating in this activity, so keep an eye on our social media pages and don't forget to share your pictures so we can see you shine. Tag any pictures of your lights with the hashtag: #burnbrightforSearchDSPs
Thank you so much for your continued support of Search. We will continue to stay in touch.

Have a great Labor Day weekend,
 
Cory Gumm
CEO
Search Inc.