October 2020 Updates & News
Updates From the CEO
Parents, Guardians, Team Members and Friends:

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

2020 has been a year. Who would have imagined seven months ago that we would still be dealing with a very active pandemic, and the many ways all of our lives would be impacted.

It certainly hasn’t been easy for people with disabilities, including the individuals we serve here at Search. Data shows that individuals with disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus and by the mitigation efforts to curb its spread.

At Search, we’ve had to change the way we do things, in big and small ways, in an effort to keep everyone safe, as we carry forward our mission to support the individuals we serve to “lead rich, rewarding lives.” 

It’s been hard. But, as I think everyone at Search has learned in the past few months, we can do hard things.

In this month’s update, we’re highlighting some of the creative ways we’ve adapted so that the individuals we serve continue to have opportunities to live up to their full potential despite all of the uncertainty and challenges thrown their way.

The pandemic isn't over, and we have to remain vigilant, but let's take a moment to reflect on just how far we’ve come, and all that we’ve had to overcome to arrive at this moment. We’ve done the hard things by sticking together – Search participants, staff and families - and for that, I am grateful beyond words.

Cory Gumm
Search Inc.
After six months of being completely shut down, Search Inc. Adult Learning Program (ALP) sites, based in Mt. Prospect, Evanston and Lincoln Square, have resumed offering day services on a very limited basis. Planet Access Company Warehouse, our social enterprise in Des Plaines, has also resumed offering paid-work opportunities, but at a greatly reduced scale. Despite its limited nature, we are excited to begin down the path of offering critical adult learning supports during this difficult time.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)! This year marks not only the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but it also marks the 75th observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Search Inc. and its Career Services program look forward to observing NDEAM every October, but this year’s month-long celebration has more meaning for us with the unprecedented challenges our career services participants and staff members have had to face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, November 3rd is a big day in the US – the next Presidential Election Day.

At Search, we are ensuring that individuals are prepared and educated to make their voices heard in the 2020 election. Since the beginning of election season, individuals have watched the candidates’ debates together via Zoom, as well as filled out their registration papers together in their homes. As of early October, we have 42 individuals who have requested mail-in ballots.
The Coleman Foundation, a private foundation that invests in organizations working in the areas of Developmental Disability Services, Cancer Care and Health Rehabilitation Services, and Entrepreneurship has awarded Search Inc. with a matching grant in support of its 2020 #GivingTuesday campaign.

Starting November 1st, you have a special opportunity to make your donation to Search Inc. go twice as far! From Nov 1 – Dec 1, any online gift of $200 or more to Search Inc. will be matched by the Coleman Foundation. Our goal is to raise $20,000 by midnight on Dec. 1, #GivingTuesday. 
On Tuesday, October 6th, Chicago Fair Trade’s Conscious Closet Club stopped by Planet Access for an Instagram Live Virtual Tour that highlighted our social mission, as well as our newly renovated space and gorgeous Fall products.

Search CEO, Cory Gumm, spoke about Search’s mission, our long standing partnership with Toad&Co, and our incredible Visibility Arts program. Maranda from Conscious Closet Club and the audience viewing online were treated to a virtual tour courtesy of store leads, Marta and Maria.