March 2024

Anastasia's Triumphs: From Special Olympics to Trader Joe's Success Story

Anastasia is not one to shy away from hard work, as demonstrated by her recent achievements at the Special Olympics Colorado State competition held on March 2-3 at Copper Mountain, where she secured a gold medal in Giant Slalom and a silver medal in Slalom.

Drawing from her valuable training experiences for the Special Olympics and work at Have Dreams, Anastasia was ready to take on her next goal of independent employment. She began working with Drew Philips, Anastasia’s Employment Specialist, in the Spring of 2023 to find a job that utilizes the cleaning and organizational skills that were brought to light through Discovery. 

In September 2023, Anastasia joined the Trader Joe’s team as a Crew Member, quickly becoming a part of their community. At Trader Joe's, Anastasia utilized her organizational skills by facing items throughout the store to better display products for customers. According to Drew, "From her first day, she has showcased her amazing work ethic and ability to learn her job. Anastasia quickly became independent at work and got rave reviews.” Emma, the store’s manager, expressed “Anastasia is doing a great job! She is always where she is supposed to be, working hard. We have a lot of crew members that want to partner with her.” Because of her diligent work over the last six months, Anastasia was also presented with a raise at her recent six-month review. 

Congratulations, Anastasia and Trader Joe’s! Great job displaying that through commitment and the right support, everyone is able to be dedicated, passionate, and successful in employment and their other pursuits! 

Empowering Leadership Through Safety: A TotalLink Journey to Success

With the start of each new program session comes a review of TotalLink’s safety procedures. It is a chance for our community to re-familiarize themselves with essential things like fire and tornado safety. Sometimes, the safety slideshow can elicit yawns from those who have seen it dozens of times. However, in a recent session, we offered a unique leadership opportunity to freshen our perspectives.

Many of the people we serve have been with us for years and have become experts on TotalLink’s fire and tornado safety procedures. Recognizing this, we saw an opportunity to engage our community in a new way. In Session 2, members of Girlfriend’s Group were invited to take the reins and lead the safety presentation for their friends.

With the help of Hannah operating the slide deck, Jenna and Sheila stepped up to the front of the room and brought new energy to the presentation of familiar material. They delivered a complete safety presentation to the rest of the group. They shared practical tips on what to do in case of an emergency, from distinguishing the difference between a tornado watch and a warning to emphasizing the importance of staying calm and staying with the group.

This new approach to reviewing the safety protocols served as a fantastic leadership opportunity, and hearing it from their friends gave others a sharper focus on the subject. TotalLink's commitment to fostering leadership and empowerment is a key to our success. With tornado season underway here in Illinois, ask someone from TotalLink how to be safe in an emergency. They're not just prepared; they have become specialists in the matter.

Reflecting on her experience, Jenna said,  “I’m so honored, not just honored, I’m impressed that I was being such a leader for TotalLink’s Girlfriend’s Group and a self-advocate for all my friends.” 

Thank You To Our Community Partners!

The Restore Cryo-Plunge on March 1-3 was a success! Thank you to Restore Hyper Wellness for donating 100% of the sales from their Cryo-Plunge weekend Cryotherapy sessions! We are grateful to the 319 community members who participated in this fun event, which raised over $5,200 for TotalLink.

Pictured right: TotalLink team members ready to take the Plunge.

Thank You, Restore Hyper Wellness!

Thanks to our friends at I Just Am, for donating Cryo-Plunge t-shirts to the first 100 people to take the Plunge.

Shamrock Social: A Festive Gathering of Connections and Community!

Shenanigans were happening at TotalLink's Shamrock Social on Friday, March 15, in the TotalLink Annex! It was wonderful to see everyone connecting, making new friends, and catching up with old friends.

Huge thanks to the Erie family for graciously hosting this festive event! 

Join us for an upcoming event!

Dining Days at McAlister's Deli in Deerfield - Thursday, April 11, 2024, 4:00 - 9:00 PM

Order here

Madame ZuZu's

1876 1st St.

Highland Park, IL

5:30 - 7:30 PM

April 18

May 16

Everyone is welcome to join us for this fun community event.

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