Dear Search Team, Family Members, Guardians, and Stakeholders:

Before we begin, a word about the protests…

Search Inc. was founded in 1968 when a small group of parents took a stand to end the segregation of their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the public school system. They believed we could and should do better. From that beginning, our mission has grown to embrace the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or the color of their skin.

In light of the ongoing protests taking place in communities across the state, nation and in countries throughout the world, Search remains committed to the belief that we can and should do better. To put it plainly, racism, bigotry and discrimination in any form is wrong and must always be confronted. Search stands with all those who seek equity and justice and an end to the systemic racism and hate that poisons our civic institutions, communities and hearts.
Agency-wide Updates

In previous updates, we’ve shared information about how we might transition our residential and day services programs as the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) begins to relax restrictions on community providers. As we continue to prepare for a slow, thoughtful reopening of our programs over the next several months, we’d like to share a brief overview of our planning so far as it relates to getting individuals with community jobs back to work.

Pre-pandemic, Search was supporting 35 individuals working at local businesses. A segment of the individuals in this group are employed by essential businesses such as Mariano's.
People want to work and we want people to work.

Integrated, competitive employment is a big part of our mission. However, any exposure risk individuals who go back to work carry is shared by their housemates and support staff in the home. So it's very important that as individuals get ready to return to work, there is a thorough assessment of their personal risk and their level of compliance with infection mitigation requirements, such as social distancing, hand washing and masking.

A job is more than a paycheck.

At Search, we recognize that working in the community can be a transformative experience. Individuals form new social connections, professional skills and are able to more independently chart the course of their life. In the coming weeks, we will make every effort to support individuals to go back to work safely, while at the same time, carefully take into consideration the safety of their housemates and staff.

Update on Planning For Individuals to Return to Their Homes at Search

Search has fully supported families who have decided to keep their loved ones home during the stay at home executive order. We have received guidance from IDHS Division of Developmental Disabilities strongly discouraging short-term returns in order to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19. We have begun reaching out to families in order to plan for how to best transition their loved ones back into their homes at Search. We look forward to seeing some faces we haven’t seen in a few months!
Thank You for the Donation of Masks

On behalf of everyone at Search, thank you to the congregation of Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob for their donation of a total of 150 cloth masks. Your thoughtfulness and generous support are greatly appreciated. We are so proud to be part of such a loving and compassionate community.  Todah Rabah!

COVID-19 Case Updates

Search has not had any new positive cases of COVID-19 over the past week for any residents or staff members.  We realize that as we begin to move towards resuming community employment, introducing family visits, and welcoming residents back, we are introducing an element of risk.  That said, it is a risk that is necessary in order to regain some sense of normalcy for all of our Search family.  We will continue to monitor the health and safety of everyone at Search and will make modifications to any plans as needed.

A Note about Future Updates

Thank you for continuing to stick by Search through these challenging times! The response we have received from our community has been inspiring, and ultimately, crucial to Search as an organization during this difficult and uncertain period. You have stood by us every step of the way, and for that we are so very thankful.

I want to let you know that we will be easing off providing weekly communications. While this will be our last weekly update, we will nonetheless continue to keep our stakeholders informed, though on a monthly basis. Please keep an eye out for our next update on Friday, July 3, and until then, stay safe and be well. 

All the best!
Cory Gumm
Search Inc.