Celebrate Inclusion on May 2nd!

Please join us on Thursday, May 2nd for SEARCH TRAILBLAZERS 2019: Celebrating Community Connections at Rockwell on the River in Chicago! This exciting evening will celebrate Search, Inc.’s efforts to further the inclusion of people with disabilities in the community and will honor our champions in this work.

Guests will enjoy cocktails, fun foods, delicious desserts, awards, and a silent auction. Located in a beautiful riverfront setting, Rockwell on the River is Chicago’s newest premier destination and will delight and surprise audiences the moment they arrive.

Search is thrilled to honor Mariano’s, Miller Cooper & Co., Ltd, and Pace Suburban Bus, with the 2019 Trailblazer Award.

image bar 1

Mariano’s is a Chicagoland leader in promoting inclusive employment strategies. Together, Mariano’s and Search have collaborated on job coaching and supportive employment services across six stores, in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Miller Cooper & Co. has partnered with Search for more than a decade to advance the agency’s mission. The accounting firm also played an instrumental role in bringing together Search and Glenkirk to form the Keystone Alliance, which has been essential to ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of both organizations.

Pace has partnered with Search to facilitate Hop on the Bus to Independence Workshops that empower individuals with disabilities to access their communities with greater independence through fixed-route public transportation. Since 2012, there have been 167 Hop workshops that have reached 5,300 people in the Chicago area!

TB2019 image bar 2


For people with disabilities, inclusion is about more than providing ramps, accessible seating, or eliminating other structural or environmental barriers. Inclusion is about creating an open, fair social environment that is accepting of diversity where people with disabilities are valued and able to live full lives. Inclusion is not something that can be achieved by a person with disabilities alone. Inclusivity has to be actively supported in every aspect of community life, from the workplace to the public square. In short, inclusion takes ALL of us. 

That is why, for the last several years, Search has worked toward fostering partnerships among other nonprofits, for profits, local and state government, and the public at large to support community inclusion for the individuals we serve.  Here are just some of the ways individuals have benefited from greater inclusion in the community:

TB2019 image bar 3

Katie, who lives in one of Search’s community homes, went to the Park Ridge Farmers market all last summer where she bought bread weekly from John at the Breadman Baking Company.  Through their interactions, he learned Katie was an artist in Visibility Arts. At the end of the market season, in October, he commissioned a painting from Katie. He came to her home to pick up the painting in December.  Katie is one of the more than 150 artists who benefit annually from Visibility Arts, an immersive arts program. 

Shawn and Dorothy volunteer at Twice As Nice Mother & Child in Gurnee IL through Search’s Community Life program. They pack baby wipes for a mobile diaper pantry that serves 8,000 mothers annually. Through giving their time, Dorothy, Shawn and Scott make a big impact in their community. More than 160 individuals have built community connections and self-esteem through volunteering with Search’s Community Life program.

Curtis qualified for the state competition in Snowshoeing with our new “Search Squad” Special Olympics team.  Curtis also played on Search’s first ever Special Olympics Basketball team, which advanced to the state playoffs. Through the power of sport, Curtis and other athletes are helping to usher in a new world of unity, tolerance, and respect.

TB2019 image bar 4

Becky explored destinations throughout Chicago with the Ignite Adult Learning Program including landmarks like the Art Institute, Field Museum, Garfield Park Conservatory, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and more.

Mary, Lanni, and Stephanie joined 4.4 million of their fellow Illinoisans in voting in the 2018 general election. Before they cast their ballots, they listened to the candidates speak for themselves, and studied up on the issues. A total of 30 Search participants chose to exercise their right to vote in the 2018 election. Nothing exemplifies inclusion more than joining your friends, co-workers and neighbors in exercising your civic rights.

Inclusion transforms lives. With your help, the 540 individuals we serve have opportunities to work in competitive, integrated jobs that pay minimum wage or higher, have an accessible, safe, caring place to call home, and regularly engage in their communities with family and friends. 

We hope you will join us on May 2nd as we celebrate Community Connections! All proceeds from SEARCH TRAILBLAZERS 2019 will support individuals like Katie, Shawn, Curtis, and Becky to more fully participate in and enjoy their communities.

Click here to find out how you can make a difference with SEARCH TRAILBLAZERS!