In the News
Family Alliance at the
Come and stop by our booth between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. May 22nd at the Feeling Great is Ageless Expo near the Drendel Ballroom in the Prairie Lodge at Sun City-Huntley.
FAMILY ALLIANCE TO OFFER AN ALZHEIMER'S SUPPORT GROUP FOR SPANISH SPEAKING CARE GIVERS
Family Alliance, Inc. will offer a free Alzheimer's Association caregiver support group to provide information, connection and emotional, educational and social support to Spanish speaking persons caring for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
The group will meet from 6 to 7:30 pm beginning Monday May 13 at Family Alliance, 2028 N. Seminary Avenue, Woodstock. For program information, contact Cheryl Levinson at (815) 338-3590.
Family Alliance Paints Rewarding Experiences
Jim L., accompanied by visiting art counselor Dori Bollinger of Art Without Boundaries, shows his freshly painted beach scene, inspired by a memory of his service during the Korean War.
Art Without Boundaries has come to our REACH Memory Care program. The therapeutic art program uses singing, movement, painting and story-telling to stimulate dramatic changes in the brain.
Artwork generated through the program will tour local libraries, starting with the Woodstock Public Library from May 11-June 1.
Art Without Boundaries is an association of trained artists who seek to improve the quality of life for adults with strokes, brain injuries, Alzheimer’s.
“Through their own art, the people we serve will experience the joy of creativity, of success and of purposeful moments, their paintings each a unique representation of their own personhood,” said FA Clinical Director Cheryl Levinson.
Although the therapeutic art organization claims its goal is to provide a rewarding experience, Art Without Boundaries points to testimonies which show significant improvement in some clients in verbal skills, mobility, combativeness, spatial acuity, comprehending instructions, to name a few.
We thank Gino’s East of Lake Geneva for donating pizza boxes as canvases.
Family Alliance Awarded $10,000 Grant
February 10, 2013. Featured in Local Briefs section of Northwest Herald.
WOODSTOCK- Family Alliance Inc. received $10,000 from the Mental Health Resource League for McHenry County at the league's annual meeting Jan. 28 at the Stage Left Cafe in Woodstock.
The grant was awarded for partial funding of the Family Alliance Center for Adult Care scholarship program, which enables individuals with low income to participate in its REACH day programs. Family Alliance is one of 19 agencies and organizations sharing in a total of $200,321 raised in 2012 by the Mental Health Resource League for services to thousands of McHenry County residents.
Family Alliance Adding Support Groups for Grieving, Caregivers
February 7, 2013. Featured in the front page publication of Northwest Herald. By Shawn Shinneman - email@example.com
WOODSTOCK – Family Alliance built a business on providing home care to the elderly. But sometimes the caregivers themselves need help.
The always-evolving adult day care center added a grief and loss support group this month. It’s led by Nicole O’Dea, a social worker who joined the staff in September. And in coming months, it will add a caregiver support group for the Spanish-speaking population.
The new groups are part of an effort to grow into the community’s needs. New Director Kim Larson is putting her stamp on the center founded and methodically grown under Carol Louise, who retired this year.
“The population of 65 and better is growing by 10,000 every day, so that’s enormous,” Larson said. “There’s going to be a lot of needs that we can’t even identify yet. We’re just trying to stay ahead of the curve.”
The older population is expected to double between 2000 and 2030. By 2030, nearly one in five people will be 65 or older, according to the Administration on Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“We’re prepared and we want to be visionary,” Larson said. “We know we want to grow. We’re just trying to identify what those needs are and what direction we should be going.”
The center has facilitated free support groups, but it wasn’t until late last year that the need for support for grieving caregivers became apparent.
“We realized some of these caregivers really have lost their spouse or partner, and are really in a grieving process,” Larson said.
The new support groups continue the strategy Louise used to expand Family Alliance over a period of 30 years – identify a gap in community service, then bridge it.
Today, the center employs about 50 people and serves adults who are experiencing mental, physical, emotional or social challenges.
“The clinical staff here has been meeting on a weekly basis,” O’Dea said. “Right now, our focus is on identifying services that we don’t offer, what the needs are in the community and how we can provide services to meet those needs.”
Family Alliance Welcomes Kim Larson as New Director
12/10/12 - Family Alliance is pleased to welcome Kim Larson as its new director. Kim will take over for retiring director and founder, Carol Louise after the New Year.
Kim has been involved in the community and worked locally as a nurse in hospitals and clinics for more than 20 years, eventually becoming the executive director at Adult & Child Therapy Services (ACTS). As executive director of ACTS, she managed multiple programs in physical, occupational speech therapy and Home Health. She increased grant funding enabling the agency to purchase state of the art therapeutic equipment. Kim is an inaugural graduate of Leadership Greater McHenry County and is currently President Elect of the Woodstock Noon Rotary Club. She was past chairperson of Christmas Clearing House and continues to be actively involved with that event.
"I am excited about the opportunity to serve as Executive Director of Family Alliance and am looking forward to fully embracing the challenges of this new position," Kim said.
Community Support Award
Family Alliance, Inc. is proud to recognize Maria Morrill, our Community Support Specialist, for winning the Direct Support Professional Award for the Class of 2013 from the Illinois Association of Rehab Facilities (IARF). Maria has dedicated herself to serving her clients and peers at Family Alliance for over 6 years. A fellow social worker here at Family Alliance wrote the following: "Maria is an instrumental part of the Recovery team. She brings practical application of benefits in the community to her clients which reduces their stressors and supports the work they are doing in therapy. She is quick to help where she is needed both with clients and staff and does so with enthusiasm and effectiveness." Congratulations Maria on an award well deserved - The Staff of Family Alliance.
Carol Louise to Retire as Director of Family Alliance
Carol Louise at the 2028 North Seminary location groundbreaking in 1996.
September 13, 2012. Woodstock, IL – Carol Louise, Executive Director of Family Alliance, Incorporated, announced today that she will retire from that role at the end of this calendar year. Ms. Louise founded the non-profit organization over 30 years ago and served as its director throughout her tenure.
“It’s been a very rewarding journey,” Ms. Louise said. “I’ve enjoyed thousands of opportunities to help improve the quality of life for mature adults and their families throughout the region these many years.”
Family Alliance will mark its 30th anniversary with a dinner on September 22nd at the Drendel Ballroom in the Prairie Lodge of Sun City in Huntley, Illinois.
“I’ve had the good fortune of working with a great team of dedicated colleagues,” said Ms. Louise. “I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate all we’ve accomplished.”
Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Louise was recently notified that she had received the National Adult Day Services Association’s (NADSA) Administrator/Director Award, recognizing her outstanding leadership, management skills, effective stewardship with budgets and fundraising, program development, team building, and longevity within the field.
Ms. Louise will remain involved in Family Alliance’s fundraising efforts. The organization’s Board of Directors is currently reviewing options for filling the Executive Director role that she will vacate at the end of the year.
“We appreciate all that Carol has accomplished for mental health in McHenry County as the Executive Director of Family Alliance. Although she has set the bar high, we will work hard to ensure that we find an equally qualified successor,” said Family Alliance Board President Steve Finzel.
The roots of family Alliance go back to 1981, when Carol Louise founded the first senior day care service in McHenry County, Illinois as a nonprofit. The following year, with a $1,000 operating budget and two volunteers, Family Alliance Senior Daycare opened its doors to serve two clients in the Sunday school building of Grace Lutheran Church. The organization expanded rapidly adding a senior counseling program and an Alzheimer’s support group. The agency moved to a new location on Throop Street in Woodstock, employed a director, two counselors and a receptionist. By the end of the year, the agency served 20 seniors in its programs.
As times change, Family Alliance is there
August 1, 2012. An article on Family Alliance’s 30 years of service. Published in a special section (“Looking Forward-Planning for Life after 50”) of the NorthWest Herald.
In 1982, you probably weren’t thinking of the complexities of getting older. Technology and pop media were exciting the senses. We were beginning to get the first taste of digital technology and how it would transform the world. Time named “The PC” as its “Man of the Year”. An Apple was now a type of computer. MTV was celebrating its first birthday. Life moved to a beat that you could see as well as hear. Information was flowing faster. Time was quickening, not slowing down.
More so than ever before, families were attempting to balance life, work and the increasing needs of aging family members. The quickening pace was creating gaps in the abilities of families to accommodate their more mature members. Some families weren’t yet ready to commit to long term care, or what we then referred to as a “nursing home.” They recognized that their loved ones simply needed assistance during hours when they could not be there for them. They sought a partner, an ally, who could safely accommodate their loved one a few hours a day while they worked, recharged, or ran errands.
Options in the area were few, but a local nurse with geriatric experience sought to meet these needs for families in the area. She incorporated a small non-profit to do so.
Carol Louise, Founder and
Executive Director of Family Alliance, Inc.
Throughout the 1980’s, expansion of staff, programs and facilities led to greater recognition and prominence as the organization grew into its mission, providing outreach counseling for seniors with chronic mental illness diagnosis, as well as providing training in the areas of aging, dementia and long-term care options.
In the first half of the 1990’s, Family Alliance added case management to its programming, in order to partner with seniors to help them obtain necessary services and benefits. Due to an increased number of clients, the agency relocated to a larger facility on Eastwood Drive. Soon, the agency was reaching well over a thousand seniors, caregivers and community members through its on-site adult day health program, support groups and community education programs.
In the last half of that decade, Family Alliance, Inc. relocated yet again to its present location on Seminary Avenue. The new 7,540 square-foot facility could accommodate 45 clients in the dayroom and would expand yet again by the end of the decade. The agency became accredited through the Joint Commission Accreditation on Healthcare Organizations and doubled its reach to 2,200 seniors, caregivers and community members through its comprehensive programming.
In the first decade of the new millennium, Family Alliance continued to expand its facilities to meet demand, adding a new wing and the courtyard/memory Garden which now provides horticultural activities for our clients. The agency also received its CARF accreditation.
In the current decade, Family Alliance won the “Everything Under the Sun” award at the 2011 Governor’s Conference, recognizing the best overall adult day programs in Illinois and was also awarded the “Outstanding Adult Day Center Award for 2011” by the National Adult Day Service Association.
Family Alliance welcomes all to attend their 30th Anniversary Dinner Celebration, “Back to the 80’s” at 6 PM on September 22, 2012 at the Drendel Ballroom at the Prairie Lodge in Sun City-Huntley. For ticket information call (815) 338-3590.
Against a back drop that included new president Ronald Reagan spurring Americans to pull themselves out of the worst recession to date; the Bleacher Bums lamenting an incredible 74 years without a World Series title, the birth of the digital age, boom boxes, in-line skates, The Wall, Thriller, ET and something called a “CD”; against the backdrop of the beginning of “the fun decade”, Carol Louise established Family Alliance.
Back then you might not have given much thought to time (aside from showing off your “totally awesome” new digital watch), but other people in your family or your neighborhood were struggling with it, as all generations eventually do.
Family Alliance has grown over the past three decades but still serves as a much-needed alternative to long term care. Today, most of our clientele are low to mid-income. Many of them have experienced situational, medical or psychological challenges that interfere with the basic tasks of daily living. In addition, some of our clients are diagnosed with major depression, paranoid schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease or multi-infarct dementia.
Family Alliance’s programs include adult day health and memory loss-specific day programs with door-to-door transportation; mental health recovery services; in-home counseling; caregiver support groups; case management; care management; and community education.
Family Alliance, still under the tutelage of Executive Director Carol Louise, saves families and government agencies thousands of dollars each month by providing caregiver respite while loved ones attend stimulating, nourishing day health programs. Our services are not duplicated by any agency in our communities; we remain the only adult day health and psycho-social rehab service for mature adults in McHenry County.
Much has changed since 1982 (except the Cubs’ lack of post season success), and Family Alliance continues to commit to the needs of families throughout Northern Illinois.
As agencies close, others step up: Family Alliance featured in Woodstock Independent
Clients participate in gardening activities during Family Alliance’s REACH program. (Photo by Mike Neumann of Woodstock Independent)
Woodstock, IL. June 13, 2012. "Family Service & Community Mental Health Center’s announcement to cease operations June 30 has left clients of the McHenry-based provider and other social service agencies scrambling to determine appropriate steps to take moving forward.
"For the past two years, the McHenry County Mental Health Board has assisted Family Service in continuing its services through consultation, direct funding of services and administrative support. More recently, MCMHB assisted with cash flow loans and advances, said Sandy Lewis, executive director of MCMHB.
"Recent reports show individuals primarily received psychiatric and outpatient mental health services. In the past 90 days, about 2,000 clients have used Family Service’s programs. The closure was announced late last month after an agreement with North Central Behavioral Health Systems to continue services fell through.
"Family Alliance, one of four social service organizations which has said they could provide services for some of Family Service clients, has managed to maintain its operations at current levels despite a difficult economy combined with decreased budgets.
“We’ve gone with the ebb and flow,” said executive director Carol Louise. “Like most [social service agencies], about 80 percent of our cost is staffing. We haven’t been able to give anybody a raise in four years.”
"Family Alliance’s mission is to assist mature adults to remain in their homes and achieve resiliency in their communities by promoting independence through day programming, mental health services and caregiver support. It serves about 400 older adults and hundreds of their caregivers every week through workshops or support groups.
"Louise said late payments from the state have become the norm, meaning budgeting has, in recent years, had to take a different approach. The state is behind about $150,000 in payments to the organization. Phil Versten, development associate at Family Alliance, said the state’s under-appropriation of funding to mental health agencies is inexcusable.
“Mental health agencies don’t provide only safety, only health or only welfare. They impact all three,” he said. “If the government can’t promote the safety, health and welfare of its citizens by funding these agencies, what is the government for?”
"Louise said Family Alliance cannot make firm estimates on the number of clients they will be able to assist from Family Service. She said her organization has licensed clinical social workers and community support staff available. She noted that some clients may qualify to be part of the day programs.
“We will take these people in and give them service.” she said.
"Ultimately, Versten said Family Alliance will keep a close eye on the bottom line as to not endanger its own abilities to serve clients.
“We’re here now, and we’re strong. We’re doing OK,” he said. “We’ll see how funding comes through [before making huge changes].”
"For Meg Bolen and Vineeta Chandra, two clients at Family Alliance, the organization’s day programs offer plenty of opportunities to keep busy. Both are part of the organization’s REACH program, which stands for renew, enhance, adapt, connect and heal.
"Bolen participates in many of the events offered through the program, including gardening, Tai Chi, cooking demonstrations, music groups, book clubs, computer classes, art classes, card games and more.
“They give you challenges [at Family Alliance], and they like to get you involved,” Bolen said, noting that like anything, it’s what a person makes of it. “I take life as a challenge … I ain’t gonna find no cry corner.”
"Chandra agreed, saying Family Alliance helps to facilitate friendships and activities.
“You should appreciate everything you’re getting on this Earth,” she said.
"It’s people like Bolen and Chandra who Family Alliance hopes to continue serving well into the future, but with case loads growing bigger and bigger by the day, Louise said the ability to handle all the incoming demand may be difficult.
“We intend to hire additional staff to meet the demand,” she said.
-Mike Neumann of the Woodstock Independent. For the complete article
Family Alliance wins award from The National Adult Day Services Association
Carol Louise, Executive Director and Cheryl Levinson, Clinical Director with NADSA representatives at the NADSA Awards Ceremony in Milwaukee, WI, September 24th
Family Alliance was selected for NADSA's Outstanding Adult Day Center Award. The National Adult Day Services Association recognizes excellence and innovation in the support and delivery of adult day services through an annual awards competition. This year, NADSA honored only two agencies nationally for this award. Criteria for the award includes creative programming, personalized or specialized services, exceptional programs and services and unique or well-established community partnerships. Award-winning day centers are recognized as a model on which others can learn from as “best practice”. Family Alliance accepted the award at NADSA's 2011 National Adult Day Services Conference on September 24.
For NADSA's press release, please click here for NADSA's The Voice.
NADSA advances the national development, recognition and use of adult day services. To learn more about NADSA, click here.
Family Alliance serves those who have served our country
Calling retired Vets! Family Alliance accepts Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits for retired vets attending day programs; nearly 30% of Family Alliance clients are veterans. Juliana Krupka, Day Program Nurse Manager says, “Our services give Veterans opportunities to participate in mental, physical and social activities that they may not get at home. Bonding with others who have served in the military helps veterans improve their memory, and feel the camaraderie of fellow servicemen.” Family Alliance is having a special Veteran’s Day celebration to appreciate those who have given their service to our country.
If a retired veteran qualifies, the VA helps subsidize the cost of attending the Family Alliance program. Veterans are generally approved for 2-3 days a week, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. through 3 p.m. Included in the program are breakfast, lunch and door-to-door transportation (to McHenry County residents and Del Webb residents in Kane County).