A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration were held July 18 at Choice Chicago Ridge, 6101 W. 107th Street, Chicago Ridge. The ribbon was cut by Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar. (Photos by Kelly White)

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration were held July 18 at Choice Chicago Ridge, 6101 W. 107th Street, Chicago Ridge. The ribbon was cut by Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar. (Photos by Kelly White)

Park Lawn dedicates Chicago Ridge facility 

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reporter park lawn chi ridge6 2023

An open house and tours of the facility were held July 18 at the new Choice Chicago Ridge.

By Kelly White 

Park Lawn, which provides services that promote choice and access to community living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, held a grand opening of its new Chicago Ridge location on Tuesday with an open house. 

Park Lawn’s mission focuses on encouraging people with disabilities to discover their passion, to take pride in their accomplishments, to live more independently and to continue to thrive. 

Park Lawn opened the doors to its newest day program location, Choice Chicago Ridge, 6101 W. 107th Street, on May 1. A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration featuring tours of the facility were held on Tuesday. 

“We are pleased to have Park Lawn here in Chicago Ridge,” Mayor Chuck Tokar said. “Seeing them here right in the community means a lot to me personally.” 

“I’m grateful working for a company whose main priority is to keep our clients engaged and happy with the activities that they choose,” Joslynn Serrato, employee at Choice Chicago Ridge, said. “It’s my greatest gift to have a job where it doesn’t feel like one.” 

reporter park lawn chi ridge4 2023Park Lawn has several residential and day program facilities located throughout local communities, including: Choice programs in Crestwood and Chicago Ridge; Discover programs in Tinley Park and Palos Heights; Connections in Oak Lawn; and the Grace program in Palos Heights. Community Integrated Living Arrangements, Park Lawn Home and Park Lawn Center are located in Alsip. 

“We are excited to have our residential program in Chicago Ridge and now also have a day program in Chicago Ridge,” Nancy Schmitz, Director of Development for Park Lawn, said. “This allows for us to be more present in the community.” 

​Choice is a community-based day program that promotes responsibility, independence and self-advocacy by empowering participants to explore and discover new interests. The program’s forward-thinking curriculum provides the training and skills needed to pursue social, employment and volunteer opportunities within the community. Participants create their own schedule of activities choosing from an ever-changing lineup of options that match their interests. This is achieved through offering an innovative curriculum that addresses both self and community awareness.  

The goal of the program is to create opportunities that increase knowledge and exploration in the community for all of its participants. 

This includes employment opportunities, skills development, leisure pursuits and community volunteerism. The Choice Program focuses on person centered job development and includes customized employment strategies to assist in identifying a desired career path. 

Choice has an independent vibrant site, helping to facilitate a community connection for all participants. This allows participants to be active members of the community for the majority of their day. 

Chicago Ridge was an ideal location, according to Park Lawn officials. 

“We have quite a few Park Lawn families who reside in Chicago Ridge,” Schmitz said. 

“We are thrilled to be in the Chicago Ridge community and we are excited to provide our participants opportunities to pursue their personal goals, in employment, volunteerism, life-long learning and community enrichment,” Frank Portada, Executive Director for Park Lawn, said. “Chicago Ridge is a welcoming community and we are happy to make new friends across the village.” 

Currently, there are 35 adults ranging from age 30 to 60 at the new Chicago Ridge location, with some part-time and some full-time. 

The Choice program has a dedication to discovering each participant’s true desires in regards to employment and social experiences for a well-rounded life, officials said, and participants agree.  

“I like the outings. I like going to play basketball, go for walks, paint pictures, play virtual golf and go out for picnics with my friends,” Melissa G., Choice Chicago Ridge participant, said. 

Arlene Reed, mother of Choice Chicago Ridge participant, Tom, said she could not be happier with the program. 

“My son absolutely loves it,” Reed, of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, said. “He looks forward to going and the staff is just unbelievable. I couldn’t say enough good things about it.” 

reporter park lawn chi ridge5 2023

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration featuring tours of the facility were held July 18 at Choice Chicago Ridge.  

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