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Fourth “Next Steps” program offers advice for social meetings

Jamie Hager Lee, program director with the Connection of Friends organization will discuss ways for young adults to gather socially within a supported environment at the fourth of District 202’s “Next Steps Transition Program” meetings for this school year, on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the District 202 Administrative Center, 15732 Howard Street, Plainfield.

The “Next Steps” program helps parents and caregivers plan, transition and advocate for their children with disabilities. 

This is the fifth year that District 202 is offering the Next Steps Transition training for community members interested in helping parents and caregivers plan, transition and advocate for their children with disabilities.

Connection of Friends aims to provide a place for teens, age 16 and older and adults to gather socially with an emphasis on social, life skill, volunteer and fitness activities daily and on Saturday evenings.   

Terry and Ginny Kline, grandparents of two special needs children, created Connection of Friends after looking for programs for special needs students once they reach high school and complete transition services. 

The Next Steps team comprises District 202 Vocational Education staff focused on improving delivery of services to families of students with disabilities; increasing family awareness of disability options and resources; and linking families in need to agencies that can support them with issues related to transition, said Dee Graves, District 202’s assistant director of private placement and transition.

“Next Steps” team members include Kathy Thomason, who coordinates the Work Training Program at Joliet Junior College; Plainfield Academy Vocational Coordinator Colleen Goldenberg; Project SEARCH teacher Colleen Kelly; and Work Training Program and Plainfield Academy teacher Sarah Bell.

Additional Next Steps trainings will be held regularly throughout this school year. All trainings will start at 6:30 p.m. Community members can attend as many of the trainings as they want.

Meetings are scheduled for:

  • February 19, 2019 – Britney Qualls, Work Incentive Planning (WIPA)
  • March 19, 2019 – Sherri Schneider, Family Benefits Solutions
  • April 16, 2019 -- Speaker and topic TBA

For more information please contact Dee Graves at (815) 577-4023 or