March 31, 2019
A message to families from President & CEO Kim Zoeller
Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker has extended the “stay at home” order until April 30, 2020. I know these are trying times. However, this announcement requires us to push the potential re-opening date for our various services to the end of the month or early May. We feel it is in everyone’s best interest that we align our decisions with the directives provided by our Governor and other state regulatory entities.
For our families that care for your child or sibling at home, please know that we are here for you, but just in a different way until we can safely resume our services. Please contact us anytime if you need anything.
We continue to focus on the health, safety, and well-being of those that reside at our Specialized Living Center, group homes, and apartment settings. We continue to be vigilant and follow all CDC recommendations. We are grateful to be receiving additional iPads so we can keep everyone connected with friends and families.
I want to thank you all for your kindness. So many of you have donated meals and other resources dedicated to keeping people happy and engaged. We can still use disinfectant spray, hand sanitizer, and masks. You can email Dena McGady if you’d like to discuss how you can help.
Please take good care and stay healthy!
March 27, 2019
A message to families from President & CEO Kim Zoeller
I am proud of the resilience and flexibility with which Ray Graham Association team members and the people we support are responding to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The strength of our community is particularly evident in times like this. Following Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s “stay at home” order for the entire state, the people with disabilities that we serve are healthy and happy. With the round-the-clock support of our dedicated support staff, we are maintaining best practices to slow the spread of COVID-19 as outlined by the CDC and IDPH.
In compliance with the statewide ban on gatherings outside of the home, re-opening key services is further delayed.
- Monarch Academy, Monarch Academy II, Gateway Special Recreation Association, and the Hanson Center horsemanship program will close until at least Tuesday, Apr. 7. These closure includes lessons and outside groups that utilize our facilities.
- Community Learning Center programs will close until at least Wednesday, Apr. 15, as required by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
How You Can Help
- Donate Money: Buried in the federal COVID-19 relief bill is a measure that allows you to take a $300 above-the-line deduction for giving to charity. If you would like to donate, click here and select the “COVID-19 Emergency Fund.”
- Donate Supplies: We are prepared and have the supplies to support the people in our care for now. However, with the uncertainty of how long the social distancing will be needed, we would gratefully accept any extra supplies you may have. Right now, increasing the supply of medical masks, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer would decrease uncertainty. If you have any extra supplies that you can share with Ray Graham Association, email Dena McGady at for details on how to deliver them to us safely.
- Do Something Special: If you would like to order take-out lunch or dinner for a person we support and their roommates, our team members are happy to make it an occasion! Email Dena McGady for more information on how you can join the Ray Graham team members in making days meaningful.
Indeed, we are safer at home, but we are not losing our sense of community. We are imagining exciting ways for people to connect and are devoted to doing all we can to help those whom we’re privileged to serve. Some recent activities include card games, baking, art projects, and phone or video calls to family and friends. We would love for every home to have an iPad for FaceTiming family and mental health professionals. If you have an extra or un-used iPad that you would like to donate, email Dena McGady.
We value your understanding as we continue to work together to protect the people in our care and the people we employ.
March 18, 2019
A message to families from President & CEO Kim Zoeller
The health and safety of your family member, you, and our team is our highest priority. While we have put restrictions in place for home visits and visitors, we believe we need to take additional steps to minimize the risk of exposure further.
There will be no visitors allowed in any of our homes effective today, Mar. 18 after 7 pm.
Only extended home visits will be permitted. If you would like to arrange for an extended visit to your home for your family member, please make those arrangements today. We will support your family member to be ready for pick up by 6 pm. People electing to do an extended visit would not be able to return to a Ray Graham community home until at least Wednesday, Apr. 15, when we resume our services at our Community Learning Centers.
Please note that this date is contingent upon the approval of the Department of Human Services. We understand that emergencies occur, and families may need to pick up their family member at a different time. The extended visit requirements will apply.
After 7 pm today, you must remain outside our homes while we assist your family member to your vehicle.
We are deploying iPads to our homes so that everyone has access to technology to connect virtually with family and friends. Please know that these measures are only being put in place to protect the well-being of everyone. We greatly value and appreciate your support and partnership. Please keep yourself safe and healthy. If you have any questions or concerns, please email your staff contact or call 630-620-2222.
March 16, 2019
Thank you so very much for your support and flexibility during this unprecedented time. As the situation we are facing continues to unfold, so do our precautions and the directions from our regulatory entities.
Effective the close of business today:
- Community Learning Center programs will close. We received direction late last night that the Illinois Department of Human Services is requiring the closure of these services statewide until at least Wednesday, Apr. 15.
- Monarch Academy and Monarch Academy II will close until at least Tuesday, Mar. 31, at which time we will reassess.
- Gateway Special Recreation Association will be canceling Spring Break Camp and other programs until at least Tuesday, Mar. 31, at which time we will reassess.
- Hanson Center Horsemanship program will close until at least Tuesday, Mar. 31, at which time we will reassess. This closure includes lessons and outside groups that utilize the arena.
We realize that for many families, our day services and programs are a lifeline for you. Our team will be in touch with you throughout this difficult time to provide updates and keep the lines of communication open. Our number one goal is keeping everyone safe and healthy.
All people that receive residential services will receive support around the clock in their homes. We will ensure that people get to necessary medical appointments, but all other community participation has been ceased.
As a reminder, visitors (including families) must contact the Program Director or Assistant Director(s) to discuss any plans to visit any of our homes. Any unscheduled visitors may be turned away. Families should only plan for essential home visits unless you are planning to keep your family member home for an extended period. People served and their families will be subject to screenings recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Human Services. We will happily support your family members to Skype, FaceTime, or make phone calls to connect with family members.
Again, thank you so much for being a great partner with us. This is a difficult time for everyone. Our team has never been more dedicated to our mission. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Chief Development Officer Mark Langan at MLangan@RayGraham.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2019
Contact: Mark Langan
With the recent developments regarding COVID-19, the 2019 novel coronavirus, there is great concern. We are following best practices regarding daily operations throughout the organization as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Department of Human Services. “At Ray Graham Association, the well-being of the people we serve and our team is our highest priority. You can be confident that we have contingency plans in place to maintain health and safety for everyone,” says President & CEO Kim Zoeller.
Ray Graham Association provides Infectious and Communicable Disease Control training for all direct support staff, which outlines requirements for prevention, sanitation, and universal precautions we follow every day. We are taking additional steps to raise awareness and reinforce prevention strategies, including agency-wide restrictions of non-essential visits, canceling tours of our facilities, and screening every visitor for fever per IDHS guidelines.
As always, we are taking measures to protect the health of our community. “Rest assured that while there is no need to panic, the leadership and staff of Ray Graham Association are going above and beyond to maintain the safety of the people we serve, their families, our employees, and volunteers,” says Director of Nursing Marie Vonderheydt. As of today, there are no suspected COVID-19 cases at Ray Graham Association.
Our organization, country, and the world are attempting to make wise decisions about an unprecedented and dynamic public health predicament. We are following the guidelines recommended by the CDC to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Day Services: Any person we serve or employ is required to stay home if they have symptoms of an acute respiratory illness (similar to the flu) or a fever. If a person we serve exhibits these symptoms, they will not be permitted to attend programs, and their return will be conditional upon the advice of medical professionals. We will screen each visitor for a fever to limit possible exposure to any illness.
- Residences: Any person we serve that exhibits any symptoms of acute respiratory illness or fever will be taken to urgent care or emergency department for assessment. Physicians’ orders will be strictly followed. We are limiting family visits to essential visits and will screen each visitor for a fever to limit possible exposure to any illness.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email Chief Development Officer Mark Langan at MLangan@RayGraham.org. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our community. We are continually evaluating the situation and will communicate with affected parties throughout this challenge. We appreciate your patience and partnership at this time.
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