Little City and Countryside Association to Merge

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Little City and Countryside merger creates a leading human services organization uniquely positioned to maintain and sustain programs and services for individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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Shawn Jeffers, Executive Director, Little City

Our goal is to inspire, innovate, advocate and pursue success with passion and purpose, and to create hope, happiness and optimism for individuals with disabilities and their families. - Shawn Jeffers, Executive Director, Little City

Little City today announced they have entered into a merger agreement with Countryside Association for People with Disabilities. Both organizations are aligned regarding their hopes, wishes and dreams for the future.

Approximately one year ago discussions between Little City and Countryside Association began to identify the opportunities and benefits of a combined organization. Every care and consideration was given to ensure that the end result would benefit all participants and staff, as well ensure long-term sustainability.

”Today is a day of celebration as well as reflection. It marks the beginning of something new and exciting, building a future filled with the capacity for greater resilience and sustainability in the face of a dramatically changing landscape,” stated Shawn Jeffers, Executive Director of Little City. “The merger integration process brings with it a natural opportunity to reevaluate – and even improve – our ability to focus on what is most important: bringing life enrichment and fulfillment to children and adults with disabilities, and their families.”

The Benefits of a Combined Organization
The combined organization will provide more comprehensive services and a greater array of person-centered programs. The unified team will enhance everyone’s ability to help those it serves to fully realize their unique potential and flourish with their family, friends, and community.

“With significant governmental and legislative challenges, joining forces will increase the organization's ability to efficiently serve and advocate for children and adults with disabilities, and their families,” said Howard Reicheneker, interim Executive Director of Countryside Association. “The Integration process could take up to a year to complete. Teams are working to determine the best way to integrate programs that overlap and to expand the capacity of programs unique to each organization.”

Countryside brings a focus on home-based services in the Northwest suburbs and a track record in day programming and employment services. Little City's strengths include its open and therapeutic community, day school, recreation center, vocational programming, and its well-regarded Center for the Arts. It also provides foster and adoptive placement services.

Shawn Jeffers will become Executive Director of the newly merged organization. Howard Reicheneker will take a position on the Little City financial team to facilitate full integration of the two organizations.

A unified Vision and Mission
The new organization’s Vision is a world where the lives of children and adults with disabilities are transformed to help them fully realize their unique potential and flourish with their family, friends and community.

Together, the combined entity will seek to realize this vision through a new, unified Mission: To be a leader in providing children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities the best options and opportunities to live safely, learn continuously, explore creatively and work productively. To inspire, innovate, advocate and pursue success with passion and purpose, and to create hope, happiness and optimism for individuals with disabilities and their families.

About Countryside Association for People with Disabilities
For more than 60 years Countryside Association for People with Disabilities has offered a variety of support services with one goal in mind—a better quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To that end, we offer a variety of support services that promote access to paid work, development of personal skills and increased social opportunities, all directed toward building greater participation within our community.

About Little City
Since 1959, Little City has made great strides and continues to lead the way with transformational and innovative programs and services, giving children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunities to flourish and fully realize their unique potential. With a commitment to attaining a greater quality of life for hundreds of children and adults, Little City actively promotes choice, person-centered planning and a holistic approach to health and wellness. Little City has a therapeutic, 56-acre community located in Palatine and has offices in Schaumburg and Chicago.

For any additional questions, please contact Shawn Jeffers at sjeffers@littlecity.org.

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Lawrence Heisler
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