Meet the Cortes family — (L-R) Madelaine, William and Cassie. Madelaine works in Commons’ finance department and has been with us for 23 years. Before joining our staff, Madelaine’s children attended the early education and after school program at Taylor House in the early 90s. “We lived right around the corner from Taylor House,” said Madelaine. “As a single parent, I feared what would happen to my kids’ future. I wanted to make sure they succeeded, so their education was very important to me.”
And succeed they did. Cassie, now 30 received her bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in social work from University of Illinois at Chicago. She now works as a regional manager and investment specialist at Primerica Insurance. William is 28 and received his bachelor’s degree from Calumet College and a master’s from St. Joseph in business management.
“Chicago Commons shaped my kids’ life, and they were prepared to learn and succeed. As a mom, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
For the last two years, Paul and Melissa have been part of Chicago Commons’ Senior Services program. Melissa is a college counselor at University of Chicago Lab Schools. Paul, a former stockbroker, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s a few years ago when he was just 57. He and Melissa just recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Melissa sent us this note:
If it were not for the caring professionals at Chicago Commons’ Adult Day Service program, I would be struggling to find a way to care for Paul while I continued to work full time. Through my experiences with support group friends, I have found that many spouses who care for people with dementia are forced to quit their jobs because they do not have adequate options to care for their loved ones.
I am grateful to have found Chicago Commons at the time that I did when it was no longer feasible for Paul to remain home alone. After trying a couple of other day programs that did not fit his needs, we found Chicago Commons. What made Chicago Commons different was the time and effort they expended to acclimate Paul. When I told one of their staff members that Paul loves anything to do with his hometown of Detroit, especially Motown music, she arrived the next day with a Motown DVD!
Through Chicago Commons’ transportation services, Paul takes the bus home in the evening. When it became apparent that Paul was getting anxious on the bus ride home, the bus driver altered his route. Paul is now dropped off early in the run before he can become frustrated. Each morning we are greeted with a smile by Clover, who runs the front desk. She is always happy to see Paul, regardless of his mood. Chicago Commons has provided a vital service for me as a caregiver and for my husband Paul. They have enabled us to maintain our quality of life, and I’m forever grateful.