Our annual educational fundraiser, Overcome Obstacles with MRI, has been renamed and revamped to MRI Field Day!
We are still spending the day with WAND raising awareness and celebrating the abilities of those we serve, but we are doing it field day style with a full day of activities in our outdoor activity center, Meaningful Meadows.
Please join us at any part of the day to participate in field games, have lunch with us, and see our programming!
Meet Shawn! Shawn has worked at Walmart for 3 months as a cart retriever. He also assists in carrying out groceries for customers!
Shawn first came to MRI back in 2013. After working a couple of jobs that didn’t work out, Shawn decided that he wanted to go back to school. With help from the Division of Rehabilitation (DRS) and his vocational counselor there, Shawn enrolled at Richland Community College. During his time at Richland he was active in the media club, BDS, and received an outstanding volunteer award. In 2019, Shawn graduated with his Associate’s degree!
After Shawn graduated, he came back to MRI’s Community Employment program and Dee McMillen assisted him in the job process. Dee helped Shawn find businesses that were hiring and assisted him with the application process. Shawn told us how Dee always encouraged Shawn not to give up and keep a positive attitude during his job search and even after he was hired in his current job at Walmart! When Shawn was hired, Dee helped with the new hire paperwork and even spoke to Shawn’s new manager about what would help him be successful in his new job.
Shawn loves his job at Walmart, and having a job in the community makes him feel so happy. He told us how his favorite part is working together as a team and the comradery he feels amongst his co-workers.
We asked Shawn if he had experienced any difficulties working at Walmart and how he handled them. He said,
“I have struggled at times learning the job and keeping the carts in line or keep them from blowing away. With a co-workers help I figured out the best way to do the job and make it easier for me.” – Shawn
Shawn loves working in the community. Without this job he told us he would probably just be sitting at home. We are so glad that Shawn has found a job in the community doing something that he enjoys!
Here are a couple of fun facts about Shawn:
If Shawn could learn how to do anything, it would be to learn to drive a car!
Meet Roger! Roger has worked at MRI for 34 years and currently works as a License Plate Tech in the Production department. He specifically works on the blanking line, but in the past has worked on roller coating and embossing. Roger knows A LOT about license plates!
We asked Roger why his job is important and he told us how license plates provides a good service for the state, and because if it weren’t for them, no one could drive! We couldn’t agree more.
Roger came to MRI out of high school and entered MRI’s Regular Work Program (now known as Supportive Employment). Before coming to MRI, Roger worked at a daycare at a church in Springfield.
You can tell that Roger really loves his job and is an extremely hard worker. When we asked him what he loved most he said “Everything. The people I work with are easy to get along with. The job is not too stressful” If he could switch jobs with anyone at MRI he definitely would not want to be the boss. Instead, he would want to switch with Dewayne, who is his foreman!
Here are a couple other fun facts we learned about Roger:
If Roger had unlimited funds, he said he would invest in something
His dream job is the job he’s currently doing at MRI
Meet Ian! Ian came to MRI’s Supportive Employment Program in 2019 as a referral, where he worked with staff member, Dee McMillen, on finding a job.
Dee started the process by asking Ian lots of questions to help him determine the type of job he would be interested in. From the job search, to interview prep, to the hiring process, Dee was there to support Ian throughout his community employment journey.
Ian was hired in the fall of 2019 to work in the kitchen at St. Mary’s Hospital as part of the utensils group. He was responsible for washing pots and pans and delivering food carts to some of the patients! Two very important tasks of working in a hospital.
Even though Ian is currently laid off due to COVID-19, in his short time at St. Mary’s he has learned a lot and had some great experiences. It meant a lot to Ian when his supervisors appreciated him. He told us about one time when they told him how awesome he was and even gave him some goodies as a thank you.
Ian has also experienced situations of uncertainty while working at St. Mary’s. Sometimes he just wasn’t sure what he should do when his main tasks were finished, so he would take on extra duties like mopping the floors or just simply ask his supervisor what else he could help with. We love Ian’s initiative!
Having a job in the community means a lot to Ian. He told us it makes him feel “happy and excellent”. We are so glad he has found a job that he loves!
Here are some fun facts to get to know Ian even more:
When he isn’t working, he loves to play his Wii!
If he could learn how to do anything, he would want to learn how to win Wheel of Fortune (us too, Ian!)
Ian’s dream job is to be a professional baseball player
For our second National Disability Employment Awareness month spotlight, meet Chaini! Chaini has worked at Evergreen Senior Living for the past 2 years as a Dining Server, where she helps prepare meal trays by placing sides on the trays. She also wraps silverware, washes dishes and puts them away!
Chaini came to MRI two years ago looking for a job in the community. Through MRI’s Supportive Employment Program Chaini was placed into a position at Evergreen Senior Living. This job was a perfect fit for Chaini because throughout her interview she kept mentioning how much she likes to help people. She has a heart of gold!
The start of a new job can be scary and challenging. To help Chaini adapt to her new position, for the first couple of weeks Sandra, a staff member from MRI’s Supportive Employment Program, helped her throughout her training. Sandra helped Chaini by helping her learn her new duties, and explaining them to her in a way that she could easily understand. Sandra often checks in on Chaini and assists her with computer trainings as part of her position. Chaini admitted that in the beginning of her new job, it was challenging. She told us how she had to learn how to listen carefully and how her co-workers were there to support her anytime she needed assistance or had questions. Overall, Chaini has had a very positive experience working at Evergreen and truly loves her job and the people she serves there.
We asked Chaini what she would be doing if she didn’t have to work. “I don’t know, maybe reading. This is why I have a job, I didn’t want to be seen as being lazy, sitting around the house all day or be seen as a kid. This job is gratifying for me. I feel like I’m needed and contributing to the community.” – Chaini
Chaini having a job is a stepping stone to the many other goals and dreams she wants to achieve. A few at the top of her list are to be independent, live on her own, learn to drive and open her own business where she can help people!
Lastly, we asked Chaini how working in the community makes her feel. “It makes me feel like I can be self-sufficient, like I can think on my own and be an adult. At times, I didn’t feel comfortable doing certain tasks, fearful to do a new things, but once you get used to it and press on, it gets easier.” – Chaini
In 1983, we unveiled the first license plate made at Macon Resources, Inc. (MRI) This was an incredibly historic day that forever changed the landscape for individuals with developmental disabilities in our community. You can’t see the photo that well, but it’s hard to miss the smiles and pride on those we serve’s faces.
Almost 40 years later, we are proud to still be making all license plates for the State of Illinois. In fact, 60% of the work done in license plates is by individuals with developmental disabilities! So today, for our first National Disability Employment Awareness Month feature, we are proud to highlight a woman who has been here since that first plate was made in 1983. It’s the woman in the photo holding the “First One” license plate. Meet Barb!
Barb has worked at MRI since 1979. Over 40 years ago, she came to MRI’s Supportive Employment Program looking for assistance in finding a job. Throughout this process, Barb realized she would like to work at MRI, as she liked the types of jobs they had to offer. The Supportive Employment staff assisted her through the resume and application process and Barb was hired!
Barb started out working in license plates, but later wanted to try something different, so she joined our Janitorial department where she currently still works! Barb loves working at the rest areas. We asked her if she ever thought she might want to work somewhere else and she said “No! I love working at MRI and want to keep working here.” Barb went on to tell us that loves to work because it gives her something to do that she enjoys!
Other fun things we learned about Barb:
If she could go anywhere on a vacation, she would go to Hawaii!
Decatur, IL – MRI was selected to receive a $25,000 grant from the America in Bloom (AIB) and Canadian National Railroad (CN) “From the Ground Up” grant program. The announcement will further be explained on Tuesday, June 30th at 10AM in Meaningful Meadows. The grant is supporting landscaping throughout the 1.5 acre center that provides educational and occupational opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities in the community. Meaningful Meadows features 48 trees and 500 plants and flowers. Masks are not required, social distancing is appreciated.
The AIB/CN “From the Ground Up” grant program supports collaborative community greening projects that enhance landscapes in communities neighboring CN rail lines.
Who: MRI, America in Bloom and Canadian National Railroad What: $25,000 grant award When: Tuesday, June 30th at 10AM Where: Meaningful Meadows behind MRI | 2121 Hubbard Ave.
Join MRI, WAND TV and Cromwell Radio in overcoming obstacles in Central Park on Friday, April 24th. All funds raised from this years event will support the programs and services MRI provides over 800 children and adults in Macon county every year.
How can you help Overcome Obstacles? Click on one of the titles below to begin.
1. COLLECT PLEDGES TO COMPETE: Start your own fundraising page through our Facebook page and collect donations for MRI! Know someone who receives services at MRI? Pledge for them! Every person who raises $50 will receive a FREE Overcome Obstacles with MRI t-shirt and will have the opportunity to compete in our inflatable obstacle course at the event.
2. PRE-ORDER: Pre-ordering for Krispy Kreme doughnuts ($7/dozen) begins on Monday, March 30th! NEW for 2020 Notorious P.I.G’s food truck will be in Central Park from 11AM-1PM serving up their delicious BBQ!
3. DONATE: MRI values the individuals we serve and your donations are what keep our doors open.
4. SPONSOR: Is your business interested in sponsoring an event that provides services and opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities in Macon County? Click SPONSOR to see opportunities available.
MRI helps over 800 children and adults with disabilities in our community overcome obstacles each day. We invite you to join us in celebrating their achievements and testing yourself in overcoming similar obstacles.
Krispy Kreme doughnuts ($7 per box) can be picked up at the event in Central Park or delivered (orders of 10 or more). To pre-order (starting Monday, March 30th) : CALL 217.875.8850 | EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org |
NEW FOR 2020
Overcome Obstacles Corporate Sponsor: Form an Overcome Obstacles team with your co-workers! Your team can be as big or small as you want – team fundraising commitments start at $50 per person to come compete in the obstacle course. Besides bragging rights…teams that raise at least $500 to compete in the obstacle course by April 3rd will get their company logo listed on our Overcome Obstacles banner
OO School Challenge: Recruit a minimum of 16 students from your school to commit to raising at least $50 each for MRI. Get creative with extra fundraiser ideas your school can do to raise additional funds (like a dress up day) …there might be a special incentive for the school that raises the most money!
We are excited to co-host Night to Shine for a second year sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation with First Christian Church and GT Church! This is a special prom night experience for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities ages 14 and up. Night to Shine will take place on February 7, 2020. If you would like to volunteer for this amazing night, use the online Volunteer Registration.