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.
This fall semester MRI has had the privilege of having 4 great interns work with our persons served and gain real-world experience.
Meet MRI’s Fall Human Resources Intern, Ethan Meyer!
Ethan is a senior at Millikin University and is wrapping up his Fall HR Internship with MRI. He will be graduating May 2020 and is excited to begin his career in HR.
MRI sat down with Ethan and asked him how his Fall internship experience was before he finished.
“MRI’s overall mission and community involvement really stood out to me. I’ve always been about helping people and I really admire the organization. When my internship coordinator at Millikin told me that there was an HR internship available at MRI, I was completely on board! I want to go into Human Resources when I graduate so this was a great opportunity for me.”
After Ethan graduates from Millikin he would love to work in Human Resources out in California. “I have family in California and it would be great to be close to them and experience all the opportunities California has to offer.”
As for what Ethan has learned during his time at MRI, he says he has learned so much! “I’ve enhanced my public speaking skills as well as how to conduct myself in a professional work space. I’ve also gained new friends and overall had a great experience and can’t thank MRI enough!”
Also meet MRI’s Music Interns- Emily Kouzios, Kaela Adams and Demetri Sepsis!
Just beginning their freshman year at Millikin University, Emily, Kaela and Demetri want to begin real-world experience. After meeting MRI’s recruiter at a Career Fair at Millikin and realizing MRI was looking for a music intern, the three friends got together to start planning out the idea for a music internship program at MRI.
Emily, Kaela and Demetri have loved their internship experience at MRI so far! “We’ve really enjoyed getting to know the individuals MRI serves and seeing how much fun they have singing the songs we bring them each week.”
We wish Ethan, Emily, Kaela and Demetri the best of luck with their finals and future endeavors!
If you are interested in learning more about the internships MRI offers, please contact Lyric Smith – MRI Recruiter/Generalist at 875.8802 or email@example.com
October 28th – November 1st was the United Way Campaign Week. The week was designed to raise money for the United Way internally.
MRI had so many fun activities to help raise money for United Way, but also had fun activities that their individuals served were able to participate in.
Monday, October 28: MRI Spirit Day & Chili Cook-off
Tuesday, October 29: Pajama Day & Family Feud
Wednesday, October 30: Wacky Tacky Day & Dessert Cart
Thursday, October 31: Happy Halloween Trick-or-Treat & Dance
Friday, November 1: Fan Favorite Day & Talent Show
It was such a fun week spent with friends and so many new memories were made. United Way supports MRI throughout the entire year so it was amazing to see all the support MRI was giving back to United Way.
Happy November! With a new month beginning that means MRI has chosen a new employee of the month.
Congratulations to Doug Carlson, MRI’s November Employee of the Month. Doug is a member of our maintenance department at MRI.
Doug was nominated by several people in the Admin and Production department. He was nominated because “he is always willing to help others, no matter what the request. Doug has the best attitude and is extremely caring and has great relationships with the individuals we serve.”
Congratulations again, Doug! We are happy to call you MRI’s employee of the month!
Last week, MRI celebrated Production Week for all of their production staff. This covers a wide variety of employees that MRI has from janitorial and lawn care fields, packaging, maintenance and manufacturing license plates. The production division includes more than 30 workers!
“They are like the offensive linemen of the world,” said Brad Auten, director of sales and production. “They do a lot of the work, but the quarterback gets the interview.”
MRI spoiled their production team by surprising them with daily treats; doughnuts on Monday, bags of candy on Tuesday, cookies from Sunrise Bakery on Wednesday, specially designed MRI t-shirts on Thursday, stainless steel water bottles and a pizza party for the finale on Friday.
The packaging assembly division prepares materials used for packaging in local businesses. Fuyao Glass, Cim-Tek Filtration in Bement and Mueller Company have benefited from the production employees at MRI. The janitorial department manages five rest areas in Central Illinois. The employees clean, mow and perform other duties at the facilities. Janitorial work is also utilized at other state-managed buildings. The production facility also makes all the license plates for the State of Illinois.
Sixty percent of MRI’s employees have developmental disabilities. Employees gain work experience and a paycheck. “Ideally so they can find a way out on their own and lead a more independent life,” Auten said.
30 high school students from Mt. Zion High School visited MRI last Friday, September 27th to spend the day with individuals served at MRI. Individuals served like Wanda had the best time spending the day with the student she was paired with for the day.
There were multiple different activities happening in several areas at MRI. The individuals served were so excited to be able to show the Mt. Zion students Meaningful Meadows. They played games on the new basketball court, a round of mini golf course as well as walking around the track. Inside they were able to make a collaborative collage together in the Special Projects room and were so excited to play a competitive round of Wii Sports in the Big Activity Room towards the end of the day.
MRI can’t thank Mt. Zion High School enough for having some of your students spend the day at MRI.
Scroll below to see more pictures from the Mount Zion & MRI Field Day!
It’s a new month, which means a new employee of the month!
Congratulations to October’s Employee of the Month, Andy Gaither. Did we mention he is an individual served at MRI? Andy started at MRI back in 1994 and will be celebrating his 25th anniversary this October as a license plate technician.
Andy was nominated for employee of the month by fellow coworkers back in license plates. Andy was nominated because “he is very friendly and tries his best at everything he does. He is always willing to help others even when not asked. He goes above and beyond in the plates area”.
It was a fun summer at MRI! While the finishing touches were happening on MRI’s Meaningful Meadows, the 1.5 acre innovative outdoor activity center, the individuals served, MRI staff, volunteers from the community and Eric Weatherford got started on the beautiful mural concept that Eric and all the persons served created and decided upon back in June.
“Eric did a great job in designing an artistic piece that really affected the child in us but was not for children,” said Amy Bliefnick, CEO/President at MRI.
With the help of MRI staff, volunteers and persons served at MRI, the project took about a week to complete, with Eric taking a second a final week finishing the fine details of the mural.
It turned out wonderful! Eric did an amazing job capturing what Meaningful Meadows is and the individuals served were so happy and excited to help Eric bring the mural to life. MRI can’t thank Eric enough for his amazing work in Meaningful Meadows!
This program was partially supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the Decatur Area Arts Council.
Scroll below to see pictures from the process of painting the mural to the final product!
Macon Resources, Inc. (MRI) held their ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday, September 24, for their innovative outdoor activity center for adults with developmental disabilities, Meaningful Meadows. Meaningful Meadows is one of the most unique inclusive recreational areas offered in the state of Illinois for adults with developmental disabilities.
Meaningful Meadows has the following features throughout the acre and a half park:
Exercise – features include a walking path, basketball & pickle ball court, splash pad, and putting green
Sensory – includes a waterfall, chimes, butterfly garden, plants and flowers, a sound board, and human“car wash”
Escape – features several different quiet and relaxing areas around Meaningful Meadows
“Exercise, physical fitness, fresh air, all helps with the education,” said Amy Bliefnick, CEO/President of MRI. “It helps us to be sharper and smarter, learn easier, and helps us enjoy life a little more.”
Karina Hayes, a client at MRI said “It gives us a chance to experience what nature is and interact with others.”
300 guests joined MRI to help celebrate the grand opening of Meaningful Meadows. It was a fun-filled day full of smiles, laughter and tons of fun activities happening in the outdoor activity center once the ribbon was cut. The persons served were playing basketball and pickle ball on their new basketball and pickle ball court. Families enjoyed swinging together on the wheelchair swings and playing with the musical chimes. Snack stations were placed around the entire walking path for guests to enjoy and giving them the chance to see what Meaningful Meadows has to offer for adults with developmental disabilities.
It was an amazing day at MRI!
Click here to learn more about Meaningful Meadows!
Continue scrolling to see more pictures from the ribbon cutting ceremony of Meaningful Meadows.
MRI PR and Development Manager
GT and First Christian Churches in Partnership with Macon Resources to Host Night to Shine Prom for People with Special Needs Sponsored by Tim Tebow Foundation
Decatur, IL – GT Church and First Christian Church in partnership with Macon Resources announced today that they will serve as one of nearly 500 churches around the world already registered to host Night to Shine 2019, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, simultaneously on Friday, February 8. Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older, hosted by local churches in all 50 states and across the globe all on one night. GT, First Christian, and Macon Resources are excited to be a part of this worldwide movement that God is using as a catalyst to change how culture embraces people with special needs and to rally the church worldwide to stand up for those who are differently-abled.
“As an agency that provides services to over 800 individuals with special needs in Macon County, MRI couldn’t be more grateful to support GT Church, First Christian Church, and the Tim Tebow Foundation in this event” said Amy Bliefnick, President and CEO of Macon Resources. “This world-wide event is changing the way people with special needs are viewed, and what better way to celebrate them and their talents by hosting an unforgettable prom night experience.”
Every guest of Night to Shine enters this complimentary event on a red carpet complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and paparazzi. Once inside, guests receive the royal treatment, including hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas, limousine rides, corsages and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors, a dance floor… all leading up to the moment when each guest is crowned king or queen of the prom.
“I am blown away by how we are seeing God use the Church to step into this space as an advocate for people with special needs. It’s not about my foundation or the churches themselves, but about communities coming together to love and celebrate people with differences. Every town, every village, every state, every country needs a Night to Shine for their special needs community – a chance to be a part of something significant and life-changing…and to be blessed in the process,” said Tim Tebow, founder of the Tim Tebow Foundation.
As sponsor of Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Foundation will provide each host church with the official 2019 Night to Shine Planning Manual, the official Night to Shine Prom Kit, complete with decorations and gifts for the guests, and personalized guidance and support from a Tim Tebow Foundation staff member. The foundation also has committed millions of dollars in financial support to hundreds of churches needing assistance in hosting the event.
“We are excited to host Night to Shine for the first time in our community alongside GT Church with the support of MRI”, said BJ Leonard, Missions Pastor at First Christian Church. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase God’s love for all people, especially those with special needs.”
“First Christian Church is thrilled to provide support and help for some of the most special people in our community. Jesus expected his followers to care for people of all social settings and levels. This joyous event will reach into the lives of some of our deepest friends and family members. It’s a win for both those who are served as well as those who serve” said Wayne Kent, Lead Pastor at First Christian Church.
When Night to Shine launched in 2015, 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers worked together to honor more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom. This past February, 537 host churches and 175,000 volunteers came together to celebrate 90,000 honored guests with special needs. Now in its fifth anniversary year, the Tim Tebow Foundation is seeing new churches sign up continuously and the event is expected to take place in over 700 locations this coming February.
“Night to Shine is a wonderful opportunity to show those with special needs that they are valued and loved by God”, said Pastor Matt Samuels, Lead Pastor at GT Church. “People with special needs do not often get the opportunity to attend an event like this, so it is a wonderful experience to make this night happen for them, as this is what serving Christ is all about.”
ABOUT GT CHURCH
GT Church exists to help people Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose, and Make a Difference.
ABOUT FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The mission of First Christian Church is to develop devoted followers of Jesus Christ by growing and serving together. This includes serving in the community and caring for people in Jesus’ name.
MRI is a non-profit organization in Decatur, Illinois, that provides services to promote the growth, independence, and self-worth of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
ABOUT TIM TEBOW FOUNDATION
The Tim Tebow Foundation exists to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. That mission is being fulfilled every day through the foundation’s seven areas of outreach, including W15H, Timmy’s Playrooms, Orphan Care, Adoption Aid, the Tebow CURE Hospital, Team Tebow and Night to Shine. For more information on the Tim Tebow Foundation, please visit www.timtebowfoundation.org