State recognizes community’s protests

By Sheri Forsell

DeKalb community residents’ letters protesting the possible cut of an area disablity program recently were recognized by state-level administrators.

More than 40 letters protested cuts to the Disabilities Access Network (DAN) program from the Family Service Agency of DeKalb County, Inc., 3131 Sycamore Road. The community members wrote letters to Gov. James Thompson and to Susan Suter, director of the Illinois department of rehabilitation services.

DAN is a program offered by Family Service Agency, a not-for-profit organization assembled to help the disabled and their families.

Because of statewide budget cuts, the project was to lose all of its funding from the Department of Rehablitation Services.

Project Director Danielle Strickman said, “We turned to the community members and clients who frequently commented on the value of the unique combination of services provided by DAN.”

The project asked the people of DeKalb to voice their praise of the project to the state administrators. “The response was overwhelming,” Strickman said.

e said with the help of the letters, “we are pleased to learn that we will receive some funding for the fiscal year of 1988.

“We have been told that this strong community support is a most valuable asset for the future development of the project.”

The project was formed one year ago by combining Family Sevice Agency’s board of directors and the Learning About Handicaps Program, a community organization.

DAN is a family-support group open to all parents and family members of disabled children. The program is intended to offer emotional and intellectual support among its members. It is also a place for members to share common experiences and feelings.

DAN is divided into three components—student education, adult education and informational, service and referral network.

Adult Education services were formed to create disability awareness in more than 25 different settings.

Information and referral services provide contacts with local, regional and national resources, library facilities and other services for more than 75 individuals and agencies.

The classes are taught by volunteers, many of whom are NIU students.

The Family Service Agency attempts to “provide vital human services for DeKalb County individuals and families,” an organizational brochure stated. The group also provides Programs for counseling, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Homemakers and Senior Services.

The counseling programs are held by professional counselors who help with problems in stress, communications, marital problems, rearing children and caring for older relatives.

The Big Brother/Big Sister program matches an adult volunteer with a 7- to 14-year-old child from a single-parent family.

omemakers are paraprofessionals who help DeKalb County residents with domestic tasks. The Family Service Agency also operates the Senior Citizen Center of DeKalb, 330 Grove St.