Resource Directory /

Chicago Resources

  • Charting the LifeCourse Nexus Training and Technical Resource Center

    Charting the LifeCourse Nexus or LifeCourse Nexus framework was developed by families to help individuals with disabilities at any age or stage of life and their families develop a vision for a good life. LifeCourse Nexus provides free infographics, YouTube videos and step-by-step tip sheets to help people of all ages and abilities with identifying their dreams and desires, thinking about what they need to know and do, identifying how to find or develop supports, and discovering what it takes to live the lives they want to live.

    The LifeCourse Nexus Library features a wide range of downloadable materials to help with the transition from school to community, including:

    • Person-centered tools for exploring your desires and unique needs
    • The family perspective booklet and tip sheets
    • Kits (The Life Domains) focusing on life stages and exploring employment, healthy living, housing options and other areas
    • Videos and step-by-step tip sheets on using the Integrated Supports Star tools to bring everything together
  • Every Step of the Way Resource Center for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

    Every Step of the Way (ESW) takes a hands-on, person-centered approach to providing support, networking opportunities and resources for individuals with mild to profound intellectual disabilities ages 20 and up and their parents/caregivers. ESW seeks to create a community where parents/caregivers in Chicago can:

    • Find resources for recreation, education, health (mental and physical), social and daily living skills, and behavioral intervention services
    • Network with each other
    • Brainstorm and collaborate to create programming and develop opportunities for their adult children
    • Advocate and network to accommodate the needs of their adult child and the adult children in the ESW community
  • National Alliance for Caregiving

    The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) is a non-profit coalition of national organizations providing research, advocacy and innovation to make life better for family caregivers. The Alliance’s research, programs and resources include:

  • Able Flight Aviation Scholarships for People with Disabilities

    Able Flight is a nonprofit organization offering scholarship opportunities for flight and aviation career training for people ages 18 and up with physical disabilities. Past recipients have included wheelchair users, wounded veterans, and people with a variety of congenital birth defects or who have lost limbs. You can learn more about eligibility requirements, application deadlines, what scholarships will cover and more by reading Able Flight’s frequently asked questions.

    Able Flight also offers three different scholarships programs:

    • The Full Flight Training Scholarship for people who wish to earn a Sport Pilot certificate.
    • The Return to Flight Scholarship for someone who becomes disabled after already having earned a pilot’s license.
    • The Career Training Scholarship allows an individual to earn an FAA-issued Repairman Certificate (Light Sport Aircraft) with Maintenance Rating, an FAA Dispatcher License, or for training to qualify for a career in the use of drones for commercial purposes. This scholarship can pay for academic expenses for an aviation career with committee approval.
  • KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) Chicago

    KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) Chicago offers youth with disabilities and volunteer coaches free, non-competitive, one-on-one programs providing physical activity, fun and support for the overall health and well-being of all participants. Programs are open to all youth ages 5 to 21 with physical or developmental disabilities. Indoor and outdoor recreational activities are available year-round. Registration for programs takes place quarterly.

    KEEN Chicago programs are age appropriate and tailored to each athlete’s needs. Athletes can choose from a wide variety of camps, programs and day trips, including sports, yoga, swimming, dance and more. Fill out the New Athletes Enrollment Form online to learn more about becoming a KEEN Chicago athlete.

  • Summer EBT “SUN Bucks” and Summer Meal Sites

    Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) or SUN Bucks is a nutrition program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help families buy food for their school-aged children during the summer. Illinois families will receive a one-time benefit of $120 for each eligible child to purchase groceries for their household. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) will provide EBT benefits at the end of August or beginning of September 2024.

    See the Summer EBT/SUN Bucks Fact Sheet in English or la EBT de verano/SUN Bucks Fact Sheet in Spanish to learn more.

    Your school can help you with basic questions about Summer EBT. Households should visit the IDHS Summer EBT webpage for more information.

    The Illinois State Board of Education also partners with the Illinois Hunger Coalition and No Kid Hungry to operate the Summer Food Service Program hotline and text service. To find summer meal sites:

  • Childhood Tracheostomy Alliance

    The Childhood Tracheostomy Alliance is a non-profit created by families and healthcare providers working together to transform the care and quality of life of children with tracheostomy and ventilator dependence and their families. The Alliance is focused on educating communities, improving access to in-home support and supplies, helping with out-of-pocket medical expenses, and providing a network of support from both caregivers and healthcare professionals. The Childhood Tracheostomy Alliance website includes:

    • Frequently asked questions and terms about tracheostomy and mechanical ventilation
    • Annual caregiver grants
    • A list of resources by state
  • PKU Organization of Illinois Andrew Craig Memorial Scholarship

    The PKU Organization of Illinois awards the Andrew Craig Memorial Scholarship annually to qualified individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU) or allied disorders. Eligible applicants may receive scholarships of up to $2,000. The scholarship applicant requirements include:

    • Having PKU or an Allied Disorder diagnosis
    • Currently residing in Illinois
    • Enrolling to attend an accredited college, university or vocational school for the fall semester of the current calendar year

    A student may receive more than one scholarship during their secondary education but not in consecutive years.

  • BRIC Foundation

    BRIC Foundation (Break, Reinvent, Impact and Change) is a non-profit company focused on increasing representation in entertainment, gaming, media and tech. BRIC works with leaders across these industries, and government and education partners to create inclusive opportunities for women and underrepresented people to be successful. BRIC Foundation’s student programming includes:

    • Summer Internships
    • Creative academies
    • BRIC Student Communities providing virtual Art Jams and industry speakers
  • The Conversation Project

    The Conversation Project is an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to help people talk about their wishes for care through the end of life so others can understand and respect those wishes. The project offers free tools, videos and other resources to help make difficult conversations with loved ones easier. Resources are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Audio (English). Guide topics include:

    • A conversation starter guide
    • Talking to your health team
    • What matters to me workbook for people with serious illness
    • How to start talking with a child who is living with a serious illness about the health care that is right for them
    • Encouraging conversations in your community