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September '23 News, Updates & Events

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In This Issue

President's Message

2023 Parent University Class 9: "Don't Stress Out: Finding Professionals to Help" - September 21

Catch up on Parent U Class 8: "POA vs. Guardianship vs. Supported Decision-Making"

Why Self-Care Is Essential to Parenting

Meet a Friendly Employer

What's New at Protected Tomorrows

ABLE Basics Webinar - September 14

Upcoming Events

President's Message

In my message to you last month, I talked about making sure you, as the parent or guardian of a special-needs individual, are taking time for yourself to avoid caregiver burnout.

This month’s newsletter includes an excellent article from the Child Mind Institute about the stresses of parenting a special-needs child. Without adequate support, the authors write, “parents may be headed toward caregiver burnout, which negatively affects everyone.”

On September 21, we will host a Parent University webinar on just that topic: “Don’t Stress Out: Finding Professionals to Help.” Our guest speakers will talk about the unavoidable stresses we often face as caregivers (or as the person with the disability) and how to find the guidance to survive it. I hope you will register and join us!

We always remind our clients that they’re not in this alone. Building a support team is key to taking care of our loved ones and ourselves.

Warmest regards,

Mary Anne Ehlert

2023 Parent University Class 9: "Don't Stress Out: Finding Professionals to Help"

Thursday, September 21, Noon-1 p.m. CDT

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Our guest speakers will talk about the stresses we often face as caregivers (or as the person with the disability). Maybe we can’t avoid them, but we certainly should be able to find professionals who can guide us to survive it.

What everyday techniques can we learn, and if we need assistance from a medical professional, how can we find someone who really understands what we are going through?

"Don't Stress Out: Finding Professionals to Help"

Thursday, September 21, Noon-1 p.m. CDT

If you'd like the information, but can’t attend, register, and we’ll provide you with a link to the recorded video after the class.  

For Zoom security, when you register, you’ll receive an email with a link to the class and a passcode—which you’ll be asked to enter when you log-on. (To avoid disruption, we'll close the class at 12:05. If you’re late, you'll be able to watch the video later.) 

Registration is required. Click here to sign up!

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Catch Up on Class 8, "Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship vs. Supported Decision-Making"

View It Free Until September 20!

If you missed last month's Parent University class, "Power of Attorney vs. Guardianship vs. Supported Decision-Making," you can watch it for free—but only for a short time. The video is available with our compliments until September 20. Just use the coupon code 2023pu8guardian at checkout.

In this class, we discussed


  • What each of these are and the differences between them
  • What’s involved in implementing each process
  • How to determine which one is best in your situation


To watch it using the coupon code:

  • Click on the link below to access the class in our store
  • Add the class to your cart
  • Type in the above code at checkout
  • Click “Apply coupon”
Watch Here
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Why Self-Care Is Essential to Parenting

Caring for children with intense needs can take an emotional

(and physical) toll on parents

Parents who are the main caregivers for kids with special needs can be at risk for burnout, especially if they don’t have enough support themselves. In this article from the Child Mind Institute, writer Juliann Grey and clinical expert Dr. Matthew Rouse review the symptoms of caregiver burnout and what parents can do to take care of themselves, plus they explain respite care and how to learn more about it.

We will be discussing caregiver stress in our September 21 class. If you'd like to learn more about it in advance, be sure to check out this informative article.

Meet a Friendly Employer

Our July Parent University session comes to life with a remarkable new

coffee shop in Arlington Heights

Gerry's Cafe may look like an ordinary coffee shop -- in fact, it's a former Starbucks -- but it's not. Rather, it's a nonprofit that hired 45 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to staff the shop. Read the article from the Daily Herald.

Our July Parent University discussed what kinds of employers hire disabled individuals, and here is a live example! Natalie Griffin a former special education teacher, and local business owner Amy Philpott developed the cafe, named in honor of Philpott's aunt, Geralyn Wehmer, who was born with Down syndrome in 1958.

Similar to Will's Place in Skokie, the goal of Gerry's Cafe is to provide meaningful employment to adults with disabilities. We applaud the individuals who are making these dreams a reality.

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What's New at Protected Tomorrows

Here are just a few members of our team!

Barbara Gier

Operations Support

If you’ve ever called Protected Tomorrows, chances are you’ve spoken with Barb! Among other duties, Barb handles all the intake phone calls and manages the appointment calendars. A customer service expert in the insurance industry, she joined Protected Tomorrows in 2014. She is a fierce advocate for her son, John, who has Cerebral Palsy and who now lives independently in the community.

Jeanine Geraci-Dubs

Special Needs Services Coordinator

Jeanine is usually your first contact with Protected Tomorrows services and is in charge of creating and developing Future Care Plans for our families. First and foremost, she builds a strong relationship and trust with each client. Jeanine provides guidance on the most important next step for each family, and works hand in hand with them with compassion and patience. She has spent 15 years working and advocating in the disability community, having grown up with and caring for family members with special needs. 

Kim Woodsum

Operations Coordinator

Kim coordinates our Facebook page and Protected Tomorrows website; along with running the monthly Parent University webinars and assisting with other technology issues. Additionally, Kim provides support to our Special Needs Services Coordinator. She developed her passion for special-needs children during her years as a teacher with Teach for America.

Braden Monahan

Financial Associate

Braden is assisting with the Retiring for Three analysis for our Protected Tomorrows Families. He joined Protected Tomorrows this year after graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in finance. Braden previously worked for a children’s sports instruction company, where he helped special-needs individuals with some of their first athletic and social experiences. 

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ABLE Accounts:

What You Need to Know and How They Can Work For You - Online

We'll discuss the basics of the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Account and how the program can increase financial independence for eligible individuals. Topics include:

  • Any changes that have been implemented regarding ABLE Accounts.
  • How to best utilize your ABLE Account. 

Registration is required


This Is Where We Will Be in the Weeks Ahead...


Upcoming Events 2023

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September 13, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Free Disabilities Family Resource Fair

Prisco Community Center

150 W. Illinois Avenue, Aurora, IL 60506

September 14, 6:30-8 p.m.

"ABLE Accounts – What You Need to Know and How They Can Work For You!" - Online

September 21, noon-1 p.m.

Parent University Class 9 - Online

"Don't Stress Out: Finding Professionals to Help"


October 4, 6:30-8:30pm

"Planning for the Future"

Willow Creek Community Church,

67 Algonquin Rd., South Barrington IL 60010

October 5, 6-7:30pm

"Your Journey Through Our 8-Step Planning Program" - Online

Sponsored by the Arc of the Quad Cities Area

Mary Anne Ehlert explores the many tools available to parents and caregivers: Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Accounts, government benefits, insurance solutions and building and communicating the plan.

Registration is required. Register here

October 10, 6-7:30 p.m.

"Your Journey Through Our 8-Step Planning Guide"

NSSEO, 500 Plum Grove Road, Palatine, IL 60067

October 11, 6-8:30pm

Options Fair/Transitions Fair

York Community High School

344 W. St. Charles St., Elmhurst IL 60126

October 12, 12-1 CDT

Parent University Class 10 - Online

"Financial Planning for the Whole Family: Now & in the Future"


November 15, 6-8:30pm

Best Resource Fair: Transitions for the Future

Niles North High School

9800 Lawler Ave Skokie, IL 60077

November 16, noon to 1 p.m. CST

Parent University Class 11 - Online

"The Big Worry: Future Residential Options"

For more information on these events and our complete 2023 calendar, click here.

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