Reaching Goals at Accountability Check-In

The pandemic and subsequent shutdowns have created new challenges for everyone regarding motivation and accomplishing goals. During the summer of 2020, TotalLink introduced a new program to help participants set and reach their goals.  

Facilitated by Kathleen Heitmann, the Accountability Check-In program meets weekly. It provides support to help the participants set and reach their personal goals by working with an accountability coach and receiving encouragement from their peers.  

“We have several discussions on accountability and responsibility. We break down each participant’s goals week by week,” said the program's accountability coach, Kathleen Heitmann. “At the end of the session, each participant not only has success in reaching their goal, but the process builds confidence and integrity by achieving those goals.”

Accountability Check-In has been a welcome new addition to the young adults participating in the program. “We take baby steps at first and then we keep working on our goal. Once we achieve it, it’s awesome,” said program participant, Naomi. 

“I have felt really proud of myself, and enjoy being a part of the class. It brings me joy every time I am there,” said Naomi.

Parents of program participants have also enjoyed seeing the progress in their children. “Kathleen offers a safe environment for participants to communicate their goals and celebrate met goals. She offers strategies to achieve unmet goals as well,” said Lynn Mohr, mother of the Accountability Check-In program participant, Steve. "Kathleen encourages the group to achieve more to be their best selves!" she continued.  

On February 21 at 4 pm, Kathleen will be hosting a Zoom meeting to talk about the Accountability Check-In Program and to answer any questions parents or future participants may have. To participate in the Zoom session, please contact Teri Rosenberg at
#Northbrook Strong

In December, TotalLink was among seven Northbrook social service and mental health agencies that received the contributions funded by the “Northbrook Strong” vehicle sticker donations, budgeted funds, and fine fees.  The grant provided resources to expand our Maker’s Lab Total Goodness Marketplace, introduce a Parent Connection Program and add two new social programs for high school students. 

“TotalLink is so thankful for the support of the Village in our work. Their support is helping us connect our Total Goodness products to the community. It also is allowing us to introduce two new programs, Teen Time and the Parent Connection to Northbrook residents," said TotalLink's Executive Director, Emily Raming.

The new Parent Connection program is aimed at connecting parents of children with disabilities with parents of young adults with disabilities. The five-part series will be facilitated by Jonathan Rauwerda, a behavioral analyst and Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional with over twelve years of experience in the disability world. The program will focus on parent chosen topics and give parents the opportunity to meet others with similar experiences.

The TotalLink Teen Time programs will invite high school-aged participants into two of our most popular virtual social programs, Dinner with Friends and heART Words. The programs are designed to provide engagement and social connections and the opportunity to meet new people.

The TotalLink Total Goodness Marketplace will kick off our new winter collection on Thursday, January 28 at 7 pm on Facebook Live.

For more information about any of TotalLink's programs, please visit our website at or email Emily Raming at
EMPLOYMENT SPOTLIGHT: BlackSheep General Store
Creative Employment During the Pandemic

Last year, TotalLink’s employment specialists reached out to BlackSheep General Store, a modern general store located at 346 Park Avenue in Glencoe, about any employment needs they might have. Given the current COVID situation and trying to keep the number of employees in the store to a minimum, they had said they did not have any openings. “However, after some reflection, I thought of a job that someone could do remotely - stamping the shopping bags that are given to each customer with the store’s name and logo, ” said Stephanie Macakanja, owner of BlackSheep General Store.   

TotalLink’s employment specialists started thinking about which candidates would be the best fit and recommended Donald. After a meet and greet with BlackSheep, Donald started working in November. Donald picks up his work projects from the store and works on them at the TotalLink office, where he can socially distance himself while working with his job coach's support. Once he completes the project, he returns the finished bags to the store. 

“It’s always a pleasure to see Donald on Friday afternoons,” said Stephanie Macakanja, the BlackSheep General Store owner.

"Working at BlackSheep General Store has allowed Donald to start a new job during this pandemic. The position utilizes his skills, including his attention to detail and his love for art," said Donald's employment coach, Stephanie Galindez.

For more information about TotalLink2 Community’s employment program or becoming an employer, please contact Emily Raming at
Volunteer Spotlight:

Megan Davis

TotalLink is so fortunate to have such a wonderful community of dedicated volunteers. We are excited to introduce you to one of our program volunteers, Megan Davis.
Q. How long have you been a volunteer at TotalLink, and how did you get involved?

I have been a volunteer for about a year. I got involved at TotalLink through a family friend.
Q. What programs have you volunteered for at TotalLink?
Before programming went online, I volunteered in Maker’s Lab, and now I volunteer in ArtLab for EveryONE online. I have also volunteered in the Happy Mail program and helped out in the six-week artist painting class last month and loved it! This month, I am volunteering in Yoga Nidra and looking forward to learning more about that.  
Q. What is your favorite part about being involved with TotalLink? 
My favorite part of volunteering with TotalLink is the participants and learning things from them. Going into ArtLab, I was not very confident in my artistic abilities, but I have learned so much from each participant about art and just about themselves in the past few months. I love the time we have where I get to have a conversation with the participants.
Q. What is a fun fact about you? 
A fun fact about me is that I love to read - it is my favorite thing to do! I also have a dog named Cooper and enjoy walking and playing with him.
Are you shopping online? 
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Your generosity will help TotalLink2 Community continue to provide vital programs for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Please consider making a donation today.
1200 Shermer Road, Suite 109 | Northbrook, Illinois 60062224-412-4718