Chicago Lighthouse expands to north suburbs

March 29, 2012 10:12:05 AM PDT
Chicago's largest not-for-profit organization for people who are blind and visually impaired has recently expanded to the north suburbs.

The Chicago Lighthouse North is a beautiful comprehensive center in Glenview. This is the first time they opened a full-service operation outside of their main location after being in business for 106 years.

The Chicago Lighthouse is committed to provide educational, clinical and vocational services to children, youth and adults who are blind and visually impaired.

Janet Szlyk is the president of Chicago Lighthouse.

"Our Lighthouse we're especially proud of because we've been called the most comprehensive vision care rehabilitation facility in the country, perhaps the world," said Szlyk. "So we provide more programs in employment , rehabilitation, education, technology-- and so we provide a fuller set of programs than any other agency."

Director of operations Kevin Hurst says anyone is welcome.

"Some people know about us and will call our main number to schedule an appointment," said Hurst. "Others will actually receive referrals through their doctor and call us that way, and then, we also receive some children through the school system.

"All of our services are based on the ability to pay through private insurance or traditional insurance. If someone is not able to pay we do not turn anyone away."

One of the reasons for expanding services is to address the needs of the aging population.

"We know that there's an aging population, unfortunately, in the North Shore, and based on national statistics, about 35 percent of those 65 or older starts to development macular degeneration," Hurst said.

To help set up this facility, Lighthouse received a grant from the North Suburban Healthcare Foundation. Beverley Kroll is the foundation's president.

"We wanted to do something that would be meaningful, and the Lighthouse called us and sent in a print proposal, and we visited the Lighthouse, and we were very impressed," Kroll said.

The Chicago Lightouse North is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"As we started to define some of the programs and services up there we may see that changes up a little bit, and perhaps there's additional nighttime hours or some weekend hours," said Hurst.

"Our services are growing, our customer services and our call center and employment opportunities," said Szlyk. "This year is the year for employment opportunities, placement for people who have disabilities."

There will be an open house on April 12 at the Chicago Lighthouse North. Events and activities are scheduled for that day.

For more information go to www.ChicagoLighthouse.org/North or call (847) 510-6200.


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