Reading program brings young, elderly together

CHICAGO Seven months ago, Horizon for Reading was created by the residents at the Autumn Green and New Horizon School for Developmentally Disabled Children.

The program is so popular that there is a waiting list.

On the first Friday of the month, students from New Horizon School walk over to Autumn Green.

"Our children have a shorter attention span, and they do have social issues. Sometimes, they have a hard time adjusting to new people. So, this is wonderful for them. They've accepted these people, you know, these adults. They're like friends now," said Diane Walsh, the school's occupational therapy assistant.

Horizon for Reading is one of those programs from which everyone benefits, says Heather Keena, Autumn Green's executive director.

" You know, we're trying to nurture the spirit of our residents and nurture the spirit of our students at the same time. And how can we come together to do that? So, from those brainstorming sessions evolved this program and what better way to do it over sharing stories?" Keena said.

Since the program started, Terry Banoul has been reading for a student named Amanda.

"It's amazing. I mean, I know she's comfortable with me, you know, which means a lot because, from the very first day, she held my hand and we got along fine," said Banoul.

"I think it's been more successful than anyone every anticipated," Keena said.

To learn more about Autumn Green and New Horizon Center, log on to,

Autumn Green

4239 Oak Park Ave.

Chicago, Illinois.

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