Douglas Center offers day programs for disabled individuals

January 6, 2013 6:56:39 AM PST
There are a number of organizations in the Chicago area that provides services to people with disabilities. Some of them are not as well known as others. The Douglas Center is one of them.

Founded in 1999, the Douglas Center has expanded four times.

Located in Skokie, it provides day programs to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities.

"The program that we started was really to create a place for people with disabilities to go to feel safe and have the opportunities and the choice in life," said Rifath Khan, founder and CEO. "Many times I have seen where people with disabilities are taken for granted."

"Ninety-five percent of the population we serve comes from group homes in Chicagoland," Khan added.

The majority of the people who come work on different vocational projects. Depending on their abilities and skills, they are given more challenging tasks.

" We have partnered up with the Department of Defense and we do contracts for them. We have three sewing contracts right now, and it's really very sophisticated skills sewing. Not everyone can sew," Khan.

Some of the participants get jobs in the community.

"We are training them to reach that point," said Khan.

The Art From Hearts is their new program. It started three years ago. Katherine, 33, is one of the artists. She has anemia and ADHD and loves being part of it.

"I think it's relaxing, and it helps me spread my artistic vision and bring joy to other people's lives," said Katherine.

Participants' artwork is for sale at different places in the community.

" It's wonderful to see that we are able to meet the needs of many people," said Khan.

All of the participants take public transportation to and from work.

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