Organization serving people with disabilities through art kicks off 50th year

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Esperanza Community Services has kicked off its 50th year. (WLS)

Esperanza Community Services in Chicago, which educates adults and children through arts, is going into its 50th year of serving those with developmental disabilities.

"Esperanza is a school for kids and adults that have disabilities and they can learn to read and write and become artists and draw pictures. It's a good school," said Edwin Mendez, who has participated in Esperanza's adult day program for 10.5 years.

The program gives Mendez an opportunity to learn and be creative.

"When I first came here I thought I would learn to read and write and nothing else but then one of my school teachers said I was creative and she introduced me to an art teacher," Mendez said.

"What's amazing about the art studio is we do a lot of exhibits and we have folks that are artists and identify as artists," said Joy Decker, Esperanza executive director. "They will curate, they will name the exhibits and be part of the selection process of what go into the exhibits. And it's just wonderful to see them in their exhibits."

Decker said the adult programs focus on life skills while the kids learn communication and behavioral skills that they can use when they transition into CPS schools or at home.

"I think one of the things that is so great about our school is that we also help families and impact on families. A lot of the challenges that students have learning effect their life as well. So what they learn here they can take home and into the community," Decker said.

Esperanza says continuing as a non-profit for another half century depends on state funding and public. They are always looking for volunteers and donation for school and art supplies.

For more information, visit: http://esperanzacommunity.org/
Related Topics:
educationdisability issuesart
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