Hinderman: Action Sertoma aids disabled in the Southland
By Laura Hinderman email@example.com December 19, 2013 2:10PM
Updated: January 23, 2014 6:11AM
The Lions Club, Rotary Club, Sertoma? Many of you may have knowledge of the first two organizations, but what do you know of the latter?
Sertoma was organized in April 1912 and draws its name from the initial letters of its slogan, Service to Mankind. A local chapter, Action Sertoma, has been in existence since November 1967, beginning in Alsip, and has been doing some pretty amazing things over the decades.
Action Sertoma is a non-profit organization that raises funds in support of those in the south and southwest suburbs who are disabled or experiencing hardship. The majority of the money raised is through events on behalf of the Sertoma Centre, headquartered at 4343 W. 123rd St., Alsip.
Action Sertoma supports the Sertoma Centre, the Sertoma Speech and Hearing Center — which has clinics in Homewood, Palos Hills and Romeoville — as well as charitable organizations such as Together We Cope; the Crisis Center of South Suburbia and St. Coletta’s of Illinois Foundation, among others.
The Sertoma Centre has two other locations, another in Alsip and one in Matteson, along with 10 group homes throughout the south and southwest suburbs. Sertoma Centre provides services to more than 725 people with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities and/or mental illness.
The mission at Sertoma Centre is “to provide opportunities that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve personal success.”
Some of this success is major, such as starting a job or moving into an apartment. Other successes may seem minor, but to a disabled person getting dressed by oneself, learning how to make change at a vending machine or mastering a new task in the workshop is a meaningful personal success.
For an individual with disabilities, each one of these victories represents another step in his or her personal path toward greater independence and participation in their community. Sertoma Centre has built its reputation on the many personal victories of the people it serves.
The services it provides include vocational evaluation, developmental training, community-based assessments, senior programming, work adjustment training, residential services, janitorial skill training, foster care, job placement services, supported employment, specialized services, school transition services, psychosocial rehabilitation, autism services and a sheltered workshop program.
I recently was invited to sit in on a committee meeting of Action Sertoma and was able to see the dedication that its leaders, some of whom have other businesses or jobs of their own, put into this worthwhile venture.
Volunteering their evenings, they arrange the organization’s two major fundraisers, the Sertoma Fall Festival and the annual golf outing in July, which raise the money needed to fund Sertoma’s programs.
Sertoma Centre also gets funding for its programs through state agencies, private donations and the United Way, and contracted work in packaging, assembly and janitorial services also provides significant program support.
Services are provided to individuals based on their eligibility and available openings, enabling people with disabilities, regardless of income, to benefit from the center’s programs.
Action Sertoma is embarking on a $2 million, three-year capital campaign to enlarge its facility in Matteson, improve the two facilities in Alsip; purchase vehicles and renovate the group homes.
Witnessing the dedication that Action Sertoma has to aid the disabled and to maintain the momentum to continue and expand its services made clear the need for dedicated people to be part of its efforts.
If you are looking to make a difference — either by volunteering, becoming a member or making a financial contribution — please visit their website at www.actionsertoma.com or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.