Milestone experienced remarkable growth from 1973 to 2005,both in the number of individuals served, and in the number of services provided. Our workforce also grew to 580 employees during this time.
Our operating budget has grown to 26 million dollars per year. While our operations have earned recognition for excellence in the delivery of professional and caring services to the people with developmental disabilities.
Our achievements include being one of six agencies in the state to receive a special three million dollar construction grant in 1979 for Elmwood Heights.
In 1980, we received the Humanitarian Service Award from United Cerebral Palsy followed in 1983, with the Action Award from WIFR/TV 23 for outstanding service to the community. In 1987, we were awarded a special $200,000 interest-free loan from the Illinois State Council of the Knights of Columbus for the construction of the Orchard Group Home, and in 1991, we received a special $104,000 grant from the Department of Mental Health for our new sheltered workshop. We received the Rockford Register Star’s Excelsior Award for outstanding contribution to the community in 1992.
Members of our staff have served as consultants for many other programs throughout the country, including service on a group home demonstration project for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a result the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 202/8 program has been used in the development of numerous group homes throughout the United States.
Our ‘Team Oriented Programming System’ was selected by the American Association of Mental Retardation for presentation at the Association’s national convention in May of 1988. In 1992 our quality assurance program, ‘Improving Accountability Among Staff Serving Adults with Developmental Disabilities’, was selected to be presented.
In 1991, James P. Hamilton, our founder, was one of just five professionals nationwide asked to serve on the steering committee to draft a national plan on new housing options for the people with developmental disabilities by the Administration of Developmental Disabilities.
Although we receive awards and grants on the state and national level, the most significant achievements are through the people we serve. Consider an individual who, at 35 years old, finally learning to dress himself or a young man who came to Milestone’s Elmwood Heights program from a state institution and, over the course of a few years and with great love and attention, is now able to live in his own apartment and work in the community. These achievements don’t just happen once in a while. At Milestone, they happen every day.
Impact on the Community
The most significant impact to the community is our ability to integrate people with developmental disabilities into the community to give them self-worth, pride, and a feeling of accomplishment. Whether it is through residential placement, vocational training, or just a simple outing, we have proven these people have plenty to offer to the communities in which they live.
With almost 450 individuals served and over 40 years of service, we have helped and guided many area families through the difficult task of caring for an adult child with developmental disabilities. Our staff strives to offer peace of mind to aged parents who do not know what the future will hold for their son or daughter when they can no longer care for him or her.
We were among the first in the state to foster the necessary understanding of people with developmental disabilities so that small group homes could be built in residential areas with little or no opposition. Once in operation, these beautifully-maintained homes became an accepted and positive part of their neighborhoods.
On an economic plane, we employ 580 staff and have, over the last 25 years, generated in excess of 15 million dollars in local construction. More than 75% of the people we serve now work part-time and are learning skills which will one day help them to overcome a life of dependence. This has saved tax dollars which would otherwise go to the life-long care of these individuals.
Since this nation began moving people with developmental disabilities from impersonal, institutional environments to community organizations, we have been this area’s leader in the development of homes and services for these individuals.
Not only are our services more cost effective, but they are also more caring and progressive than institutional care. We provide these adults the benefits of living closer to family and friends, and enable them to share in the resources of our community.
All of our locations and programs must comply with the strictest of state and federal guidelines relating to physical plant, individual services, and administration. This compliance enables us to have the necessary licensure and grant monies for operating.
Progress and effectiveness for us is measured in terms of goals met by each person served through an individualized program where each success can be recognized and rewarded. Inch by inch, step by step, each person is given the opportunity to move forward toward a more independent and self-sufficient way of life. Our longevity, along with the community and family support they receive, are proof positive their programs work.