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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Center for Independence Through Conductive Education Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Education, Health, Human Services, Preschools, Rehabilitative Care

Mission: The mission of the Center for Independence is to help children and young adults with disabilities achieve their highest level of independence in the home, school, community and workforce. We do this by offering therapy programs that develop life skills and motor function in a manner that promotes positive self-direction, self-esteem and an “I Can!” attitude.

Results: Since 1998 the Center has served over 900 children with physical disabilities and provided over $13,000,000 in charitable motor training services. The Center has never turned a child away, or reduced program services, due to inability to pay - donations from the community allow us to keep that commitment.

Target demographics: Children and young adults with physical disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 250 children with physical disabilities become more independent

Geographic areas served: Chicagoland Area

Programs: intensive motor training programs that help children with physical disabilities become more independent. We do this by developing their motor functions in a manner that creates positive self–esteem, self–direction and an "I Can!" attitude. All of our children are taught that they are valued; that each child is important and can give back to society regardless of his/her disability. We are committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged, under-served children with physical disabilities with the ultimate intention of securing a better life that includes employment and independent living skills.

Community Stories

106 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I wanted to see first hand of the miracles these staff members place into the hearts of these students and boy I did. I was lucky enough to visit the center with someone special and see first hand one on one care of these beautiful kids...It blew me away to view the level of passion and encouragement they give to each of these students and the best feeling I felt was the satisfaction you get when you see their faces light up and glowing on the goals they had just conquered!! You share right in the excitement along with them. Ive heard so many incredible stories about the center and interaction that I really wanted to view, not only was I able too but witness the heartwarming interaction of Patti Herbst , Executive Director of the center get so involved and see what humble, kind and how alive this place is...Im proud to be a donor and continue to spread the word of the wonder hands and heart of this place ;)

Margaret B.7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The center gives so much of themselves to these wonderful kids. Not only to their physical needs but their emotional needs. These kids are made to feel nothing can stop them. It's everything they can do. Yes they have physical disabilities, they are showen ways to work with them. They can be and do anything they want to. Love these kids and the staff ❤️

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with The Center for over 20 years, most currently as a Board Member. I hold this non-profit in the highest regard, as they work tirelessly to help children with disabilities strive toward independence and productive adult lives. Always with a positive mindset, working with a very talented, dedicated and loving staff. They have helped hundreds of Chicago-Area students achieve great things, and are very financially sound, keeping expense to a minimum (without sacrificing care) and maximize the $$$ that go directly towards hands-on therapies for the children. Executive Leadership is as good as it gets. Proud to be associated with such a great organization!

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Center For Independence is an very valuable asset for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities (and their parents) in the greater Chicago area. They are driven to help these children develop to live purposeful and independent lives. They strive to minimize their overhead so that a high % of their grant/donation/fundraising $$$ go to programs that directly impact the children. They have an outstanding staff, and excellent leadership.

Janine C.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can’t say enough great things about the Center! They help my 4-year-old nephew Mateo thrive in ways my family never dreamt possible. CFI is an absolute godsend. Thank you for all you do - it is so greatly appreciated!

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the kindest places on Planet Earth!

My daughter Djuna was a student here for ten years and there is not a single thing negative to say about this place.

Since we moved away from the area, it is literally the only thing Djuna misses.

Way to go, Patti!

Greta Honold Q.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter Amina has a rare genetic syndrome which results in her having low muscle tone and mobility limitations. Our therapy team told us if we could increase her gross motor ability, the rest would likely follow, so at their recommendation we enrolled her at the Center for Independence. She has seen amazing progress since enrolling. They push her in ways our other therapists don't, and she has risen to the challenge. As hard as she works, she also has a great time. Going to "school" is the highlight of her week. The team at CFI goes above and beyond, making great suggestions and even helping us procure equipment.

1 DeniseS

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 16 year old daughter has been lucky enough to attend The Center for Independence since she was 2. If it weren't for CFI, I have no idea how we as a family would be able to navigate the challenging world of raising a child with CP. My daughter loves it there and they give her the tools to be the amazingly independent young woman she is today!

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been attending the Center for Independence since she was two. She is now 11 and a confident, independent girl who does not let CP keep her down. The staff are highly skilled and compassionate. They have literally given my daughter a new lease on life. I am so grateful for what they do for her and our whole family!

1 Julia S.9

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Daniel love to go there. He has got a lot of improvement. There is lovely and freindly staff.

Abdul Q.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This center has made a world of a difference in my granddaughter's life. I would not have believed this was possible. I wish she could continue her therapy there for as long as possible. Her mobility has improved drastically and we are very grateful for the center. I hope that the center can continue to make the difference in all these children. I definitely see the difference.
Thank you very much for what you have done for Amina

Rita Q.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our beautiful little grand daughter has made so much progress in less than a year. The Center for Independence and its wonderful staff have increased her mobility and her abilities to a point I wouldn't have believed 9 months ago. Thanks to all of you. You are truly a gift!

R. Qaiyum

Karina G.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Cuando otros lugares nos han cerrado las puertas , Center for Independence siempre nos recibe con los brazos abriertos, Comprenden las necesidades y habilidades de mi Hijo. siempre con una actitud positiva de 'I can' . Toda mi familia esta tan agradecida!
When other places have closed their doors to us, Center for Independence always welcome us with open arms. They understand very well my son's needs and abilities. Always work with a great 'I can' attitude! My whole family is so grateful, and I am very please to see the progress on my son's way to independence!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

We call this center our 'home' I have never seen our 10 years old boy so happy and motivated for therapy and any other place. We always feel welcome. The care, empaty respect they show you to all and each of us is admirable. We are so please we found this center.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence has changed our son's life, and we are so thankful for everyone there! Having group therapy is so motivating for him, and the staff is always so supportive. Even during the pandemic when we could not go to therapy, the Center set up virtual classes so that we could continue having their support. It is clear that they care about our children, and we are so thankful for them!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center has been a life changing experience for our family. Our sweet little girl has made so much progress in her time at the center. It is amazing to think about her level of mobility and independence when we started here and where she's at now-- and I credit the center for a LOT of that. I'm so glad we found this place and I love their mission and the people here!

Megan Scholl L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love the center of independence - Max and family

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center of Independence has provided a community of people just like me. Being able to be around people with my disability has made me more comfortable with living with my condition. Growing up and being in school, made me realize that there were aspects of being a youth that I could not experience or at least made it more difficult for me to be involved in: walking to and school, going out for lunch and participating in activities while on school field trips. The Center has made me feel "normal" and less alone in my struggles. Being capable has its own power and pride attached to it. No matter how someone may live their life and no matter how physically limited they are, everybody has the right to live independently and autonomously. Being disabled and incapable are not synonymous with one another and that is the greatest lesson I have taken away with me while being a part of the program.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been going to the center since I was 2 years old. I am now 18 years old and growing more independent every day. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful place be a part of my life. More than therapists and clients, people at the center became family. Every time I walk in the center, there are many different activities so no day is ever repetitive or boring. The services here are incredible and I cannot recommend them enough. I am proud to be disabled and a part of the center!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been attending the Center for 16 years, every time I come to the center there is always different activities to do to workout /have fun and get stronger. They always adjust and add support if we struggle/need it. Since coming to the Center I have been able to improve my balance to assist in my independence in walking. I have found good friends within the community at the Center and feel supported by all here.
- Brandon, 21

1 Katrina P.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is Dallas. She loves coming here! She has seen monumental strides since she started a few years ago. She was not able to use a walker at all and now she is able too! She enjoys learning how to become independent with her peers and we are blessed with all the support the staff gives to the parents as well.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence does wonderful work with everyone who pass through its doors no matter the site. The staff is compassionate, flexible and often funny, working to find the sunshine in the lives of others daily. In Southland site is focused on transitional skills for young adults for both leisure and vocational interest, changing minds and raising expectations.

1 Joanne McNamara C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center of Independence is strongly devoted to each and every child receiving therapy as well as their family. What I love most is how the therapist effortlessly integrate smiles, play, and laughter into hardwork and physical gains of independence.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence through Conductive Education is a wonderful organization that gives children with physical disabilities access to therapy they would not otherwise have. The children get so much out of their time at the Center and are able to transfer what they have learned in to their everyday life. The Center turns no child away due to inability to pay! It is a very happy, encouraging place!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a fabulous place to volunteer and receive fieldwork experience. I am a graduate student right now completing my fieldwork rotation for OT. Prior to deciding where to go for fieldwork, I heard about this Center from a friend who is a co-worker. She told me what the Center is, their values, and mission. I thought I need to experience this so I set up some shadowing dates to observe. I fell in love with the place and knew I wanted to complete 12 weeks for fieldwork at this location. This place truly puts the clients needs first and listen to the parents concern. This is such a warm and heartfelt community that I felt since the first day. This Center is amazing and I have truly seen the progress made and the work these therapists do to assist the clients to be independent.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter has attended the Center for Independence for the past 7 years. The Center has been a wonderful place for her. Through the Center she has been able to receive therapy that we would have never been able to afford. Not only has she received professional therapy but she has also developed great relationships, self confidence and independence. Their support, advice and assistance has been invaluable to our whole family. We are so grateful for their staff, conductors and volunteers and for those who donate to the Center, for making it possible for our children with CP to have a place where they always CAN!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first was made aware of the Center through my job as a Special Recreation and Adaptive Sports Coordinator. The Center was a great place to introduce adaptive athletics as the staff constantly encourage the clientele to grow personally and physically. I have always been impressed with the staff and results of the conductive education program. There where many times that I would come to pick up the kids for an outing and see the kids up out of their wheelchairs and walking.

I was so impressed with the Center that when it came time for me to make a change professionally, I came to the Center to work for the employment program, Working Together Chicago.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a member of the board of directors for the Center. It has been a very rewarding experience and I have learned a lot. The quality of the staff is outstanding. They are all true professionals and work hard to have the best learning environment for the students.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The children have improved a lot since I’ve been here. They come and say hi to me.
I love to motivate myself and the children. I also love the motivation around here.
I love coming to work because the kids make me happy.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have seen first-hand the impact that this organization has on its families. The Center's team provides steadfast support for all those involved from infancy to finding employment. I am always so proud to represent this organization that is offering much-needed services for deserving people.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen firsthand what The Center for Independence is capable of accomplishing. The incredibly supportive and dedicated staff goes above and beyond for these amazing kids. I have seen enormous gains over the years, which have proved to me that my family was in the best possible hands. I will forever be grateful for this place and these people.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I don’t know where to start. Our son, our family, would not be where we are today without the Center of Independence. This place has been so pivotal for my son’s growth and development and his gains have been so significant. The staff cares for our son as he’s family and everyday he is greeted with smiles and hugs. This is such a special, special place for my son and we feel so blessed to be a part of it!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The center is one of the best places out there for your children! I have never seen so much devotion to an organization like all the people that work there. It's great to see people that like what they do help other others in the best way possible. I couldnt thank them enough for all that they have done with my daughter. She is definitely independent thanks to their help! Keep doing what you guys are best at. Helping children!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence is an amazing organization for clients, their families, and professionals working there. It is very family centered and feels like one big family. It is inspiring to see the dedication of everyone involved and the goals being reached at the Center. Amazing things happen at the Center!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 5 year old son has quadriplegic CP, and has been attending the Center since he was 17 months. There isn't another therapy center quite like the Center; it has been absolutely invaluable in so many ways. My son has made incredible improvements (one example: going from hardly being able to life his head to taking steps with a walker), they have been an endless source of information, they have loaned us multiple pieces of equipment, they attend all his IEP meetings at school and they offer support at any time if needed. These are just some examples. I could list more. I am so very, very thankful we had a PT who referred us here. It has been a life changing experience for my son.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A family orientated organization helping children with cerebral palsy achieve their full potential through intensive physical and occupational therapy. The center is passionate of their purpose and dedicated to the children of the center.

Sarah Y.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Simply put and without doubt: There's no way our son would be where he is today if it weren't for the Center for Independence Through Conductive Education. Today, he's running, dancing and wrestling with his twin sister. The team is amazing and have built a real community that supports one another and celebrates each other's successes. We were lucky to be a Center family and owe them so much gratitude.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Such a wonderful facility, providing the best care to all of the children and young adults that they serve. Staff and therapists are kind, caring, encouraging and truly go out of their way to help all of the families. Would recommend to any family with a child with a disability.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence serves children with motor disorders of neurological origin such as Celebral Palsy. Conductive Educational teachers and thearpists work together to teach children functional skills that are used in the daily routine. The children work together in a group enviroment where socialization and peer support is a key element.

Alyssah S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

When Andrés first started at the center, he wasn’t moving, visually tracking, or playful. The wonderful therapists immediately got started working hard to get him to catch up. Now when you see him, he’s so playful, vocal, and he’s definitely on the move. He can see you in a different room. I just love all the hard work they do. I love how much progress Andrés has done with their help. I can’t wait to see more!

Beth M.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The center has been such a gift to our family! My daughter has shown amazing improvements due to their program. The staff have been such a source of support and knowledge for us.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter Grace was lucky enough to start at the Center For Independence when she was 12 months old. Their staff has truly become like family to us. Their expertise and dedication have helped our daughter improve by leaps and bounds!! We couldn’t be more thankful for finding the Center for Independence!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to the Center for Independence as an aide before I went to graduate school. I was drawn to the group approach to therapy to help motivate the children. The group helps them learn through the peer motivation while having a good time and making lasting friendships at the same time. The Center focuses on the whole child and is an amazing place for both the children and families to receive therapy and support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been volunteering/working at the Center for Independence for over two years. I couldn’t be more thankful for the following realtionships and learning experiences that I’ve encountered. The staff goes above and beyond helping the children and young adults that come for therapy,as well as for the family members. This facility is family-centered and motivate the children to achieve their fullest potential in life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence does amazing work for children with cerebral palsy. My son has been attending the Center for less than a year and I can honestly say that I have already seen extraordinary changes. The group environment motivates him, and he continues to get stronger and make improvements in his mobility. The real strength of the Center is the staff—they really care about all of the children, are a source of support for the parents, and are always there to celebrate the little victories with us. I am so thankful we found the Center for Independence!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Center does amazing work for my nephew and all the children that attend the sessions. I am so grateful for all of their hard work to help kids with physical disabilities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There is no better place to volunteer my time because not only does the staff genuinely appreciate me, I feel like I am making a huge impact for the children that the Center serves. They are helping kids with physical disabilities become more independent and the results that I have been around for are amazing!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My child has shown such amazing improvements in their motor skills from just one summer of being at the Center's therapy! The staff is incredible and I am so grateful for them!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have never seen so many dedicated employees in my life. The changes that they make possible for the children's lives are incredible.

Donor

Rating: 5

Unparalleled work with children. The efforts of the staff is second to none!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I became familiar with this organization only this year and already I am astounded by all of the staff within the Center. They truly dedicate their lives to these children who have so much potential. It is amazing to witness the progress that the children make, even over the course of one month.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence is dedicated to serving children with cerebral palsy and adults post-stroke regardless of their financial means. They strive to help these individuals reach their full potential and gain strength, coordination, mobility as they reach for higher levels of independence. The social context allows children, adults, and family members to connect, share experiences, and bond in a such a unique and important way.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been able to watch the work of the Center for Independence positively influence the lives of families in a way that is simply transformative. To watch a child with a disability see no limits for their potential and to see the family alter their mind set to raise expectations for their child is truly life changing. The positive transformations and support the Center gives to families filters into every aspect of the lives of those working with the Center.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence is truly a magical place. The hard work and dedication that is shown by the staff to motivate and educate the children and families is so admirable. The warmth and kindness present at the Center are the backbone behind the tremendous sucesses that each child accomplishes. Developing goals and peer groups for children with Cerebral Palsy allows them to accomplish things they may not have deemed possible. Supporting the Center for Independence is an honor.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

My son Justin attended the Center and I am a Board Member at the Center. I have witnessed many excellent moments over the years. Through the strong leadership of the Executive Director, a dedicated and loving staff, the gracious Board members who give so freely of their time, and charitable friends, family and associates who donate time and money, the Center has blossomed...In fact, this past May the Center opened our fourth location in the Chicagoland area. The Center now serves over 200 children with cerebral palsy at these four locations.

Many parents are anxious about the future of their kids when born with cerebral palsy. The Center has helped many children and their families over its 20 years. My son Justin was one of the original children to attend. Fast-forward to today and see Justin and many of his peers that have attended the Center scattered in their wheelchairs throughout universities and workplaces - being productive members of society….much more than we or other families were led to believe our kids could do. Every one of them thank the Center and the prevalent “Can Do” attitude.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am extremely proud to be involved with such a passionate group of people serving these beautiful children and their families. This is not a job for any of the folks that work there...it is a love that is felt throughout the building. The fact that the Center has never turned away a child due to inability to pay speaks wonders...and their hard work and team effort keeps costs way down to ensure a substantial portion of every dollar raised goes directly to programming. Very proud to be part of it!!

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1 Robbie Kuchler O.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Center not only provides much needed services to children with motor disabilities, they are innovative and open to impacting the lives of adults who grew up with impairments and those adults who sustained brain injuries/strokes as adults. The staff work with the participants to also help to solve other life barriers as well. When young adults reported having difficulty finding employment, The Center partnered with business executives to help young adults create resumes and hone interview skills. The Center secured grant funding to provide fair wage paid internships for young adults with disabilities so that they can be strong candidates in the marketplace. As we now know, therapy is very important when the children are young and leaning or just after an injury as adults are trying to regain skills, however employment and social skills are important as well to be a full participant in society! the Center for Independence address the whole person and partners with individuals to achieve control over their own destiny.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence is uses a different model of care than traditional service provides: children with disabilities can be seen for intensive therapy and education, using a holistic approach that treats the whole child, regardless of what their insurance benefits cover (or don't). The children serviced through the clinic not only receive thorough, interdisciplinary, skilled therapy services at a high frequency and intensity, but a partnership from the center, helping the child and family navigate their many needs (medical, educational, and otherwise).

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center For Independence is able to provide intensive therapy services to those that need it most. In a healthcare system that is becoming increasingly inaccessible, the center works to make sure every child receives the services they need, regardless of insurance coverage. The services provided go beyond the typical level of care able to be provided by other therapy models.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence through Conductive Education is an amazing place for families to depend on for treatment of their children with physical disabilities as well as for emotional support for the entire family. The work of the Center does not begin and end with the child walking through the door. The Center is truly there to provide caring treatment, support, and encouragement to all members of the family. With services ranging from early intervention to young adulthood and beyond, the children/adults at the Center along with the staff grow and work together to ensure success and full participation in the community in terms of physical ability, socialization, employment, and overall independence!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center has helped me tremendously not just the physical and social aspect of things that the center has to offer, but it offered me opportunities to be an employee and work at the center. I have grown so much from the center ever since I was four years old. The determination and the 150% effort that the staff has for each child who attends the center is truly incredible! Without my parents, sister and The Center for Independence I would not be the strong, confident and Independent person I am today.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I been coming for a month. I like the people. I feel stronger and I am making friends. I have Cerebral Palsy.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center for Independence is unlike any other therapy program. The center provides a comprehensive motor training program that not only incorporates physical and occupational therapy, but also a very important social component as well.. Everyone that comes to the center feels like they are apart of something much bigger. There is a unique sense of community that is often lacking when you spend a great deal of time with able body peers. When your at the center you feel that you are not alone and everyone is traveling on this journey together. Being someone with a disability I have been a fitted from my time at the center. I have learned many essential skills which I will use for the rest of my life.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The center provides an all-inclusive environment for people with disabilities to thrive & grow physically &mentally.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

the center pushes me more than other therapies do. Mary Kate D.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hope we are as helpful as they are at the Center of Independence. Our daughter has been going since she's been 3yrs old. At the Center they have helped her with her daily life skills such as potty, eating, clothing, learning to put on her Afros as to remove and so much more. Everyone is creative ,loving, and they include music which helps calm and motivates kids. They have been very supported by accompanying to my daughters IEPS at school and have helped her obtain equipment needed at school. With their wisdom and expertise she's stronger is walkin more independent with her walker as well accomplished many more goals. We are grateful for them and all their help and love.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am very happy attending the center. The staff is very nice and will make you feel welcome. It has been a pleasure and wonderful experience getting services here

Nora D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I truly love everything about the Center! In the 6 years I've been attending the Center I've learned so many valuable skills that have help me become much more independent.... I've also made so many valuable friendships that will last a lifetime it is great to have somewhere where you can share bonds and struggles with peers who truly understand. The therapists and support staff as well as the attendants of the Center are forever going to be a part of my family. I am proud to call the Center my home away from home!

Ethan O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Center is awesome!!! The best part of the Center is the helpful people. I like coming here because they help me be more independent. I learned how to tall kneel and can now kneel in church every week. I also made a lot of new friends just like me!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I like the center for independence though conductive education because there are so many kind hearted therapist there. I gained an endless amount of independence with the great help of these amazing people. I've also made so many great unforgettable memories that will last a life time, I've also made amazing friendships that will last forever