Proudly Serving Suburban Cook County

Progress Center is the Center for Independent Living that serves Suburban Cook County.
Progress Center works to provide people with all types of disabilities the tools and resources
to be independent in their own homes. Progress Center is one of 22 centers serving Illinois.

About Us

What is Progress Center for Independent Living?

Progress Center is a community-based, non-profit, non-residential service and advocacy organization, proudly operated for people with disabilities, by people with disabilities.

Independent Living…

… Is a way of life that includes values, attitudes and behaviors.

… Embraces a philosophy that the person, regardless of their disability, has the potential to exercise individual self-determination.

… Is having the right and the opportunity to pursue a course of action. And, it is having the freedom to fail -and to learn from one’s failures, just as nondisabled people do.

… Means that we demand the same choices and control in our every-day lives that non-disabled brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends take for granted. We want to grow up in our families, go to the neighborhood school, use the same bus as our neighbors, work in jobs that are in line with our education and abilities, start families of our own. Just as everybody else, we need to be in charge of our lives, think and speak for ourselves.

A. Ratzka

Progress Center embraces “Disability Culture”

This term is used by people with disabilities to describe not only our growing sense of a shared history of social oppression, but also our strategies for coping and thriving, our emerging art and humor, our sense of community, and an almost defiant celebration of our differences.

( C. Gill)

Service Area

Progress Center for Independent Living serves all of suburban Cook County in Illinois. This includes over 133 municipalities.

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm Central Time.  Services after hours, by appointment only.

Check out this Video on You Tube to learn more about the history of Progress Center.  Progress Center — Past, Present and Future

Independent Living Team

Anne Gunter

Independent Living Advocate
– Information and Referral (Main Office)
Works directly with consumers as they are applying for and/or renewing state and federal entitlement programs and services, with a focus on prescription drug assistance programs.
The Benefits Advocate makes presentations to community groups and professionals regarding programs and services.
The Benefits Advocacy Coordinator recruits, trains, and supervises Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) volunteers.

Kim Liddell

Independent Living Advocate
– Information and Referral (South Satellite)
Works directly with consumers as they are applying for and/or renewing state and federal entitlement programs and services, with a focus on prescription drug assistance programs.
The Benefits Advocate makes presentations to community groups and professionals regarding programs and services. The Benefits Advocacy Coordinator recruits, trains, and supervises Senior Health Insurance Program.
(SHIP) volunteers

Home Services Team

Art Johnson

Home Services Team Coordinator
The Home Services Team Coordinator overviews everything happening in the Home Services Team, as well as providing direct services to consumers and participating in long term systems advocacy projects.

Miltonya Covington

Independent Living Advocate
– Community Reintegration
The Community Reintegration Advocate assists consumers that qualify for our program in leaving nursing homes (or other similar institutions) and return living in their own communities, if they so desire. As there are several areas of assistance needed for a successful “escape”, this advocate coordinates between all PCIL employees involved, along with other providers, as appropriate.

Rhychell Barnes

Independent Living Advocate
– Personal Assistance
The PA Advocate works with consumers so they learn PA Management skills.
They also do recruitment of PA’s and maintain a list of potential PA’s for referral.

Advocacy Team

Larry Biondi

Advocacy Coordinator
The Advocacy Coordinator will directly assist staff members in working with consumers on individual advocacy issues. The Coordinator also works under the supervision of the Director on systems advocacy efforts, including interacting with local municipalities and business to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Clark A. Craig

Community Organizing Advocate
Our Community Organizer is responsible for leadership development and organizing people with disabilities and their supporters to create systemic changes in the areas of housing and other community based services in suburban Cook County. He is a lead member of Progress Center’s Membership and Outreach Committee. He also helps consumers advocate on a local, state, and national level on issues critical to the disability community.

Deaf Services

Carol Nemecek

Deaf Services Coordinator
The Deaf Services Coordinator provides services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, whether directly or by assisting other Progress CIL staff. She also is in charge of the ITAC TTY distribution program at our Center.

Administration

Horacio Esparza

Executive Director
The Executive Director is at the helm of our office. He is in charge of everything that goes on, focusing particularly on administrative areas such as contract management, Center’s direction and philosophy, etc.

Gary Arnold

Program Director
This person directly supervises all direct service staff members and also prepares and submits activity reports to our funders.

Don Albrecht

Finance Director
This person is in charge of paying the bills, managing contracts, supervising payroll and making sure the office has what it needs to function without a hitch.

Marie Mister

Front desk / Administrative Assistant
This person welcomes people to the office, answers the phone, and provides support to the Exectuive Director.

Patrick Hartmannn

Program Assistant
The Program Assistant is in charge of maintaining the actual paper files kept for consumers. He also assists with data entry and minding the phone.

Raul Castro

Program Assistant (South Satellite )
The Program Assistant is in charge of maintaining the actual paper files kept for consumers. He also assists with data entry and minding the phone.

Other

Marvin Mcclure, Ebonique Lofton

Center Personal Assistants
The Center Personal Assistants are in the office to assist staff members and visitors with tasks that they would do for themselves if they didn’t have a disability. The Center PA also assists with general maintenance and upkeep of the premises.