LARC parade helps reconnect clients, staff, community

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (May 21, 2020) – Nine decorated vans rolled out of the LARC parking lot just before 1:00pm on Wednesday, filled with approximately 40 smiling faces. They were on their way to bring greetings to LARC workshop clients who have not been able to go to work or socialize with their coworkers since the stay-at-home order went into effect.

The nine vans represented LARC’s CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) homes. These are residential homes where four adults can live somewhat independently with the help of 24-hour staff. LARC actually has 11 CILAs, but in some cases residents moved out of the CILA and in with their families, choosing to shelter in place together. The remaining residents were consolidated into 9 CILAs.

The LARC workshop is located at 19043 Wentworth Avenue in Lansing. Normally, 100 clients come there each day to work on projects for companies that pay them per piece. The workshop is large enough to accommodate several projects concurrently, as well as providing space for lunch, rest, games, and conversation. The clients live in Lansing, Lynwood, Calumet City, and other nearby towns.

The CILA Van Parade provided an opportunity for LARC clients to reconnect with each other and share some joy.

Patrice Wolfe sat in the front seat of the van, ready to get the parade started. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
From left: Margarita Pericolisi, Cheryl Coyle, and Cindy Betts are in the same CILA—and the same van—as Patrice (previous photo). (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
CILA 2 decorated their van to express how everyone was feeling: “LARC WE MISS YOU” (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Along with messages of thanks and care, the decorated vans reinforced social distancing protocol. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Teri Embry served as a driver in the CILA parade. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Tom Bates is a maintenance man at the LARC campus, and he served as a “judge” of the parade entries. The maintenance crew is taking advantage of the downtime to clean and paint inside the building. “We’ve actually gone through about 35 gallons of paint so far,” he said. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Staff and clients worked together to decorate their vans. On this van, to emphasize the message of hand-washing, staff traced the clients’ hands on the window. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Cosina helped decorate her van by coloring pictures and taping them to the windows. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Artwork by Cosina (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Jennifer Frigo helped organize the LARC CILA Parade. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Staff member Tom Wolff came up with the idea for the LARC parade. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
By 12:45pm, parade participants were lined up along the driveway, ready to pull out onto Wentworth. The parade would wind through Lansing, Lynwood, and Calumet City. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

LARC is located at 19043 Wentworth Avenue in Lansing, Illinois.

LARC is located at 19043 Wentworth Avenue in Lansing, Illinois. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
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