Breaking News from our Oak Park Bureau


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 12, 2013

Easter Seals of Metropolitan Chicago is looking for America’s veterans. This newly-formed branch of the well-known charitable organization has the distinct focus of military and veteran supportive services and is easily accessible to Oak Park, the western suburbs and Austin community citizens. This facility, The Willett Center, is located at 120 West Madison Street in Oak Park.

All veterans are welcome!  Come on in!

All veterans are welcome! Come on in!

Laura Soteno, Program Manager for the military and veteran services group, says that her biggest challenge in this center is finding veterans in the area who want to take advantage of these services and benefits. Many people do not realize that Easter Seals has a special department devoted to veteran and military supportive services.

This prime-location space has been redesigned to provide workforce training, benefits counseling, financial literacy workshops, support services PLUS veterans and their families can soon relax and enjoy the camaraderie of others when DryHootch, a non-profit coffee shop for veterans, moves into the location.

Easter Seals recognizes that military culture is significantly different than civilian culture with different
values, attitudes, goals and even its own language and terminology. They are developing these special programs to meet the complex needs of our military veterans and are working with veteran volunteers to provide immediate services to veterans and their families.

The program concept is based on veteran peer-to-peer mentoring (combat veterans helping other combat veterans). Advocate mentors work side by side with veterans to assess their needs and then design an individual employment plan for them. Job readiness training begins with the assessment and then continues with the basics, such as dressing for work, employment behavior training, resume preparation and interview simulations.

Finding a job is commonly the priority mission for our veterans

Finding a job is commonly the priority mission for our veterans

The center houses one of the finest resource rooms in the area with computers, job postings and work areas for the veterans to get organized in their job searches.

Ms Soteno’s greatest joy is seeing the transforming power of peer mentoring for these men and women who have served our nation and defended liberty around the world.

Laura Soteno on the right with Josie Pierce, one of the case managers at The Willett Center

Laura Soteno on the right with Josie Pierce, one of the case managers at The Willett Center

For more information, please call The Willett Center (Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago) at 708/524-8700 or send an email to lsoteno@eastersealschicago.org.

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3 thoughts on “Breaking News from our Oak Park Bureau

  1. Pingback: An Office for a Goose |

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