Chair #30 - Heart of Morton
Painted by Taylor Wells
25-year-old Taylor Wells lives with his parents in Groveland, IL. He attended Morton High School and completed the Life Academy program in 2015. Since graduation, he joined the Heart of Morton program which he attends weekly. He also works part time at the Holiday Inn Express in Morton.
An affable young man, Taylor enjoys hanging out with his Heart of Morton friends and participating in the various activities with his friends. As his chair design demonstrates, he is a talented artist whose favorite subject is Disney and other animated characters. These subjects have inspired Taylor to create greeting cards and other types of correspondence that he shares with family and friends. This is Taylor’s first public display of his artwork. He hopes that this effort will bring new challenges and opportunities for other projects in the community.
His usual medium is pencil/pen and paper, so this project introduced a new challenge with the paint and the surface. The result is a solid affirmation of the scope of his artistic skills. Taylor is honored to be chosen to do an entry to support the MCF, which has given so much support to the extended Morton community.
Heart of Morton began in January, 2010 as a group of parents who had children with special needs in District 709. We knew each other through organizations like the Down Syndrome Association, Special Olympics, The Penguin Project, church, schools and the Morton community at large. The initial goal was to provide information on resources that were available (i.e. Social Security Administration) and steps to take in planning care for our young adults (i.e., guardianship, estate & trust planning). We also recognized that the continuing trend towards “transfer of services” from state support to local responsibility would require initiative by parents to provide for the post high school lives of our young adults.
With that realization, we took steps to organize which included establishing a board of directors, seek incorporation, and obtain IRS NFP status. We were granted NFP status in 2013.
Our mission is to serve as an incubator for future growth of our participants after they have left school at age 22. We wanted to act independently of any government financial support so we could develop the program which best suited the needs as we identified them. We began with the concept of a day program which we launched in February, 2012. The purpose is to build on life skills developed in the Morton High School program such as cooking and preparing meals, shopping, planning events and performing the necessary tasks to conduct the event. We’ve done this with the generous outpouring of support from the Community United Church of Christ, to which we are very grateful. Heart of Morton is now prepared to make the next step to expand the number of days of the program and to expand on the core concept.
With the H.O.M.E. Project (Heart of Morton Embroidery), we will build on the cross section of skills our participants developed during high school at the LIFE Academy. This will be an addition to the current day program activities. These skills will include technical machine operation, production sequencing, order fulfillment, solicitation and sales promotion in the community. As there are a variety of skills within our participants, each will be able to bring those talents to the task. Our ultimate goal is to provide advancement opportunities for our young adults to move out of the H.O.M.E. environment and on to other meaningful employment opportunities within the general Morton business community and demonstrate the valuable skills our young adults can bring to a variety of business environments