As Halas Door Closes, Other Doors Open

The pending sale of the massive Garnett machine at George Halas Jr. Vocational Center in Auburn Gresham signals a fresh start for members and staff who have met at that facility for decades. Envision is closing that location at the end of October.

Since the 1970s, the Center’s primary role has been to provide vocational training opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Garnett machine housed there enabled them to manufacture pillows for some of the nation’s largest airlines. But in recent years, airlines have shifted their pillow purchases to Asia. As a result, the hum of the Garnett machine has slowed. Since the pandemic, it has been completely silent.

Envision members and staff who chose Halas for its job training and South Side employment opportunities were invited to join programs at Envision’s other excellent facilities. Almost immediately, that invitation was enthusiastically accepted. Most have now made plans to move to one of Envision’s four South Side centers:

Mock Center, directly across the street from Halas, 8552 S. Vincennes, offers day programs Monday through Friday that promote independence and community integration for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and with autism.

Frick Center, at 2124 W. 82nd Place, boasts large outdoor and indoor gardens for members with a green thumb, as well as a lovely gazebo and other outdoor space they can enjoy. Members will be able to use the weaving looms there again after the pandemic has ended.

Lewandowski Family Center, at 9020 S. Stony Island, was remodeled when Envision purchased it less than a decade ago. It has classrooms, a busy art studio with looms, a pottery wheel and kiln, and a small garden. Many members are attracted to its popular biking program.

Rose Center, at 4911 S. Hoyne, is abuzz with creativity. The Center has classrooms and an energetic art studio. It is air conditioned, has an excellent kitchen, garden, and patio. EU members are actively involved with virtual programming and the EU Media Club. They also spend time in the immediate community, engaged in volunteer activities.