An announcement last week of a new director for the Adult & Child Therapy Services (ACTS) prompted me to visit with Kim Larson, executive director since 2004. Larson notified the board in June she was stepping down but stayed until a new director was hired.
Larson is succeeded by John Buckley of Woodstock, who has been working in the nonprofit sector more than 15 years. Buckley was most recently vice president of institutional advancement for Naper Settlement Museum in Naperville.
During her eight years at ACTS, Larson says she is most pleased with increasing the staff and services by 50 percent, expanding the early intervention (birth to 3 years) program, and adding equipment at the facility.
“We reduced the waiting list of little ones needing early intervention,” Larson explained. “They did not have to wait months, which made a huge difference. Sadly, funding has been cut. The same services are provided but the waiting list is longer.”
Larson’s extensive community service includes Christmas Clearing House chairwoman from 2005 to 2010 for the Woodstock Rotary Club, where she continues to be active. She says her free-time activities include taking a trip with her husband to “lie on the beach and read a book” and spend time with her grandson.
Easter Seals Therapy Center (forerunner to ACTS) was established in Woodstock by Dr. John Tambone and Dr. Bernard Neuchiller. In 1947, Eleanor McClurkin came to Tambone, explaining she needed physiotherapy. From that contact, Tambone and Neuchiller took the lead in organizing a local Easter Seals chapter with the first meeting Dec. 13, 1949.
Board members and volunteers (mostly Red Cross Gray Ladies) in those first years took equipment to the homes of the handicapped. Founders stressed ability to pay was never a criteria. My wife, Fran, was a board member and served as a psychological counselor.
An important reason for the success of ACTS was the leadership of Susan Martino, who served as director from 1987 to 2004. Martino increased services as the client list expanded.
Hearthstone Community sold the last of eight new Prairie Home duplexes, a significant achievement in meeting the needs of people downsizing their residences. In addition, HC builder Tom Lafontaine is refurbishing older duplexes that were slated for demolition.
These 750-square-foot units are half the size of the newer duplexes. The cost is $99,000, but 80 percent of that money is refundable when the unit is sold.
HC is remodeling apartments at Hearthstone Village as requested by new tenants.
Deb Rabine, director of marketing and public relations, said, “So many independent seniors are looking to downsize. We offer three different options to help them. This is another way we serve seniors in our community.”
• Don Peasley has been editor, columnist and historian in McHenry County since October 1947. He began his association with Shaw Publications in 1950. 815-338-1533.