The first half of a day at Community Access Naperville (CAN), which meets at First Congregational UCC Naperville, consists of vocational activities, which might include collating, shredding, weeding, food repackaging, or creating products for CAN to sell. Click here to learn more about the services that CAN offers to local businesses. Our organization volunteers for other local non-profit organizations, including Sharing Connections, West Suburban Community Pantry, Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, the Naperville Public Library, the Naperville Police Department, NCC Enactus, Wellness House, Humanitarian Service Project, Morton Arboretum, First Congregational Church UCC Naperville, and the Naperville Park District. The second half of the day is spent in the community, participating in activities such as exercising or swimming at the YMCA, walking downtown to a local restaurant, visiting the library, bowling, going to a movie, or hanging out at a park. The program is offered in a small group setting to meet the needs of the participants. A professional life-skills instructor leads each session, while volunteer peers help participants to engage fully in all of the activities.
A note of appreciation from a mom of one of our participants as he was approaching his 22nd birthday - the day (by law) public school services end for all students with disabilities: As [the participant] and I were having our morning coffee before he left on the bus, he asked when his last day of [his public school transition program] was. So I told him, "soon," and asked if he was sad to leave. He thought about it and said, "Can I still go to CAN, Mom?" I asked him, "Do you want to?" A resounding "YES," loud and clear, with a smile from ear to ear, came out of his mouth. A heavy feeling of dread lifted off my shoulders, knowing that he loves CAN, and the transition I’ve been dreading will go maybe smoother than I expected. So THANK YOU!!!