Lambs Farm Blog

Check back often to get the inside scoop on the happenings at Lambs Farm!

Lambs Farm Receives Chicago Cares Community Partner Star Award

discoverAfter months of planning, Discover Financial Services and Chicago Cares joined forces for a very special Volunteer Day at Lambs Farm. Nearly 500 employees of Discover Financial Services converged on our campus in September 2014 for a day of hard work!

And work they did – painting, landscaping, repairing/constructing fencing, creating artwork for the Farmyard area, powerwashing the group homes, and a whole lot more. In between, they enjoyed a delicious breakfast and lunch prepared by our Magnolia Café & Bakery.

Following this service day, Lambs Farm was selected as the winner of the 2014 discover6Chicago Cares Community Partner Star Award, which was presented at their celebration dinner on December 1st.

The Star Award winners were selected by a committee that included Chicago Cares board members and staff, along with previous award winners; who carefully reviewed each nomination.

According to Chicago Cares, award winners exemplify the spirit of volunteerism through their consistent commitment to volunteer service, ability to inspire others, compassion and sensitivity when working with clients, and eagerness to offer services, skills, resources and ideas to improve our community.

discover11“Lambs Farm has done a great job of engaging their Participants in projects when appropriate, and makes sure everyone is aware when Chicago Cares is coming in for a project (staff and Participants alike),” said Chicago Cares. “They truly understand what a volunteer project, regardless of scale, means to their staff and most importantly, to their residents, and work so hard to make it a great experience for everyone involved.”

Thank you to Discover and Chicago Cares for choosing Lambs Farm, and for all the Discover employees who came out to help make this special Day of Service a great success!

If your corporation or business is interested in our group volunteer projects please contact Angela Ramert at, and find out more about all of our volunteering needs here!

Read about other groups who have contributed through volunteer opportunities at Lambs Farm!


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Popcorn Days Team Captains Make a Difference

Popcorn1webOur Annual Popcorn Days would not be possible without the number of volunteers that help us make it successful! Our Team Captains in particular are a vital part of this fundraiser who help identify volunteers, manage volunteer sites and work alongside the Lambs Farm Development team for the event weekend.

Frances Dellutri is one of these Team Captains, who has volunteered her time since the very first Popcorn Days six years ago!

Frances, why do you choose to be a Team Captain each year?

I have a wonderful sister who has been a Participant at Lambs Farm for 30+ years and she is so proud of her accomplishments and independence. I thought the idea of Popcorn Days was a great way to yes, raise money for Lambs, but also it would give me an opportunity to chat with people about the great things that Lambs has done and to raise community awareness of a unique program, surpassed by none in my opinion.

Why should others be involved as Team Captains?

By being a Captain you have the ability to actively work toward getting the community involved in the support of Lambs Farm. I think this is really important. Lambs is a great facility at which people with development disabilities can live and work productively, but most of all it allows them to be a vibrant part of today’s world.

In order for Popcorn Days to be more successful, additional Captains and volunteers are needed to cover a wider geographical area. You can even Captain from home if you have a limitation – there are many creative ways to Captain!

What are some highlights from past Popcorn Days?

I’ve had the privilege to work with many volunteers who were so engaged, selfless, and excited to make a difference for Lambs Farm. I remember the lady with $100, who said she wished she had more to give, the folks that had a very tight financial situation diving into their bags for loose change with a huge smile, and the many happy stories of people working at Lambs, visiting Lambs, or having a loved one nurtured at Lambs. Those things really keep you going! I look forward to Popcorn Days each year!


Popcorn Days is an easy way for Lambs Farm to raise much needed funds to support our programming that enriches the lives of the men and women we serve. Please consider being a volunteer or a volunteer Captain for the 2015 Popcorn Days on May 1 and 2. For more information please contact Elaine Zielinski at 847.990.3865.

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Meet the 2014 Living Legacy Award Winner: Marc H.

FB8A6412webLambs Farm has the privilege of serving a truly remarkable group of men and women.  They meet each day’s challenges with a courage and enthusiasm most of us could not comprehend, and then move beyond to learn something new, make another friend or conquer another task.  Among the beliefs of our co-founders was that given the opportunity, people with developmental disabilities could learn, continue to grow, and enjoy meaningful, full lives as contributing members of society.  That vision has surely been emulated beyond expectation by this year’s Honoree, Marc H.

Marc was born at a U.S. Naval Hospital in California.  As his family moved around the country during his childhood, he attended special education classes in elementary, junior high and then high school in Illinois, New York and Florida.  Throughout his life, he learned from his late parents the importance of both family and religion.  He maintains a very close relationship with his brother and sister, and their children, and has been a member of a local church for nearly 40 years, where he also serves as an usher.  He is a person with unlimited enthusiasm for just about everything.

When they finally settled in the Chicagoland area, Marc became a resident of Lambs Farm in the 70’s.  After initially living in our Dorm, he moved to a campus group home and today lives as independently as possible in his own apartment in our campus building, responsible for his own cooking, cleaning and laundry.  He looked forward to going to work as a mail room/supply clerk at an insurance company where he made many friends and was credited by his co-workers with creating an environment of mutual respect.  Unfortunately, the office was closed in 2010 and he was laid off just shy of his 30th anniversary.  Today, he enjoys working as a dishwasher at a health facility.hockey_1web

On most days, Marc can be found exercising with friends in our gymnasium or practicing his skills in one of the numerous sports offered as part of our Special Olympics program.  Over the years, he has earned many medals in tennis, bowling, snowshoeing, basketball, floor hockey, bocce, and softball, and even competed in swimming at the National Games one year.  He enjoys ski trips with his brother, and has traveled to a variety of other destinations sponsored by organized groups.

Many years ago, he played leading roles in the Participant Dinner Theatre held each year at Lambs Farm, and was thrilled when it resumed in 2011.  He has been showcasing his formidable acting talents in roles he has performed ever since- as the Butler in Annie, the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, starring as Danny in Grease, and most recently as Rapunzel’s Prince and The Mysterious Man in woods_10Into the Woods.

Marc is the recipient of the 2014 Lambs Farm Living Legacy award, established in 2011 to recognize Participants who embody the vision of our co-founders.  There is no question that he exceeds the personification of a productive, contributing member of his community.

For the men and women of Lambs Farm, the pursuit of a full life embodies a celebration of who they are, a sincere compassion for others, and the continuous desire to be treated with the respect and dignity they so richly deserve.  Marc is a Living Legacy who personifies the vision that our co-founders created an fought so hard to achieve.

Congratulations Marc!

Find out more about Lambs Farm’s programs for people with developmental disabilities.

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Our Evolving Campus Businesses

Embracing the mission of growth and transformation, our businesses have seen exciting modifications over the past couple of years.  They have evolved beyond their original charters and have grown along with our brand to showcase our mission and to become more competitive within their markets.

All of these changes have most importantly meant more job opportunities for our Participants where they can learn new things and gain valuable skills. We are continually evaluating how to provide more growth opportunities for the men and women we serve.

Included here are some of the exciting things happening in our businesses and how they affect our men and women!

Magnolia Café & Bakery
Brayanna1webThe evolution of the restaurant into a Café & Bakery not only led to a new more contemporary menu, but also created new jobs. In order to enhance the café atmosphere, the lobby was renovated and a bakery display case was added. This new bakery area created opportunities for the Participants to learn new skills.

“I like talking with customers, telling them about the different baked goods and sharing about where we make them in the Country Store!” – Brayanna

Dogwood Garden & Pet Center
This May, our pet shop transformed into a Garden and Pet Center.Wayneweb

The greenhouse and garden center have given Participants the chance to work in a new environment gaining skills in caring for plants and even learning how to grow the plants. Some of the vegetable and herb plants sold in the greenhouse this year were planted and nurtured by the Participants themselves!

“I really like taking care of the plants and watching mother nature take its course.” – Wayne

Wayne has put these new skills to work at home as well! He currently has three vegetable gardens that he enjoys maintaining.

Sugar Maple Country Store
Our production line has been completely revamped into an automated process equipped with a continuous conveyor system. While many times automation leads to Belindawebfewer jobs, in our case it has given our Participants the ability to be more involved in the production process.

As each Participant gets to operate a station in the production line, such as metal detection and labeling, they have gained new skills and play a key role in the food production process at the Country Store.

“I like that it gives me purpose and is another opportunity to learn new skills.” – Belinda

Cedar Chest Thrift Shop
The Thrift Shop is now open seven days a week. This has allowed for the store to have another day of sales and for the Participants to be able to work another day or have Madolynwebmore flexible schedules.

In addition, the Thrift Shop also has its own eBay store, which has provided another outlet to sell the many items donated.

All of the Participants who work in the Thrift Shop are an integral part of the team, such as Madolyn who is the cashier and rings up all purchases throughout the week.

“I have been working as a cashier here for 14 years. Each day I get to meet new people.” – Madolyn

Farmyard & Attractions
AkikowebEfforts are currently underway to dramatically transform our Farmyard. The new master plan will include increased educational components and other attractions for children and adults of all ages. The goals for this new plan also include increasing our audience of visitors, creating a year-round venue, and providing additional jobs for our Participants.

The past two years we have run a Groupon promotion which has increased visitors to the Farmyard! Akiko works hard to greet all the customers and stamp their hands as they enter. She loves having the Farmyard busy!

Other than the Farmyard, which closes for the winter, all of our businesses are open daily!  Come experience these businesses and this wonderful place that our men and women call home!  It is a place where everyone grows.

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Local Students Give Back to the Community at Lambs Farm

OakgroveEach year we have thousands of amazing volunteers who graciously give their time and energy here at Lambs Farm.  They help us undertake projects that we would never be able to do otherwise, and tackle projects in a matter of hours that would normally take us weeks, if not months, to finish on our own!

Among these great volunteer groups are some young students who wished to be engaged in our campus projects as well! Oak Grove School, located just around the corner from us, has been bringing volunteer groups for over 10 years.  What an inspiration they are to the rest of the community!

They began coming after 9/11 when President Bush declared September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance (Patriot Day).   “We chose Lambs Farm because it was in our community and we wanted the students to understand that they could make a difference in the world,” said Kathy Zurawski.

Their service even extends into the holiday season as they purchase & wrap gifts and send gift cards to our Participants for the past few years!

Here is a letter written by one of these special volunteers:

Dear Lambs Farm,
Thank you for inviting Oak Grove back for another year of working at Lambs Farm.  It was a wonderful experience, and I truly enjoyed it.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to give back, especially on a day of service.  It felt good to know that we were helping out.  It was fun working with my friends, and meeting some of the residents at Lambs Farm.  Thank you for the wonderful meal you gave to us, it was delicious.  I’m truly grateful that I had the chance to experience this.  I’d love to come back to Lambs Farm someday and enjoy it with my family.  Thank you for the work you do everyday, and the lives you provide for many people.  Keep up the amazing work!


We have many opportunities for groups to come and make a difference through volunteer projects! Read more about these volunteer opportunities here and check out our list of posted volunteer jobs.  Contact Volunteers Coordinator, Angela Ramert, at 847.990.3864 or for more information.

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Great Corporate Gift Ideas to Eliminate Purchasing Stress!

Our Sugar Maple Country Store and Bakery has great corporate gift basket ideas to eliminate your purchasing stress!

LF Favorites AssortmentwebAre you tired of giving the same kinds of gifts each year to your clients, customers, employees and everyone else on your list? This holiday season, and all year long, you can send them meaningful gift baskets that also support our services for people with developmental disabilities!

All of our thoughtful gift selections are made by our Participants right here on our campus at the Sugar Maple Country Store.  Therefore, when you purchase an amazing gift basket or item from us you are providing vocational experience for our men and women and you are making it possible for us to continue to provide these important services!

These corporate gift ideas then become more than just a thank you- they show your recipients that you are also supporting a good cause!

There are several easy ways to make  your gift purchases for all the people on your list:

1. You can shop online and create an account, which allows  you to be able to make ChocLovers1webyour orders at different times.  It is fast and easy to be able to make your selections and all of your information is saved in your profile so that you can make future purchases with more ease.

2. You can contact our Sales Manager, Amy Barry, who can help with custom gift baskets and gift ideas.  She can also provide you with a spreadsheet to use for collecting all your gift information and addresses.  This way you can send it all in at once and not worry about it anymore!  Email Amy at, or call her directly at 847.990.3797.

For more than 30 years, we have been helping corporations and businesses find the perfect gifts to meet their needs and we would love to help you!

Many, many thanks for the outstanding service received over the years!  Giving your cookies and treats to our best customers each year has become a tradition here at the bank and one we and our customers look forward to as the holidays approach – The Peoples’ Bank of Arlington Heights

We were thrilled to partner with Lambs Farm in our efforts to let our clients know how much we appreciate them.  Our clients were impressed not only with the fact that we chose an organization that does great work as the source of our gifts, but also the quality of the presentation and the tastiness of the treats – Oak Wealth Advisors LLC

We would love to hear from you!  Sales representatives are available Monday-Friday from 8am – 5pm at 847.362.4636.

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Generous Donation to Special OIympics Teams

sportsshedwebIn September, the Recreation department received a generous donation of sports equipment from The Sports Shed, which is a nonprofit that provides equipment for under-resourced communities and teams.

A Participants’ sister recently began working for them and her first project was to help our Special Olympics teams! Through her hard work we were given hundreds of pieces of equipment that we had put on our wish list for all of our teams!

Additionally, they will continue to work on completing the rest of our wish list throughout the year.

Thank you to The Sports Shed for this great donation!

Read more about the amazing history of Special Olympic sports here at Lambs Farm and how it impacts all of our Participants!

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Musical Production of Into the Woods

Into The Woods Junior ColorPresented by our Fine Arts Program, this year our Participants will be performing Into the Woods Junior on September 20 and 21 at the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest.  Click here to see more info about the musical and how you can get tickets.

The story weaves the plots of beloved fairy tale characters to make a creative, exciting musical!

“Into the Woods is a fun musical that intertwines the story of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and other fairy tale characters as they work together to undo a curse that the evil witch has placed on a baker and his wife,” said co-director Janine Neumann.

This year’s production has fewer character roles than some of the past musicals, which makes each of the roles essential to the story.

“We chose this musical because rather than having one or two ‘lead’ roles, every
single character is a lead in their own specific story that combines to make the musical a whole. Without each character, the story of Into the Woods would not be complete,” stated Janine.

Beginning in March, the cast has been hard at work learning their lines and songs and are eager to show off their talent!

According to Participants Josh J. and Sue W., it has been fun to learn their lines and they have already been able to memorize parts of the musical.

Mark your calendars, and stay tuned for more updates on our social media as it approaches. Tickets will be available online, by phone and at the door.

The Participants want everyone to know that they are very hard at work and would love to have people come see the musical to support them. According to them, “it is cute and will make you feel good!”

View the photos from the musical production here.

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Lambs Farm Loves Volunteers!

IMG_3652Looking to volunteer? At Lambs Farm, we offer a variety of different volunteer opportunities that are equally appreciated! No matter what your interests are, we certainly have volunteer work that will satisfy what you want from a volunteer experience.

Over the years, we have had many companies come here as a group to volunteer their time. We, as an organization, love having the businesses here helping out and greatly appreciate them donating time out of their work day! If you think your company may be interested in forming a group to come volunteer, please contact us! We would love to have you!

We also offer an assortment of ongoing volunteer opportunities for individuals whoIMG_2850 are interested! With a variety of different time options, this volunteer work will be sure to fit your busy schedule! If you have extra time on the weekends that you would like to donate, the Magnolia Café & Bakery would be a great place for you! The restaurant looks for volunteers that are available any time between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to help the staff as a greeter, waiter, or busser. Another option for Saturdays would be to work at the Cedar Chest Thrift Shop. The thrift shop looks for individuals who would like to assist with sorting, tagging, and placing items any time between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. In addition to offering the volunteer experience on Saturdays, the thrift shop welcomes volunteers Tuesday-Friday as well.

If you do not think volunteering in our businesses is the best fit for you, don’t worry, we still have more options for you! We always appreciate volunteers who want to assist our landscaping and maintenance staff. These projects may include, but are not limited to, gardening, painting, and window washing. Another area we look for volunteers to help with is our website. If you have experience in web development, we would love your help!

View more information on becoming a volunteer, including options involving more interaction with Participants. If you have any inquiries or would like to learn more about the volunteer experience we offer, feel free to email our Volunteer & Groups Coordinator, Angela Ramert, at

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Voices of Lambs Farm

Our Participants are pleased to share with you their creative writing and personal stories found in this edition of Voices!  Through reading these poems and narratives you will receive a  glimpse into the lives of the men and women of Lambs Farm. Enjoy!

Voices: A publication written by Participants


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