The Center for Enriched Living exists so that people with developmental disabilities can be fully included in the community, achieve personal success, and enjoy a good quality of life.
We see a future where every person with a developmental disability is an equal, valued and contributing member of the community.
LEADERSHIP: We work hard, forge new paths and are leaders (not followers) in the field.
INTEGRITY: We are transparent and accountable for our actions; we have integrity and deliver on our promises.
FUN: We promote positive energy and mutual respect in a warm and welcoming community; we like to have fun and enjoy a balanced life.
EMPOWERMENT: We are member-centered and seek every opportunity to empower our members to make their own choices and direct their own lives.
The following key ingredients are integral within our work environment:
CELEBRATING DIFFERENCES: CEL celebrates the unique contributions of everyone – where all voices are heard and personal choices are respected.
STRONG COMMUNITY: We believe in a strong connection to friends and community – where everyone belongs and is treated with dignity.
UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITIES: We believe in providing unlimited opportunities for learning, enrichment, and growth.
COLLABORATION & INNOVATION: We promote a culture of collaboration and innovation to help us do, and be, our best.
REMOVING BARRIERS: CEL is committed to removing barriers – both physical and attitudinal – so that our members can achieve greater independence and lead more fulfilling and meaningful lives.
The Center for Enriched Living (CEL) began in 1968, when two mothers approached a social worker at a local community center, asking for help in finding after-school programs for their children with developmental disabilities.
With the social worker’s assistance, the two children were then integrated into programs at the community center. As these programs evolved, they began to include social and independent-living activities for people of all ages with developmental disabilities.
CEL became an independent agency in 1984 with 60 members and has grown exponentially, now serving more than 450 people annually in our 20,000 square foot facility in Riverwoods. This building allows us to serve more people with developmental disabilities in a greater variety of programs with a gymnasium, arts-and-crafts room, teaching kitchen, technology hub and accessible garden.
And with Universal Design integrated throughout our building, it ensures that everyone, no matter their ability can navigate and use CEL with greater ease.
At CEL, we provide opportunities for our members – the people who come to CEL – to make new friends, have fun and acquire new skills for social inclusion and independent living. And because 84% of our members are at or below the federal poverty level, we keep our fees low and offer scholarships for all programs!