Starting this week, Center for Independent Futures officially kicks off another year of its My Marathon program for CIF participants.  Through the program, individuals will set one or more personal fitness goals for the summer, and track them on their personal Full Life Planning Tool website with a life skills tutor.

To support these personal fitness goals and a healthy lifestyle, CIF is offering a variety of group exercise opportunities throughout the summer months, including: CIF Yoga at the Evanston Athletic Club every Tuesday from 4 - 5 p.m., Le Tour de CIF on Thursday, July 14th at 6:30 p.m., and Group Walks led by a personal trainer on Monday evenings from 5 - 6 p.m. on August 8 & 22, September 5 & 19, and October 3.  (Please call the CIF office at 847-328-2044 to RSVP for these events).

One difference from previous My Marathon years is that there is no fundraising component for program participants. However, all of the CIF community is invited to promote the Team CIF’s participation in the Chicago Marathon and to direct potential donors to the Team CIF webpage.

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A Big Blast Project is thrilled to host its 2nd annual friendship visit between the Push America Journey of Hope cyclists riding across the US, and individuals with special needs and their families in the Chicagoland area. The event will take place on Tuesday, July 26th from 4 – 7 p.m. at Flick Park, 3600 Glenview Road, Glenview, IL 60025. The event is free and all children with special needs and their families are welcome!

A Big Blast Project is a local not for profit organization that provides one-on-one therapy and ‘buddy’ recreational therapy for kids with special needs. The Push America “Journey of Hope” is a cross-country bike ride designed to raise funds and awareness and spread the message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities. The Journey of Hope covers 32 different states, cycling over 12,000 miles and annually raises more than $500,000.

Read more for event details and registration information.

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With just under three months to go, Team CIF’s ten members are well into training for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2011.  In addition to preparing physically, each runner is committed to raising at least $500 to support CIF programs and services.  The team has raised almost $1,000 so far and needs your help to reach its goal of $10,000 by race day.  Please show your support by making a donation today.

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As promised, the Story Pirates are sailing back into the waters of Lake Michigan and will be appearing at SPACE in Evanston this fall!  For the second year, Center for Independent Futures is proud to host this nationally respected arts and creative writing organization based in New York City and Los Angeles!

Story Pirates’ mission is to preserve the spark of youthful creativity often lost in the transition to adulthood, and they do this by showcasing the words and ideas of young people with disabilities.

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There was lots of singing as CIF paticipants and staff hit the road to a cottage in South Haven, Michigan for the 2nd Annual Graduate Life Tools Camp.  Graduate Life Tools Camp is designed to support participants in increasing skills per their self-directed goals. 

Upon arrival, the group planned meals and talked about each individual's goals for the time together.  Goals were captured on large posters which served as daily reminders – a successful process that supported individuals being accountable to themselves and to each another.

This year's campers planned and prepared lots of healthy meals, and had some great times playing football – with lots of unique end zone dancing included!  Experiences at the beach and hiking along the Kal Haven Trail presented opportunities for learning and fun...and watching the sunset over Lake Michigan was fantastic.  Campers will long cherish great memories of a special dessert – Nana Mores (grilled banana’s chocolate and marshmallows) – and the song and dance that made them even better.

This year's South Haven adventure was a positive, learning and growing experience for everyone!

View 2011 Graduate Life Tools Camp photos!

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