Posted by Al Anile

Guest Speaker Susan Kaufman, Director Orchard Village in Skokie.

Susan Kaufman, is one the recipient of the Skokie Valley Rotary Club's Non For Profit Organizations Annual Donation. She joined Orchard Village on February 10, 2020 as their new director, with 30 years experience in the field.
 
Susan most recently worked for Bethesda Lutheran Communities as Vice President of Operations. There she oversaw daily operations in the areas of licensed group homes, intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual / developmental disabilities, community integrated day services, employment, independent and supported living, shared living, and respite in 13 states. Previously, Susan was employed at Clearbrook for over 25 years, with her last position as Vice President of Program Services. Susan has a Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary and Special Education from Roosevelt University. She also has extensive expertise in the Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities field, as well as person-centered supports.
 
In 1972 a Skokie-based attorney Bernard Saltzberg, proud father of three sons with developmental disabilities, envisioned a nurturing community wherein his growing boys and other young people might thrive after their formal schooling ended at age 22.
 
Bernie envisioned a residence— a “home” in which people with disabilities could share a safe, caring and comfortable environment. After much hard work to obtain funding for the project, Bernie and other community parents purchased a residence located on a small cul-de-sac in Skokie. Soon after, the group purchased a six-flat apartment building on the same street and began welcoming even more individuals. In September of 1973, Bernie suspended his legal practice and was appointed Orchard Village’s first Executive Director.
 
Today, Orchard Village takes a more community-integrated residential approach, with more than 70 individuals now living in 10 residences spread throughout the Skokie, Glenview, Morton Grove and Niles municipalities. Another 25 live more independently in community apartments. In 1977, the organization began its vocational/job-placement program, which serves more than 100 individuals each year. In the 1980s Orchard Village began serving families who care for their loved one(s) with a disability in the family home. And in 2007, Orchard Academy was launched to address the transition and therapeutic needs of certain high school special education students.
 
Orchard Village employs approximately 150 full and part-time individuals who bring a wide range of credentials, skills and training to their work.