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1913 W. Townline Rd. Peoria, IL 61615


November / December 2017

A Message from our CEO

Due to great advocacy by the Workforce Coalition, which involved various statewide organizations like EP!C, a number of supportive legislators and many of you, the State finally put the details in place for the implementation of the $.75 Direct Service Professional’s wage increase. The legislators approved this increase July 6th in the State’s annual budget.

Effective 8/27/17, base pay for all DSP’s increased by $.75 per hour retro back to 8/1/17. Our new starting DSP wage will be $9.25 per hour, which is $1.00 over minimum wage. This increase is on top of the shift differentials which are over $10.00 per hour.  We are so excited to implement this increase, which is long overdue.

We hope this will help EP!C recruit qualified staff as we work to stabilize our valuable workforce.  Moving forward, we hope to educate our legislators, families, advocates and our community members on the importance of addressing the ongoing workforce crisis facing DSP’s by funding a living and competitive wage for this valuable workforce.

EP!C Bon Appétit 


We are very excited to announce the featured chef for 2018 Bon Appétit.

Chef Claudia Sandoval – Master Chef Season 6 Winner, author of ‘Claudia’s Cocina – A Taste of Mexico’ and owner of Claudia’s Cocina.

Bon Appétit 2018
Thursday, March 22nd at Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette

Please visit www.epicpeoira.org/bonappetit for more information.

The Giving Tree – 2017

Help make the holidays brighter for our individuals at EP!C.

The Giving Tree provides an opportunity for both EP!C staff and community members to purchase gifts for program participants who would not normally receive a gift during the holidays.

For more info contact Cherie Murphy at 309-689-3614 or cmurphy@epicpeoria.org.

EP!C Achievement


Kathie has been with EP!C for many years, exhibiting unwavering dedication and compassion in her role as a Direct Service Provider. She strives to let the individuals learn and grow every day she works with them.

We are very happy to share with you the employee of the month, September 2017, Kathie Adler!

Featured Programs


This October will mark the first anniversary of EP!C’s Puzzle Place program for individuals with Autism. The program was created to better serve individuals on the spectrum with a quiet, safe, structured environment to build work, academic and social skills. The overall purpose is to increase independence and provide participants with the skills needed to navigate the workplace and community.

Currently, two small groups of individuals meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings each week in the Puzzle Place classroom. Staff work with them on basic reading, writing and math skills, and a special focus is placed on typing for communication. In addition, practice work opportunities are offered, including shredding, laundry, transporting individuals who use wheelchairs, and cafeteria work such as washing tables and microwaves and filling the ice machine.

Beginning this fall, Employment Skills for Autism classes will be offered in the Puzzle Place room on Mondays and Wednesdays.

For more information on the program, shredding services or volunteering, contact Lauren Coyle, Director of Specialized Programs
at 309-689-3607 or lcoyle@epicpeoria.org.

Individual Spotlight


Cortavia is a well-known face around EP!C. Beginning his relationship with EP!C in 2012, he became a vital participant with almost every program EP!C has to offer.

Cortavia began working in the OES department, assembling piece work.  Feeling that he wasn’t challenged enough he soon became a member of EP!C’s morning kitchen staff, stocking and helping clean. His hard work didn’t go unnoticed. Cortavia’s hours and position soon broadened with more responsibilities. He picked up afternoon shifts in the kitchen and continued completing his work with OES.

Cortavia set new goals for himself in 2016, when he voiced his desire to work in the community. He completed his Pre-Employment skills training in the spring of 2017. With confidence and drive, he landed his first community job in the fall of 2017. Cortavia is currently working at the North Point Taco Bell as the Cleaning Captain. He has caught on quickly and by the 2nd day on the job his co-workers have dubbed him the best Cleaning Captain they’ve had.

He continues to do piece work upon his arrival at EP!C and work in the kitchen before heading to his final job of the day at Taco Bell.

EP!C Winedown

On October 6th, EP!C hosted it’s 3rd Winedown event with friends and family.  The evening began with tours of the facility and an exclusive EP!CAsso sale. Everyone enjoyed delicious beverages and tasty hors d’oeuvres while they painted with the Paint Nite instructor.

Thank you to everyone who participated- your support is outstanding!





Volunteer Spotlight


Linda Raydon’s upbeat demeanor makes her a welcome sight as she walks through EP!C’s doors. Whether it be for volunteering or picking up host home participant Karenna from work, she has a dedicated personal touch that has given her the title of “Ambassador” for the Host
Home Program. 

Since leaving PARC in 2011 to become a Host Home Provider she has nurtured
nine individuals with her family. Linda believes in helping people who help
themselves and although she knows there are limitations, she is there for support in any capacity. She has been awarded several volunteer awards and even
Provider of the Year, “But that’s not what it is about, “ says Linda, “Being a Host Home
Provider has taught my family and I
open mindedness. That everyone is different but really we are all the same.”

It’s this philosophy that has guided two of her children to become employees of EP!C themselves as DSP’s in our day program. When asked who she thinks she has become since working with disabled and intellectual individuals she said “I have become who I am supposed to be.”   

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