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About Esperanza


Our mission is to provide instruction and services to people with disabilities to reach their fullest potential toward a productive and independent life in the community. Esperanza means hope, expectation, promise, prospect, and confidence.

Our History

Esperanza Community Services began as a school in 1969, created in response to the lack of services available to students whose learning needs were not being met in traditional classrooms. Our founder, Guadalupe Reyes, was driven to help her son Bobby, whose developmental disabilities were caused by spinal meningitis. Guadalupe Reyes made Esperanza School a place where students with developmental disabilities found a solid foundation of education, support, and encouragement upon which they could grow.

Finding a place like Esperanza was absolutely wonderful for me because it made me realize I wasn’t going through this alone.

Esperanza School parent

Our Leadership

For 50 years, we have built a strong and positive reputation among families as a trusted and caring service provider, and we are uniquely positioned to support our diverse community. Esperanza is truly an anchor for the individuals and families we serve, providing the help and hope that many have been unable to find elsewhere.

Joy Decker

Executive Director

Jennifer Brewer

Director of Programs

Anne Hellmer

Principal, Esperanza School

Brian Grundy

Director of Finance & Administration

Brittanie Wilczak

Director of Development

Transparency and Accountability

Board of Directors


Aaron McKay, Chair
Chicago Board Game Café/
Cards Against Humanity

Suzanne Ritzler, Secretary
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood, & Boyer P.A.

Howard Goodfriend, Director
Raymond James Financial Services

Nicole Montanye, Director
Tock

Heather Morris, Director
Magellan Corporation

Andrew Soep, Director
Cards Against Humanity

Jenelle Wittmann, Director
Zagone Studios/Imagining This/For the Love of Chocolate Foundation

Staci Yesner, Director
@properties

Jenn Bane
Cards Against Humanity