This year is a milestone for Esperanza Community Services. It marks our 45th year of supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities to become as independent as possible. Esperanza was founded in 1969 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 support and encouragement upon which they could grow.

Families took notice of our quality educational services, and Esperanza took root in Chicagoland, building a tradition of working closely with those we serve provide customized supports that meet the needs of each individual.

Services were added to meet the increasing demand for a broad array of supports that would help people with developmental disabilities throughout their life. A day program was added to help adults continue to build independent living skills, as was an in-home support program. A 24-hour residential program was established, allowing adults with developmental disabilities to live with their peers in the community – not apart from it. Esperanza, more than ever, was becoming a nucleus of a community of support for families across the region. Over the last 45 years, Esperanza Community Services has provided support to thousands of students, adult participants and their families. We’ve developed meaningful relationships that often last well beyond a student’s time with us at Esperanza. We are honored to have become a part of so many families’ lives.

Thank you to everyone who has helped Esperanza reach this milestone! We are fortunate to have fantastic and dedicated staff who give their all, as well as the ongoing support and involvement of so many in our community. Every hour volunteered and every contribution have made this possible. And we are deeply honored to be the trusted service provider for hundreds of families across the region.

Over the years, Esperanza Community Services has grown and evolved, and we continue to do so. As we move forward, we stay true to our fundamental purpose: supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. At Esperanza, we see achievements every day. Students continue to work towards new academic and critical behavioral goals, and adult participants are developing valuable skills that help them be more independent and connected to our community.

From all of us at Esperanza Community Services, thank you for being a part of our journey, and thank you for helping us reach our first 45 years! I invite you to celebrate with us at the Union League Club on April 24th!


Jeff Fenwick
Interim Executive Director