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About Individual Advocacy Group

gardener-foundation-draculas-ball-fundraiser-2015- - 2Individual Advocacy Group is a CARF accredited not-for-profit organization dedicated to community- based supports and personal advocacy for individuals with special needs. IAG provides training programs, behavioral and individual therapies, community- based residential programs, advocacy and case management for individuals who have intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, brain injuries or physical/medical conditions. All of IAG’s programs are community- based and all residential programs are family scale of four or fewer people using neighborhood housing and apartments. IAG provides its services in 21 counties in Illinois from Chicago to the Quad Cities to Springfield to Peoria and Champaign, as well as the District of Columbia and Maryland.

involved-750x375IAG believes that all individuals deserve and should receive respect regardless of their history, type of disability or severity of specialized needs. Furthermore, all individuals must be assured of their endowed rights of community participation and personal independence shared by all members of society. Each individual can meet his or her personal goals, follow personal interests, and find personal success and happiness. Accordingly, people with disabilities can achieve personal success and happiness if given the chance and the support. Regardless of the impediments any person with disabilities may have encountered along the way in life, their chance is now and the opportunity is here to find self respect, develop a positive self image and achieve personal goals.

Mission Statement

To provide a full array of quality, outcome-based, functional and age-appropriate person and community centered services and supports for individuals in Illinois with developmental disabilities, emotional disabilities, and neurological disabilities, while providing support and solace for their families.

IAG ensures opportunities that will promote the best possible chances and probabilities of personal outcomes, which includes:

  • being active and valued participants at home, school, work, and in the community;
  • having lasting and meaningful relationships with family, friends, and neighbors;
  • developing and exercising one’s own abilities and gifts; and
  • having personal security and individual rights.

Meet Our Founders

Dr. Charlene Bennett and Dr. David Brooks founded Individual Advocacy Group in 1995.

Dr. Charlene A. Bennett, Ed.D. is a Professor of Education, who has always been concerned about children and their education. She has been especially interested in children who need special supports because of medical, physical or cognitive challenges.

David Brooks, Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, who has worked on behalf of people with Developmental Disabilities for over 25 years. Dr. Brooks has always had an interest in persons with behavioral and emotional challenges.

Board of Directors

  • Dr. Charlene Bennett, CEO/ Executive Director- President
  • Dr. David Brooks, Business Finance Director- Treasurer
  • Dr. Mel P. Heller, Chairman
  • Ms. Jean Zyzniewski, Vice Chairman
  • Mr. Jim Matousek, Secretary
  • Ms. Eva Gerbac, Board Member
  • Mr. Joey Gerbac, Board Member
  • Ms. Debra Frank, Board Member

Affiliations and Memberships

IAG is proud to work with the variety of contracting and community-oriented organizations listed below:

  • Illinois Department of Human Services
  • Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Romeoville Chamber of Commerce
  • Bolingbrook Chamber of Commerce
  • Glendale Heights Chamber of Commerce
  • Sandwich Chamber of Commerce
  • Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
  • Donors Forum of Chicago
  • Washington DC Department of Disability Services
  • Washington DC Chamber of Commerce