HOME > Press Release > Little City and Countryside Association to Merge

Little City and Countryside Association to Merge

Creates a leading human services organization uniquely positioned to maintain and sustain programs and services for individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Little City today announced they have entered into a merger agreement with Countryside Association for People with Disabilities. Both organizations are aligned regarding their hopes, wishes and dreams for the future.

Approximately one year ago discussions between Little City and Countryside Association began to identify the opportunities and benefits of a combined organization.  Every care and consideration was given to ensure that the end result would benefit all participants and staff, as well ensure long-term sustainability.

”Today is a day of celebration as well as reflection. It marks the beginning of something new and exciting, building a future filled with the capacity for greater resilience and sustainability in the face of a dramatically changing landscape,” stated Shawn Jeffers, Executive Director of Little City. “The merger integration process brings with it a natural opportunity to reevaluate – and even improve – our ability to focus on what is most important: bringing life enrichment and fulfillment to children and adults with disabilities, and their families.”

A Unified Vision and Mission

The new organization’s Vision is a world where the lives of children and adults with disabilities are transformed to help them fully realize their unique potential and flourish with their family, friends and community.

Together, the combined entity will seek to realize this vision through a new, unified Mission: To be a leader in providing children and adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities the best options and opportunities to live safely, learn continuously, and explore creatively and work productively. We strive to inspire, innovate, advocate and pursue success with passion and purpose, and to create hope, happiness and optimism for individuals with disabilities and their families.

The Benefits of a Combined Organization

The combined organization will provide more comprehensive services and a greater array of person-centered programs. The unified team will enhance everyone’s ability to help those it serves to fully realize their unique potential and flourish with their family, friends, and community.

“With significant governmental and legislative challenges, joining forces will increase the organization’s ability to efficiently serve and advocate for children and adults with disabilities, and their families,” said Howard Reicheneker, interim Executive Director of Countryside Association. “The Integration process could take up to a year to complete. Teams are working to determine the best way to integrate programs that overlap and to expand the capacity of programs unique to each organization.”

Countryside brings a focus on home-based services in the Northwest suburbs and a track record in day programming and employment services. Little City’s strengths include its open and therapeutic community, day school, recreation center, vocational programming, and its well-regarded Center for the Arts. It also provides foster and adoptive placement services.

Shawn Jeffers will become Executive Director of the newly merged organization. Howard Reicheneker will take a position on the Little City financial team to facilitate full integration of the two organizations.

About Countryside Association for People with Disabilities
For more than 60 years Countryside Association for People with Disabilities has offered a variety of support services with one goal in mind—a better quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To that end, we offer a variety of support services that promote access to paid work, development of personal skills and increased social opportunities, all directed toward building greater participation within our community.

About Little City
Being a leader for 60 years, Little City continues to be inspirational and transformational in developing its 56-acre therapeutic community in Palatine. From a modest beginning of three homes and 16 residents primarily with Down syndrome, Little City has grown into a recognized leader offering a wide array of innovative services to more than 1,000 clients weekly. In addition to the Palatine location, Little City has a Community Services Office in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, adult service centers in Palatine and Waukegan, and 15 adult community homes and one children’s group home located throughout suburban Cook and DuPage Counties.

Today, Little City’s comprehensive program portfolio includes vocational training and employment placement, foster care and adoption, home-based family support, health and wellness, recreation and therapeutic activities, disability awareness and community education, a day school and an award-winning arts program. Visit www.littlecity.org.


Tina Maraccini, Director of Communications & Marketing
Phone: (847) 221-7855

"There are so many capable and caring staff at Little City, past and present, who have helped Clifford. He has made a lot of progress in mastering his behavior."

Colleen, Mother of a child living in a ChildBridge Group Home