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Stories like these are happening every day at Cornerstone.

We strive to provide hope and the tools the people we serve need for a better life and a better tomorrow.

Read more below.

  Joe's Story

Joseph Hisaw was a volunteer firefighter in a small town when tragedy struck. While in the midst of battling a raging fire, he fell through the roof of a house and was badly injured. He was in a coma for weeks. When he finally awoke, Joe had amnesia. He remembered nothing of the fire, or even being a firefighter. He could not recall that he was a veteran who had spent nearly 10 years in the Army. And, sadly, he did not remember being married or having children. Joe spent years in hospitals and nursing homes, slowly recovering physically, but, unfortunately he has not fully regained his memory.

Doctors doubted Joe would ever walk again, but with persistence, he did it. His therapists weren't sure that he would be able to move out of his nursing home into his own apartment, but he did. And, when he was ready to re-enter the workforce, Joe turned to Cornerstone. The staff at Cornerstone spent time with Joe, to get to know his skills, as well as his needs. Most importantly, they listened to him and what kind of job he wanted. Joe has always been a very friendly, outgoing guy, so he wanted to work with people. But, due to his injuries, he had to work part-time. For several months, Cornerstone helped Joe fill out applications and attend interviews. Some seemed promising, but there was nothing definite. Finally, in late October 2016, Joe was hired by the Walgreens near his home, where he works approximately 15 hours a week. He is primarily a greeter--a perfect occupation for him, but he has also learned to use the register. Most of the year, Joe walks to work, though when the weather is especially difficult, he gets a ride through Uber. Joe also receives some in-home assistance to help him with managing his household, but lives independently in an apartment. His children are now adults and he enjoys visiting with them, too. It is Joe's dream to one day open a restaurant, where he can greet his customers give back to the community that has been so supportive of him.

  In Her Own Words

Pam participates in Cornerstone's Community Housing Program, where she receives support services to help her live independently in the community. She also receives counseling and psychosocial rehabilitation services at Cornerstone to help her with issues related to her mental health condition. Pam has come a long way since first coming to Cornerstone, and she shares her experiences here--in her own words.

"When first becoming a client at Cornerstone, I was physically sick, to the point where I could have died. Mentally, I was hopeless and my world was black, due to my horrific childhood and past. I was very much a loner all through my life. I was in and out of a lot of private and state hospitals. None of the hospitals did any good for me.

"Cornerstone was the first place that seemed to be able to help me with my struggles. This is where I started making progress and having hope. I learned who I was and started to be able to care for myself and get self-esteem. Between the staff, PSR groups and my dog Codi, I was able to learn that people really do care. I would push staff away at first, because I thought it was fake. I never felt I was worth it, because of my past. Even after pushing them away, the staff didn't go away and they stayed. It made me realize I was worth it and that I really did have people who cared.

"Today, I have sunshine even on a rainy day. I have friends who are important to me and really do care. I have my brother and his family, who I love and care about. I never had them in my life before, so this is special to me. I also have Cornerstone and their support, which is also very important to me. Now, Cornerstone believed in me enough to help me go through school to be a WRAP facilitator, which we do three groups a year. WRAP is a group where you help people develop an action plan, to keep their life stable on a daily basis. I also have been speaking at different symposiums to help educate people about the WRAP program. I go to refresher courses for WRAP, which has helped me meet outside people, who are very supportive. Having outside help and support is important. I live a functioning life with coping skills, dignity and respect. I live a stable life with people who care about me. I have always told staff how I wanted a chance to give back what Cornerstone has so freely given me over the years and now I am able to do that in my life. I never thought any of these things would be in my life, and now here I am. "


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Cornerstone is an Illinois-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), fully licensed by local, state, and federal agencies and is accredited by CARF, The Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission.
The agency accepts Medicaid and private insurance. Cornerstone is a member agency of the United Way of Will County

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Copyright 2018, Cornerstone Services, Inc. Administrative Offices, 777 Joyce Road, Joliet IL 60436 / p 815.741.7600 / f 815.723.1177

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