Burich has a long association with Center for Disability Services. When the center was still known as United Cerebral Palsy, Burich's wife, Sue, "did some marketing for them," her second job out of college he said.
In those days, Burich volunteered at "a few events here and there," attended golf fundraisers and transported people for the center's jail and bail fundraisers. Basically, volunteers were "arrested" and people had to donate to the center to bail them out.
"I'd be the guy to pick them up and take them back," Burich said, and added, "I had a cousin that was born with cerebral palsy so that gave me some knowledge."
Then a person applying for a job at UCP asked Burich for a reference. A couple of weeks after that person began working at UCP, Burich said the director approached the new employee and said, "I'd like to know more about one of your references."
So the employee called Burich and asked if he'd like to visit. Burich said, "Sure." That's when he encountered the client that hugged him. Shortly afterward, Burich was asked to serve on the board.
Burich has served the center ever since. Ask him about the elements that make Center for Disability Services special and you'll hear real animation in his answer.
For instance, he feels the center's school program for its 40 clients ages 3 to 21, the developmental training program (about another 40 clients) and the respite program (in-home and after school) are "very strong" programs.
The center also has four community integrated homes and adaptive technology.
"I feel the center exists, as other agencies do, for people with disabilities," Burich said. "It's important to have agencies out there so they have things to do and places to go. We try to make sure everyone is treated like an individual. And we try to cater to the different things they like."
Burich recalled a conversation with one client. The client kept typing GEB, and it took a few
minutes before Burich understood that this client wanted to work on his GED, a desire the client had for years, so the center found the resources to make it happen.
One client at age 5 still was crawling and scarcely could make it down the hall. With help from the center, the child learned to walk, attend school and enjoy playground equipment.
"That was a really nice success story," Burich said.
The Center for Disability Services also collaborates with other agencies. Burich said one
client was becoming bored with developmental training because he needed a challenge. So now he spends only three days at the center and two days a week at New Lenox Woodworks, a support business of Trinity Services.
"He working on some really neat things, too," Burich said.