On The Move! Share & Care Plans New Offices And Training Complex


On April 13, 1989, two dozen people gathered at the former Lutheran Church near the Clinton Square to discuss how they could support families in the communities with members who needed services they could not get locally.
From that meeting, a not-for-profit agency was formed to serve what is now referred to as the IDD community, people with intellectual and developmental challenges. From its start in a church basement, Share and Care has grown to employ a staff of 65 direct support professionals, who work out of a building on the south end of town.
Share and Care has now outgrown that building, and has purchased 15 acres adjacent to the Clinton Community Center, where a new office and a 5,000 square-foot training center will be built. The training center will be named the Cheryl Craig Learning Center, after the Clinton woman who served as the director of the agency for 25 years.
“It’s going to be a great way to honor her and everything she did for the IDD community,” said Sandy Carroll, business administrator for the agency.
Cheryl passed away on February 12, 2023, at the age of 73. With a bachelor’s degree in education from Illinois State University, she specialized in services to blind and partially sighted people, and taught braille. Cheryl was teaching special education at Lakeland High School when she was hired as director of Share and Care. An active advocate statewide for support services, she led the effort to establish the first adolescent behavior group home in the state.
In 1998, Cheryl was named a “Champion of Change” by the Institute for Community Health Leadership for her commitment and dedication.
On April 10, 2024, Phil Craig and the Craigs’ three daughters met Sandy and Becky Gregory, Share and Care executive director, at the site of the planned construction of the learning center to put up a banner. At the time of her passing, the family had designated gifts in Cheryl’s memory be made to the Share and Care Building Fund, but did not know the learning center would be named for her.
“There were quite a few tears,” Sandy said, of the day the family helped hang the sign.
The plans for the buildings, however, are still on the drawing board. Mike Henzlik, a Montrose architect on the project who designed the Henry County Health Department’s new office, said it will take three to four months to design two buildings. In the meantime, a civil engineer from Sedalia will be doing site preparation.
When the plans are complete, Share and Care will be reaching out to local businesses for bids on heating, plumbing, electrical work, Becky said.
“We’re hoping it will be up within a year, but more realistically, it will be a year and a half,” she said. “They’ve just started on the plans.”
Share and Care is now located in a building purchased from Dr. Harrison, a Clinton chiropractor. The agency had hoped to expand on the property behind the building, Becky said, but realized that given the size of the learning center, that it wouldn’t fit. In addition to other classes, Share and Care has started an apprenticeship program, registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, which qualifies employees to become certified in the field of IDD support.
“There are eight employees currently enrolled in the program,” she said. “Share and Care pays all expenses.”
The course is available to people with a high school degree. It starts with teaching relationship building and communication skills, Becky said. which gives the support person the skills to “read” a client who is not feeling well but may be unable to express it. The apprenticeship program also includes medication training certification, crisis intervention training, and CPR and First Aid instruction.
“The program makes a great stepping stone to pursuing a health career in college,” Becky said.
Share and Care deals primarily with adults who live in their own apartments, she said, and currently serves individuals in Henry and Johnson counties. It offers half day to 24-hour care, depending on the needs of the individual.
When Share and Care started in 1989, it offered an adult day program and physical, speech and occupational therapy for children, along with early intervention. The Pediatric Place now offers those services locally to “the littles,” Becky said.
The new buildings will be funded with help from the state legislature, Becky said, which determines the budgets for agencies that offer community health services. With the increase in rules and regulations, the amount of paperwork required has increased Sandy said. Share and Care tries to stay focused on the individual and their needs.
“We tailor the service to the individual,” Becky said.
Adding to the agency’s strength is the commitment of its employees, which the two administrators said is reciprocal.
“We’re looking forward to providing more options for the individuals we serve, and more opportunities for our employees,” Becky said.
Many of the personal support professionals have worked there for more than 15 years, she said, and one employee just retired after 24 years. Becky has been there for 27 years, she said, and Sandy has been there from day one, having been in the original group that met in the basement of the old Lutheran church. She was one of the group who hired Cheryl Craig as director, she said, and then Cheryl hired her.
Cheryl was her mentor, Becky recalled.
Sandy remembers that Cheryl would take time to work with potential and current employees to improve their literacy skills to qualify them for employment and help them retain it. Cheryl retired from Share and Care in 2015, and after running a mail-order quilt fabric business from her home, went into partnership with Mary Cupp to open the White Flower Quilt Shop on the Clinton Square. Cheryl’s daughter Andrea Schmidt owns Silhouettes, the lingerie shop on the east side of the Square, daughter Alexa Thompson works on the south side on the Square at Designers Edge Salon and Spa. Daughter Emily Combs is a teacher.
Kathy Allen was the original head of the Share and Care board. The current board members are Barbara Moseley, Pat Nielsen, Avis Compton, Scott Largent, Luke Edwards and Blaine Paxton.
For more information, go to the Share and Care website.