The following article ran in the Daily Herald, April 25, 2015.

Clients, volunteers and employees of Marklund’s Hyde Center campus in Geneva celebrated Arbor Day on Friday by playing games and planting a spruce tree.

“I’ve never worked for an organization that celebrated Arbor Day,” said Marklund’s chief executive officer, Gil Fonger, as he prepared to plant the spruce with one of the clients. The crowd cheered as landscaping workers rolled, then tipped the tree into the hole. He told the crowd a little bit about the history of Arbor Day, and about how much oxygen a tree returns to the atmosphere.

Before that, clients played various carnival-styled games like a bean-bag-toss game, thanks to assistance of volunteers and staff members. They also took part in a fun activity where they used a hose to try to knock down windows in a board that looked like a little house, courtesy of the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District. The firefighters also gave clients toy fire helmets and badges.

Marklund provides educational, therapeutic and residential services to infants, children and adults with profound developmental and physical disabilities.

“At Marklund, we strive to make everyday life possible for individuals with profound disabilities, so taking part in a tree planting ceremony on Arbor is certainly part of everyday life,” Fonger stated in a news release announcing the event.

Marklund, a not-for-profit organization, has residences in Geneva and Bloomingdale, and a day school in Bloomingdale for children and teens who have autism and have complex medical issues.