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Local Nonprofits Come Together to Provide a Comprehensive Continuum of Care

Normal, ILL – Brian Wipperman, CEO of Lifelong Access, announced today a partnership with Chestnut Health Systems and the Regional Office of Education to provide coordinated, one-stop support services in a revitalized space in greater downtown Bloomington. 


“Our community is facing big challenges to well-being and success," said Wipperman. “We are committed to creating a big solution that also supports downtown revitalization.”  


Health challenges are especially evident among children and youth ages 6-17 in McLean County. Last year, 3,200 in that group lived at or below the poverty level, 3,300 faced a behavioral health crisis, 1,500 reported a substance abuse disorder, 5,500 were chronically absent from school, 1,400 experienced sexual violence, 13,400 lived with one or more adverse childhood experiences, 1,500 lived with a disability, 1,800 made suicide plans, 900 attempted suicide. 


With the goal of providing urgently needed interventions in an accessible downtown location, the collaborating nonprofits will offer a comprehensive array of services – predominantly but not exclusively focused on youth.  


"This partnership will allow us to meet a growing demand for our alternative programming in McLean County and provide greater access to food, medical, and counseling services for the students we serve and their families," said Mark Jontry, Regional Office of Education Regional Superintendent.  


Services offered will include adolescent substance use disorder treatment, alternative youth education, ABA therapy for children on the autism spectrum, behavioral health and psychiatric services, programming for adults with disabilities, pediatric and dental care, food security programs, housing support, and more. 


“Among our core values is collaboration to lead change,” explained Puneet Leekha, COO of Chestnut Health Systems. “We are so pleased to be a part of this project that, if realized, will make a true impact on the health and wellness of some of our community’s most vulnerable and underserved families." 


The project partners are pursuing a heritage site in greater downtown as well as additional service providers. They expect to share progress updates in Fall 2024.  





About Lifelong Access.  

For 68 years, Lifelong Access has helped break down barriers for kids, teens, and adults in our community. We ensure attempts to help result in actual support, professional assistance, and the facilities we each deserve. We give a voice to those not heard, provide assistance to those in need, and lend a hand in place of facing a closed door. We fight for each other and those who can’t fight for themselves. 


Lifelong Access provides Behavioral Health services; Pediatric Therapies including physical, occupational, speech, and applied behavior analysis; High School Transition Programs and Adult Services including Supportive Living, Community Day Services, and Supported Employment. For more information visit  


About Chestnut Health Systems. 

Chestnut Health Systems is a not-for-profit organization that has cared since 1973 for the most vulnerable in our communities. Chestnut provides substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery; mental health treatment; primary care; dental care; and housing and supportive services. It is a leader in behavioral health-related research through its Lighthouse Institute. For more information visit


About Regional Office of Education. 

Regional Office of Education # 17 serves as a direct support and advocate for school districts in DeWitt, Livingston, Logan, and McLean Counties in Central Illinois. For more information visit  




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