From its beginning as a one-room schoolhouse to its standing as a nationally recognized leader in the developmental disabilities and behavioral health fields, Trinity Services consistently responded to the needs of the community. It continues to provide a wide array of services to meet those needs today.

  • 1950: In Joliet, Illinois, Trinity School is founded by a dedicated group of parents whose children with developmental disabilities had no option for education.

  • 1959: The Joliet Exchange Club gathers volunteers and donated materials to construct a modern school building at 100 N. Gougar Road in Joliet. In the early years of the school, students are taught homemaking, and basic academic and social skills. Teachers focus on meeting the needs of the whole child—mentally, emotionally and physically.

  • 1964: With more students attending, the school adds a gym.

  • 1970s: Trinity opens a “developmental training” program (commonly referred to today as a day program or community day services) in a new wing of the building to support former schoolchildren as they reach adulthood.

  • 1987: The Board of Directors choose Art Dykstra as Trinity's executive director. He is recruited to establish residential services and guide Trinity to adopt more innovative practices for supporting persons with developmental disabilities.

  • 1988: Petals & Twigs, Trinity's first support business, opens. The shop sells decorations and gifts, generating revenue for the organization to decrease its reliance on state funding.

  • 1989: Trinity’s first group home opens. From here, the organization grows rapidly in response to a community need for residential services. Trinity’s Horticulture Program opens, offering people the opportunity to garden and enjoy the outdoors. Trinity's Career Access Network opens to help people with disabilities achieve success at work.

  • 1990: Oh Fudge!, another support business, opens. Special Trinity Riders Involved in Developing Equestrian Skills, or STRIDES, opens to provide recreational horseback riding. Trinity builds three intermediate care facilities, home to 16 people each, in Joliet. The organization also launches its Behavioral Health Network, following a decision by the Will County Board to cease operations of residential services for people with mental illness.

  • 1992: Trinity Services receives the Accreditation with Distinction Award from The Accreditation Council on Services for People with Disabilities—now known as The Council on Quality and Leadership. Trinity maintains the highest possible level of accreditation to this day.

  • 1995: The Nevada Department of Mental Health and Developmental Services requests that Trinity provide services in Reno and act as a role model to other community providers in Nevada.

  • 1996: Trinity establishes The National Association of Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals (NAQ) to provide training in best practices in the field. Trinity also opens High Tide Press, a support business that publishes books and training materials for the fields of disabilities, behavioral health and leadership. Its Perdido magazine informs, educates and motivates leaders in nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

  • 1998: Trinity opens The Oak Center in Lockport to provide specialized services to persons dually diagnosed with a mental illness and a developmental disability. In its first partnership to provide staff with post-baccalaureate degrees, Trinity sees 15 master's students graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno. Trinity continues partnerships with universities today for staff development.

  • 1999: Trinity opens SafeNow, a support business that provides jobs to the people Trinity serves and manufactures non-toxic, green cleaning products, certified by NSF International. Trinity also opens Jasmine’s, a gift shop in Wilmington, Illinois, providing employment to people Trinity serves.

  • 2000: Support business All Area Custom Designs opens, making personalized clothing, spirit wear and promotional materials. Trinity begins its annual Kindness Day celebrations, during which employees send each other notes and flowers to let coworkers know how much they are appreciated.

  • 2001: Trinity signs its first union contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, which serves staff members in direct support positions. The Family Counseling Center of Will and Grundy Counties merges with Trinity.

  • 2003: The VISIONS Network, of Des Plaines, merges with Trinity Services (known today as Trinity Northwest).

  • 2005: Trinity begins offering residential services in Peoria, Illinois. The same year, the organization opens the Glenwood Center for Behavioral Health in a donated office building in Joliet.

  • 2006: Trinity becomes the Illinois affiliate of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to provide education, prevention, assessment, diagnosis and intervention for individuals and families around the state.

  • 2007: Trinity’s Autism and Family Resource Center becomes a Regional Service Center for The Autism Program of Illinois. It offers screening, consultation, family therapy, social skills training, and more. Trinity receives a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to construct a 14-unit apartment complex and six-person home in Joliet for persons with mental illness. The Trinity Barkery, a support business, opens to produce all-natural Fritters for Critters pet treats and to sell a variety of pet toys and accessories. Trinity opens New Lenox Woodworks, a community day service that offers people opportunities to complete woodworking projects and learn employment skills.

  • 2008: Trinity begins to offer services in Mascoutah, Illinois, referred to as Trinity Southwest. The program features both residential and community day services. TSI Recycling opens in Frankfort to help people Trinity serves learn about the importance of recycling, and learn job skills.         

  • 2009: Trinity becomes one of the first members of Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism, working to improve national policies that address the needs of people who have autism.

  • 2010: Trinity and The Hope Institute for Children and Families open the Illinois Crisis Prevention Network to serve persons with intellectual disabilities who have complex behavioral or medical issues.

  • 2011: Trinity establishes the Illinois Center for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, offering screening, evaluation, skills achievement groups, neurofeedback therapy and counseling. Trinity Southwest opens Trinity Gardens and Farmstead in Mascoutah, made possible by a land donation.

  • 2013: Trinity Links Disc Golf Course in Lockport, Illinois, significantly increases its accessible features. Trinity moves into its new corporate center at 301 Veterans Parkway in neighboring New Lenox.

  • 2014: Trinity and Special Connections of Grundy County partner to begin offering services in Grundy County. Trinity also opens The Branch: Well-Being and Enrichment Center in New Lenox to offer adolescents with developmental disabilities learning opportunities and employment services. In addition, the organization opens The Landings on Villa, a 16-unit apartment building in Villa Park for low-income adults with mental illness.

  • 2015: Trinity opens Old Plank Studio, a community day service program at which participants make handcrafted wooden signs. Thanks to generous donations, Trinity School gains a new playground. Trinity's first Community Support Team forms to provide services to people with mental health needs in the Joliet area. This team provides therapeutic and recreation-oriented supports to persons with mental illness in their homes and community-based settings.

  • 2016: The 12-unit Finley Apartments open in Lombard, Illinois, serving low-income adults with disabilities or mental illness. Trinity further expands its Shared Living Program, opening two new locations in which caregivers share their homes with up to two people with developmental disabilities. The organization also begins providing intermittent supports to six people with developmental or intellectual disabilities in Edwardsville, Illinois, at an apartment complex, with the help of Night Owl in-home technology. The Recreation Center opens in New Lenox, offering programs to all people served by Trinity.

  • 2017: Trinity opens a community day service program in Elwood that includes manufacturing space for the Trinity Barkery’s Fritters for Critters pet treats. Trinity also opens a clothing store so that men and women it supports can purchase new or gently used clothing items. With a heavy heart, Trinity's Board of Directors decides to cease operations in Reno, Nevada, because of a statewide staffing crisis and diminishing state resources.

  • 2018: After 30 years, Art Dykstra retires from his role as executive director, and Thane Dykstra, Ph.D., is appointed to the role of president and CEO by Trinity's Board of Directors. Trinity opens the newly renovated Roxy, a historic building and social gathering spot in Lockport, Illinois, where Trinity hosts events for people it serves. It is also open to the community for special events. The Branch: Well-Being and Enrichment Center and Trinity's medical clinic relocate to a spacious building at the border of Joliet and New Lenox. In a portion of the same building, Trinity's Technology Enhancing Capabilities (TEC) Lab opens, helping people find assistive technology solutions to everyday problems. In addition, Trinity breaks ground on a new supportive housing development in Northlake. Art Dykstra launches the Cherry Hill Consulting Group.