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Our History


EPILEPSY FOUNDATION OF GREATER SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

In 1977, The Epilepsy Association of Southwestern Illinois (EASWI) was established.  This was made possible through the combined efforts of a group of people whose lives were affected by epilepsy, the St. Clair County Mental Health Board and staff, former Governor Dan Walker, Roberta Nelson Walker and interested professionals.  The goal of EASWI was to assist people with epilepsy and their families to lead the fullest, most productive lives possible.

EASWI became a not-for-profit corporation, established a board of directors, and elected Dr. Bruce Brubaker of SIU-Edwardsville as the first Board president.  Initially, EASWI was strictly an information and referral agency.  The St. Clair County Mental Health Board granted EASWI "seed" money, which was used to capture state funding.

Services progressed on a small basis in St. Clair County and surrounding 6 other counties throughout the late 1970's and early 1980's.  Funding was continued by Illinois Department of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities and the St. Clair County Mental Health Board.  This allowed EASWI to hire a case manager and continue to serve people whose lives are affected by epilepsy and the community at large.

In 1986, the Association hired a full-time Executive Director/Case Manager.  The Agency obtained funding from the Madison County Mental Health Board. The agency continued to offer case management services to seven counties in the Southwestern portion of Illinois.

In 1990, the Association chose to add residential services for people with epilepsy and other developmental disabilities. In 1991, the agency opened its first 24-hour residential Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) home.  Today, the agency operates four 24-hour residential CILA homes in East Belleville.  Camp Roehr was also added to offer children with seizures the opportunity to attend camp.  In the middle to late 1990's, the agency added the Intermittent Residential Serivces and Home Base Services (HBS) programs to serve individuals in their own homes.

The Association changed its name in 1998 to the Epilepsy Foundation of Southwestern Illinois (EFSWI) to more closely align itself as an affiliate of the Epilepsy Foundation of America.  The organization grew again in 2006 when it formed a Parent/Subsidiary organization to oversee the operations of the Epilepsy office in Mt. Vernon.  In 2007, the organization legally changed its name to reflect the new, much larger territory of 34 counties.  The current organization is known as the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois.

Today, EFGSI has 36 employees and offers a wide range of epilepsy services to include: information and referral, case management, public and professional education, advocacy, support groups, recreational programs, children's camp program, children's seizure clinic, services through medical clinics, and 24-hour residential services.

EPILEPSY FOUNDATION OF GREATER SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - SOUTHERN REGION

The Epilepsy Foundation of Southern Illinois began back in 1975 when a group of concerned parents and citizens held a meeting at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon, Illinois to discuss developing programs for people with epilepsy. About one year after that meeting, an office was opened in Mill Shoals, Illinois. In 1977, the office was moved to Mt. Vernon, Illinois and a provisional chapter agreement was sent from the Epilepsy Foundation of America and the Illinois Epilepsy Association to create a nationally affiliated chapter for the different Illinois agencies. We have been a part of the Epilepsy Foundation of America ever since. The programs provided at that time were targeted at adults with epilepsy. The office moved several times but continued to remain in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The Epilepsy Foundation of Southern Illinois now serves individuals of all ages.