Head Start "Reunion" Showcases ROI of Early Learning Programs
The Metropolitan Family Services Midway Head Start Center hosted an Alumni Reunion April 22. The special event was held to spotlight the successes of, as well as the need for, early learning services in Chicago’s Southwest Side neighborhoods, where an appalling gap in quality early childhood services exists. For almost 20 years, our Midway Head Start program has become a significant stepping stone in the academic, social and cultural growth and well being of Southwest Chicago children. The reunion brought together alumni, staff, parents and city officials to celebrate the achievements of the center’s former students. Meet a few of our former Head Start students and read their stories:
Pedro attended Head Start from 2001-2003. As a student at Eberhart Elementary School, he was consistently on the Honor Roll. He currently is a sophomore at Hubbard High School where he is continuing his honor roll status. Pedro has begun to study for his college entrance exams. He looks forward to graduating in 2015 and attending the University of Illinois at Chicago. We see Pedro often. He visits his former teacher and picks up his sister who is a current student at Midway Head Start.
Federico was a student at Midway Head Start the first year the center opened in 1995. He attended Marquette Elementary School, St. Mary’s Catholic School for 7th and 8th, and Brother Rice High School, where he graduated in 2009. He is set to graduate from the University of Illinois this fall with a B.A. in Business. He works at Target to earn money for school, and he has been offered a promotion to a manager position upon his graduation.
Joshua attended Midway Head Start for two years from 1998-2000. He went to Eberhart Elementary School and currently is a freshman at Hubbard High School. In both elementary and high schools, he has graduated with honors or is in honors classes. He has fond memories of preschool, particularly playing in the sandbox and making silly putty with glue and corn starch. He also remembers his mother using the Head Start recipe for play dough at home. He plays the drums in the Hubbard High School Band and works on cars with his father who is an auto mechanic.
See more photos from the event here. Read the article about the event that ran in the Southwest News-Herald here.
Midway Head Start and Metropolitan’s Children’s Centers also celebrated the Week of the Young Child April 14-21 with a full slate of fun, educational and healthy activities. Children enjoyed obstacle courses, calming classroom techniques, Family Math Night and exploring culture and the arts.
DuPage Gala Raises Record Proceeds for Metropolitan DuPage Programs & Services
Nearly 400 of DuPage County’s civic and social leaders came out to enjoy the 12th Annual DuPage Gala of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage. Held April 26 at Bobak’s Signature Events at Seven Bridges in Woodridge and emceed by ABC7 morning news anchor Judy Hsu, the event raised $243,000 for Metropolitan Family Services DuPage, the highest amount raised to date! Glen Ellyn residents Alan Peterson and his wife, Milly Peterson, received the Roger K. Johnson Award in honor of their many years of service to families and communities served by Metropolitan Family Services DuPage. The formal evening featured delicious cuisine, live music by Strings of Silk, live and silent auctions, a champagne and martini jewelry raffle, a wine raffle and much more. Photos are on the DuPage Gala flickr page. A big ‘Thank You” to event Co-Chairs, Bill Jennrich and Kim Stapleton, the entire Gala Committee, sponsors and friends for the tremendous support provided to this year’s amazing Gala!
We Salute Our Volunteers
Every year, motivated, dedicated and talented volunteers contribute countless hours of their time to help us serve our clients and support our staff and programs. Their service is invaluable. Meet two of our volunteers we profiled in our blog for National Volunteer Week, April 21-27:
General Office Volunteer/Contract Staff
“I will continue to volunteer and help Metropolitan Family Services every way I can because knowing that what I do changes 53,000 lives a year is the biggest reward one can think of achieving." Read more about Marina.
Cathy Volunteer with In-Home Senior Respite in DuPage County“Seniors have always been inspiring to me, the vast knowledge they hold and the experiences they have lived are a part of history. Having the opportunity to share in their life story is to me a great honor." Read more about Cathy.
We also extend a special thanks to our Volunteer Coordinator, Gussie Lenehan, who coordinates volunteer support for Metropolitan’s various events and administrative needs, as well as manages Metropolitan’s annual Holiday Gift Program and United Way Campaign:
"As the Volunteer Coordinator for Metropolitan I have the pleasure of managing many smaller scale events," says Gussie. "Most of our volunteer activities involve groups of volunteers who are looking for an activity for their company’s “Day of Service.” These activities include but are not limited to, reading to children or cleaning classrooms at one of our centers, providing activities and lunch for youth in our summer camps or holding a book or school supply drive and donating the supplies to our clients. The possibilities for group activities are many. While Metropolitan does have the need for individual volunteers, that request is not always the easiest to accommodate. We currently have three volunteers working in our General Office, and all of our events require the helping hands of volunteers to ensure that they are successful. There are so many willing volunteers. I wish I could say yes to all of them!"
Women of AT&T - Northern Illinois Plant Tree at Metropolitan Southwest
On Saturday, April 20th (L-R) Teri Goodall and Heather Hollaar of The Women of AT&T-Northern Illinois planted a tree at Metropolitan Family Services Southwest in honor of Earth Day. The women connect and inspire members to achieve their personal and professional goals and to affect change in the community. Teri and Heather, along with Heather’s husband Ken, worked side by side with Metropolitan's Ted Thelen to plant the tree.
Spring Fever Fun
A great night of live music, dancing and food were the symptoms of Spring Fever, a special event of the Community Board of Metropolitan Family Services Evanston/Skokie Valley Center. More than $14,000 – twice the event fundraising goal – was raised for the Evanston/Skokie Valley Center at the event, which was held at Wilmette’s Gillson Park Lakeview Center on April 20. The band Greenlight played and founding Community Board member Bart Rocca was honored for his many years of service. Special thanks to all the attendees, generous sponsors and donors. We truly appreciate your ongoing commitment to the families we serve. Check out the pictures on our Spring Fever Flickr page.
Thank You to Our Funders!
Cubs Care, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, supports Metropolitan's Community Schools program.
Healthy Families, which works to prevent child abuse and neglect, received a grant from Chicago White Sox Charities, a fund of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.