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“It starts in your own backyard. If you can help your community, if you have organizations that can help … I would help someone in my own backyard. We’re all going to struggle in our lives, why not have it in your own community? You can get back up, you can move forward.”

  • Panelist Nicole Tellez, parent and President of Metropolitan DuPage’s Early Learning Policy Council

Metropolitan Family Services DuPage celebrates our DuPage Community Board and all who helped Mpower the 20th Annual DuPage Gala

Together we’ve raised more than $291,000 for children and families! Will you help us reach our goal of $300,000?

In a powerful program celebrating the impact of Metropolitan DuPage’s Early Learning programs and the community of support that makes it possible, our Roger K. Johnson Leadership Award honoree, Mike Skarr, spoke about the challenges our families have faced during the pandemic. He highlighted his admiration for the Metropolitan DuPage community’s size, expertise, and energy in working together to meet those challenges.

As an important part of the Metropolitan family, your support is what makes it possible to respond as a community. Will you make a contribution to Mpower more than 24,000 children and families across DuPage County?

Leadership and community shined through during this special evening highlighting Early Learning. A conversation among peer leader parents and staff, moderated by ABC7 Chicago anchor and DuPage-area parent Alan Krashesky, showcased the impact of our services on children and their families.

“It’s not just a staff and adult bond,” Addison Children’s Center parent Hannah shared, emphasizing the support she receives for her children and herself. “They’re my friends, I can come to these girls about anything and not feel judged, and they’re here. They’re here for me.”

Nicole spoke about how that staff and parent bond, and the variety of services from nutrition to behavior and beyond, makes her feel involved and benefits her children: “I get to help implement these things for my girls, and I’ve seen success with their development.”

Special thank you to panelists Nicole Tellez, Hannah Stage, Tania Viarmontes, and Jocelyn Melendez! View their empowering discussion:

Angelina Pearson, Site Supervisor with Metropolitan DuPage’s Early Learning programs, spoke about how her childhood experience with HeadStart – “my safe place, my happy place” – shaped her life and inspires her in her role today. “I was given the gift of a second life, and education was a huge part of it,” she shared. “I was given the tools to succeed, and how to use those tools.” Now, as a Site Supervisor, she thinks about how she can repay the program and teachers for nearly saving her own life.

“Every child I see, I see myself,” Angelina shared through a smile, “and I get to tell them, they’re going to be okay.”

Our Roger K. Johnson Award honoree, Mike Skarr, recognized the inspiring example set by our previous honorees, and praised the audience for their commitment to empowering families.

“Successful families are the building blocks of successful communities,” Mike said. “It was not always easy or simple, but the Metropolitan Family Services culture of empowering families came to life.”

View his full remarks below, and learn more about Mike and the Roger K. Johnson Leadership Award here.

“I know personally the wealth of people it takes for a community to provide comprehensive, quality early learning services,” shared Nikki Cameron, Executive Director of Metropolitan DuPage. “Thank you to our honoree, Mike Skarr, and to our DuPage Gala Co-Chairs, Dan McGowan and Emily Shupe, as well as the entire Host Committee, who truly share the commitment to Mpower the more than 24,000 families Metropolitan DuPage reaches.”

Jocelyn, who lent her perspective as Early Head Start parent and Early Learning teacher to our discussion, also spoke about the impact of those who have empowered Metropolitan DuPage’s work: “You’re helping out little children,” she said.

”If you’re in this program it’s because you need help in life, and there are people helping you out to be successful in life.”

As we heard throughout this special program, your support builds foundations of success for children and families, right here in our backyard.

DuPage Gala Host Committee

  • Dan McGowan, Co-Chair
    Glory Global Solutions Inc.
  • Emily Shupe, Co-Chair
    Rathje Woodward LLC
  • Pat Whiteside, Board Chair
    AGL Resources (Nicor Gas)
  • Maryellen Klang, Board Vice Chair
    Klang Battery Technologies
  • April Arnold, BDSC Co-Chair
    Independent Consultant
  • Sara Clark
    Fifth Third Commercial Bank
  • Sharon D’Alessandro, BDSC Co-Chair
    Retired (Covenant Trust Company)
  • Chris Dabovich
    Retired (Zurich Insurance)
  • Carol Dimas
    Educational Advocacy and Consultant
  • Elizabeth Edwards
    Community Leader
  • Stacie Gannon
    Phoenix Closures
  • Tom Hutchinson
  • Bill Jennrich
    Prudential Advisors
  • Anne Leventry
    Pan American Seed Company
  • Philene Lortz
    Community Leader
  • Gene Malloy
    Spiriplex Inc.
  • Marcie Peterson
    Alan & Mildred Peterson Charitable Foundation
  • Jeff Platt
    IceMiller, LLP
  • Cindy Rynning
    Grape Experiences
  • Carol White
    Alliance of Downtown Glen Ellyn
  • Leslie Wilson
    Northern Trust