× Exit

Midway Center’s Holiday Luncheon recognizes FAMILY values

Metropolitan’s Midway Center Mpowered nearly 18,000 lives this year, but we did not do it alone. At its Annual Holiday Luncheon, Midway Center Executive Director Laurie Sedio and her staff celebrated the Community Board members, program initiatives, and partner organizations that support our communities.

Vaughn Bryant, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Peace Initiatives (MPI), spoke about Metropolitan’s work in violence prevention, sharing some of his own experiences and speaking about MPI’s efforts. MPI, a division of Metropolitan Family Services, features a team of professionals working in partnership with community-based and citywide organizations that coordinates, supports and sustains comprehensive services designed to heal communities that have experienced the highest levels of gun violence.

Guests were treated to a performance by the Randolph Step Team, a dance group in Metropolitan’s Community Schools program, comprised of middle school students and led by teacher Theresa Dorsey. The dancers use their entire body as a percussive instrument to create rhythm and sounds through footsteps and claps. The group often uses social justice-oriented speech to entertain and inform the audience. The form of dance has roots in African American Greek Fraternities and Sororities.


Shirley Willis, Metropolitan Family Services Southeast Center
Shirley has been a member of Midway Center’s Multi-Disciplinary Team for four years. Our Adult Protective Services Caseworkers tremendously value her assistance when there are immediate health care needs.  She helps us understand medical terminology and how healthcare issues effect clients’ overall presentation.  Shirley embodies Metropolitan Family Services values, particularly her Focus on Client Strengths – she is a servant leader helping individuals to reach their full potential.

Ashley Chitwood, Share Our Spare
As a partner with the Early Learning programs, Share Our Spare – an organization focused on ensuring Chicago’s kids have the essentials they need to thrive in the first five years of life – has allowed us to meet the needs of many of our children and families. Share Our Spare defines the Metropolitan value of Accountable by effectively managing resources, and Ashley Chitwood has gone above and beyond to support our needs. As the Program Manager, Ashley takes the time to reach out to agencies to ensure that we receive communications, to identify additional needs, and to simply ensure that things are running smoothly.

Nancy Millsap-Thompson, Chicago Public Schools and Department of Family Support Services
As an Early Learning Disabilities Subject Matter Expert since 2004 and a partner with Metropolitan for 10 years, Nancy assists our Early Learning Teaching Teams with individual observations of children who are undiagnosed or who have complex special needs, and she reviews our referral packets for Individual Education Plans. During the summer months she accommodates children who have special needs by offering them one on one support in the classroom.  Nancy truly embodies the Metropolitan’s value of Mobilizing for Social Justice – she is strategic in ensuring children have access to what they deserve and so badly need.

Marvin Dandridge, Metropolitan Family Services, Southeast Center
Marvin, a Senior Counselor at our Southeast Chicago Center, has graciously been an active volunteer member of the Multi-Disciplinary Team at the Midway Center for four Years.  As a part of this team, Marvin has shared his knowledge and expertise in mental illness and best practices when assisting vulnerable people with disabilities. He’s extraordinary in knowing how to navigate systems and access resources that are vital to the safety and wellbeing of our adult clients. The Metropolitan value that Marvin represents is his Innovative Approach – he helps promote innovative solutions to very complex problems.

Shirley Blazejczyk and Marlon Eastmond, Blazin’ Cycle
Community Schools partner Blazin’ Cycle is a fitness facility in Beverly as well as a traveling fitness studio. What Metropolitan perhaps appreciates most about Shirley and Marlon is their passion to change people’s lives, health and attitudes about exercise.  They embody their mantra that exercise and nutrition are the pillars to self-confidence, health and happiness.  They also reflect Metropolitan’s value on being a Learning Culture as they have added additional components to their program to support individual’s health gains.

Ma Del Rocio Torres, Zumba Instructor for Community Schools
Ms. Torres has been a longstanding instructor of Zumba at several Midway Community School sites; Stevenson, Dawes, Pasteur, and Peck Elementary Schools, and at Kennedy High School. Her high-energy classes not only lead our students and parents towards healthier lifestyles but also help them find a sense of community of their own. The joy and passion Ms. Torres brings to her classes radiates to all, and she has been a wonderful partner to work with over the years. The value Ms. Torres represents is her Yes-minded approach – she motivates the individuals she works with and refocuses their energy through dance.