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Celebrating Community: Introducing DuPage Gala Co-Chair Dan McGowan

For the first time in three years, the 22nd annual DuPage Gala will be back in person! Much collaboration and planning went into making the event possible, including Metropolitan Family Services DuPage Board Members, staff, volunteers and our Host Committee Co-Chairs, Dan McGowan and Emily Shupe. We had the opportunity to sit down with Dan to learn more about his involvement with Metropolitan DuPage and what to anticipate at this year’s event.

Dan comes from a family of service. His brother, David, who recently retired, was the head of the DuPage Foundation, while his father, Donald, has always been great at volunteering in the community. Dan’s wife Ellen has also been active in community activities, including through her current role as a Board Member at AAUW Glen Ellyn. This type of influence encouraged Dan to provide valuable leadership locally, including through his role as a Board Member of Metropolitan DuPage.

“Metropolitan is a wonderful organization that positively impacts the community,” Dan says. The biggest impetus to Dan’s involvement with Metropolitan DuPage is its “broad range of integrated, wrap-around services, [which are] extremely critical in a community.” He adds, “I’ve seen so many stories and positive outcomes. Metropolitan DuPage does really good work.”

Dan explains, “Consider the breadth of services we have, the way we integrate them, the way we look holistically at a situation. It’s important to know the breadth of what Metropolitan DuPage does within the community, that the services are here, and we’re here to help.”

Metropolitan DuPage fills critical service gaps through its four “E’s” of Education, Emotional Wellness, Economic Stability, and Empowerment. In addition, “One of the things that differentiates us from many of the other wonderful organizations in DuPage County and the Chicagoland area is our wrap-around services,” Dan says. “We find through our staff that individuals seeking services often need more than one area of support.”

Many of DuPage’s philanthropic leaders gather annually at the DuPage Gala, which highlights Metropolitan DuPage’s work to “Mpower” DuPage County families and individuals. Dan acknowledges being able to hold the Gala in-person for the first time in three years adds even more excitement to 2023.

“The events we’ve had the past three years have been fantastic, and we’ve been able to raise significant support and financial resources as a result. Yet, there’s something special about being in person, and about the ‘sidebar stories’ that take place onsite involving individuals who may not spend time reading all of our social media posts or who may not be as inclined to participate in a Zoom kind of event. The ability to be back in-person and to feel the excitement in the room, to meet individuals who are interested in making a difference in the community, well, it’s tough to put a full value on that!”

The 22nd annual DuPage Gala will take place on May 5, 2023 at Bobak’s Signature Events in Woodridge, Ill., from 5:30 -10:30 p.m., emceed by ABC 7 Weekend Sports Anchor and Reporter Dionne Miller. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available on the event page. We look forward to seeing you there!

MFS Chief Operating Officer Theresa Nihill Shares Insights in Fireside Chat with Chapman and Cutler, LLP

In honor of Women’s History Month, Metropolitan Family’s COO, Theresa Nihil, sat down with law firm Chapman and Cutler, LLP to discuss her tenure with MFS as well as what and who has inspired her impressive career. Theresa started with MFS in 1986 with the hopes of being a social worker and has been in her current role as COO since 2006. She’s been a champion for families and individuals throughout her career, with a strong emphasis on improving their access to behavioral health services, and also importantly improving the quality of those services. Teresa is also a wonderful parent and tremendous leader within the community, serving on a variety of boards and agencies throughout Illinois.

Emma Garl Smith, LAS Senior Attorney, featured in national newsletter

Kudos to LAS Senior Attorney Emma Garl Smith for being featured in the National Elder Abuse MDT Training and Technical Assistance Center’s January newsletter! 

Youth reflections from our Calumet Center’s Summer Youth Employment Program

When our youth shared their reflections from the program, we felt inspired by the authentic youth voice and the powerful effect of this program in the lives of youth on the Far South Side in just six short weeks over the summer.

Calumet Center’s Purple Hat Brunch brings awareness and shares support for survivors of domestic violence

Our annual Purple Hat Brunch is one important tradition contributing to our culture of support of survivors, and after two years of virtual events we were excited to come back together in person!

Congratulations to our first Bridge to Construction Program graduates!

Bridge to Construction offers pre-apprenticeship training for individuals interested in starting a career in the construction trades.

Calumet Center’s Annual Meeting honors staff and community

Our Calumet Center, called the “Miracle on 103rd Street,” recently held its annual meeting to celebrate the miraculous people and partners who empower children and families on the Far South Side.

North Center’s Taste of MFS celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Our North Center celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a week-long celebration!

Community Schools celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Our Calumet Center’s Community Schools program celebrated Hispanic Heritage month with more than 300 students, family members, and staff!

Recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month

At Family Shelter Service of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage, we continue to provide wraparound services to survivors of domestic violence in DuPage County.

Spotlight on our Workforce Development Employer Partners

Throughout Workforce Development Month, Metropolitan celebrated employer partners who empower our programs to support job seekers and their families!

Parents benefiting from school connection and resources

Our Calumet Center’s Community Schools program is pleased to partner with Metcalfe Academy and SGA Youth & Family Services; recently, this developing relationship led to employment for four parents with the City of Chicago’s Safe Passage initiative.

More than 200 youth participated in our Calumet Center’s Summer Youth Employment Program!

This program offers employment opportunities with Metropolitan community partners, including hands-on experience, on-the-job training, and mentorship.

Metropolitan sites provide hands-on experience for Illinois Youth Investment Program participants

As we remodel our Midway Center and build out our Jones Center, we’re pleased to offer participants in our Illinois Youth Investment Program (IYIP) the opportunity to get involved in the construction!

Calumet Center’s YouthBuild program offers Drone Certification

We’re excited to be able to offer a Drone Certification for youth in our Calumet Center’s YouthBuild program!

Rotary Club of Skokie Valley Mpowers our Skokie Valley Center

Thank you to the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley for your partnership! Their support dates back to 2005, and through the years has empowered thousands of families to learn, earn, heal, and thrive.

Calumet youth connect with Mesirow interns for a discussion about college

Thank you to our friends at Mesirow for creating a unique and powerful opportunity for youth in our Calumet Center’s Summer Youth Employment Program!

Congratulations to our Home-Based Early Learning graduates!

The Parent Child Educators and Family Support Workers of our DuPage Center’s Home-Based Early Learning programs recently wrapped up the 2021-2022 school year, with many of their children aging out of the 0-3 Home Based programs and transitioning into a 3-5 Center-Based program.

MPowered spotlight on Maureen “Reenie” Meyer, Manager of Resale Operations: Happy Retirement!

Congratulations and thank you to Maureen “Reenie” Meyer, with gratitude for her service as Manager of Resale Operations. We wish her the best in retirement!

Southeast Chicago Center community reconnects at Family Fun Day

Our Southeast Chicago Center’s Behavioral Health program recently hosted a Family Funday for our children, adolescents, adults and their families!

Get to know Craig Darragh, Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation program therapist

Craig Darragh started working for Metropolitan Family Services in December 2021. He provides individual and family therapy to children and families at our North Center.

Tips for families for shifting into Summer Break mode

Transitioning from school to summer has its challenges. Here’s how to shift gears as summer approaches.

Honoring Juneteenth

Metropolitan Family Services takes the time to honor and recognize the longest-celebrated African American holiday, Juneteenth.

Welcome back, DuPage Alumni Board Committee!

Our DuPage Center’s Alumni Board Committee is back! The Committee officially met in person recently at their Annual Breakfast, where Executive Director Nikki Cameron shared agency news and updates.

Story time at our Calumet Center with author Solonge Robinson!

We’re grateful to author Solonge Robinson for visiting our Calumet Center, sharing her time and her books for a story time!

Legislative wins for our Mpowered families

At the close of the spring legislative session, Metropolitan Family Services’ Advocacy Task Force is celebrating the passage of several of its legislative priorities that will expand access to behavioral health, substance use and domestic violence services as well as strengthen the human services workforce.

Midway Center LovePurse drive empowers survivors of domestic violence for Mother’s Day

Our Midway Center community came together to empower survivors of domestic violence for a special Mother’s Day!

Board of Directors visits and tours our Calumet Center

Our Calumet Center recently hosted a special group of supporters in our Metropolitan family: our Board of Directors!

Metropolitan Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

During this month, we recognize the tremendous diversity of AAPI communities, comprised of roughly 50 ethnic groups, speaking upwards of 100 languages, and hailing from at least 40 different countries.

LovePurse drive supports survivors of domestic violence in our Midway communities

Our Midway Center Community Board’s Love Purse drive for survivors of domestic violence recently got a helping hand from a few special supporters: Board Member Griselda Piedra’s kids and their friends!

Staff and clients Mpowered to Advocate at our Legislative Roundtable

At our first-ever Legislative Roundtable, we were pleased to offer an opportunity for our frontline behavioral health and domestic violence staff and program participants to meet with their elected officials, and advocate for specific policy goals in our agency’s legislative agenda.

CP4P hosts Marshall Memorial Fellows for a dynamic conversation about violence prevention

Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) and Metropolitan Family Services were pleased to host a dynamic conversation on violence prevention with a group of Marshall Memorial Fellows, as part of the German Marshall Fund’s leadership development initiative for prominent young leaders from across Europe.

DuPage Community Board Highlight: Max Leichtman

We are pleased to highlight Max Leichtman of ComEd, a member of our DuPage Community Board since 2020!

Happy Social Worker Appreciation Month!

Metropolitan Calumet’s Social Workers come together to celebrate in recognition of Social Work Month

Calumet REIJ Committee hosts an open house

Our Calumet Center’s Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Justice committee was excited to host an open house!

Metropolitan announces pilot program offering trauma-informed services addressing interpersonal violence

Theresa Nihill, Metropolitan’s Chief Operating Officer, joined Mayor Lori Lightfoot and several city leaders and community advocates to shine a light on the importance of holistic support for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence.

Virtual Tour: Welcome to our new Headquarters!

We’re pleased to share a look into our new Headquarters space at 101 N. Wacker Drive!

Honoring and Celebrating Black History Month

Thank you for taking the time this month to honor and celebrate the stories of African Americans.

DuPage staff works to support Head Start families displaced by burst pipe

We’re proud of our Early Learning staff and families for showing true resilience over the past few weeks!

Metropolitan celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Metropolitan Family Services joins the nation in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Altgeld Youth-led food pantry re-opens in our Calumet Center community

The Altgeld Teen Leaders of our Calumet Center hosted their first youth-led food pantry in almost two years due to the pandemic!

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

For Human Trafficking Awareness Month, our LAS staff shares resources to understand trafficking, how to recognize the signs, and how to help victims of exploitation.

Thank you and farewell to Calumet Executive Director Audrena Spence!

After 28 years of dedicated, exceptional service and leadership to our Calumet Center, Audrena Spence is moving on from her position as Executive Director. Please join us in thanking Audrena, and appreciating her invaluable contributions to Metropolitan Family Services!

Southwest Center and Blue Island Neighborhood Network distribute food and PPE for the holidays

Our Southwest Center, the Blue Island Robbins Neighborhood Network, and other community partners in the southwest suburbs are “United for the Holidays!”

Welcome to Julia, our new Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator!

Julia will oversee all of Metropolitan Family Services’ volunteer events, including corporate volunteerism, reoccurring, and one-time events.

DuPage Community Board highlight: Gina Sharp

In honor of National Adoption Month this November, our DuPage Community Board is pleased to highlight DuPage Board Member Gina Sharp!

Practice gratitude with the whole family

Read tips from our Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation staff on practicing gratitude as a family, and learn about a few famous adoptees

Get to Know: Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation Therapist Lizbeth Delgado

Meet Lizbeth Delgado, LCSW, a therapist in our North Center’s Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation (ASAP) Program

Our Headquarters is moving!

Our new home at 101 North Wacker Drive, 17th Floor, features more than 27,000 square feet of wide and attractive space in the heart of downtown.

Mesirow Mpowers Southeast Chicago students with donated school supplies

Thanks to an outpouring of support from Mesirow employees during a two-week school supply drive, the company – which matched employees’ contributions – recently donated nearly $12,000 worth of items for children in our programs.