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The Northshore …Our Home Town! JUST LISTED

505 Laurel Ave. | Wilmette $1,925,000 UNDER CONTRACT

1815 Ridge Ave. | Evanston $2,900,000 SOLD 847.293.6167 JUST LISTED

803 Bluff St. | Glencoe $1,645,000 UNDER CONTRACT

1459 Berkley Ct. | Deerfield $629,000

1206 Crain St. | Evanston $749,000 SOLD

2514 Sheridan Rd. | Evanston $925,000


Tim & Mary Rosinski


m 1106 Fairway Ln.| Northbrook $749,000

1803 Livingston St. | Evanston $509,000

©2014 Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.


Evanston Portrait | 3

EVANSTON EVENTS CALENDAR, JUNE TO NOVEMBER JUNE June 7 Open Studios Evanston 3 p.m. June 21-22 Custer Street Fair June 28-29 Fountain Square Arts Festival Sherman Avenue at Church Street 5 p.m.

JULY July 4 Independence Day Celebration

WELCOME Introducing Evanston Portrait: the Pioneer Press and Sun Times Media’s new special section that examines everything exciting and innovative in Evanston today. Look inside. Whether it’s a cutting-edge community organization, a ground-breaking educational program, a one-of-kind local business or a spectacular cultural event, Evanston Portrait will explore what makes you want to get out and get involved in Evanston: one of the most unique places anywhere. Got ideas for a future edition? We’d love to hear from you. Contact Tony Ralenkotter, Evanston Review advertising sales executive, at

ON THE COVER From top to bottom; left to right: Business: The ribbon cutting at the Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center, at 1285 Hartrey Ave. | SUPPLIED PHOTO Health: The NorthShore University HealthSystem, at 2650 Ridge Ave., is an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves patients throughout the Chicago area. | SUPPLIED PHOTO Education: The Northwestern University Color Guard at the Kits and Cats Week Kick-off last September. | KARIE ANGELL LUC ~ FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

Culture: Child plays the violin as part if the Open Studio Project, which encourages people to explore art through workshops, classes and exhibits. | SUPPLIED PHOTO Community: Performer at the Evanston Streets Alive! festival. The 2014 Streets Alive! will be held on Sunday, Sept. 7 from 1-6 p.m. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

At 9 a.m., Evanston’s Independence Day celebration will include a parade on Central Street as well as fireworks on the lakefront in the evening. The parade kicks off at 2 p.m. on Central Street, and the fireworks are accompanied by a free concert. Details will be posted on July 10-13

Sweet ride: Participants in the 2013 Bike the Ridge.


Central Street Sidewalk Sale

Sept. 7

Central Street, from Green Bay Road to Hartrey Avenue

Streets Alive Main Street (specific sections TBA).

10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

July 14

Sept. 20

Sand Castle & Sand Sculpture Contest

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Clark St. Beach

Latino Resources, 1701 Main St.

5:30 p.m.

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Fri: 4-10 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sept. 28 Bike the Ridge Ridge Avenue at Howard Street 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

OCTOBER Oct. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

July 18-22

Dawes Park, 1700 Sheridan Rd.

Evanston, Chicago and Dempster Summer Sidewalk Sale & Art Walk

Sept. 26-28

Downtown Evanston

Sherman Avenue (Elgin to Davis); Church Street (Benson to Orrington); Clark Street (Benson to Sherman)

9 a.m. – 9 p.m. July 19-20


noon – 3 p.m.

Evanston Art and Big Fork Festival

Ethnic Arts Festival

Oct. 17 Northwestern Homecoming Parade Sheridan Road (between Lincoln and Chicago) 5:30 – 8 p.m.

Centennial Park (Sheridan Road Between Clark Street and Church Street)


noon – 7 p.m.

Nov. 11 Veterans Day Ceremony


Fountain Square, Orrington Avenue

Aug. 3

10-11:15 a.m.

Lakeshore Arts Festival

Nov. 21

Dawes Park

Holiday Bash and Tree Lighting

11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

1600 Orrington Ave.

Aug. 24

4-9 p.m.

Evanston CommUNITY Picnic James Park (Dodge Ave at Mulford St.) noon – 5 p.m.

Bagpipes: Evanston’s 2013 Fourth of July parade. FILE PHOTO


Subject to change. Visit cityofevanston. org for the most up-to-date schedule as well as a listing of other events.

4 | Evanston Portrait


Entrepreneurs shine in Evanston BY KIMBERLY ELSHAM VAVRICK

For Sun-Times Media

Evanston is a hotbed for entrepreneurs. Three business owners explain what they think makes small businesses thrive in the city. Miguel Wong owns coLab Evanston, 900 Chicago Ave., a co-working business, and is a partner in Box Evanston, 739 Main St., a boxing and cross-training gym. He didn’t set out to create businesses in the traditional sense. “It came out of needs that I have, for the starting point. I wasn’t thinking about those as being a business. I happen to be a very prototypical person, and there was a need in Evanston for these things and so it kind of worked out,”Wong said. He has been working for a web development company since 2006, but he wanted to have a space to work on outside projects; coffee shops weren’t cutting it. He was involved in community groups, and he attributes his business opportunities to his network.“I usually don’t say no when people ask for help, so I ended up meeting a lot of people through nonprofit projects,” he said.“Through these community services, I was able to build up some network of cool people doing cool things. We started meeting up and enjoying being with each other.” From there, the idea for developing a co-working space arose.Wong and his business partner leased a building in South Evanston that now hosts many freelancers for monthly fees. A little later,Wong was looking to be more fit. He ended up meeting a boxing trainer who was looking to open a gym.Together they came up with idea for Box Evanston, a boxing gym with a focus on small-group classes and individual training. Wong admits that Evanston has been a great locale for boutique startups. “My home is less than a seven-minute walk from here, so the theme of convenience naturally played in here,” he said.“There’s really a wealth of talented educated, early-to-late-30-year-olds who want to be active. Combined with the luck factor and networking factor, these things can happen. I’ve been lucky to be in the middle of that. I do see that as the future of Evanston, especially South Evanston where I live.” Malik Turley, owner of Hip Circle Studio, 709 Washington St., also opened her business to be close to home. She had been teaching various dance and yoga classes in the Chicago area for years. “Having grown up in Evanston and living here now, Evanston was my first choice for location. I opened Hip Circle Studio to create a space where women of all ages, sizes and backgrounds could come to have a good time getting and staying SEE ENTREPRENEURS, PAGE 5

Work-centered environment: coLab Evanston provides shared working space for companies, individuals and organizations. It is a member-only community driven by the need for collaboration and interpersonal interaction. It is ideal for those who are tired of working from a home office or public, coffee-shop environment. | SUPPLIED PHOTO



Evanston Portrait | 5 ◄ Jennifer Rapp Peterson, found of IndieMade


healthy. I wanted to create a fitness home so it made sense to do so in my home town.” Now, the studio serves as a family wellness center for all stages of life, hosting fitness classes, maternal services and parental resources. Another entrepreneur started her business to provide multiple resources as well, but targeted to creative businesses’ online success. Jennifer Rapp Peterson, founder of IndieMade, got the idea her tech company in the mid-2000s. “The real catalyst was when I started my third business’s website (selling my handmade plush toys), the tools for building a website were very limited. Having a background in software, I knew there were applications available to make it much easier and less expensive. So I started IndieMade,” she said. Building a business in Evanston worked for her, Peterson said, because not only does the city support tech innovation, but also the city has countless opportunities for artists like her and her clients. “In fact, I started selling my hand-

made toys at Cornucopia Gift Fair and at the farmers market near the theatres,” she said. Business comes full circle in this entrepreneurial crowd. Peterson said that is was easy to find tech partners, and she even rented office space at coLab. “We have very, very discerning residents here.We have younger professionals that have the means and are looking for quality. That goes with the craft and boutique culture. I’m very excited to see that happening in Evanston,”Wong said. These business owners also stay involved with promoting the commerce in their areas. Turley is president of the Main Street Station Merchants Association. “I am just now starting my third term on the board and my second term as board president,” Turley said. “My role is really one of guiding and coordinating the work that we’re doing to promote the area and offer support to the member businesses. Our area is already wonderfully vibrant, and we’re seeing new and exciting things happening in the district.”

“We have very, very discerning residents here. We have younger professionals that have the means and are looking for quality.” ► Malik Turley, owner of Hip Circle Studio ▲ Miguel Wong, owner of coLab Evanston, a Co-working business

“I happen to be a very prototypical person, and there was a need in Evanston for these things and so it kind of worked out.”

“I wanted to create a fitness home so it made sense to do so in my home town.”

They know who puts them first… For nearly 20 years, First Bank & Trust has focused on helping and supporting Evanston middle-market businesses, not-for-profit organizations and families. The bank has built and preserved these relationships by offering specialized products & services and a level of responsiveness that only a truly local bank can provide. • 847-733-7400

It’s Thursday!

Let’s Dance! Corner of Davis Street and Orrington Avenue





6PM Dance Lesson 7 – 9PM Live Music & Dancing June 26 Music Institute of Chicago’s Latin Jazz Ensemble Cuban and Latin American influenced American jazz

July 10 The Flat Cats

July 24 Rio Bamba

6 | Evanston Portrait


Howard Street’s


For Sun-Times Media

Howard Street, one of Evanston’s southern borders, had spent the last few decades a bit neglected. “Howard Street was the lost child, so to speak,” said Alderman Ann Rainey. The stretch of the street on the east side of Evanston toward Lake Michigan had many years of failing businesses and empty storefronts. Rainey, representing Evanston’s eighth district, which includes Howard Street, had long been a proponent to develop this area. “We got some fresh new thinking,” she said, once city manager Wally Bobkiewicz came on board in 2009.“Wally and I decided the only way to get development on Howard Street would be to control the properties.” A 17-story apartment building had opened in 2008 at 415 Howard St., then re-opened at 415 Premier Apartments. “That building jump-started it,” Rainey said.“People who live north of Howard had no

place to go.” In 2011, the City of Evanston purchased several properties along the street utilizing Tax Increment Finance District funds. Then, they sought out good tenants to open new businesses. “We vetted people carefully,” she said. In March 2012, the city leased space to Anne Carlson and Cody Modeer, veterans of Chicago food and establishments. The space was revamped into a cocktail bar, which is now the bustling Ward Eight, 629 Howard St. The city welcomed Ward Eight with a ribbon cutting on Dec. 11, 2012, and the grand opening was the next day. The bar now is well known in the area for its craft cocktails. The next up was a restaurant. In fact, it was much more innovate for not only the 8th Ward, but also Evanston itself. The Peckish Pig, 623 Howard St., is Evanston’s first brewpub. The Peckish Pig held its grand opening on March 20, 2014. It hosted an official ribbon cutting with the City of Evanston April 3. “It has been a crazy beginning of this

A unique blend of Bossa Nova, Samba, American and Latin Jazz

July 31 Petra Van Nuis Quartet

Hot swing, jazz, contemporary classics and timeless standards

Easy listening from Chicago-based Jazz vocalist

July 17 The South Boulevard Band

August 7 The Associates

Dynamic Blues from veterans of Chicago’s music scene

The premiere Motown and variety band of the Midwest


Super Sidewalk Sale July 18 – 20 Drink it up: Ward Eight Cocktail Lounge Shop serves up some impressive cocktails at this exceptional neighborhood bar located at 629 W Howard St. | SUPPLIED PHOTO


Evanston Portrait | 7

journey, but we are so thrilled by all the positive feedback and support,” proclaimed an April 24 post on the brewpub’s website. “Evanston is a great community, and we are so proud to “It’s a very open here in Evanston, interesting mix of specifically Howard Street, to work on the efforts of people. From the bringing more business to cleaners to the this underserved area.” In the last two years, the gas station, there 8th Ward businesses have are some anchors come together to form the Howard Street Business Ason that street sociation. that have hung “It’s a very interesting mix of people,” Rainey around.” said,” speaking of some of ANN RAINEY, the older businesses on Howard Street, including Evanston alderman the Howard Street Animal Hospital, which has been there for 30 years.“From the cleaners to the gas station,” she said,“there are some anchors on that street that have hung around.” For the future, the city plans to continue the development of the area, including two outdoor cafes slated to open on the street this summer. “The reputational issues for Howard Street are diminishing by the second,” she added.“You put something positive there, and people will come.”

The British word for “hungry”: The Peckish Pig is a restaurant and brewery located at 623 Howard St. Its grand opening was on March 20, 2014.


Susan Roche...named among the Top 1% of Evanston Agents in 2013 with expertise in all North Shore real estate

◆ $11 Million Sold ◆ #1 Individual Agent Evanston Sales Coldwell Banker ◆ 100% of Listings Closed ◆ Average Market Time: 44 Days ◆ Average Sale Price: $587,000 *

SOLD $650,000 2747 Garrison, Evanston

SOLD $235,000 1426 Main, Evanston

SOLD $539,000 2948 Stonegate, Northbrook

SOLD $340,000 1516 State Pkwy, Chicago

SOLD $686,000 3750 Riverside, Wilmette

$475,000 1913 W. Estes, Chicago

UNDER CONTRACT 2044 Ewing, Evanston

UNDER CONTRACT 2513 Osage, Glenview

FOR SALE $267,000 1925 Lake, Wilmette

FOR SALE $149,000 826 Michigan, Evanston


847.425.3788 | | | 2929 Central Street, Evanston 60201 *Based on Susan Roche’s Individual 2013 Sales and represents both buyer and seller represented transactions. Based on information from Midwest Real Estate Data LLC for the perios 01/01/2013-12/31/2013. Due to MLS reporting methods and allowable reporting policy, this details only informational and may not be completely accurate. Therefore, Coldwell Banker does not gurantee the data accuracy. Data maintained by the MLS’s may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. ©2014 Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

8 | Evanston Portrait

You know what you want in a home:


Here’s what to look for in a realtor

Your real estate may be your largest financial asset.When you are ready to sell or purchase, choose a broker who works with you to provide up to the minute information to make the most informed decisions. Select the a broker with who you can communicate, someone who has extensive experience in north shore property sales, marketing, negotiations, inspections and who will keep your transaction on track, from your personalized premarketing plan to a successful closing. Questions to ask your next agent: ■ How long and where have you been practicing? ■ Is being a realtor a full-time career or a part-time job? ■ How many of transactions have you completed? ■ What are the highlights and challenges of my home and location? ■ Can you provide a reference list? ■ What are your strengths and weaknesses? ■ Do you have written market plan? ■ How do you help clients prepare their home to maximize the value? The certified residential specialist designation, or CRS, is the proven path to success in residential real estate. Realtors who have earned this credential did so by completing extensive training and by demonstrating significant experience in managing real estate transactions. Less than 3 percent of the more than 1 million realtors working today can call themselves a CRS designee. This group represents the elite performers in residential real estate. If you are looking for a certified realtor, contact the Coldwell Banker Rosinski Group. The business believes that what makes a house a great home are the people who live in it and great communities are made up of the people who live in those homes. Mary O’Rourke and Tim Rosinski of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is located at 640 Vernon Ave. in Glencoe and at 2929 Central St. in Evanston. For more than 30 years, these agents have been honored and pleasured to work with clients to buy and sell homes in the North Shore communities. For more information, call (847) 293-6167, email or visit

Experience: Mary O’Rourke and Tim Rosinski of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage have more than 60 years of combined real estate experience. Buying, selling or leasing requires the knowledge to effectively price, market, negotiate and close the real estate transaction. Ask about their premarketing timeline. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

Less than 3 percent of the more than 1 million realtors working today can call themselves a certified residential specialist designee. This group represents the elite performers in residential real estate.


Evanston Portrait | 9

Q&A: Jeff Bell on the new Beacon Academy BY KIMBERLY ELSHAM VAVRICK For Sun-Times Media

Beacon Academy is a new Montessori-based high school, slated to open in Evanston on Aug. 25. The school is the first of its kind in the area, and it will be admitting high school freshmen and sophomores for its inaugural school year. Currently, 31 students are enrolled for the freshman and sophomore classes, and the school will add a grade each subsequent year, said Kate Anderson, director of admissions and marketing. Jeff Bell, head of school for Beacon, gave a quick rundown on how this teaching method, perhaps best known for early childhood and elementary learning, will affect high school-aged Evanstonians. Q. Beacon Academy will be a Montessori-based high school. Can you explain what this means? A. There are some other Montessori high schools in the Midwest — in Cleveland, Cincinnati and St. Paul. The reason we list “Montessoribased” is because there is no Montessori high school accreditation that we can earn to be an official Montessori school. Q.What is the impact/ importance of a school such as this in Evanston, in Illinois and in the Midwest? Why is Evanston a good place for this? A. Evanston is an ideal location because of the richness of the community. We will be partnering with

a number of local institutions, including Northwestern University, Piven Theatre, The Musical Offering, Evanston Arts Center and McGaw YMCA, to name a few.We have an open campus because we want our students to have access to the richness and texture of the Evanston community and participate in the many businesses and nonprofits that call this town home. Q.What examples of the Montessori-based learn by doing would apply to high school level curriculum? A.Working with experts outside of the faculty on specific projects and taking advantage of our flexible schedule to work on projects of their own design.We commit approximately 20 percent of our schedule to open work time so that students can take responsibility for their homework and special projects, similar to Google’s 80/20 model [which centers on 80 percent of one’s time spent on core projects and 20 percent spent on innovation activities]. Q. How did your April 27 fundraiser for school operations and supplies go? A.We raised over $60,000, and our goal was $25,000. (People can still contribute via the school’s online wish list of supplies and via tuition assistance donations at Beacon will host a community open house in early August and a formal admissions open house on Nov. 15.Visitors are welcome at any time at the new campus, located at 622 Davis St.

“Evanston is an ideal location because of the richness of the community. ... We have a open campus because we want our students to have access to the richness and texture of the Evanston community ...” JEFF BELL, head of school at Beacon Academy

A model of human development: Chicago area’s first Montessori-based high school prepares to open in Evanston.


10 | Evanston Portrait


Play is work. Work is play. Space Available in Early Childhood & Toddler

Parent/Child · Toddler · Early Childhood 3-6 · Elementary · Middle School

Building blocks: Chiaravalle Montessori, at 425 Dempster St., is a non-denominational, independent, co-educational school for children ages 2-14. Children are the central focus, but the community makes it special. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

Chiaravalle Montessori

Discover the simple power of learning by doing Understand how the learning process at Chiaravalle Montessori is designed to connect how and what children learn. Questions? Contact Nancy Syburg, Director of Admission & Financial Aid 847-733-3683 or 425 Dempster, Evanston, IL 847.864.2190

A child’s first years are critical in building the brain architecture that forms the foundation for future educational success. To emphasize the values of play, schools provide opportunities for creativity, music and movement as well as tinkering and construction in a safe, nurturing environment. To focus on work, schools offer a curriculum that is academically challenging that builds foundational skills such as a long attention span, refined motor skills and preparation for reading and arithmetic concepts. Chiaravalle Montessori is dedicated to fostering both. Students from 6 months through kindergarten and from first through eighth grade are engaged in a Montessori learning environment. They experience joyful learning and challenging academics. Occasions for both playful work and purposeful play are everywhere. Have you ever watched a child fumble with their buttons or zipper as he or she tries repeatedly to accomplish that task? Maybe you have heard a child proclaim:“I can do it myself!” Have you watched a child sound out a letter combination? That’s the inspired work

of childhood. A deep satisfaction is developed from practicing a skill or concept until it is mastered. Evanston parent of two, Steve Reed reflected on his first impression of this in action. “Before we came to Chiaravalle, I didn’t know that much about Montessori,” he said.“When we walked in the door (and we visited lots of schools), I was immediately taken by what was going on. I was just amazed by the kind of work and concentration as well as the joy and fun that was going on in the classroom.” Exuberance can be found by running across the playground or singing a song with friends — and Chiaravalle students do that. Chiaravalle also offers another kind of joyful learning by helping students build confidence in their own capabilities. They realize the ability to do things for themselves and feel pride in their discoveries. In the true spirit of Montessori, Chiaravalle has been inspiring children’s sense of discovery and creativity since 1965. The American Montessori Society and the Independent School Association of the Central States accredit Chiaravalle. To learn more about Chiaravalle Montessori, call the director of admission and financial aid, Nancy Syburg or visit


Evanston Portrait | 11

Evanston Art Center connects youths to art

A part of Evanston for almost 100 years. Looking forward to the next 100!


For Sun-Times Media


ounded in 1929 by civic and cultural leaders, namely Alice C. Riley, the Evanston Art Center (EAC) has been supporting diverse artists and enriching the community for more than 80 years, which makes it one of the oldest and most accessible art centers in Illinois. Beyond teaching, public lectures and art exhibition endeavors, the EAC, a nonprofit organization located right on the lake at 2603 Sheridan Road in Evanston, is also involved in various outreach “Young creative initiatives. “Our ArtReach minds are program served nourished and the community at Evanston’s Family challenged at the Focus for a numEvanston Art ber of years,” said Norah Diedrich, Center with executive director classes in various at Evanston Art Center. mediums taught Family Focus by an experienced is an advocacy organization that faculty of teaching offers education, artists.” mentorship, social activities and NORAH DIEDRICH, support services executive director to low-income families. “Our community outreach is a priority, and the Evanston Art Center will continue to provide high-level afterschool programs and visiting artist opportunities,” said Diedrich. Offering complimentary arts activities, the EAC participates in neighborhood events such as: Ethnic Arts Fair, Fountain Square Arts Festival, Citizens for a Greener Evanston Weekend and a weekendlong celebration of street arts and hip-hop. Recent programs where kids had the opportunity to get involved include: High School Week, a program that allowed kids to build their artistic portfolio in an intensive one-week studio experience at the end of the school year, and Evanston Public Library Collaboration, a summer initiative that promoted visual literacy and helped kids to become better readers. “This past summer the Evanston Art Center offered several new classes for itsYouth Arts Camp,” said Diedrich. “Classes like Mathematics in Art, Toy Making and Architecture were over-subscribed. These classes ran alongside the

College prep education for age 3 through Grade 12

1200 Davis Street in Evanston -

Hands on: The Evanston Art Center provides opportunities to engage in artistic endeavors. | SUPPLIED PHOTO usual favorites of Gaming, Observational Drawing and Fashion Design. It was such a joy to visit these classrooms and observe how creative these young artists are at such an early age, especially knowing that recent research tells us early exposure to the arts translates into a enjoying the arts as an adult.” “Over the course of the Evanston Art Center’s history, many free programs and projects have been provided to public schools and community organizations throughout the communities we serve,” said Diedrich. Needs-based scholarships are given to youth each session. EAC allows free access to all galleries and is open to the public every day of the week. Arts administration internships are also offered to kids through Evanston’sYouth Job Center-a career training, placement and support center for young adults. Diedrich goes on to say that for many young adults, the arts increase self-esteem, self-expression and a feeling of accomplishment. “Young creative minds are nourished and challenged at the Evanston Art Center with classes in various mediums taught by an experienced faculty of teaching artists,” Diedrich said. For more information on how to better the world by making art a part of your life, visit

Big moments, small breakthroughs, powerful relationships, a community of support. High school memories shape us forever. The ETHS Educational Foundation is multiplying opportunities for each new generation of Wildkits to excel and make their own memories. Explore your own ways to support ETHS at Funding Excellence. The ETHS Educational Foundation.

12 | Evanston Portrait


Evanston institutions boost anti-bullying education BY KIMBERLY ELSHAM VAVRICK

For Sun-Times Media

Growing up is hard for any kid, and bullying has been taken more seriously in recent years. Two Evanston institutions are doing their part to help with the issue, from education to intervention. A program for elementary through high school students developed by a Northwestern University student tackles the bullying issue with NU studentathletes. NU senior and softball player Marisa Bast founded Stand Up and ROARR (Reach Out and Reinforce Respect) in 2013. Last summer, she developed the program as part of her Leadership Certificate Program field study with help from Allina Nikolopoulou, school psychologist at Haven Middle School, and Maureen Palchak, NU Athletics assistant athletic director, community relations. The three created a program to take the anti-bullying message to third- through ninth-graders. A committee of student-athletes presents it interactively and through voices that are relatable. “We think this program is important because it helps support what is already being taught in the schools but in a different voice through the student-athletes.We worked hard to create something that supports the existing curriculum and to use some of the same terminology so it’s just reinforcing what is already being taught,” Palchak said. One of the main messages is one of respect for others. “We have presented to over 1,000 kids in Evanston and Chicago,” she added.“We can present to a small class of 20 to 25 kids or a large assembly of 75 to 100.” “We’ve done both, and there are great advantages to both. All of the kids receive a new folder, an interactive one-page sheet and bookmark with leave behind reminders about the program and what it SEE ANTI-BULLYING, PAGE 13

Safe space: Stand Up and ROARR (Reach Out and Reinforce Respect) is a program for elementary through high school students — developed by a Northwestern University NU senior and softball player Marisa Bast — tackles the bullying issue with NU student-athletes. (pictured) Members of the NU football and softball teams talk to area elementary schools. | SUPPLIED PHOTO





means to be respectful,” she said. Palchak said the program would continue to present at area schools through the remainder of the “We think this program is school year. “Starting up in the important because it helps fall, we look forward support what is already beto continuing visits throughout Evaning taught in the schools but ston and the entire in a different voice through Chicagoland area,” she said. the student-athletes.” As hard as the community can work MAUREEN PALCHAK, Northwestern to prevent bullying, it University Athletics assistant athletic still can be tough to director, community relations escape. Kids who are bullied can experience mental health issues including depression and anxiety which can lead to decreased academic achievement,” said Kirk Erickson, Psy.D chief operating officer at Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center, 8324 Skokie Blvd. According to, 90 percent of fourth through eighth graders report being victims of bullying. Turning Point has 45 years of experience addressing the mental health issues of children in the community. Turning Point, the Woman’s Club of Evanston and District 65 came together to address the issue. The group developed a six-week early

■ Turning Point Behavioral Health

2013 benefit: Joe Behles, Behles + Behles Architects; Ann Fisher Raney, Turning Point; and Clare Johnson, Chicago Botanic Garden. | SUPPLIED PHOTO intervention program. The first round Nov. 5 to Dec. 17, 2013, and it included sixth graders from Martin Luther King Lab School. This program, free of charge to participate, is an early intervention program that seeks to address issues of bullying before they result in more serious mental health and academic problems for both sides, the victim and the bully. The groups meet weekly and run through a curriculum of presentations and discussions on various areas of bullying including what do you when you’re the victim, physical and verbal bully, tech-based bullying and sexual harassment. “The first group was very successful so a second group for fifth graders began in March of this year,” Erickson said.

It’s not too late to join our community! Preschool - 8th Grade

Discover what makes our Preschool unique: o 2, 3 or 5 half- or full-day options o Gym, music, computers and library o French and Spanish starting in PK4 o Balanced approach of play and structured learning o Early literacy program “Happily Ever After” is used, which leads into the Super Kids program used in Kindergarten The excellent education begun in Preschool continues all the way through 8th Grade. Students are challenged and given ample opportunities to succeed in a wide range of academic and extra-curricular activities. Providing an excellent, Catholic education in a small, caring and diverse community. 1120 Washington St., Evanston, IL 60202 847-475-5678

Care Center presented A Night at the Movies on April 8, 2013 from 6-9 p.m. at 27 Live, 1012 Church St. in Evanston. The event, attended by more than 80 supporters included an intimate screening of Doug Blush and Lisa Klein’s critically acclaimed documentary Of Two Minds exploring life with bipolar disorder. Following the screening was a Q&A session moderated by Turning Point Board Member Robert Carty. It featured award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush as well as artist and architect Carlton Davis, one of the six individuals featured in the film. The fundraiser grossed $4,500 to benefit Turning Point’s mission of making comprehensive, high-quality mental health care accessible to all. ■ Turning Point Behavioral

Health Care Center hosted its

annual benefit on June 19 at the Westmoreland Country Club, 2601 Old Glenview Road in Wilmette. Last year’s benefit, entitled Celebrating New Growth! offered a special add-on VIP reception that previewed Turning Point’s exciting new collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Gardens Horticultural Therapy Project. Presenters included Clare Johnson of the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Architect Joseph Behles of Behles + Behles. This year’s benefit honored North Suburban Healthcare Foundation representatives Beverly J. Kroll (Board Chair) and Donald P. Perille (Board Vice Chair). Approximately 120 guests attended the benefit grossing $46,000 to support Turning Point’s mission of making comprehensive, high quality mental health care accessible to all.

14 | Evanston Portrait PRODUCED BY CUSTOM MEDIA SOLUTIONS Editor: Tammy Mathews, Cover/Page Design: Meghan Merda To Advertise: Tony Ralenkotter, (847) 809-1655



Partnerships boost the arts in Evanston BY KIMBERLY ELSHAM VAVRICK

For Sun-Times Media

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224.999.1177 622 Davis St. | Evanston, IL

Evanston is well established as a cultural hub for the arts. The city is also a catalyst for forging partnerships between the fine and performing arts organizations and important community groups. Open Studios Evanston is working to produce Evanston’s first open studios crawl on June 7. Another one Oct. 11 will coincide with Arts & Culture Month. The City of Evanston, Arts Council of Evanston and Arts Community of Evanston are all working in concert to create “access to the arts for everyone,” which is a mission of the Evanston Arts Council. “There is tremendous excitement for the first Open Studios Evanston, with more 50 artists and arts organizations participating,” said Lisa Degliantoni, event producer. “You don’t have to go into Chicago to see great art.We have great art and artists showing right here in Evanston and events like Open Studios Evanston provide access to those artists,” said Steven Bialer of Hevanston Gallery, 529 Davis St.

Participating visual artists with a studio, art galleries and arts organizations in Evanston will open their doors to the public on Saturday, June 7 from 3-8 p.m. A website will feature a list of all participating artists on a Google Map, where people can choose how to get to the studios and at what time. “Artists without a gallery don’t have many opportunities to show their work, and an event like this is ideal. [Visual artist] Julie Meridian will show her photography along with my work for Open Studios Evanston. It’s wonderful to create this kind of access for the public and artists,” said florist and visual artist Barbara Bellamy. Bellamy will show her flowered dress creation from Fluerotica, a fundraiser for The Garfield Park Conservatory, at Ixia Flowers, 1630 Chicago Ave., #1. Next Theatre Company, 927 Noyes St., has also created a number of exciting community partnerships. With Northwestern University, Next has established a playwright-commissioning program. Next and Northwestern professors Rebecca Gilman and Laura Shelhardt work with one undergraduate and one MFA playwright per season, developing a new play. These projects receive staged

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Sculpture Studio: Alfonso “Piloto” Nieves Ruiz, participating in Open Studios Evanston on June 7, is opening his studio at 2103 Maple Ave. Ruiz is a self-taught artist from Queretaro, Mexico who is a skilled sculptor. He works primarily with clay and recycled materials to create dramatic, surreal pieces that deal with social issues. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

ENTERTAINMENT & CULTURE readings led by professional directors and actors in the spring that are normally standing room only events. This season, Next and the YWCA Evanston/North Shore have partnered to create a series of exciting community programs. These programs include an original theatrical piece created by seniors and students on the topic of race in how this issue is experienced by different members of the Evanston community; an after school drama program for girls; and a theatrical piece exploring issues of domestic violence experienced by women on the North Shore. These programs will be rolling out this summer and into the fall. In other performing arts, the Music Institute of Chicago, with one of its Evanston locations at 1490 Chicago Ave., has implemented community outreach programming around the concept of “citizen musicianship.” “The idea is that you, in some way, use your abilities with music a performer to create social change,” said Deirdre Harrison, director of community engagement for MIC. “We’re not just a private music school, but we’re doing things outside of the walls of the school,” Harrison said. For MIC, the music citizenship initiative is taking form through three examples: raising money and awareness, mentoring and leadership development, and bridging communities with music. Harrison explained that young people may want to help causes, but it’s hard to know where to start. That’s where their musical talents come in. Kids can hold events to fundraise or bring awareness.“It’s joyful for them. It’s also something empowering for them that it’s their

Evanston Portrait | 15

Check this out: Swing Set Drum Kit by Dave Ford will be set up in his yard for people to swing by and make some music. Swing Set Drum Kit is an interactive sonic sculpture that encourages people to build rhythmic sounds through their swinging. Three swings activate large colorful wheels that trigger multiple drumsticks that strike percussive instruments. | SUPPLIED PHOTO realm to do.” As a second example, MIC is forging talent in public schools, such as implementing the nationally taught Brass for Beginners program at District 65’s Lincoln Elementary School. Finally, the institute has also been working with groups who can find themselves isolated, such

as seniors, Harrison said. MIC has worked with a senior jazz combo group including players aged 70 and older. “We’re seeing an uptick in adults returning to play. Learning something new is a good way to keep your memory sharp.” The creation of Harrison’s posi-


tion at MIC three years ago helped solidify the structure for these activities, which, she said, have been going on for a long time.“We’re trying to celebrate it more. It’s about developing leadership and making it part of the culture.” “Life is tough, and having joyful things happen in unexpected

places in important.” On June 7, MIC will host seven civic musicians during Open Studios Evanston. The event will include a free concert and a public panel of these professional musicians who will talk to young visitors about the importance of pursuing one’s passion for music.

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16 | Evanston Portrait



For Sun-Times Media

Evanston’s entertainment scene is on the rise. The city has long has a foothold in performing arts and theatre, but more music venues and contemporary entertainment venues are cropping up. “A lot of people who live in the northern suburbs used to bypass Evanston and go into Chicago for live entertainment,” said Liz Bartlow Breslin of The Celtic Knot Public House, 626 Church St. “A lot of people wouldn’t think of coming to Evanston from Chicago to hear live music in the past, but these trends may be chang-

ing making Evanston a go to place not just to eat but to grab a drink, let their hair down and hear some authentic live music,” she added. “Evanston has exploded with many new restaurants and alternative spaces offering entertainment. Being so accessible by public transportation and featuring so many choices has made Evanston attractive to people from Chicago as well as neighboring suburbs. So many strong restaurant choices drive traffic to Evanston and it is family-friendly, downto-earth and also sophisticated in its cultural offerings,” said Nili Yelin, marketing director at 27 Live, 1012 Church St. “Evanston has been happening; it’s the next Brooklyn,” said Amy Morton, owner


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Eye candy: Found, at 1631 Chicago Ave., is a restaurant with a mission. Its rustic American dishes are served in a relaxed, creative atmosphere inspired by 1920s Bohemian Paris and icons of the Beat Generation. | SUPPLIED PHOTO


of Found Kitchen and Social House, 1631 Chicago Ave. She attributed the bump to timing, location and community. “The timing is ripe, and people are ready for something new that does not entail going into the city. Additionally, the location is perfect because we “A lot of people are adjacent wouldn’t think of to the city and on the coming to Evanston threshold of from Chicago to the entire North Shore. hear live music, but Finally, these trends may and most importantly, be changing ...” the Evanston LIZ BARTLOW BRESLIN, community is diverse, The Celtic Knot hungry, and Public House excited to support growth,” she said. Here’s a quick-hitting list of Evanston’s entertainment venues, including newer hubs such as SPACE and 27 Live, and anchor institutions, such as Piven Theatre and venues within Northwestern University.

Evanston Portrait | 17 GET OUT ■ SPACE: Music and performing arts venue, 1245

Chicago Ave.

■ 27 Live: Music venue and restaurant, 1012

Church St.

■ The Celtic Knot Public House: An Irish pub and

music venue, 626 Church St.

■ Pete Miller’s: A standby steakhouse that hosts

live music every night, 1557 Sherman Ave.

■ Pick-Staiger Concert Hall: Concert hall on North-

western University’s campus. Home to professional performance organizations such as The Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Philharmonic, Northshore Concert Band, Evanston Symphony Orchestra and others who rent facilities from the NU Bienen School of Music. 50 Arts Circle Dr.

■ Piven Theatre: Professional theatre and actor-

training facility, 927 Noyes St.

■ Virginia

Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts: The recently renamed Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern, 2240 Campus Dr.

■ Shanley Pavilion: Student theatre venue on North-

western University’s campus, 2031 Sheridan Road

Forever young: 27 Live, at 1012-1014 Church St., puts a twist on American cuisine and pours craft brews in the upstairs lounge. The rock venue has transformed two restaurant spaces into a unique venue. 27 Live is dedicated to the members of the Forever 27 Club that have come and gone. Their rock n’ roll spirit lives on forever here. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

■ North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501

Skokie Blvd., Skokie

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18 | Evanston Portrait


Plain and Simple is craftsmanship at its best BY CAROLYN BRANDT BROUGHTON

In 2004, Plain and Simple opened its doors in Evanston’s Main Street Station shopping district, at 713 Main S. Its mission was to provide simply and elegant Amish-made furniture. It has been furnishing homes in Evanston and the surrounding areas ever since. From the popular glider chair to distinctive dining sets, entertainment centers and bedroom sets, Plain and Simple is the North Shore connection to the Amish furniture builders of Central Indiana. “The craftsmanship is top-notch,” said store manager, Adam Vaughan. “Our artisans use only solid hardwood, which sets us apart. These days, so much of the furniture out there is made with wood veneers.” The Main Street showroom provides an overview of what Plain and Simple offers. “The furniture on the floor gives you a general idea of what we can do,” said custom designer, Josh McCallister.“However, the majority of what we sell is made-to-order.” Customers can peruse Plain and Simple’s catalogs to select the type of furniture style, wood, fabrics and finish that work best. “Whatever our customers are looking for, they can have the piece built to their own specifications and tastes,” McCallister explained. The Teeple family has furnished nearly every room of their Chicago bungalow with custom pieces from Plain and Simple, and Will Teeple said he and his wife feel they’ve reached an important milestone because of it. “We’ve been through the assemble-it-yourself furniture stage,” Teeple said.“Now we have these classic, well-built pieces that will go the distance with our family.” He called it:“furniture with a soul.” “We love that each piece has the stamp of the Amish family that crafted it,” Teeple said. Well-thought-out features are the hallmark of Amish-built, Plain and Simple furniture, according to Mc-

Back to bed basics: Plain and Simple has been bringing Amish-made furniture to the area for ten years. Expert builders create every piece from solid hardwood, which retains its performance for generations. Furniture can be made to order or purchased in the showroom. Shipping is available to anywhere in the country. | SUPPLIED PHOTO Callister. Integrity is in every piece, from dresser-drawers constructed with solid-wood drawer boxes, dovetailed corners and full-extension metal slides (rather than the plywood construction found in many stores) to dining room tables with geared sliding systems that make it

possible for one person to singlehandedly manage table leaves. In addition to fine craftsmanship, excellent customer service is paramount at Plain and Simple — from helping the customer navigate the choices of design, wood, fabric and finish to picking up each piece

directly from the builder and delivering the finished furniture to the customer’s home. Vaughan said buying customized furniture from Plain and Simple is a “win-win.” “The customers we serve in Evanston and the Chicago area enjoy

the clean, simple lines and quality of Amish-made furniture,”Vaughan said.“We, in turn, are able to help our Amish craftsmen continue their fine tradition of furniture-making.” For more information, go to or call (847) 491-9210.

“The craftmanship is top-notch. Our artisans use only solid hardwood, which sets us apart. These days, so much of the furniture out there is made with wood veneers.” ADAM VAUGHAN, store manager at Plain and Simple




Evanston Portrait | 19 BY KIMBERLY ELSHAM VAVRICK For Sun-Times Media

Six years ago, Evonda Thomas-Smith set out to get Evanston women moving more. As the director of health for the City of Evanston, she and a small committee of peers created a vision for Women Out Walking, a program that encourage healthy lifestyles for women through walking. They had a modest goal and modest means: Thomas-Smith and the team created hand-drawn flyer in the shape of a tennis shoe to recruit 50 women. Out of that simple flyer, at the first meeting, 500 people showed up. “It was an unbelievable problem to have,” Thomas-Smith said.“We ran out of refreshments, we ran out of T-shirts … We saw this was an interest and a non-judgmental way to say,‘Hey, are you moving or not?’” Now, routinely 1,000 women are in the 12-week program, she said. They range from 18 to 98 years old. “We give them a pedometer, show them how to link to the tracking system and give them an incentive program,” she said.

Prizes range from tea to mugs, from athletic shoes to athletic apparel. The format: The women register in teams, select a team leader and schedule times to walk. People may walk as individuals, too. They log their steps into an online tracking system hosted on the American Heart Association’s website. WOW’s programming also includes opportunities for free screenings for cholesterol, depression, body mass index, even gait analysis to better inform participants about what kind of athletic shoes to purchase. Four Saturday workshops during the 12 weeks provide 20-minute snippets of workout classes from the community including yoga, aerobics, belly dancing, Zumba and more. When WOW started up, the State of Illinois Health Department provided a $3,000 grant to help cover initial fees. Initially, the program was free to Evanston residents. However, once she saw an interest from other areas, Thomas-Smith said they opened up the program to neighboring communities. Participants now pay a $5 fee. “WOW is hitting on people’s inherent desire to move, but they may need the support,” she said.

Once the members register, their geographic information is shared with the Evanston alderman, as the aldermen and the mayor participate occasionally. It becomes a bit of a friendly competition for aldermen to recruit their constituents to participate, Thomas-Smith said. The women come from primarily from Evanston as well as north-side Chicago, the North Shore, Skokie and East Rogers Park. You still have time to get involved. The program’s final monthly meet-up is June 7 at Deering Park, 2611 Sheridan Road. The WOW closing event will be June 14 at the Ecology Center, 2024 N. McCormick Blvd. It’s getting recognition, too. In 2012, the U.S. Conference of Mayors presented Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl with the City Livability Award for Evanston’s Women Out Walking (WOW) program, according to the City of Evanston’s 2012 Annual Report. “It took on a life of its own,” ThomasSmith said.“What was ‘here’s a pedometer, here’s a journal to track your steps,’ has now turned into a community-wide movement.”

A warm smile. A gentle laugh. A kind look. These are the everyday successes that let us know we’re making a difference in the lives of some truly special people. Mather Pavilion is an award-winning senior living residence that provides ‘person-centered’ care for older adults who require skilled nursing, memory support, or rehabilitation services. Staff members are specially trained to meet the needs of older adults, and benefit from direct access to the nationally recognized programs developed by Mather Lifeways Institute on Aging. We’re also committed to consistent assignment of staff to residents, permitting residents to become comfortably familiar with those caring for them, and have an

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exceptionally low staff turnover rate. We’re even ranked one of America’s best nursing homes by U.S. News & World Report. But while such recognition is nice, sometimes a smile or a laugh is all the proof we need to know we’re doing things right.

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20 | Evanston Portrait


Spotlight on the Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center BY KIMBERLY ELSHAM VAVRICK

For Sun-Times Media

Local care: Erie Evanston/Skokie, located at 1285 Hartrey Ave., provides services for adults and children, including primary, women’s health, prenatal, pediatric and behavioral health care. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

The Erie Family Health Center in Evanston was the first location outside of Chicago. Tiosha Goss, director of Health Center Operations at the Evanston/Skokie location, provided an update on the center’s recent relocation to 1285 Hartrey Ave. 1.What updates do you have about Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center? We recently launched on-site behavioral health services for pediatric patients — made possible with our partnership with C4 (Community Counseling Centers of Chicago). Additionally, earlier this year, we hired an additional full-time health educator to provide crucial one on one patient education around important health focuses such as diabetes, nutrition, etc. She also provides support for our prenatal program and will host group education programming for our families. For FY14, we have hosted over 5,800 medical visits, serving 2,781 unduplicated users. 2. How does Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center influence community health? We ensure that our patients receive high quality and accessible care. This includes being a medical home for patients where they can receive wraparound services to support clinical care such as behavioral

health, benefits enrollment, case management and health education. Many of our patients had been without care for years and were struggling with acute and chronic conditions. Erie met their immediate needs, serves as their medical home and refers them to hospital partners for specialty care. 3.Why is it important and unique in the community? Erie is the first Federally Qualified Health Center in the Evanston/Skokie communities, bringing accessible and high quality services to those most in need.We serve as a medical home to our patients, serving the whole family with critical clinical care. Additionally, our hospital partnerships — such as one with NorthShore University HealthSystem — also make it possible for our patients to have access to needed auxiliary services such as specialty care and diagnostic/screening services. 3.What’s something surprising about the center that people may not realize? We serve patients regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status, in a time where health services are costly and accessing to quality care is challenging.We are happy to say that we are a resource for those in need.We offer a sliding fee scale for patients and provide benefits screening and enrollment support.

celebrating stories of recovery Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center Annual Benefit Friday, June 20, 2014 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Westmoreland Country Club 2601 Old Glenview Road, Wilmette, Illinois Please join us in honoring Jay Lytle, Julie and Paul Rooney, and U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky for their support and advocacy for high quality mental health care for everyone. Purchase tickets at For more information contact Audrey at 847.933.0051x442 or

Support: Elizabeth Tisdahl, Evanston mayor, speaks at the Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center.



Evanston Portrait | 21

Improving families with Two-Generation approach BY KIMBERLY ELSHAM VAVRICK For Sun-Times Media

A new community initiative aiming to increase Evanston families’ self-sufficiency has just wrapped its 13-week pilot program. The Evanston Community Foundation’s Two-Generation Education Initiative provides educational, financial and career guidance for parents — and high-quality early education for their children up to age 6 through enrollment in community-partner programs. “Far too often families are so busy moving through life doing their best to meet their family’s needs with little time to intentionally plan their future,” said Artishia Hunter, the initiative’s director.“The Evanston Two-Generation pilot is designed to provide a setting for parents to explore their education and career options, and create a plan that outlines goals for becoming financially self-sufficient.” The Evanston Community Foundation implemented this program following a grant from the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit dedicated to education and policy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Two researchers from Northwestern University — developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and senior research scientist Teresa Eckrich Sommer — are conducting research on these types of two-generation initiatives. Their research has also helped guide Evanston’s program. “Young parents are kind of in a bind. They can have a hard time getting a job and getting a job that pays enough,” said Sara Schastock, president and CEO of Evanston Community Foundation. She added sometimes people fall into the sphere of for-profit training programs and the debt accrued adds another stressor if, say, you have $19,000 in debt, but have a job that pays $16,000 a year. The initiative’s first 13 families were recruited from early childhood programs associated with the Evanston Community Foundation. All of the enrolled parents are Evanston mothers with varying backgrounds, ranging from 20 to 38 years old. “They’re all at different places and share different things with me,” Hunter said. Five or six are married, the rest are single. Their education ranges from bachelor’s degrees to GEDs or high school credit hours. She described

a 20-year-old mother, who has a 5-month-old child, who is currently taking a class while working. Hunter said this mother wants to go back to school and to balance childcare, and is trying to get a little bit more stable childcare. Another mother is at home with her three children. “When she had her last child, it was literally cheaper for her to come home than pay for childcare. She wants to start taking classes now and has 18 years experience working in early childhood,” Hunter said. The 13 weeks of this initiative included group sessions of core information where the women took inventory of their experience and skills, learned about education opportunities and financial literacy. They took time to outline their goals and how to get there. “We think this project is a wise investment in the parents of young children who are growing up in a low-income household because we are opening pathways to education and training for parents (so they will have access to better-paying work and resources to support their children) and because research shows that the children’s achievement grows as levels of parental education increase,” Schastock said. “It’s helpful if you have a repertoire on deck,” Hunter said.“Some [of the women] are very well-resourced. Some are not. Some are at different places of navigating the system or different comfort of calling and finding out. I front load the information,” she said.“My role in a way is holding them accountable to some things, talking their way through situations that can be a barrier, how can we make it something to push through.” Hunter is also familiar with what these families are going through. “I was a young parent, I just know what it’s like. I know when I went back to school, there were things that I found out that made a direct impact in me as an individual,” she said. For the future, Hunter said the program wishes to support the families for six more months. The researchers from Northwestern will interview the families in focus groups for feedback as well. “We want to stick alongside them a little bit longer to meet with them. We’re also considering how to bring the group together once a month, to continue developing their network and their cohort,” Hunter said.

No person left behind: One of the dozens of Evanston families participating ECF’s Communityworks program Every Child Ready for Kindergarten, Every Youth Ready for Work. The Evanston Two-Generation initiative builds on the work of Every Child to provide career planning and training for mothers while their children ages 0 to 6 years are enrolled in high-quality early childhood education with a program partner. | SUPPLIED PHOTO



McGaw YMCA supports youth, encourages wellness Shawna can still wear stilettos, but she’s incredibly lucky. Not long ago,Shawna was walking with her grandson and couldn’t keep up.Something wasn’t right.She was getting tired,she was losing her breath,and strangely,Shawna’s legs didn’t want to function.Thus,she went to her doctor. “We’re going to amputate your legs,” the doctor said. Shawna’s arteries were blocked, and the only option to save her life was to remove her legs. “Now hold on, Doctor. I’ve got stilettos to wear,” she said to her physician. That’s when Shawna got desperate. Her business had failed. Her bank account was empty. Her health was deteriorating. Shawna was alone. Then she found the McGawYMCA. She found open arms at her time of greatest need. Shawna couldn’t afford a membership, so theYMCA gave her assistance through its Membership for All initiative. Shawna didn’t know how to get healthy, so our members embraced her and shared with her the benefits of swimming. A year after that initial meeting with her doc-

tor, Shawna’s legs and arteries are now healthy, and she feels stronger than ever. Shawna can still wear her heels. Shawna can still walk. Shawna still has her legs. When you walk through the doors of theYMCA, you’ll find community members of all ages,races and lifestyles here for the same reason:to thrive in a welcoming environment,develop a passion for wellness and grow confidence. For 128 years, the McGaw YMCA has brought together Evanston to support youth, encourage wellness and give back to the community.The YMCA touches the lives of more than 20,000 people every single year through programs, events, volunteer opportunities and facilities. The YMCA creates lasting memories and lifechanging experiences. The YMCA is more than just a gym; the YMCA is a cause.With more than 12,000 members, the McGaw YMCA is a strong community that is dedicated to helping children reach their potential, promoting wellness and developing a culture of always giving back. For 128 years, the McGaw YMCA has been helping Evanston learn, grow and thrive.

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Evanston Portrait 2014  
Evanston Portrait 2014