Chicago Area Parish Donates Festival Funds to Good Cause

Chicago Area Parish Donates Festival Funds to Good Cause

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CHICAGO, IL: St George Greek Orthodox Church, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago, delivered two major contributions to two Lincoln Park neighborhood non-profit organizations yesterday. Parish Priest Father Chrysanthos Kerkeres, Parish Council President James Metropolis, and Chairperson of this year’s Lincoln Park Greek Fest Mary Diamantakos visited and hand-delivered checks for $2,500 to the Juvenile Protective Association (JPA) and the Lester and Rosalie Anixter Center. The contributions came from the profits of this year’s Lincoln Park Greek Festival, which took place over the first weekend in June.

Following a reorganization a few years ago of their community fundraising festival, taking what was a small celebration within the parish out to the streets of the Lincoln Park neighborhood the parish has called home since 1923, the parish witnessed a major growth of their festival which quickly became fully embraced by the neighborhood and well known throughout the City of Chicago. As a result of an abundance of financial success from the Lincoln Park Greek Festival because of the kindness and support of the neighborhood, the parish began talks of the need to give back to the neighborhood that has so warmly supported them.

“We have decided to begin sharing some of the blessings we have received from our yearly Lincoln Park Greek Festival” explained Fr. Chrysanthos. “After numerous conversations and suggestions, the parish found two neighborhood non-profit organizations to embrace this year. Looking into the mission statements of these organizations, we witnessed signs of the values we believe best aligned with those of the parish” Fr Chrysanthos continued.

The Juvenile Protective Association (JPA) has been located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for over three decades. Founded by Jane Addams in 1901, the mission of JPA is to improve the social and emotional well-being and functioning of vulnerable children toward reaching their fullest potential at home, in school, and in their communities. This is accomplished by providing therapeutic counseling services to at-risk children and families, conducting research, sharing knowledge, and providing expert consultation and guidance to others serving the children and families.

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JPA President Karen Foley, Chief Development Officer David Wiercinski, and Clinical Director Tracy Gilmore greeted the group at their offices located on North Halsted and shared their work experience and city-wide outreach efforts. Employing 23 staff members, the organization serves over 2,000 individuals each year in addition to a strong working relationship with the Chicago Public School District, providing assistance and services the schools otherwise would not be able to provide.

Explaining the passion their staff has for this work, President Karen Foley offered her position within the organization as an example; she is only the sixth leader of the organization since it’s founding in 1901, an example of the longevity of their staff because of this passion. Responding to this gift of $2500 from the parish, she expressed their appreciation to have the church as a partner in their work and stated, “we will use this gift wisely”. Chief Development Officer David Wiercinski stated, “we have been thrilled and grateful with your generosity”.

Next stop was to the Lester and Rosalie Anixter Center on Clybourn Avenue. Met by Director of Events Marta Considine and Vice President of Development and Sustainability Daniel Summins, the group received a tour of the historic five-story warehouse facility that offers residential, educational, employment, socialization and health services to more than 8,000 children, teens and adults each year from throughout the Chicago area. Since its founding in 1919, Anixter Center has grown to become one of the largest non-profit organizations serving people with disabilities in the Chicago area.

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Anixter Center provides a broad range of programs for those who have physical, developmental, cognitive, psychiatric or sensory disabilities. These Anixter Center programs include a literacy program for adults with disabilities, 24-hour supervised residential homes, substance use disorder programs for those who are deaf, and employment programs to help people with disabilities find jobs.

Additionally, three divisions within the parent Anixter Center organization provide additianixter-centeronal specialized services: 1) CALOR, supporting people of color on Chicago’s West Side, offering hope to those living with HIV/AIDS and other health-related disabilities; 2) Chicago Hearing Society, supporting deaf and hard hearing people of all ages in a variety of ways, most prominently through its Hearing Health Clinic and Hearing Aid Bank; and 3) Lekotek, working primarily with young and school-age children with disabilities and their families using therapeutic-based play techniques and a toy lending library.

The parish representatives each expressed a hope that this year’s contributions would be the first of many more to come throughout future years. For more information on St George Greek Orthodox Church and their Lincoln Park Greek Festival, please visit www.StGeorgeChicago.net and look for them on Facebook. For more information on the Juvenile Protection Association, please visit www.Juvenile.org. For more information on the Anixter Center, please visit www.Anixter.org.

 

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About author
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John C. Ackerman

I am a lifelong Central Illinois resident and a parishioner of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Peoria. My wife's parents are immigrants from a small village outside Athens. My wife (Maria) and I have two young sons, Christian age 4 and Dimitrios age 3. I am also a member of Chicago Metropolitan Council.