Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Saving the Last Dance for You...

The Lincoln Park Community Shelter was recently given a grant from the Wrightwood Neighborhood Association (WNA) to help fund our Community Engagement Program (CEP). The WNA also gave grants to over 20 other local organizations. To hand out the grants, they invited all of these organizations, along with members of the WNA, to Lincoln Hall for a celebration filled with delicious food, an open bar, and entertainment provided by local children’s groups and schools. As I attended the event, I could not help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude; after all, isn’t it LPCS that should be dancing and singing for the WNA and all of our other generous donors?

My favorite part of the evening was a performance given by about 15 children. These children dressed up and brilliantly performed the entire play of Romeo and Juliet in just under 3 minutes. As a painfully avid Shakespeare fan, this was more than just a delight. The children must have worked tirelessly to learn the lines, make their costumes, and choreograph a fight scene in which all of them mimicked the star-crossed lovers’ bitter end!

Next, a school’s choir sang songs written by their teacher with the purpose of making the audience laugh. This was followed by two separate dance teams who were more eager to perform than they were nervous to be on stage in front of at least 40 strangers.

It amazed me that I could sit somewhere, have baked mac and cheese provided for me, have groups perform and dance for me, and then be given a check at the very end. What a beautifully generous world we live in where this is a regular occurrence!

To the WNA and to everyone else that continues to give time, hard earned money, and skills and ideas to LPCS, I want to thank you. I want to sing for you. I want to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream in under 3 minutes for you. And most of all, I want to eagerly dance to your favorite song, just to show you how much your contributions mean to everyone at LPCS.

Since I cannot dance for all of you at this time, I will contribute this very embarrassing photo of myself attempting to ice skate for you and hope that it helps to demonstrate just how grateful I am!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Volunteer Spotlight Geoff Nykin

We would like to congratulate Geoff Nykin who is our Volunteer Spotlight for December. Geoff has been volunteering as a Track Activities Teacher as a member of the Marketing Task Force committee for over a year. He says that the best thing about volunteering at LPCS is “the unique perspectives and lessons that I’ve learned from the Guests. I start every class with the same message: ‘I am going to learn more from all of you than you will from me’. Whether it is the Guest’s openness in discussing their past or their willingness to give me advice on my future, I am constantly thinking and learning.” Geoff is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and currently works as a Market Research Project Manager. He chose to volunteer at LPCS because he was interested in a place where he could volunteer long term. 

The classes Geoff teaches are extremely free-flowing and rely on participation from the Guests who are willing to be open and honest. His most memorable experience occurred during his first class. Geoff recalls asking a question to the class and shares: “There was total silence. At that point, I remember thinking, ‘I might be in over my head thinking that people will actually be open with me’. A few weeks later, I realized that a trusting and open dialogue was starting to develop. I owe a lot to the first few Guests who were willing to let me in and treat me as an insider – if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t still be volunteering.”

Outside of his time spent at work and volunteering at LPCS, Geoff loves to watch football and baseball. Geoff says he is interested in expanding his educational focus to add another hard skill such as finance or accounting to his soft-skill degree that he has in Communications.
The staff and Guests chose Geoff to be the December Volunteer Spotlight because of the overwhelming amount of positive comments made during a Guest Survey regarding his class. Guests have noted that his class is always interesting and welcoming; he is greatly appreciated as a member of the LPCS team.  

Thanks for your dedication, Geoff!