Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kick It Home, Chicago!

Kick It Home, Chicago! is one of my favorite events of the year! This is our second year hosting this amazing weekend event where we join other shelters from Chicago in an inter-homeless shelter kickball tournament!

We had beautiful weather this year, a great turn out, and a lot of fun meeting new people with similar goals and missions. Check out some of the photos from our event!

A special thanks to Walgreens, Panera Cares, and Amir for their generous donations!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why you should WANT to pay to attend Taste of Fall

This is an honest look at where the money goes and the value of your contributions – I will not use this opportunity to selfishly try to sway you by mentioning how there are over 4 open bars, live music, and over a dozen restaurants or how you would probably spend much more than $75 to try and do a similar evening at even one location...

Taste of Fall is an event that was created for the volunteers and friends of LPCS who could not necessarily afford our spring gala, but wanted a way to give and enjoy an evening with friends. Since then, Taste of Fall has grown in numbers, size, excitement, and also in price. Many original attendees have asked why the tickets now cost $75, and have expressed that this is getting a little steep. Trust me when I say that I completely understand how $75 is a lot of money. You can fill up two tanks of gas for this amount. You can buy a new pair of jeans for this amount, and possibly some flip flops to go with (depending upon your brand style). You could even take your significant other out for two glasses of wine at the Signature Room for $75. So why are we asking you to contribute that much to our event instead?

We refer to this event as Opening Doors, because that is literally what the money is doing. It is Opening Doors for our Guests and Grads. LPCS is wonderful and unique because we do not have a time limit on how long our Guests stay with us. That gives them the opportunity to really work on their barriers, address any long term needs, find work, and save money so that they can be stable when moving out and not return to homelessness. The struggle is that very last hurdle, the one where they have a job, and they found a great apartment, but just need a little extra help with the security deposit before they can go anywhere. Taste of Fall helps with this.

Taste of Fall is Opening Doors for people that have worked hard on their resumes, applied to many jobs, participated in mock interviews and were fantastic when actually meeting for a position. Unfortunately, that job may be across the city and it costs on average $102 to just ride the CTA for a month (the most affordable way to get around Chicago). At $102 a month, many Guests are unable to take a job because they do not have that money yet to get to a job that will get them money to buy a pass to go to work (you see where there is a cycle of joblessness?...) so Taste of Fall helps people get a CTA card so that they can take advantage of every single job opportunity.

At LPCS, we believe in the importance of Job Training and education. In fact, Job Training has even been incorporated into our recent Strategic Plan. Job Training is a great way to Open Doors because it strengthens a resume. For every job posting on LinkedIn, over 850 people view that job, and only 30% are viable candidates. By providing job training, we are ensuring that our Guests are within that 30%. Taste of Fall provides the means to ensure this training for our Guests.

Simply put, $75 goes a long way for everyone. We understand that completely, we work in non profit, after all! But if you are willing to sacrifice dinner and a movie for two, and instead join us at Taste of Fall, your money will do a lot more than get you a lot of food and drinks, it will provide an opportunity to change a Guest’s life and Open Doors to a better one.

Every restaurant, every auction item, every drink, and every song played has been donated to Taste of Fall. Your ticket, which will get you full access to all of these things for the entire night, will go entirely to Opening Doors for our Guests.

Purchase tickets here.

By Meghan Freebeck 

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Spotlight - The ENTIRE Taste of Fall Committee

Taste of Fall Committee

This month’s volunteer spotlight will feature an entire group of people who have been dedicated and committed to LPCS for years!

The Taste of Fall Committee is made up of 6 people total, a small group considering all that they do for LPCS and all that they accomplish in only 6 months to plan Taste of Fall, our annual fall fundraiser.

The group gets together at least once a month to discuss the needs for the event, what will make it extra exciting, and particularly how we can top previous years and have it be the most successful each time. This group has been working together for many years, and the best part is – they volunteer elsewhere at LPCS as well!

Andrew Hogue is a dedicated Overnight Volunteer that also occasionally serves meals. He is on the overnight backup team and has been able to step up for last minute shifts on a number of occasions. Andrew had the brilliant idea for the ultimate tasting raffle, and has been a huge part in gathering donations for that and the silent auction.

Ann Brinkman Carstensen is someone that is passionate about non profits within her career as well as in her spare time. She serves meals with our Community Engagement Program on Sundays. Ann has been a great help with making sure everything is aesthetically appealing, she is incredibly supportive (even at the more stressful times!), and it is her decorative eye that makes Taste of Fall such a stunning event.

Brent Carstensen has been with LPCS for a long time, first as a volunteer, and now currently serves as the President of the LPCS Board of Directors. Brent is an expert at making great connections with the delicious drink vendors at our event.

Dan Tarabori has been a volunteer with LPCS for many years, and joins his wife, Sarah Tarabori, as the heads of the LPCS Associate Board. Dan is a clear leader, making sure our meetings are always on task. Sarah is entirely responsible for our upcoming event’s newest addition, a wine toss game where everyone is a winner!

Jeff Lawler also serves on our Board of Directors, and in his free time enjoys serving breakfasts at LPCS as well. Jeff is responsible for much of the delicious food at the event, including his very own Geja’s CafĂ©.

This event would not exist if it were not for the tireless dedication of these LPCS volunteers and friends. Thank you so much for your hard work over the last year, and I cannot wait to enjoy this fantastic event with you in just a few weeks!

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