Watching a fashion show is an entertaining diversion for many of us, but it takes on a whole new purpose when it can help improve an entire community's well-being. The 2013 Chicago Uptown Ministry Luncheon and Fashion Show was attended by more than 300 people, including large groups from St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Schaumburg and Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in Elk Grove Village. Attendees viewed the latest spring fashion trends in a high-energy fashion show and as well as accessories sold by eleven different vendors. But they also learned firsthand how their contributions to the event make a positive difference in the lives of those served by Chicago Uptown Ministry.
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS) Director of Community Service DeBorah Al-Waraqi shared with attendees at the March 9th event that in the last fiscal year Chicago Uptown Ministry,
• Provided crisis intervention and community outreach to nearly 1,000 individuals
• Helped 63 customers with the loan process for purchasing automobiles in the Ways-to-Work program
• Provided educational (after-school tutoring) and recreational services to 15 elementary and middle school students
Those numbers are significant in a community where the demand for social services is constant.
Chicago Uptown Ministry Program Director Gloria Grasse-Hendrix asked the audience, "Do you count the number of steps you take every day? Did you count the steps you took today coming from your car into the banquet hall? Have you thought lately about the steps it's taken for you to get from one phase of your life to the next?" She added that the Ministry staff thinks everyday about the steps it takes to help someone survive, cope, manage and succeed.
A success story is exactly what attendees heard from Ways to Work client Latonya West, who before getting assistance from Ways to Work to obtain a car, had to get up well before dawn so she could get a ride to work from a friend. And because she spent so much time getting to and from work, Latonya was unable to spend as much time as she desired with her children and grandchildren. That all changed when she got her car through Ways to Work. Latonya was able to drive herself to work and spend more quality time with her family. She also told an emotional story of being able to drive her daughter to Iowa for a job opportunity -- two lives changed for the better with assistance obtained through Chicago Uptown Ministry.
Congratulations are in order to Grand Raffle winner Janice Wilshe, who won a trip with four nights of accommodations at a Hyatt Place U.S. location and round-trip airfare for two. Thanks are due to those who attended for their generous support of the work of Chicago Uptown Ministry. Altogether, more than More than $26,000 was raised to help provide much-needed services in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. For more information on the fashion show including photos, go to www.lcfs.org/FashionShow.
Chicago Uptown Ministry serves those in need in Uptown by providing them with a sense of self sufficiency, hope and justice. Services include:
• Food pantry
• Ways to Work
• Clinical counseling
• After school/summer programs
• English as a Second Language classes
• Parish nursing
• Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
• Help navigating the greater social service network and other systems like the public schools, legal, immigration and public health
Chicago Uptown Ministry is a program of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, a non-profit social ministry organization serving some 40,000 individuals annually with foster care, adoption, counseling and youth residential treatment programs, along with a variety of community services. For more information on Chicago Uptown Ministry or LCFS' other programs and services, visit www.lcfs.org or www.facebook.com/LCFSIL or call 800-363-LFCS.