After two-year pause, Clearbrook eager for return of Shining Star Ball

Excitement is mounting among supporters of Clearbrook, as they look forward to the Arlington Heights-based agency's biggest fundraiser, the Shining Star Ball, which returns April 29 after a two-year hiatus.

“The Shining Star Ball has been Clearbrook's premiere fundraising event since its inception,” Clearbrook President Tony Di Vittorio said of the 34-year-old event. “I look forward to seeing everyone come together again in honor of such a great cause — the people we serve. We truly rely on the funds raised from this event to provide the best for those entrusted to us.”

Once again, the black-tie event will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. More than 300 people are expected to attend and former WGN radio host Roe Conn will resume his role as master of ceremonies.

The event has grown to be so successful over the years, drawing the support of committed major donors, that organizers expect to raise more than $1 million this year, about the same as in pre-pandemic years.

Each year, its proceeds are earmarked for Clearbrook's array of in-house therapy programs for its clients with developmental disabilities, including occupational, physical and speech therapies.

This year, these services are needed more than ever, said Julie Kander, therapy services director.

“The last couple of years, our clients have had to comply with all of the state mitigations,” Kander said. “They were confined to their rooms and it's resulted in incredible deconditioning or weakness.”

In order to advance their therapies, Kander and her colleagues are planning to open the Clearbrook Center for Abilities, which will merge therapies with community-based services.

This new therapeutic day center will be housed within Clearbrook's Riley Center in Rolling Meadows. Kander envisions such creative therapies as wheelchair yoga, dance therapy, fine motor groups and conversation groups, for starters.

“We're trying to maximize the services we have to offer to get them back to the baseline level they were before the pandemic,” Kander said.

During the evening, Clearbrook officials will honor Peter Billmeyer, co-founder of Bespoke Commercial Real Estate. The Chicago-based company is a leading advocate in working with nonprofit organizations, schools and clinics.

Billmeyer, of Winnetka, also chairs Clearbrook's Challenge Golf Outing. Since 2015, the golf outing has raised more than $600,000 to support Clearbrook's mission.

The Shining Star Ball begins with cocktails and a silent auction at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and a live auction at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $500 and sponsorships remain available. For more information, visit:

An air splint is used to help Katy Micuccio's spastic muscles relax for hand exercises during an occupational therapy session provided by Clearbrook. The agency's Shining Star Ball, set for Saturday, helps fund such services at the Arlington Heights-based agency. Courtesy of Clearbrook
Peter and Audra Billmeyer of Winnetka will be honored Saturday at Clearbrook's Shining Star Ball for their service to the Arlington Heights-based organization. Courtesy of Clearbrook
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