Beverly Improvement Association Celebrates 100 Years

By Kristin Boza

It’s always interesting to think about who lived in our neighborhood as it was established so many years ago. The Beverly Improvement Association, a civic association serving North Beverly residents, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, a milestone that goes to show the unique commitment that residents have to the community.

According to a 100th anniversary pamphlet compiled by the BIA, North Beverly has come a long way since 1917. Back then, traffic on 95th Street moved a lot slower on the two-lane gravel country road. Sidewalks were made of five-foot square slabs of smooth stone — some of which still exists on the southwest corner of 94th and Vanderpoel. Street lamps were lit each night with a blow torch by a man on a bicycle. And snow was removed by a man with a team of horses and a v-shaped plow.

Nearly half of the lots between Damen (known then as Robey Street) and Charles were vacant, which caused some concern among the neighbors of 100 years ago. The BIA was organized by people who realized that they needed to come together to take action to improve their community, according to the BIA brochure.

These days, roads are paved, electricity is plentiful and horses are a hobby — but the feeling of community and the desire to continually improve it has remained the same.

“BIA has been a leader amongst local community service organizations in the Beverly/Morgan Park area,” said Joe Kratzer, current BIA president. “BIA will continue its long history of promoting and hosting family-friendly events, which offer neighbors the chance to meet new faces and enjoy the many great community assets in North Beverly. We live in a community where people care about their neighbors, and BIA will be here to ensure that spirit of community is maintained.”

BIA celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 29, the date when the secretary of state issued the charter officially recognizing the organization. While no official 100th anniversary celebration is planned, the BIA is busy with their much-anticipated events, including the Bicycle Treasure Hunt, BIA Fall Fest, BIA Family Bike Ride, cross-country ski outings in the Dan Ryan Woods, and Santa’s Workshop.

BIA members also actively participate in the City of Chicago’s Clean and Green days and other beautification efforts, and help on projects that support North Beverly and the rest of the neighborhood.

To find out more about the BIA, visit their Facebook page: Beverly Improvement Association (BIA).

Neighborhood Notes

Superhero Series at Beverly Library.  Don’t miss the action at Beverly Library, 1962 W. 95th St.! Superhero Ballet for preschoolers, Tues., Aug. 1, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Masked Heroes of Reading for ages 7 to 16, Thurs., Aug. 3, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and Superhero Character Program featuring research, discussion and more for ages 6 and up, Sat., Aug. 5, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Registration required for these programs: 312-747-9673.

Food Truck Fridays. Food Truck Fridays continue this month in the beer garden at Cork & Kerry, 10614 S. Western. Enjoy food in a family-friendly atmosphere on Fridays, 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 4, Joey’s Red Hots; Aug. 11, The Fat Shallot; Aug. 18, Cheesie’s Truck & Doughs Guys Bakery; and Aug. 25, Calabria On Wheels Beer special available. Info:

Top Programs at Little Company of Mary Hospital in August. Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers, 2800 W. 95th St., offers a variety of programs that help area residents lead healthier lives. The 30th Annual Men’s Wellness Event, Sat., Aug. 5, 7:30 to 10 a.m., offers breakfast, a presentation on symptoms and treatment for erectile dysfunction, and comprehensive lab work, blood pressure, and PSA and exam with urologist for men at risk for prostate cancer, $85 to $100; Health Academy – “Don’t Get Shingled Out,” what you need to know about shingles presented by infectious disease specialist Dr. Godfredo Carandang, Mon., Aug. 14, 11:15 a.m., free; and, new this summer, Reflexology, a healing modality that stimulates sensitive sensory cells to specific points in areas on the feet, hands, or ears that impact the muscles and internal organs, $50 per session. Info and registration (required), 708-423-5774.

BAC Outreach Offers New Page to Stage Program. Among the new theatre performance outreach programs offered by the Beverly Arts Center (BAC) at area schools is the new Page to Stage program through which students will read and interpret books, then develop an original show based on the story. The Page to Stage program was developed with the assistance of a donation from Michaels. As part of the Outreach curriculum that provides teaching artists for a variety of performance programs, Page to Stage has a goal of helping schools raise test scores, according to information from BAC Outreach Manager Carly Bishop. Teaching artists in participating schools will work with students to read and interpret a book, concentrating on literacy concepts such as plot, character, sequence, dramatic irony, conflict, etc. In the process of creating a show based on the book, students will learn dramatic playwriting terminology not always covered in the classroom, but present on standardized testing, according to Bishop. Students would also help create costumes, set and props, and participate in rehearsals. The show would be presented to the entire school, parents, guardians and friends. The BAC Outreach Department provides arts enrichment programming in theater, dance, music, film and visual arts in before school, in-school, and after school drop-in workshop and residency programs. More than 6000 students in 32 Chicago and suburban public and private schools and community organizations participated in BAC Outreach programs during the 2016-17 school year. Schools interested in learning more about Page to Stage and other theater performance programs, including staging original musicals, can contact Bishop, 773-445-2828 ext. 208 or

Live Music Sundays. Enjoy live music on Sundays, 3 to 5 p.m. at Cork & Kerry, 10614 S. Western.

Live Music Mondays. Live Music Mondays features the BAC Cabaret and Open Mic, Mon., Aug. 7, 7 p.m. in the courtyard at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. $5 donation appreciated. Cash bar available. No outside beverages or pets. Bring lawn chairs.

Registration Open for BAC Summer Camps. Area kids who love to perform can still enroll in the last two sessions of summer camps at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. In Original Musical!, campers will work with a professional playwright and composer to write an original musical, which they will perform for a live audience on the final day of camp. The camp runs Mon. through Fri., Aug. 7 to 18. Other performance camps are also available. In The Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya!, campers will take workshops in drumming, body percussion, rhythm and movement, dance, singing, improvisation and more, Mon. through Fri., Aug. 21 to Sept. 1. The session in a showcase in the Baffes Theatre, Camp hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and before and after care are available. Info and registration: 773-445-3838,

Shakespeare in the Park. The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks presents a free 75-minute abridged production of Romeo and Juliet on Fri., Aug. 18 and Sat., Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m., Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The Saturday performance includes an American Sign Language interpretation. A specially equipped truck will roll into the park, a stage unfolds, and a company of professional actors shares Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers caught in the feud between the Capulets and Montagues that divides the city of Verona. The performances are made possible by a partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and BMO Harris Bank.

Free Activities at Dan Ryan Woods. Plan to have some fun at the Dan Ryan Woods! Archery 101 covers the history of archery, bow parts and proper technique for participants age 10 and over, Thurs., Aug. 24, 3:30 to 6 p.m., Dan Ryan Woods Central, 8395 S. Western; celebrate the 100th anniversary of the woods with guided hikes, archery, history of the woods and a free Forest Jam concert and instrument-making workshop Sun., Aug. 27, 2 to 7 p.m., Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion. Info: 312-415-2970 or

Back to School Fest. Barnard School, 10354 S. Charles, will hold Back to School Fest, Thurs., Aug. 24, 4 to 7 p.m. The school will partner with IMPACT Family Services to present the event, which is also supported by BAPA and the 19th Ward and features food, activities and giveaways.

Free Home Buyer Seminar. Ernest Jones, Mortgage Loan Specialist with Marquette Bank, will present a free home buyer seminar Sat., Aug. 26, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Topics include whether to rent or own, understanding the home-buying process, the benefits of working with a real estate agent, kinds of mortgages and how to make an offer. First time buyers can also learn about whether they are eligible to apply for grants that can be applied toward down payments or closing costs. Seating is limited; registration by Aug. 24 at

BAC Hosts 4th Annual Beverly Brews Fest. The Beverly Arts Center of Chicago will host the 4th annual Beverly Brews Fest Sat., Aug. 26 at the Center, 2407 W. 111th St. The event opens at 7 p.m. for participants purchasing $35 general admission, which includes a sampling glass and unlimited tastings from more than 20 craft breweries, including Open Outcry, Horse Thief Hollow, Blue Island Beer Company, Flossmoor Station and Argus Brewery. Food trucks will be on site to complement the evening’s festivities. People purchasing the $50 VIP ticket gain entry at 6 p.m. and enjoy special food pairings from Horse Thief Hollow, Chef Alvin Green and others, as well as a free t-shirt and beer sampling glass. Only 100 VIP tickets will be available. Live music at the Beverly Brews Fest will be performed by the winners of the BAC’s Battle of the Bands on Fri., Aug. 25. Up to ten bands will compete for prize money and the chance to perform. Battle of the Bands admission is $15 and the audience will have the chance to vote for their favorite band. Tickets to the Beverly Brews Fest and Battle of the Bands are available at the BAC, by calling 773-445-3838 or online at

Painted Lady Competition. The Chicago Paint and Coatings Association is accepting submissions to the 31st Annual Chicago Finest Painted Ladies and Her Court Competition, open to owners who have completed their exterior painting projects between Labor Day 2016 and Labor Day 2017. Buildings do not have to be Victorian architecture, and can be painted professionally or by the building owner. Entrants will be required to submit photos and paint chips. Applications, photos and competition details are available at 847-240-0102, or

Sip and Shop. Save the date for BAPA’s back-to-school Sip and Shop supporting local businesses, Thurs., Sept. 14 in the train station districts on 99th and 103rd Streets. Included in admission are a Love Where You Live wine tote, beverage and food tastings, trunks shows and demonstrations, and an after party. Look for details in the September issue of The Villager.

Reservations Open for Anti-Bullying Conference. Area resident Dorothy J. Thompson, head of Bullying Prevention and Awareness 365, and  National Louis University, Chicago will hold a one-day conference, “The Collective Roles of Adults in Bullying Prevention and Students’ Well-Being,” at the University, Fri., Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Approximately 250 educators, paraprofessionals, authors, parents and anti-bullying activists are expected to attend. Reservations:   Questions:



Southwest Morgan Park Civic Association Seeks to Plan Greenspace

By Kristin Boza

The Southwest Morgan Park Civic Association (SWMPCA) serves the neighborhood between 111th and 119th Streets, and Western Avenue east to the Metra tracks. The group is working toward building their community, according to SWMPCA secretary David Lauryn.

“At this point, we need members and leaders,” Lauryn said. “We do not charge membership dues and there are no other costs to join. The membership benefits include the benefits of accruing good neighbors and living in a good neighborhood. We want to collaborate to promote safety, healthy property values, peaceful coexistence and fellowship.”

The group tries to meet quarterly, and the next general meeting is Thurs., May 18, 7 p.m., Peterson Hall, St. Walter Church, Parish, 11722 S. Oakley Ave.

Mark Cornell, a resident within SWMPCA boundaries, attended a meeting recently to bring up his concerns surrounding the greenspace behind St. Walter Church and school. “I was interested in finding out what was going on with the greenspace, and I ended up also attending a Chicago Park District meeting to find out how to start a Park Advisory Board,” he said. Cornell took his findings on how to start a board to SWMPCA and now the association and the park district will work together to address the potential future use of the greenspace.

Cornell and the new Park Advisory Board will be the liaison between the community and the park district. “We can express our views but not necessarily tell them what we want,” Cornell said. “Right now, the Park Advisory Board is working with SWMPCA to gather ideas about what the neighbors would like to see in the space.”

Another pressing issue for SWMPCA is traffic, particularly around the greenspace and the Morgan Park Sports Center at 115th and Western. The group plans to start a petition to request speed bumps in the area around the greenspace, and they’re considering also asking for two 20 mph speed limit signs to be placed on Bell and Oakley Avenues.

SWMPCA is truly focused on creating a safe, friendly area that will benefit all neighbors. Anyone interested in helping should plan on attending the meeting on May 18.

Kennedy Park Advisory Council Raising Money for Pool Chairs

By Kristin Boza

With pool season only a few short months away, the Kennedy Park Advisory Council (KPAC) is looking toward summer and working hard to improve the Kennedy Park pool experience for everyone in the neighborhood. The KPAC, formed in Sept. 2016 and led by president Carly Carney, is engaged in a fundraising effort to purchase new deck and lounge chairs and a sun sail for shade to create a more relaxing environment for pool patrons.

“Since the new heating system was installed several years ago, Kennedy Park has really become this summer oasis for neighborhood families, seniors and adults,” Carney said. “Often, there aren’t enough chairs and the ones that have been supplied by the park district have deteriorated over the years. It always weighed on my heart to see a mom with a little one that didn’t have a place to sit, or a senior citizen in an unstable chair.”

The KPAC aims to raise enough money to purchase 20 deck chairs and 20 lounge chairs. To combat the issue of no shade on the pool deck, they hope to also purchase a sun sail to give swimmers the opportunity to rest in the shade when they’re not enjoying the water.

Carney praises the Chicago Park District for their efforts in listening to residents and making much-needed changes. They extended the pool hours for lap swimmers and family swim times, and they chose Kennedy Park to be part of an initiative to extend the pool season into September.

“If the Chicago Park District is willing to work with us, then it is the right thing to do to work within their constraints,” Carney said. “It feels like a joint partnership with Eric Fischer, head of aquatics, and Ed Affolter, regional manager.”

While budget limitations prohibit the park district from purchasing the chairs themselves, Carney and the rest of the KPAC are motivated to solve the problem. “By solving this problem, it actually enhances this neighborhood resource and will make it even more friendly and comfortable to those who use the pool,” she said.

95th Street Business Association president Erin Ross helped the KPAC set up the fundraiser so that those who donate are eligible for a tax deduction. To donate, visit Kennedy Park Pool and Advisory Council on Facebook for a link to their GoFundMe page.

“The fundraising initiative is really an extended effort of how small changes can be made if we support one another,” Carney said. “The more neighborhood families use the pool, the more of a gathering place it becomes for our community.”



Get Involved! Neighborhood Association News

Whether your time is limited or you’re looking for regular volunteer opportunities, you can find way to make a difference in our community! Local associations invite Beverly/Morgan Park residents to get involved.

Beverly Woods Homeowners Association Looking to Regroup

For the last year and a half, Lydia Barnes has worked hard to get the Beverly Woods Homeowners Association (BWHA) up and running again. She is looking for help to organize in her neighborhood and address the unique issues the Beverly Woods area faces. The north/south boundaries for the BWHA are from 115th to 119th streets, and from Western west to Rockwell Avenue.

“We need an association. When things happen in your neighborhood, there needs to be forms of communication and a place where you can voice your complaints as a neighborhood,” she said. “You need to get the support of your city government as a neighborhood, not as an individual, since it’s more effective to have the clout of an association behind you.”

For example, Barnes would like to see the street lights updated, since the current ones are old and some are rusted and falling over. Beverly Woods is solidly residential, without any parks, and it bounded on Western by a variety of businesses, including restaurants and bars. “We have unique problems,” Barnes said.

Barnes runs a Facebook page for association residents which can be found by searching for BWHA. On it, she posts local news and events that would be of interest to her neighbors.

Last summer, Barnes teamed up with neighbor Lynn Sloyan to organize a food drive. They went door to door, leaving a grocery bag at each house. “County Fair provided bags and BAPA helped us to make fliers. We attached the fliers to the bags and had the Boy Scout troop collect the food on a Saturday morning. It was very successful and benefitted the Maple/Morgan Park Food Pantry and a food bank in Roseland,” she said.

Thanks to the success of the food drive, Barnes feels that the neighborhood is encouraged to participate, but she does need help organizing events and addressing neighborhood concerns. If anyone in the Beverly Woods neighborhood would like to help lead the charge, contact Lydia Barnes through BWHA’s Facebook page or email her directly at

BRHA Block Buddies

Neighbors who live between Western and the Metra tracks from 95th to 103rd Streets and are interested in taking on a leadership role for your block within the larger community are invited to become a Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association (BRHA) Block Buddy. BRHA’s next meeting is Mon., Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m., Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. For info, email

WBCA Meeting

The West Beverly Civic Association (WBCA) will meet Wed., Feb. 8, 7 p.m., at Barney Callaghans, 10618 S. Western. Attendance is welcome for people who reside between 99th and 107th Streets, Western to California.

SWMPCA Meeting

Southwest Morgan Park Civic Association (SWMPCA) will hold its’s quarterly meeting, Tue., Feb. 7, 7 p.m. St. Walter’s Parish, Peterson Hall, 11722 S. Oakley Ave. Neighbors who live between Western and the Metra tracks, from 111th to 119th Streets are encouraged to attend and here the area news and association updates.

VIA General Meeting

The Vanderpoel Improvement Association (VIA) general membership meeting will be held Sat., Feb. 25, 9:30 a.m., Beverly Library, 95th & Damen. All neighbors residing between 95th and 99th Streets, Wood to Charles Streets (both sides) are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.

RPAC Meeting

The Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC) will meet Tues., Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Ridge Park fieldhouse, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Election of officers is on the agenda along with discussions of upcoming programs and projects. Meetings will be held on the 4th Tuesday, every other month. RPAC members will be partnering with members of Vanderpoel Improvement Association, Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association and BAPA on an Earth Day Clean & Green in April, designating Ridge Park, the 95th Street Metra Station and the 99th Street Metra Station for clean-ups. The RPAC is a group of concerned citizens assisting the Chicago Park District and staff of the Ridge Park Field House and Cultural Center in sustaining and advocating for improvements to the historic fieldhouse built in 1913, the park grounds and park programs. For information, contact Mary Jo Viero, or 773-233-3100.


Beverly Art Competition Exhibit ‘Christens’ Jack Simmerling Gallery at BAC


On the evening that the Beverly Art Center’s main gallery was dedicated as the Jack Simmerling Gallery, winners in the 40th annual Beverly Art Competition were announced. It was a fitting legacy for the late Jack Simmerling who, as a neighbor and artist, did so much for our community and the BAC.

In celebrating the honor to their father, Jack Simmerling’s children attended the event, warmly welcomed by Lori and Ed McGunn, whose gift the gallery dedication possible.

Judging the art competition weres Judie Anderson and Raymond A. Thomas. Winners are:  Beverly Bank Best of Show, Zachary Williams – “Angry Bombs;”  Alice & Arthur Baer Award, Alvin Hawkins – “Shelter From The Storm;” Bill & Judie Anderson Award, Vicki Hayes – “Torrence Av.;” Figurative Award, Justin Clemmons – “C.H.I.C.A.G.O.;” Non-Representational Award, Cynthia Lee – “Momento Mori;” 3 Dimensional Award,

Martin Kirk – “Piranha Attack;” Photographic/Digital Award, Louisa Murzyn – “Foggy River Sunrise;” and Honorable Mentions, Pamela Stalker – “The Conversation,” Lee Galusha –  “Black,” andDamon Lamar Reed – “I Got Right.”

The exhibit of finalists and winners continues through Jan. 8 at the BAC, 2407 W. 111th St.

The Beverly Art Competition was founded in 1976 by real estate developer Arthur Rubloff and local artists William and Judie Anderson, all original supporters of the BAC. Today, funding for this important juried competition continues thanks to the generosity and community spirit of The Beverly Bank & Trust Co., and new partners The Chicago Community Trust, and The Reva and David Logan Foundation.

Neighborhood Notes

Shop Small. Give Big. When small businesses succeed, we all do!  BAPA, the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association, 95th Street Business Association and Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association hosts Shop 19 and Earn Neighborhood Rewards, a month-long campaign through which neighbors who spend $300 at local stores through Dec. 24 and could win a $50 gift card. Drop off copies of your receipts documenting purchases of $25 or more and totaling $300 spent at local businesses by Jan. 6, to BAPA, 1987 W. 111th St., or Mount Greenwood Community & Business Association, 3400 W. 111th St. For details and restrictions, visit Make every Saturday Small Business Saturday! #ShopSmall!

Document Shredding/Electronics and Prescription Disposal. Document shredding and disposal of electronics and prescriptions will be available for 19th Ward residents Sat., Dec. 3, 9 to 11 a.m., St. Barnabas School parking lot, 10121 S. Longwood Dr. Free. Documents must be loose with no staples or binders.

Flu Shots. Flu vaccinations for people over age 10 will be available at the 19th Ward Community Room, 10402 S. Western, Tues., Dec. 6, 1 to 4 p.m., first come, first served. Staff from Walgreen’s will be available to assist with paperwork to bill insurance or provide vouchers for free shots for people who do not have insurance. This service is provided by Ald. Matt O’Shea, Sen. Bill Cunningham and Rep. Fran Hurley in partnership with Walgreen’s Pharmacy. Info: 773-238-8766 or

Young Writers to Create Illustrated Books. Young writers can create their very own comic or picture books in a two-part program at the Beverly Branch Library, 1962 W. 95th St. On Wed., Dec. 7, 4 to 5 p.m., children are invited to bring a favorite illustrated book and tell why they like it, and on Wed., Dec. 14, 4 to 6 p.m., they are invited to return and create their own books using a storyboard and art/writing supplies. Registration required: 312-747-9673.

Become an HCBA member. The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association (HCBA) has expanded its mission to permit homeowners of any style of vintage home (50 years of age or older) to become HCBA members and take advantage of workshops and programs. HCBA members also have opportunities to apply for grants, of they are income-eligible. Info:

Pillowcase Challenge Benefits Charities. The Quilter’s Trunk, 10352 S. Western, invites neighbors to participate in the 1 Million Pillowcases Challenge, sponsored by American Patchwork & Quilting. The shop is collecting donations of handmade pillowcases and quilts which will be given to various local charities.

Pillowcases are quick and easy projects for any skill level and age – even for kids! Free pillowcase patterns are available at The Quilter’s Trunk – just ask! For more information on the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge, visit For more information from The Quilter’s Trunk, call 773-980-1100 or visit

League of Women Voters. The League of Women Voters of Chicago, Far Southwest Side Group, will meet Wed., Dec. 7, 7 p.m., 9746 S. Walden Pkwy., to discuss natural resources – Chicago’s water. The League is a non-partisan organization that provides informal discussion of current political, social and economic issues. Public welcome. Info: 312-939-5949, 773-779-4928 or

Surviving the Holidays. The holiday season can be an emotionally charged and difficult one for those who have become disconnected from family and friends. Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd floor will host this month’s Stress Management workshop Sat., Dec. 10, 3 to 5 p.m. The workshop creates intentional space to discuss tips on how to cope during the holidays, including normal grief reactions, ways to honor loved ones, children’s concern and ways to celebrate oneself and feel validated and uplifted.  $10. Info/registration: or 773-310-3488.

Mercy Circle Open House. Mercy Circle, 3659 W. 99th St., will hold an open house events Sun., Dec., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. providing an opportunity to meet staff members, tour the retirement community and enjoy holiday refreshments. Mercy Circle is the only faith-based retirement community in the area and it offers apartments for independent living residents, along with generous amenities, enrichment programs and services as well as healthcare and services for assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care residents.Info:773-253-3600.

Weight Loss Center Opening. Illinois Wellness and Weight Loss Centers will open at 9933 S. Western in January. Owned and operated by. Dr. Goldwyn B. Foggie who has over 20 years of experience in women’s health. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, and a board-eligible Obesity Medicine Specialist. A member of the Obesity Medicine Association and the Obesity Society, Dr. Foggie helps patients who are overweight or obese, working on individual plans to help them meet goals for wellness and weight loss. Info: or 872-702-4254.

Snow Removal Reminder. Property owners are responsible for removing snow from sidewalks and driveways. Snow should not be shoveled, plowed or snow blown onto the street.



‘Never Go Without’ Serves Women in Need

By Kristin Boza

During the holiday season, it’s easy to find a food, toy or clothing drive to donate new or used items to. It’s also easy to forget that essential items, especially feminine care products, are in dire need year-round. That’s one reason why Beverly/Morgan Park native Jesseca Rhymes founded Never Go Without, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to filling the gap and ensuring every woman and girl can take care of her personal hygiene each month.

“I started Never Go Without to combine my love for fun and service,” Rhymes said. “In honor of my 24th birthday, I hosted my first feminine care product drive. I promoted the drive, picked up donations and shopped for products every night for about a month.”

At her birthday party, friends and family brought donations. Rhymes is eager to make this an annual event. To date, Rhymes and her mother, Lynette, have been able to donate over 23,000 incontinence supplies, pads, tampons, pantiliners and wipes to Chicago-area women in need.

The biggest recipient of Never Go Without’s donations is Deborah’s Place, the oldest and largest provider of housing for women experiencing homelessness in Chicago. “Deborah’s Place is always in need of incontinence supplies,” Rhymes said. “This makes perfect sense because a period lasts maybe 10 days at the most, but when a woman is dealing with incontinence issues, that is a daily struggle.”

Product donations can be dropped off or mailed to DJ’s Bike Doctor in Hyde Park. However, there are a couple other ways to donate that can stretch the dollar and even benefit the giver.

“We are involved with a company called Aunt Flow, which is a one-to-one purchasing program,” Rhymes said. “For every box of tampons or pads you purchase for yourself, you can choose to donate a box to Never Go Without.” Users can sign up for a monthly delivery to receive tampons or pads, and can even customize the box based on their individual flow needs. In turn, Aunt Flow will donate the same box to Never Go Without. Sign up at

Alternatively, monetary donations are accepted through their website at “We shop very frugally and coupon in order to make our donation dollars stretch,” Rhymes said.

Rhymes’ next goal is to spread the word across the Chicago area via social media with the hashtag #likesharefollowdonate. “We always need people to share what we are doing via Facebook and Instagram. Half the battle is making sure people know and understand this is a real need,” she said.

“I cannot imagine dealing with my period and not having the proper supplies. It is unacceptable that there are women who do it every month,” Rhymes said. “This is a simple need that is way too often overlooked, and I just want to shine more light on the issue.”

Looking forward, Rhymes is gearing up for their annual event next year and is seeking sponsorship and partners to make the event bigger and better, she said. “We are small but mighty. We are still finding the right path for us, but no matter where we go or what we do, we are going to keep making sure we get feminine care products to more women in need,” Rhymes said.

To find out how you can help, email Jesseca Rhymes at

VIA: Working Together for Common Good

By Kristin Boza

The area between 95th and 99th Streets, from Charles to Wood Streets is organized by the Vanderpoel Improvement Association (VIA), a civic association with the goal to be the “Voices in Action” for their area of the neighborhood.

Gary Jenkins, VIA president, was just elected to his second term. “I’m a newbie with the VIA; I really admire the people who’ve been doing this a long time,” Jenkins said. “These folks have kept VIA going for, and they are the people who come out and do great things for the community.”

Jenkins has always been proud to serve his community, and he’s done so in every community he’s lived in. Originally from the East Coast, Jenkins and his wife Sharon moved to Chicago 17 years ago, and to Beverly/Morgan Park 14 years ago.

“I’m a strong believer that a neighborhood is made up of its small parts. All civic associations help keep the neighborhood safe and a great place for kids and families,” Jenkins said. “People make the neighborhood; the more you’re involved in your neighborhood, the better it’s going to be. It’s something I want to do as often as I can.”

Jenkins likes to utilize the VIA as a resource for the neighborhood. “Civic associations are a connection to the neighborhood, but not everyone can come out and be involved,” he said. “So, we’re here if people need something or may not know where to go or who to turn to. Civic associations are a service to the neighbors to provide an extension of the government, so to speak, and it’s serving the greater good.”

VIA membership costs $10 per year. Jenkins and the rest of the VIA committee work hard to get the word out about their services to the community, particularly new neighbors. “We have a roster of new neighbors from BAPA; last year we knocked on the doors to meet the new neighbors and offer VIA membership. We may try to put together some welcome packets this year to include copies of local newspapers and lists of schools and other important information,” he said. Last year, the group went door-to-door throughout the 300-home service area to introduce themselves and bring awareness to the VIA.

A big part of VIA’s community outreach was the VIA Resource Extravaganza held in August at Vanderpoel Elementary School, 95th and Prospect. “This was a way for the community to meet local businesses and schools,” Jenkins said. “We hope to have it at least every other year.” Despite the storm that rolled through, Jenkins said the event was a great success. The children enjoyed face painters, a jumpy house and a visit from the fire department, and everyone enjoyed a variety of refreshments.

Another big VIA project was getting medallions installed on Charles Street, Vanderpoel Avenue, and Prospect Avenue to identify the VIA boundaries. Jenkins said this was a point of pride for the neighborhood.

This month, the VIA is working with the 22nd police district on their Snowman’s Ball luncheon to help local families in need. As a CAPS facilitator, Jenkins heard about this event. The VIA collected donations to give to the Snowman’s Ball organizers, and Jenkins worked with Vanderpoel Elementary School to identify students in need to benefit from the luncheon.

Anyone within VIA’s boundaries who would like to learn more and get involved, email



Shop Small Campaign Helps Businesses, Neighborhood



A new program that encourages consumers to “shop small” is giving Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood residents another great reason to spend their money locally this holiday season. The Shop Small Chicago Neighborhood Rewards program provides shoppers who spend $300 or more at independently owned small businesses in the 19th Ward an opportunity to win a $50 gift card for a business in the community.

The Neighborhood Rewards program kicked off on Nov. 26 and runs through Dec. 24. To be eligible, shoppers must spend $300 or more, not including tax or gratuity, at a minimum of three businesses, with at least $25 spent at each business. Expenditures for medication and membership cannot be applied and a maximum of $100 can be spent on alcohol and groceries. Once $300 in purchases is made, participants submit a copy of the receipts, along with their name, address, phone number and e-mail address, to one of two local drop-off locations (see addresses below). Only one submission per person is allowed, and gift cards are available on a first-come-first-served basis while supplies last. Gift cards will be distributed by Feb. 3.

Tied to Small Business Saturday, a national campaign created in 2010 by American Express, the Shop Small Chicago Neighborhood Rewards program is sponsored by the city of Chicago and a coalition comprised of national, state and local organizations, including Women Impacting Public Policy, the 95th Street Business Association, the Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association, the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association and the Beverly Area Planning Association.

These neighborhood organizations are working together to promote Small Business Saturday as a day to support the local businesses that are essential to preserving the unique culture and charm of the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood neighborhoods. The benefits of shopping locally include:

More money in the local economy. On average, $68 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business stays in the community versus $43 for the same $100 spent at a national retailer. In addition, independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue than their national competitors; in turn, their employees contribute to the local economy by purchasing goods and services at the businesses located near their place of employment.

Helping the environment. Shopping locally conserves fuel consumption, reduces packaging and limits urban sprawl and the resultant demand on roads, sewers and other infrastructure.

Economic development and financial growth. Independent businesses bring vibrancy and personality to neighborhoods, making them destinations for both residents and visitors. When business districts flourish, they attract more development, which leads to an increase in property values, per capita income growth and the prosperity of local organizations.

Building better communities. Small business owners are neighbors and friends who have made a significant financial investment in the communities in which they live. Shopping small supports entrepreneurship and innovation, fosters good will and creates a personal connection between consumers and merchants that is often lacking in corporate America.

Mail or drop-off a copy of receipts to: Beverly Area Planning Association, 1987 W. 111th St., Chicago, IL 60643 or Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association c/o Chicago Lockbox, 3400 W. 111th St., Chicago, IL 60655

(Note: For more information about the Shop Small Chicago Neighborhood Rewards program, contact Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association Executive Director Caroline Connors at 773-779-2530 or