BAPA residential member profiles

Generations of Making History With BAPA

By Maureen Gainer Reilly

A few months back I became the BAPA Board President, carrying on a bit of a family tradition. My dad, Bill Gainer, was BAPA President back in the 1980s.

It may seem unique, but it’s really such a typical Beverly/Morgan Park story of seeing generations of families engaged in and committed to the neighborhood. They raise children who grow up, move away and then return when it’s time to raise their own families.

The Beverly/Moran Park I am enjoying with my children is even better than the one I grew up in. That is in large part due to the dedication of people like my parents.  My mom was forever stretching out the kitchen phone cord as she simultaneously cooked dinner, planned the Snowflake Ball, chaired the Home Tour or followed up on whatever event she was running.  Being a nurse at Little Company and having 6 kids wasn’t enough to keep her busy?

My dad was eternally dragging us to a community meeting (or wake), and was involved with BAPA for years when he worked at AT&T.  The investments made by my parents and countless others like them can be seen in the stable, safe, healthy and diverse neighborhood we see today.  I am grateful they made Beverly/Morgan Park such an attractive destination! Today, we see a wave of new people with no family connection to the area buying houses. These new neighbors have brought an energy and vibrancy to our local retail, culture and entertainment.  I mean, have you been to The Frunchroom or the Beverly Art Walk? Add these events to the Southside Irish Parade, Ridge Run, Home Tour, Breast Cancer Walk, Bikes & Brews and many other events and you have a neighborhood unmatched by any in the City or suburbs.

I joined the BAPA Board because it’s time for my generation to step up and invest the same time and energy as my parents did so that one day our children will be drawn back here to buy a house and raise a family.

The issues the neighborhood faces today are different than the ones my dad and BAPA faced in the 1980s and 90s, but the volunteer needs are the same.  A new generation of volunteers fortifies BAPA, but also ensures that this venerable community organization continues to respond to the ever-changing needs of our neighborhood and our neighbors.

Volunteering is also a way to connect and strengthen the area through the relationships forged through BAPA, school, church and community organizations. One downside of an incredibly tight knit community like ours is that newcomers can feel isolated or unwelcome. BAPA can be the bridge to connect new and old residents so that everyone is at the table and has access to all the amenities.

The perfect first step in engagement is joining your Civic Association.  What is a Civic Association? Think of it as the group of your immediate neighbors who come together to take care of your few square blocks and watch out for each other. These small groups feed into BAPA which, as the umbrella organization, supports, promotes and strengthens the entire neighborhood. Active civic associations have been part of our community’s success since the late 1960s. When the Civic Associations are strong, BAPA is strong. Please consider joining your association.  Call the BAPA office at 773-233-3100 to get connected.

With everything there is to see and do in our community — and with so many opportunities to get involved — I look forward to meeting you soon!

‘The Last Picture Show’ Retrospective of Bill and Judie Anderson Comes to BAC

By Kristin Boza

Bill and Judie Anderson enjoyed an incredible career together, and separately, as artists. Bill passed away in 2009 after suffering from a debilitating stroke and subsequent illnesses, and he left a legacy of commercial and fine art produced with his beloved wife of 51 years, Judie. “The Last Picture Show,” a culmination of the art the two created together, opens on Sun., June 25 at the Beverly Arts Center, with an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m.

“I’m trying to perpetuate his memory by doing this show,” Anderson said. “I thought this would be a great culmination to our life here in Beverly. We started out here in 1966; we had a good life here and the community has been good to us — and we’ve been good to the community. We started the art school at the Beverly Arts Center; we began there and this show will end it there.”

Judie and Bill met while they were students at the Art Institute of Chicago. Bill, a painting major, was two years ahead of Judie, an advertising and fashion illustration major, although she ended up graduating before him due to Bill’s two-and-a-half year service in the Korean War. The pair went on one official date before Bill shipped out, but their love grew and grew through the letters they wrote to one another. As soon as Bill returned home, he proposed to Judie. A collection of those letters, which Judie calls “A Paper Courtship,” will be a part of the exhibit.

Once their married life began, Bill worked for Lyon Healy music store as their display manager and store designer. Meanwhile, Judie worked for” Chicago American” newspaper as a fashion illustrator. Soon, they began working together on cartoon drawings for “Chicago Magazine” and volunteer work for BAPA. They created the first-ever map of the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood for BAPA in painstaking detail.

As the fashion illustration industry began dwindling and the couple added two children to their family, Judie began illustrating educational materials for an Oak Lawn-based company as well as taking on other freelance work. “I had taken on this job to develop a spec that I worked on over the weekend and was due Monday morning. I was just about done with it and I put frisket paper over the illustration so I could wash in the background. When I went to peel it off, I peeled off the drawing too. I screamed and went ballistic,” she said. But Bill had an idea to salvage the project. “He said ‘you draw the left side and I’ll get the right side and we’ll work together until we get to the middle.’ We got it done, but we didn’t get the job! But that’s what started us working together in children’s illustration.”

One memorable job was illustrating educational materials for National Dairy. “We hired all the kids in the neighborhood to model for us,” she said. “We started having them pose, but they were so stiff. So I gave them the story to read and act out like a play. We took Polaroids of them and were able to draw from there.”

As their joint freelance art business took off, Bill and Judie decided to turn their screened-in porch into a beautiful, sun-lit studio. “And three months after we built it, the recession hit and the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook anymore,” Anderson said. “We didn’t know what was going to happen, but then I got a call from the “Chicago Tribune.’”

What Judie thought would be a six-month full-time Art Director position turned into 20 years. Bill continued to work from home and took on a “Mr. Mom” role with their children. The day before Christmas Eve one year, Judie got a call from work asking her to implement an idea by New Year’s. With no illustrators or designers available during the holidays, Judie enlisted Bill’s help in creating SPOTS, a children’s activity page that ran weekly in the Tribune. Bill created SPOTS for an entire year, before the paper decided to bring it to an in-house illustrator instead.

The Andersons gave another gift to the neighborhood in the form of a highly successful art school now known as the  Beverly Arts Center School of the Arts. Along with other neighborhood artists, the school was directed by Bill and Judie taught classes there as well.

At the age of 56, Bill suffered a stroke. Paralyzed from the neck down, he had to learn to swallow, walk and care for himself all over again. But the same day he had the stroke, he asked Judie to bring his sketchpad and pencils to the hospital. “I said ‘you can’t even lift your arm!’ and he said ‘watch me.’ He had such determination,” Anderson said.

Despite not being able to feel anything in his hand, Bill relearned how to paint and finally began creating art for himself. He created The Stroke Series, which is a series of paintings interpreting how he felt during the stroke and recovery process. It was on exhibit at the University of Chicago for years and now will be exhibited once again at the Beverly Arts Center.

“Bill was amazing, he was a profile in courage. He never complained or felt sorry for himself. He was always a good artist, but to do this after a stroke was just amazing,” Anderson said. Judie also created her own art similar to Bill’s stroke interpretation as she recovered from a heart attack a couple of years later.

Anderson was motivated to put their joint artwork on display as a way to showcase their life together. “It’s phenomenal what we did together. He was my rock; he was my art director. We would critique each other’s work or what we were doing together because we did it for the good of the product,” she said. “There was just a magic that happened; I can’t explain it. This was something that was so special. When I lost him, I lost half of me. But I was so fortunate to have had him for 50 years.”

“The Last Picture Show” will be on exhibit through July at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.


The Busy Life of Today’s Dads

By Kristin Boza

It can be argued that this generation of dads is way more hands-on than their predecessors. Two local men exemplify the modern dad image through their intense involvement in the lives of their children and the community as a whole.

Joe Richmond is a father of five: Marshay (22), Tyonne (16), Joey (15), Dylaan (10) and Josiah (6), and is an active coach and community volunteer. As chairperson for the Barnard Elementary School Local School Council (LSC), Richmond also became interested in joining BAPA’s Education Committee.

“BAPA’s Education Committee brings together the schools within the neighborhood to share resources, which was important for me as I was able to learn what other schools were doing and what ideas we could bring back to Barnard,” he said.

Besides his volunteering geared toward academics, Richmond is also a coach and holds committee responsibilities with Dylaan’s football team and the Ridge Park Water Rats Swim Parent Club. To strengthen the community as a whole, he volunteers with BAPA and the Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association “block buddy” program.

“There are many reasons why it’s so important for me to give back to my kids and the community. I want to raise some responsible citizens that we can be proud of, set a standard for giving back to the community/village that helped raise them, and to set a standard for others that move to our community of our expectations to keep our community strong, thriving and vibrant,” he said. “I also want to exemplify the standard that was set for me and my siblings growing up, to make our parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts proud. The community is only as strong as what you put into it. So if there is an opportunity for me to bring something back which will help our community, then I think I’m doing my job.”

Despite managing his kids’ intense schedule — and his own “day job” as a home inspector — Richmond relies on keeping a tight schedule to keep the family focused.  “The life of today’s parents is different than what it was like when I was growing up,” he said. “I’m scheduling the children’s extracurricular activities, from practices to games to additional training to travel sports…it poses a daunting assignment of trying to get it all done. The key is balance, scheduling, maintaining a good diet, exercise and rest.”

Phil Segroves is another dad who does it all. Segroves is the Director of Recruiting and Head Varsity Basketball Coach at Mount Carmel High School. In his spare time, he makes a point to give back to our community and his kids. When he’s not working the Gatorade station at the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk or helping at the Ridge Run he’s teaching his students about giving back to their community through their work at the Morgan Park Food Pantry and coaching Little Tykes basketball at Christ the King and coaching Little League for Ridge Beverly Baseball. Active in his faith community, Segroves also spends time as a member of Christ the King’s Men’s Club.

Segroves is the father of Luke (9), Seamus (7), Brendan (5) and Emmett (3). While that keeps him busy, he also credits the community for keeping all the kids in the neighborhood safe and on task. “Most every day you can walk down my block and see neighbors talking, sharing stories or leaning on each other in time of need. We here in Beverly still have ‘old school’ values, and I know my neighbors are watching my boys when I’m not, just like my neighbors did for my parents back in the ’70s and ’80s,” he said.

“My wife, Bridget, and I believe in our community and take pride in that. What better way to pass that down to our boys and instill the same sense of pride! I also feel an obligation to all the men and women who came before me and made Beverly the premier neighborhood to live in and raise a family,” Segroves said. “I’m a very small piece in the cog. If we all do our part and always look to lend a helping hand, we will continue to be the pride of the Southside.”

BAPA Member Profile: The Riordan Family

Ann Marie and Dan Riordan are new BAPA members who decided that membership was the clear way to support the neighborhood. “We love the Beverly community and we’re so proud to be residents,” Ann Marie said. “We are so impressed with the work Margot [Holland] has done as BAPA director and the direction she’s taken the organization. That motivated us to be BAPA members.”

The Riordans take part in many BAPA-sponsored events in the community, but it’s the Ridge Run that holds a special place in their family tradition. “The Ridge Run is the highlight of our Memorial Day weekend. We run it, along with our four kids, and it’s a great community event that we all really look forward to,” Ann Marie said. Tommy (16), Jack (14), Nora (12) and Nicholas (9) all run the 5K with their parents, typically with energy to spare.

Tommy attends Reavis High School in Burbank, part of District 220 which Dan is the superintendant of. Jack, Nora and Nicholas attend Christ the King School, where Ann Marie is principal. “We obviously love Beverly, and CK is a big part of it,” Ann Marie said.

Ann Marie loves the fact that so many generations of people have brought up their families in Beverly/Morgan Park. While neither Ann Marie nor Dan grew up here, they hope that their kids decide to keep up the neighborhood tradition of moving back to start their own families.

The Riordans credit BAPA for keeping them, and the rest of the community, on track to maintain the neighborhood and community as a whole. “BAPA concentrates on beautification and getting us together for social events, which is so important,” Ann Marie said. “BAPA helps us all keep our focus; we all want the same goal and without BAPA driving it, I don’t know how organized we would be in accomplishing all of the initiatives that BAPA does.”

BAPA Member Profile” The Duggan Family

Paul and Debbie Duggan, along with their twin 16-year-old daughters, have made their family home in Beverly/Morgan Park since 1980. The Duggans are avid supporters of BAPA and are happy to support the organization that puts our community on the map.

“It’s a great community organization that adds value to the Beverly area,” Paul said. “It’s a voice for the village and it helps represent the neighborhood’s needs and wants.”

The Duggans particularly look forward to the Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade. “I love the community spirit; these types of community events bring a good feeling and you know that we live in a unique place,” Paul said.

Paul recognizes BAPA’s publicity efforts that bring attention to our South Side neighborhood. “People [further north] don’t always know what Beverly is, but when they find it they fall in love with it. Beverly is a nice community with large lots and the Metra runs through it, making it a great place to live since it’s easy to get downtown.”

When the Duggans adopted their daughters from China, Paul was particularly aware of the way the community welcomed the girls into the fold. “It’s a neat place to raise a family because it’s so inclusive. The nature of our community is that everyone’s welcome. I think BAPA contributes to that feeling of inclusivity in the community,” he said. “There are a lot of adopted kids from all over in this neighborhood, and each one is welcome. We’re very lucky to live here and I have no intentions of ever leaving!”

BAPA Member Profile: Tom & Mary Ellen Fahey

Tom and Mary Ellen Fahey worked hard to raise their five children in Beverly/Morgan Park, and still found a lot of time to give back to the community in a variety of ways. Mary Ellen served on BAPA’s Board of Directors and was an integral part of revamping BAPA’s bylaws.

“We feel BAPA is all about being in a place where you’re putting your money and energy into an organization that benefits the neighborhood,” Mary Ellen said. “BAPA is the centerpiece of the community and it’s responsible for bringing neighbors together.”

Mary Ellen cites the events BAPA puts on as important pieces to further build a sense of camaraderie among Beverly/Morgan Park residents. “The activities that BAPA sponsors are truly community-building,” she said, adding that many neighbors enjoy getting together after the Ridge Run, truly taking the event back home to build relationships with each other.

As an avid volunteer, Mary Ellen looks forward to helping out at the Ridge Run and Home Tour each year and encourages others to get involved as well. “We all have to try to do a little something in the neighborhood, when we can,” she said.


Mother McAuley Student Achieves Top ACT Score

Mother McAuley High School student and Beverly/Morgan Park resident Catherine Rogers earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36. On average, less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2016, only 2,235 out of nearly 2.1 million graduates who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36.

A 2014 graduate of Saint John Fisher School, Rogers credits her teachers both at Fisher and Mother McAuley for helping prepare her for the ACT test.

“This is all so exciting, I still can’t believe it,” said Rogers. “I really believe my teachers at Saint John Fisher and Mother McAuley helped me get to where I am today. I am so grateful for all their support.”

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score.

“Catherine is an outstanding student, wholeheartedly committed to her academics,” said Mother McAuley Principal, Eileen O’Reilly. “This achievement is a testament to her hard work and sets the stage for the advancement of her college and career goals. Beyond excelling in the classroom, Catherine shares her talents with several academic and social clubs at McAuley, earning her the recognition and respect of both teachers and classmates.”

In a letter to each student recognizing this exceptional achievement, ACT Chief Executive Officer, Marten Roorda, stated, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. While test scores are just one of multiple criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”

Rogers is a member of the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Junior Classical League, Student Ambassadors, Book Club, Math Macs and runs Cross Country and Track. Catherine also is a Catherine McAuley Honors Scholar, a program which recognizes superior academic achievement. Members must maintain at least a 4.09 G.P.A. and complete at least five advanced placement classes before graduation, among other requirements.

Her freshman year at McAuley, Rogers received the Sr. Agatha O’Brien Memorial Scholarship which recognizes students who score in the top five percent on the High School Placement Test.  She also was one of 16 students to receive the Tradition of Excellence Scholarship for legacy students. Rogers’ mother, Joan Dempsey Garey-Rogers ’83, five aunts, and sister, Jenna Garey ’09, all attended Mother McAuley. Most recently, Rogers was named a Mac with Merit, an award which recognizes students for their honorable character, diligent work ethic and notable contributions to the McAuley community. During her sophomore year, Rogers was honored with the Irish Fellowship Educational & Cultural Foundation Scholarship.

Outside of school Rogers serves as a teacher’s aide for the Saint John Fisher School of Religion, and during the summer she volunteers her time at the Chicago Public Library’s Summer Learning Challenge and as a Camp Counselor at Lake Katherine in Palos Heights.

While Rogers’s parents, William and Joan Dempsey Garey-Rogers ’83, are extremely proud of all Rogers has achieved academically, they are even more proud of the young woman she has become. “We are very proud of Catherine and all of the effort she puts into her schooling,” her parents said. “At Saint John Fisher, Catherine learned to be competent, curious and compassionate; she brought these traits to Mother McAuley and sharpened them as she has been challenged, motivated to succeed and determined to persevere. McAuley continues to be an incredible place for Catherine and we are so grateful! As pleased as we are about the ACT, we are more proud of Catherine’s kindness and gentle nature.”

ACT test scores are accepted by all major U.S. colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.

BAPA MemberProfile: Bev Lynch, Running Excels

Bev Lynch, owner of Running Excels, 10328 S. Western, is an avid BAPA supporter. The store sells running shoes, clothing and accessories for runners at every stage — from casual runners to those training for a marathon.

“BAPA does a great job of supporting me and all businesses in the neighborhood,” Lynch said.  “They’ve written articles about the store and my presence in the neighborhood, and they advertise our races and events.” Lynch was also happy to have Running Excels as the designated packet pick-up spot for the Ridge Run. “They set up the packets here, which gives my store great exposure and adds a little excitement to the racers picking up their packet in a running store,” she said.

Running Excels is dedicated to helping runners and walkers throughout the neighborhood reach their goals with the proper equipment and coaching. The store has a competition for anyone in the neighborhood to run the “Eagle” as a part of their “Run Beverly” program. The Eagle is a 6-mile route mapped out in the shape of an eagle; if a runner completes it 25 times they earn a t-shirt; 50 times for a $50 Running Excels gift card; 75 times for a Running Excels gift bag; and 100 times the runner earns a party and raffle entry for shoes. A weekly running group meets on Tues. and Thurs. at 6 p.m., and Sat. at 7 a.m. However, runners don’t have to run with the club to complete the Eagle.

Through the running app Strava, runners track their runs of the Eagle, which Lynch can access to keep track of the number of times an individual runs it. “The challenge runs through the end of the year, and you can run as often as you want and whenever it’s convenient for you,” Lynch said.

BAPA History: Events and Community Engagement

By Willie Winters

“When a community comes together, good things happen.”

After reading former BAPA executive director Chuck Shanabruch’s article in the April issue of The Villager, I was reminded of how difficult the challenge of maintaining a strong, vibrant community can be. Chuck laid out the key programs and areas of work that BAPA has so steadfastly maintained over the years.

During my tenure as executive director, BAPA continued to push the organization’s original mission and, I believe, accomplished good outcomes in many areas including maintaining quality schools and improving retail corridors, community safety and housing. This was due to a talented BAPA staff which at the time included Adeline Ray, Marcia Walsh, Alice Collins, Pam Holt and Grace Kuikman all working together with a strong and committed board.

BAPA board members worked tirelessly to keep our community moving in the right direction. I was especially grateful for the insightful and professional direction we received from the board presidents. Tom Hogan, Rosa Hudson, Greg Richmond, Mike Stanton and Melody Camp were terrific leaders who made tough decisions, all in the interest of keeping BAPA strong and on task.

Mike Sise, who headed up the Beverly Morgan Park CDC, deserves special recognition for his development work in our community and for gifting BAPA’s current location to the organization in 2005.

Programs are the outward mechanisms of an organization that push forward the mission, but in order to keep programs solid you have to have resources. BAPA is self-funded, largely through the generous donations of community residents and businesses. Community events are also a significant source of income and support for BAPA’s programs.

During the eight years I was with BAPA our events underwent significant changes. Many folks in our community don’t necessarily like change, but it’s necessary to breathe new life into events with both subtle and sometimes dramatic changes. In 2001, we changed the route of the Ridge Run (which celebrates its 40th run this Memorial Day!). The route was extended south of 111th Street for the first time with the idea of including more parts of the community in the race while giving the runners a change of scenery. (The route has since moved back north of 111th Street due to higher costs of street closures etc.) We also added chip timing, enhanced runner refreshments, dri-tech shirts and the youth mile. The Memorial Day celebration included the traveling Viet Nam Wall one year.

We introduced a fall festival on the grounds of Morgan Park Academy that was mildly successful the first year and even visited by the young Obama family. The next year it was, literally, snowed out.

The Snowflake Ball was one of BAPA’s signature events and great fundraiser for many years but as The Plaza deteriorated and lost business, we saw a drop in attendance.  We moved it to St. Xavier University for a few years, but it never gained back its old charm and we decided to cancel it.

Fortunately we were able to bring an exciting new event to the community in the summer of 2003, the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. Thanks to assistance from David Kennedy, who was with the Mayor’s Office of Special events at that time, we were introduced to the operators of the oldest criterium series in the country and became the first Chicago location for the race. The BHCC still takes place every July, providing the excitement of bicycle racing along with the opportunity to spend time with friends and neighbors in a festival setting.

All of the BAPA events are designed to bring people to our community while bringing our community together.  We want others to see the beauty of our neighborhood and perhaps come back to purchase a home and become part of our community.

Hundreds of residents were introduced to the Beverly/Morgan park community through BAPA events. Many people have remarked of how they were impressed by all of the volunteers who welcomed them to our community.

More importantly, events build community. The Beverly/Morgan Park area is divided into little communities by geography, parishes, churches, schools and civic associations. Community wide events bring everybody together to celebrate, participate and share our stories. Because at the heart of any good community is a story that must be told, improved on and shared. It’s what makes our community and any community special.

See you in the neighborhood.


Road Home Program Reaches Out With Resources

By Grace Kuikman

For Beverly/Morgan Park resident Modie Lavin, working with the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families is a calling, not a career. The program, which opened in March 2014 at Rush University Medical Center, helps veterans recently deployed from active duty resume life with their families, friends and neighbors back home. That’s not always easy.

Whether or not the men and women in our armed services have been in combat, a tour of duty in the military is often filled with stress and difficulty. Because of what these veterans have experienced, they frequently come home changed — some of them profoundly – by what Lavin, who joined the Road Home Program as a Community Outreach Coordinator in March 2015, calls “the invisible wounds of war.”

For the veterans, those “invisible wounds” range from depression and anxiety to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and other combat- or service-related issues for which the Road Home Program offers a variety of counseling, rehabilitation and outpatient services. The program also provides services for the families of veterans that help partners, spouses, parents and children better understand what the veterans are going through, provide support to the veteran, and cope with family challenges.

Lavin, whose son, Marie Cpl. Conner T. Lowry, died during combat operations in Afghanistan in March 2012, feels especially committed to reaching military families with the help they need and deserve.

“So often we forget about the family members,” Lavin said, recalling her own loss, grief and ongoing recovery, “Families are not only affected by a death, but by the enlistment and the changes that take place in the household. The family’s dynamics change, their worries change.”

When Lavin accepted her job with the Road Home Program, she viewed it as a way to fill a void in her life as well as a way to help others whose struggles she so deeply understands. “It was part of my journey and mission to overcome the tremendous loss of Cpl. Conner T. Lowry. I do this work in honor of him, and to help his brothers and sisters who are returning home from their service in the military.”

As a Community Outreach Coordinator, Lavin works with area families providing education and awareness about the “invisible wounds of war” and the services available at the Road Home Program. She meets with individuals, makes presentations at meetings and schools to help people better understand and identify the unique issues facing veterans, hosts events designed to enlighten and educate, and works hard to make sure that the many veterans in our community and beyond know that high quality help is available.

“For families that might need me, I’m here to help,” she said.

Lavin also puts a focus on local veterans through events. The Road Home is presenting sponsor of this year’s Beverly/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade on May 29.  Lavin is also working with the Chicago Park District, Warrior Summit Coalition, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea to organize the Veterans Softball Tournament and Family Fest on Sat., July 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St. Info is available at

Road Home Program services are confidential, accessible, and available regardless of the ability to pay, and supported by the high level of health care available at Rush. They also fill in the gaps that Veterans Administration services are unable to cover.

“The Road Home Program offers access to therapy, counseling, resources, and world renowned doctors,” Lavin said. “It’s an amazing place for veterans because it treats the ‘whole’ veteran, including the family.”

Most of the program’s services are open to the greater Chicago region. The Intensive Outpatient Program is a three-week, full spectrum treatment program open to veterans and families across the Midwest, providing comprehensive, individualized care for trauma-based disorders and injuries.

Life-long Beverly/Morgan Park resident, Lavin finds meaning and healing is her work with area veterans and their families. Her message: “I understand what you’re going through.” Her mission: “Call on me, I can help.”

Get in touch with Lavin at 773-590-8244 or


Road Home Program  Veterans Softball Tournament

The Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center invites area Veterans and their families to the Veterans Softball Tournament and Family Fest, Sat., July 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St.

Team registration continues until July 1. Standard ASA rules apply. Teams need a minimum of 8 and maximum of 10 players, men and women, and 70% of the team must be veterans, active duty military or direct family of either. Individuals without a team can register under “open team.”  Registration information is available from Joel Gutierrez, 312-745-2170, or

The tournament and fest features free food, games, bouncy house, face painter and DJ for families who come to the park to cheer on the teams. Hosting the event are the Chicago Park District, Warrior Summit Coalition, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea.