Police Presence, Nosey Neighbors and Being Informed Impact Safety

According to BAPA’s safety survey, a strong and consistent police presence, a commitment to being nosey neighbors and having access to community alerts and crime information are the top three tools needed for a safer community. (See survey results.)

“I think these results show how much confidence our community has in our police force, so much so that we hope Chicago Police Department leadership will dedicate more police manpower to protecting our commercial and residential areas,” BAPA’s Margot Holland.

“The survey provides valuable information for our law enforcement partners,” said 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. ” I look forward to ongoing collaboration with BAPA and the 22nd District.”

The survey was distributed in early December through email blasts and social media, and was completed by nearly 2,000 area residents.

“It was a great response, and respondents overwhelmingly agreed that frequent police patrols throughout the community is the most effective crime-fighting tool,” Holland said.

Being a nosey neighbor and calling 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity was cited as the second most important aspect of crime prevention, and quick access to crime alerts came in third. CAPS meetings received the lowest confidence as a crime prevention tool.

Nearly 80% of the people who completed the survey have lived in the community for more than 10 years, and they provided good perspective on changes in community safety. “Many people noted that neighborhood receives a lot of attention from police when there is an uptick in crime, and that strong police presence is an effective crime deterrent,” Holland said. “People also commented that the neighborhood needs continuous police presence, not just added presence when something happens.”

While the vast number of survey respondents perceive the neighborhood as somewhat safe or very safe, a concerning number of people also indicated that they limit certain activities due to safety concerns.

“We received a lot of comments about where and why people curtail activities, and many people said that concern about their safety increased with the recent spate of crimes and there is more opportunity for crime because there are not enough police on the streets,” Holland said.

Even before the recent armed robberies, BAPA was developing the safety survey. “Those crimes made the survey more timely and the input we received more critical,” Holland said.

Survey respondents selected increased crime prevention tips in BAPA communications, volunteer-driven neighborhood watch, and neighborhood watch Facebook groups.

People interested in seeing the survey results can find it at www.bapa.org. The survey was developed by BAPA staff and board members with the help of 22nd District CAPS leaders, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, and community members.


BAPA Brings Author Program to Local Schools

Nikola-Lisa prioritizes his interests as storytelling, music and writing, in that order. The author of 20 children’s books and a former second grade teacher, Nikola-Lisa is a man with many stories to tell, and he likes to share them with an enthusiasm that invites young readers to not just relate to the stories, but be inspired to go beyond the pages of the books and relate the stories to their own lives.

In January, the BAPA Education Committee will bring W. Nikola-Lisa to neighborhood public schools through the Authors in the School (AIS) program, and each class will get to meet the author and receive a copy of his book, “How We Are Smart,” and participate in a one-day workshop.

The book is a collection of short biographies of successful people – some of them who we all know, and some who we may never have heard of. Each of these people is smart is a different way, and, as written by Nikola-Lisa, the stories encourage children to identify and appreciate their own unique way of being smart.

Nikola-Lisa got the idea for the book when attending a lecture by Howard Gardner on his theory of multiple intelligences in 2000. Nikola-Lisa said he felt a connection to the theory, which sets out eight ways in which people are smart – body, logic, music, nature, people, picture, self and word. The different ways of being smart influence people to become athletes, artists, scientists, activists, musicians, lawyer, explorers, writers and more. The author spent two years researching and writing to make sure “How We Are Smart” includes the success stories of inspiring people of all genders and racial groups.

In his Author in the Schools workshops at neighborhood schools, Nikola-Lisa, will use music, storytelling and more to help 3rd graders develop reading, writing and storytelling skills. “My goal is to guide students through my writing experiences in a logical, sequential way so students have a broad understanding of what an author does . . . and what makes a good story,” Nikola-Lisa said. Participating elementary schools are Barnard, Clissold, Esmond, Kellogg, Sutherland and Vanderpoel.

“How We Are Smart” has been recognized with the Christopher Award and Gustavus Myers Book Award, and is recommended by the Great Lakes Great Books Award List, School Library Journal Book Review and New York Times Book Review. Nikola-Lisa grew up in southern Texas and currently resides in Chicago. He began teaching in elementary schools in the late 1970s and then went on to get his doctorate. He was a professor of education at National-Louis University and currently spends a great deal of time visiting classrooms as an Author in the Schools.

Pictures in “How We Are Smart” are by award-winning illustrator Sean Qualls who draws his inspiration from many sources including childhood memories, movies, television, nature, music, and literature. Qualls lives in Brooklyn.

Morgan Park Sports Center for Fitness and Fun

The Morgan Park Sports Center, 11505 S. Western, offers a variety of ways for area residents to pursue fitness and fun. The complex houses an NHL size ice rink with seating for 1,200 spectators, state -of-the-art gymnastics center, and busy fitness studio, and offers classes and programs, as well as competitive teams. Owned by the Chicago Park District and managed by SMG (which also manages Soldier Field), the Center is ADA accessible and open 7 days a week. Online registration for winter classes begins Tues., Jan. 2 at chicagoparkdistrict.com, and in-person registration starts Sat., Jan. 6, 10 a.m. The winter session begins Jan. 22. Find the class schedule at morganparksportscenter.com.


Under the supervision of Hockey Director John Gannon, the Center offers co-ed USA Hockey programs that include American Developmental Model (ADM) learn-to-skate and hockey skill-building classes that start with tots, and team hockey for four age levels beginning at age 8 and continuing to age 14. This is the first season for the Chicago Horned Frogs Youth Hockey Club. There are six youth teams with room for more, Gannon said. Adult teams compete throughout the metropolitan area in the Northwest Hockey League.

According to Gannon, hockey is great exercise and good for developing hand/eye coordination and learning the life lessons of team play. It’s also a commitment — the Horned Frogs are on the ice three times a week.

High school hockey teams practice at the Center, and skate times are also scheduled for Stick n’ Puck and Rat Hockey scrimmages.

Gannon has Level 5 coaching certification from USA Hockey, and a long history as a player and coach.

Figure Skating

Figure skating programs focus on building skills and start with classes that familiarize toddlers with moving around on the ice to classes for adults, said Figure Skating Coordinator Kathy Janik. Ice time is at a premium at the busy Center, which opens for classes at 6 a.m. and stays open until midnight to accommodate practice times.

All skaters enrolled in classes are eligible to compete in the Center’s Broadway theme ice show in May, a showcase of skills that includes solo and specialty performances. The show requires complex planning, rigorous rehearsals, the help of volunteers, and costumes for the participants. “It’s like a dance recital,” Janik said. “Sparkly costumes and bright lights.” Reserved seating tickets are sold for the show.

For people interested in recreational ice time, the Center offers public skating times, including adult skate on Mon., Tues., Thurs. and Fri., 12:15 to 1:30 p.m., $3 or $2 for seniors.  For people who love to watch figure skating, the Center has discount-rate tickets to Disney on Ice “Dare to Dream” on Fri., Jan. 26 at the Allstate Arena; contact Janik, 773-840-4622, for information.

Janik has been skating since she was 3, and started coaching when she was 18. She was the Figure Skating Manager at McFetridge Park.


The Morgan Park Yoga and Fitness Studio currently offers classes in yoga, Pilates, barre, Tabata, Zumba, cardio sculpt and core. According to Assistant Fitness Director Brenna Joyce, classes are regularly updated based on what people want. Participation is offered through unlimited 1 and 2 month memberships as well as drop-in visits. Seniors get a 50% discount.

Classes are offered for a wide range of ages and skill levels. Mommy and Me yoga is open to children as young as 18 months and Fit Beginnings classes are designed for seniors and people with mobility problems or who are new to fitness regimens. Kids Yoga is offered in two age groups, 4 to 8 and 9 to 13. The Studio also offers workshops.

Joyce is certified in group fitness, personal training and yoga, and has been teaching fitness classes for ten years.


The Gymnastics Center accommodates a wide range of recreational classes for kids who just want to learn gymnastics, and progression-based skill-building classes for kids who want to compete in the Center’s busy USA Gymnastics (USAG) competition schedule. The program is guided by Gymnastics Coordinator Tammy Findlay who has a staff of 20 coaches. There is also a foam pit and slots for open gym.

Baby Gym offers free play for children age 9 to 18 months, and classes range up through age and skill levels. Girls’ gymnastics training includes balance beam, uneven bars, floor exercise and vault. Boys’ gymnastics includes tumbling, high bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, vault and rings.

Findlay is serious about providing a top quality gymnastics program at Morgan Park Sports Center. She came up through the YMCA system, competing followed by coaching. She has been a Chicago Park District coach for many years, and developed the Center’s gymnastics program.

The Morgan Park Sports Center offers skate rental, a concession stand, party rooms, and the ice rink is available to rent. To find out more, stop by or call 773-840-4622.



Fitness 2018: Body, Mind and Spirit

By Kristin Boza

The start of a new year is a new chance to get or stay healthy, but we’re often doomed by the cold, gloomy weather that encourages hibernation. Luckily, BAPA business members offer numerous opportunities to keep you motivated to follow through on your New Year’s resolutions all year long.


Tai Chi, Kung Fu and self-defense classes are available at the Academy of Chinese Martial Arts, 9109 S. Western. Engage in Chinese martial arts to improve your health, fitness and wellness all in one place. Academy of Chinese Martial Arts is the only academy in the U.S. authorized to teach the rare liu-he-ba-fa internal style. 773-723-2795.

Do you hate group classes? Try small group or one-on-one personal training with Marianne Zarzecki at Beverly Fitness. Training focuses on total wellbeing of the body and mind. Zarzecki is certified in personal training, yoga and counseling. 773-573-2619.

Are you an adult who wants to learn the art of dance? Check out the adult ballroom dance class at Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. Group and private lessons available in rumba, jitterbug, swing, mambo, waltz, and many more. Dance Gallery also offers dance for children as young as two. 773-445-8910.

Changing your eating habits is tough, and Registered and Licensed Dietician Kelly Devine Rickert at Devine Nutrition can help. From one-on-one nutrition to group nutrition classes to meal planning to sports nutrition, they have you covered. DevineNutrition.com.

Sculpt and Shred Fitness, 1791 W. 95th St. helps patrons rebuild, restore, and revitalize their mind, body and spirit through proper nutrition and exercise. Workouts are custom-designed to shred calories and sculpt your body in accordance with your fitness goals. 773-629-6152. Use your BAPA Card for a discount.

This is the reason to pray for snow: See and Ski Beverly in the Dan Ryan Woods, sponsored by Beverly Improvement Association every Sun. at 1 p.m. when there’s enough snow to cross-country ski. Meet at Beverly Bike and Ski, 9121 S. Western to rent skis, boots, poles or snowshoes ($15/day or $25/weekend) and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

Looking for organic food or fresh juice? Check out the selection of all types of healthy food options at Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St. Use your BAPA Card for even more savings on vegan, vegetarian, and Paleo food options. 773-233-1856.

Some runners cool down with a cold beer. If that sounds appealing, check in to the Thirsty Thursday Running Club with Running Excels, 10328 S. Western and Open Outcry Brewing Company, 10924 S. Western. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear in 2018, head to Running Excels and use your BAPA Card for discounts. 773-629-8587.

Treadfit, 10458 S. Western, is an intense, innovative fitness program with customized workouts from certified trainers. Each class aims to improve your overall fitness level using interval training on the treadmill and full-body strength training. 773-584-8435. Use your BAPA Card.


Attachment-focused therapy is offered at Begin Within Therapy, 3301 W. 111th St. Therapists approach counseling with the knowledge that within every person lies a story. Through a safe, comfortable space, they also offer trauma treatment. 773-796-3712.

Experience “heart-centered” therapy at Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd Floor. Therapists create a comforting, warm space offering a mind-body-emotional-spiritual holistic approach to counseling, including monthly wellness events. Beverly Therapists is supportive of the LGBTQ community, and offers a monthly LGBTQ group for teens. 773-719-1751.

Little Company of Mary Health Education Center, 2800 W. 95th St., offers health screenings for coronary risk, asthma, and more, as well as women’s wellness screenings for hypnosis, nutritional counseling, and other risk assessments. Additionally, a variety of wellness education programs and special events are available. 708-423-5774.

MetroSouth Medical Center, 12935 S. Gregory St., Blue Island, offers numerous classes on diabetes education, breastfeeding, childbirth, and more. 708-824-4462.

Are you over 55 years old and looking to learn something new? Check out the Renaissance Academy at Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St. The Academy fosters intellectual growth by offering courses in literature, history, genealogy, philosophy, and other fields of interest. Members can facilitate courses. 773-298-3149.


Meditation is one essential part of overall wellbeing. Beverly Yoga Center, 1917 W. 103rd St., 2nd floor, offers tailored classes to help educate, support, and relieve many symptoms associated with their clients’ issues. Classes address anxiety, stress, insomnia, menopause, lower back issues, healthy aging, hormonal balance, and more for those looking for ways to complement Western medicine. BeverlyYogaCenter.com. Use your BAPA Card.

Get on the track to better wellness this year at Light House Beverly, 11240 S. Western. This yoga, therapeutic massage and wellness center offers hatha, restorative, yin and therapeutic yoga as well as myofascial release, self-care and Goddess Yoga. Release your stress and recharge. LightHouseBeverly.com.

Find a one-stop shop for beauty needs head at Relaxation Station Salon and Spa, 10655 S. Hale Ave. They offer pedicures/manicures, massage, facials, hair styling and hair coloring. The new salon recently added even more opportunities to recharge and restyle. RelaxationStationBeverly.com. Use your BAPA Card.

 BAC Presents Art Exhibits, Classes, Concerts, Movies and Wedding Expo in January

Forget about hibernating this month! There is a full schedule of events and activities right around the corner at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.

Winners from the BAC Battle of the Bands held last fall return to the Baffes Theatre, Sat.,, Jan. 13. Motel Breakfast performs 7:30 to 9 p.m., and South City Revival performs 9:15 to 11 p.m. All tickets $15; doors open at 6:30 p.m.  An audience favorite, Heartsfield performs up-tempo, foot-stomping Southern and country rock Sat., Jan. 27, 8 p.m.  Tickets are $20 ($18 for BAC members) and doors open at 7 p.m.

BACinema starts the new year with two acclaimed movies.  Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig star in “20th Century Women,” the comedy/drama about a teenage boy raised by his mother and two other women amid the love and freedom of 1979 Southern California on Wed., Jan 3, 7 p.m.  On Wed., Nov. 17, “Loving Vincent,” an oil painted animation will be screened. The film is about a young man sent to the last hometown of troubled painter Vincent Van Gogh to deliver a letter from the artist. Once there. The young man ends up investigating Van Gogh’s final days. BACinema screenings are at 7 p.m. Tickets: $6 ($5 for BAC members).

Couples who are making wedding plans can streamline the search for just the right services at the BAC’s 2nd Annual Wedding Expo, Sun., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.  The expo will feature caterers, planners, photographers, florists, food samples and more. Tickets are $10 for individuals or $15 for couples.

Registration continues for BAC School of the Arts winter classes for all age that begin Jan. 8. BAC art educators offer quality instruction in a variety of visual and performance arts. Dance classes range from creative movement for toddlers to ballet, tap, jazz and modern for all ages. Specialty dance classes include Hip Hop and African.  Music classes are offered in strings, piano, guitar, harmonica and percussion. Film classes cover screening writing, editing filmmaking for students age 9 to 17, and include special screenings of student works. Visual arts classes include ceramics, painting, fused glass, photography and comics. Theater department classes cover skills in acting, auditioning and more. The BAC’s popular theater performance classes will stage “My Son, Pinocchio Jr.” for students age 5 to 10 years old, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for students age 11 to 18 years old. Auditions will be held in early January. Class registration is available in person, at www.beverlyartcenter.org, or at 773-445-3838.

Don’t miss the chance to visit two outstanding exhibits that will be closing on Jan. 7:

“Elevation: The Rise of Beverly/Morgan Park,” an architectural installation and exhibition of photographs and historic documents that is part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial in the Jack Simmerling Gallery, and the  41st Annual Beverly Arts Center Competition and Exhibition featuring works by winners and finalists, Atrium Gallery.

“Home Grown in Beverly: Winifred Godfrey Flowers Fifty Years Later,” opens Sun., Jan. 14, 2 to 4 p.m. A nationally noted artist, Winifred Godfrey . Godfrey earned a Bachelor of Science in Art and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin, and exhibited at the Beverly Arts Center soon after it opened.  Her large format work provides a fresh view of the intricate shapes, texture and translucency of flowers using intense backlighting that gives an almost surreal look to the petals. Godfrey’s artwork is included in many private, corporate and museum collections and has been exhibited throughout North America.  Gallery admission is free, and visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mon. through Thurs.; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat.; closed Sun. except during special events. Tickets, information and class registration are available 773-445-3838 or www.beverlyartcenter.org.

BAC Begins 50th Anniversary Year with New Management Team

As the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago, begins its 50th anniversary year, an innovative approach in facility management is taking center stage. The BAC’s new management team, composed of Artistic Director Shellee Frazee, Development Director Amy Chmura, and Operations Manager Dan Jacobson, will work collaboratively to oversee all aspects of operating the South Side’s premiere fine arts facility.

“Each of these people comes to the table with a complete set of complementary skills and experience required to run the organization at its optimum capacity,” said BAC Board President Barbara O’Malley.  “This team will drive the organization to do extraordinary things as it celebrates 50 years of bringing arts to the Beverly area and Chicago.”

Shellee Frazee manages the programming and administrative staff, and oversees the School of the Arts, main stage events, and Simmerling Gallery. Born and raised in Iowa, Frazee established herself as a director/choreographer and performing arts instructor in the Quad Cities. She relocated to Chicago in 2008 and was Managing Director of Redtwist Theatre before joining the BAC staff in 2009. Frazee has served the BAC as a teaching artist, coordinator for all arts disciplines and interim Executive Director. She was named Artistic Director in 2014. She has a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from St. Ambrose University and over 30 years of professional experience performing, touring, directing and choreographing.

Amy Chmura focuses on capital contributed support, including individual and corporate donations, memberships and grants. She will also manage fundraising events and the annual gala. Chmura has more than 25 years of experience in development, marketing and communications. She has a Master of Arts in Organizational Communications and received her Certified Fundraising Executive Certification in 2015. Chmura has held positions in development and marketing for Chicago area not-for-profit organizations including a regional tourism association, social service agencies and municipal government. Her expertise includes donor relations, corporate and individual giving, event management, grant writing, marketing and volunteer coordination.

Dan Jacobson manages the day to day maintenance of the facility and all aspects of the building and grounds. Jacobson has been working for Chicago area not-for-profit and arts organizations for more than 15 years. He was Theater Manager at Lewis University, General Manager for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and a General Manager for Blue Man Group. Jacobson also served as the Director of Operations for the Arts and Business Council of Chicago for seven years. His most recent position was Operations Manager for the National Audubon Society/Audubon Great Lakes. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in painting from Lewis University and has a Masters in Interdisciplinary Art from Columbia College Chicago.

“The Beverly Arts Center is heading into a new era,” said Board member Ed Laginess. “As we enter our 50th year, our goal is to honor our past and look to the future.”

The BAC will celebrate its 50th anniversary at events throughout the year, including the gala in April where past board members and their contributions to the Center will be recognized.  “We truly want to thank these folks, our members and the community for their support through some difficult years,” Laginess said.  “We have weathered the storm and now is a time to prepare for the future and celebrate our accomplishments.”

As a not-for-profit regional fine arts center, the Beverly Arts Center is supported by memberships, gifts and grants.  Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about the BAC and how you can contribute to its mission to provide fine arts education and programming in visual and performance arts, call 773-445-3838 or email Development Director Amy Chmura, amy@beverlyartcenter.org.

Home Cooking with Southtown Health Foods

By Kristin Boza

Chances are, eating better food is on the to-do list for 2018. Southtown Health Foods, 2100 95th St. has numerous organic food and special diet options to help you stick with your resolution, for good.

Instead of struggling with your blender for a green power drink each day, head to Southtown’s juice bar. “Our fresh juice is full of enzymes and vitamins, providing a great source of energy, which is especially great for those who want to give up coffee,” said Katie Speh, general manager. The most popular juice blend is a mix of spinach, celery, cucumber, kale and parsley with a kick of lemon, ginger and apple to sweeten it up. “People can use the juice as their healthy drink of the day, or they can use it as a juice cleanse or afternoon pick-me-up.”

“The juice is fresh for four-to-eight hours, but it’s best to drink it right away. Another option is to freeze it if you are unable to drink it right away,” Speh said.

Southtown Health Foods specializes in organic produce, and vegan and vegetarian food options. In fact, they were the very first store in all of Chicago to carry organic produce 35 years ago. They also carry a variety of allergy-free foods, including gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free items. Vegans and vegetarians who are short on time can grab a prepared meal that can be warmed up at home. Two local companies, Soul Vegan and Soul Vegetarian, are some of the locally sourced vegan and vegetarian suppliers.

Over 100 fresh, loose herbs and spices are available at Southtown. “Our customers can come in and choose different herbs to make their own tea, or to use in recipes,” Speh said. “We also offer food options for every lifestyle diet out there, from Paleo to ketogenic diets, and even help for those with diabetes who need some direction. Our staff can help guide you to a better food choice.”


Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 6-1/4 hours. 6 servings

3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup beef broth

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups dry red wine or beef broth

4 teaspoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons cold water

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. In batches, brown ribs on all sides; transfer to a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker. Add carrots, broth, thyme and bay leaf to ribs.
  2. Add onions to the same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 8-9 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in wine. Bring to a boil; cook 8-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add to slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
  3. Remove ribs and vegetables; keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan; skim fat. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Bring juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. If desired, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Serve with ribs and vegetables.

No Need to Grieve Alone

By Lisa Catania, LCSW and Aida Pigott, LCSW

Grief is an uncomfortable visitor that visits us all.  It does not matter whether we anticipate a death or are surprised in a most awful way: loss hurts.  The world-as-we-know-it is pulled out from under our feet, and we are suspended in unreality and forced to find a way forward. It is a bleak and difficult journey.

Fortunately, we are not alone.  At the time that we need it most, it is possible to find a community of people who understand and who are walking the same road of profound change. It has been said that a grief shared is a grief halved.  We all realize, deep down, that our loved one cannot return.  It helps to have others who “get” the struggles and can normalize and validate the normalcy of feelings that do not feel normal.  It is helpful to be part of a community where one person supports another.  At one point, you are the newest member of an odd “club” that no one wants to belong to, and later, you become the person who reassures another that there is hope and laughter further on down the road.

If you are grieving and would like support Beverly Therapist, 10725 S. Western, hosts two monthly support groups for individuals grieving the loss of a spouse/partner, and for those grieving the loss of a child,  whether it be through miscarriage or into adulthood.  We each have our own stories, but grief creates a commonality.  A broken heart is an open heart.  For more information visit www.BeverlyTherapists.com or call Lisa Catania, LCSW 773-719-1751 or Aida Pigott, LCSW at 773-332-6664.

Lisa Catania, LCSW and Aida Pigott, LCSW are experienced counselors specializing in grief, loss and change.  They are part of Beverly Therapists, a local group of therapists in private practice committed to serving the community. General information: 773-310-3488

Beverly Art Competition Exhibit Continues Through Jan. 7

The 41st annual Beverly Arts Center Art Competition Exhibition opened Sat., Nov. 11 with a reception and awards presentation in the Jack Simmerling Gallery at the Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Ashley Gardner was awarded the Beverly Bank Best of Show Award for her work “Family Portrait.” The Alice & Arthur Baer Award went to Jake Saunders for “St. Francis,” and the Bill & Judie Anderson Award was presented to Ray Broady for his work “Hot Dogs.”

Other winners in this year’s competition are: Figurative Award, Erik Sorenson, “Social (Me)dia;” Non-Representational Award, John David Murray, “Girl with Striped Socks;” 3-Dimensional Award, Charity White , “Karen;” Photographic/Digital Award, Louisa Murzyn, “A Dark History;” and three Honorable Mention Awards, John Landendorf, “Pictures at an Exhibition,”  Erin Kramer, “Crown Hare” and  Andrea Dalgaard, “Organized Chaos.”

Prizes range from $100 to $1500. Competition sponsors are Beverly Bank & Trust, Little Company of Mary Hospital, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).

Competition jurors were Judie Anderson, professional illustrator and former Art Director for the Chicago Tribune, and noted artist/muralist Elaine Miller.

“For 41 years, the Beverly Arts Center Competition has been a continually quality show, and this year’s exhibit is no exception,” said Judie Anderson. “New talent is visible as well as work by established artists. There is something for everyone to enjoy.”

The Beverly Arts Center Art Competition is open to artists living and working within 100 miles of the city of Chicago. Eligible media include painting, photography, prints and other two-dimensional work, as well as sculpture including fabric and ceramic sculpture.

Established in 1976 by real estate developer Arthur Rubloff and Chicago artists William and Judie Anderson, the contest celebrates the talent of area artists. The exhibit will be open through January 7. Gallery admission is free. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mon. through Thurs.; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat.; closed Sun. except during special events. Beverly Art Center, 2407 W. 111th St. Info: 773-445-3838, www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Climbing Mountains for Kids in Foster Care

By Kristin Boza

Terry Herr is turning a personal goal into a charitable endeavor. An accomplished hiker and climber, Herr decided to check off an item on his bucket list, all while raising money to support children in foster care through the Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois. In May, Herr will climb to the Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal and attempt to summit Kala Patthar (18,514 feet elevation) and Island Peak (20,305 feet elevation). With the help of the community, his fundraising goal for Children’s Home and Aid Society is $29,029 — or the elevation of Mount Everest.

Herr’s campaign is called “Cairn for Kids,” and 100% of the funds raised will go directly to Children’s Home and Aid. “A cairn is a pile of stones used by hikers and climbers to mark the trail,” Herr said. “Foster children need ‘cairns’ in their lives to guide their path.”

Herr says he always found Mount Everest fascinating and tossed around the idea of climbing it for years. After discussing it seriously with his wife, Carla, Herr decided it was time to take on the climb.

“I knew that if I was going to do this, I’d have to also do something for charity,” he said.  As a project of the Beverly Hills Junior Women’s Club, Carla was involved in collecting 800 pieces of luggage for children in foster care with Children’s Home and Aid Society, and she won a Make a Difference Day award from USA Today for the luggage drive. The charity is close to the Herrs’ hearts. “We learned more and more about the challenges faced by foster kids. My wife and I come from very large families; we’ve always had people in our lives to help us,” he said.

Knowing that there are children in foster care who may not have that support drives the Herr family to raise money and awareness. “Picture a child entering the foster care system. Their parents are no longer involved, for whatever reason, they move an average of eight times, and each time they move, there is excitement about the potential of a new stable home, anxiety of a new house and people, never really feeling comfortable in yet another stranger’s home . . . yet, they do it,” Herr said. “Everything they own is often put in a garbage bag. The bag sometimes breaks and they lose some of the few possessions they can call their own. It’s heartbreaking.”

Herr also feels anxiety about the climbing trip — and finding a group to go with. “It’s hard to describe the anxiety this has caused me . . . and I am only talking about one month of my life! These kids deal with this on a daily basis and never know when they might have to move again,” he said. “We all have various things that cause us anxiety, but the challenges most of us experience — while deeply personal — can be overcome. Not having a parent or stable home in early childhood, these kids need resources and to feel loved.”

Herr credits the great work of the Children’s Home and Aid Society in making a difference in the lives of children in foster care. “I was going to climb the mountain either way, but raising funds through the climb lets me be a part of their amazing daily efforts,” he said.

To prepare for the climbs, Herr attended Colorado Mountain School to gain some valuable mountaineering skills. “I’ve done rock climbing in the past, so I’m not unfamiliar with ropes and harnesses. But trying to climb a glacial mountain is different than a vertical rock face,” he said.

Herr will need crampons, a harness, ropes and an ice axe. The biggest challenge will be learning to hike in what are essentially ski boots. “My boots are ultra light, at about three pounds each. But I have to walk in a certain way in order to save energy for the climb,” he said.

Herr will endure 15 days of walking and hiking at altitude before reaching the mountain. He plans to be on the mountain for 19 days, with the total trip taking about 25 days. Getting to Nepal and the mountain will be an adventure in itself. “Some of the most dangerous parts of the trip don’t involve the mountain. Flying into the airport will be dangerous, as the pilot has to land going up the side of the mountain. It’s one of the most dangerous airports in the world and pilots have to train for three to five years before they can land there,” Herr said.

After the flight, Herr will trek from village to village as he makes his way to base camp. “If the tea houses have room for you to stay, you can. But as you go up the mountain, the tea houses are more like plywood boxes — they’re fairly primitive by our standards. If they don’t have room, you camp in their yard, essentially,” he said. The climb of Kala Patthar is more of a walk on an incline; Herr won’t need crampons or be tied in. That will change once he summits Island Peak, where he anticipates hiking a significant incline covered in snow. While he won’t be traveling with a group, he will have the assistance of mountain guides.

Herr hopes to summit on his 47th birthday. In the meantime, he will continue to train and hold fundraisers. The first is Midnight at the Masquerade, a murder mystery dinner on Sat., Oct. 28. He will also sell Carson’s Coupon Books, and encourage the community to “adopt” families through Children’s Home and Aid Society at Christmas time. He also intends to hold a couple of community events in the spring.

Herr hopes people will become inspired to act due to the awareness surrounding the climb, either by donating money, items, or even becoming a foster or adoptive parent. “I want to hit my fundraising goal, but in the end if it just makes people more sensitive to these issues, then it’s worth it,” he said.

To get involved in Herr’s fundraising campaign for Children’s Home and Aid Society, visit CairnForKids.com. To follow Herr’s story, like “CairnForKids” on Facebook.