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Village Viewpoint

By Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director 

It’s August and once again, I’m helping my kids move.  This got me thinking.  What makes a place home?  What makes Beverly/Morgan Park feel like home even if you’ve moved away? What do you love about Beverly/Morgan Park?  BAPA wants to know.  It’s BAPA’s job to know.  We challenge ourselves to always be asking, watching, and listening so we are able connect people with the same passions to act collectively.  

BAPA has a history of providing services and responding to problems. That’s an important resource for any community.  But what if instead of providing the answers, we focused on the questions? What are the gifts and assets that make our community so distinctive? Some things we’ve noticed: 

We have residents who are connected 

Recently, the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic brought an outpouring of rain but more remarkably it also brought out and outpouring of support from over 2000 people who came out to the event and over 130 volunteers who helped and over 30 community partners who stood alongside BAPA and the cyclists. How remarkable it was that people were more driven to be together than they were to be dry and comfortable.   

We have history 

We celebrate our community’s history by maintaining the homes and buildings that make it so distinctive, so that we reveal the story about what our community was, how it became what it is today, and in turn can help us and our children understand who we are.   

We have diversity 

The diversity of our community is outstanding. In an age where diversity and race can be a touchy subject, it is comforting to see different cultures on virtually every block and refreshing that not everybody looks the same. 

We give back 

Our neighborhood helps families in times of trouble. We support a large number of non-profits, entrepreneurs and small businesses. We stand behind each other through the ups and downs. 

We care about Art 

Through our support of the Beverly Arts Center, the Vanderpoel Art Museum and the Beverly Area Arts Alliance to the many artists who call Beverly Home we have so much to offer.  Our own Gary and Denise Gardner are the force behind the amazing Charles White Retrospective on display at the Art Institute.   

We have Rainbow Cone 

Seriously, right? 

So tell us, what do YOU love about Beverly Morgan Park?  All answers are important to BAPA.  Join the conversation by emailing me at sflood@bapa.org.  You never know, you might connect for action you never thought possible.   

Y-Me: Working and Playing for a Cure

By Laura Casey  

Most people know me as Ms. Laura from Graver Park, where I worked for 18 of my 30 years at the Chicago Park District. My favorite days were welcoming all the moms, dads and toddlers for morning programming and organizing youth volleyball leagues.  

While I have been a part of the community through my role at the Chicago Park District, for the past 15 years I have been playing in and volunteering for Ginger Rugai’s Y-Me Softball Tournament. Four years ago I took on the role of Board Chair. This volunteer role has been inspiring. The mission we declared, is “Together We Can Find a Cure.”  

Naturally, in the beginning I was concerned taking on this position would be too much of a commitment, but, deep down, I knew it was the right thing to do.  

These days it’s hard not to find someone not touched by breast cancer. Two of my dear friends, also sisters of our Board Secretary, were diagnosed with breast cancer, and although they had been in remission, unfortunately, the cancer metastasized and they lost their battle. This experience gave me renewed drive to volunteer my time, join the committee and eventually lead the board.   

Since 1994 our tournament has been growing and today we have over 60 teams with more than 1,200 women coming together in Mt. Greenwood for a day of competitive softball. But more than that, they come together to honor all those touched by breast cancer and especially the survivors of this terrible disease.  

This year’s Y-Me Softball Tournament will be held Sat., Aug. 25, St. Christina Fields and Mount Greenwood Park, 111th and Central Park. Team rosters and fees are due by Aug. 23. Players, volunteers and donors can find complete information at y-mesoftball.com.  

A highlight of the Y-Me Softball Tournament day is the three-inning survivor game. The survivors who are playing may be newly diagnosed or 25 years cancer-free. While this game is fun, it is more about courage, strength, hope and faith: by playing, the survivors give back to others and share the strength of their journey. 

It is with great pride that I stand among the board with such creative minds! They are always looking for ways to increase awareness and funding for Breast Cancer Research. This year, Open Outcry Brewing Company created a Y-Me craft beer and donated a portion of the proceeds directly to our cause. We are planning eat-and-earn fundraisers at Buona Beef and other local restaurants.  

I am so proud to say that ALL of the proceeds from our fundraising go to support the breast cancer research of Dr. Kay McLeod, Breast Cancer Researcher for the University of Chicago, Ben May Institute. Since 2015 our organization has raised over $200,000 and assisted in real progress to eradicate this terrible disease. Ginger Rugai’s Y-Me Softball Tournament is a 501©3.  

Thank you to my fellow board members for all their time and talents making this a great day working towards a common goal: a cure. 

Neighborhood Notes

Help Us Showcase Our Neighborhood. Beverly/Morgan Park will be among the city neighborhoods to be featured on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s prestigious Open House Chicago event this fall. It’s a huge, citywide event that will bring more than 1,000 visitors to tour several local sites on Sat., Oct. 13 and Sun., Oct. 14. BAPA is partnering with CAF to showcase the community and to help recruit volunteers to greet and count visitors at our Open House Chicago sites. We can’t do it without help from our neighbors. Learn more, see the great benefits that volunteers receive, and sign up online at openhousechicago.org/volunteer 

BAPA Members Save on Tax Appeal Services. Xpress Tax Appeals, featured in last month’s edition of The Villager, is offering a 20% discount for property tax appeals for BAPA members. The discount is available through Aug. 31 at XpressTaxAppeals.com/BAPA. Beverly/Morgan Park residents are in Lake Township where the appeal window opened July 30. Residents will be receiving their Cook County triennial reassessment notice soon. Watch for it in the mail and don’t miss the window to appeal. Homeowners have the right to appeal their property taxes every year, as newly sold comparable properties or other changes in a neighborhood could provide another opportunity for a successful reduction. Xpress Tax Appeals navigates the complex appeal process, completing paperwork and meeting deadlines to ensure that assessed values remain as low as possible.  Xpress Tax Appeals does not charge upfront fees for the service and there is no charge if the appeal is unsuccessful. Visit www.XpressTaxAppeals.com/BAPA by Aug. 31 to receive the BAPA Member discount. Xpress Tax Appeals was a sponsor of BAPA’s Beverly Hills Cycling Classic and is a BAPA Business Member.  

Registration Open for Fall BAC Classes. Beverly Arts Center (BAC) School of the Arts fall class registration is now open. Classes for all ages and across a variety of performance and visual arts disciplines begin the week of Sept. 10. Sign up on Fri., Aug. 10 to receive a discount on tuition. Classes are held at the Center, 2407 W. 111 St. Class schedules, registration and info: 773-445-3838, beverlyartcenter.org and at the Center. 

Neighborhood Residents Needed for Chicagoland Language Project. Researchers from Northwestern University’s Chicagoland Language Project are in Beverly/Morgan Park to conduct one-on-one interviews with native Chicagoans, especially life-long neighborhood residents, documenting area language and life. Interested in being a study volunteer? Contact Annette Donofrio, donofrio@northwestern.edu. 

New Magazine Seeks Submissions. Variant, a new digital literary arts magazine, is accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, photos and original art until Sept. 1 for the first issue, set to debut in fall. Variant publishes original, previously unpublished work. Find submission guidelines at variantzine.com. Submissions and inquiries: variantzine@gmail.com 

Children’s Theater at BAC. Chicago Kids Company presents “The Ugly Duckling,” a one-hour musical based on the classic fairy tale, selected weekdays, 10:30 a.m. through Aug. 10, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W.111th St.The play is geared to children ages 2 to 10 and will feature frequent audience participation. Tickets: $12. Info and tickets: www.chicagokidscompany.com  

Gallery Exhibits Work by Pickering. Residents are invited to an opening reception for Ron Pickering’s Natural Motions, Sun., Aug. 5, 2 to 4 p.m. Simmerling Gallery, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111 St. The exhibit will be display through Wed., Sept. 5 and features a variety of pieces that combine landscape and abstract styles. Free. Info 773-445-3838 or www.beverlyartcenter.org 

Music at BAC. Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W.111 St., presents the 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands at Live Music Mondays Mon. Aug. 6, 6:30 p.m. $5 donation appreciated. Enjoy a performance by The Pettybreakers performing classics by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fri., Aug. 24 at 8 p.m., tickets: $30 ($27 for BAC members). Tickets and info: 773-445-3838 or beverlyartscenter.org 

A Discussion on Immigration. Daryce Nolan, Episcopal Deacon, will tell her personal story of traveling to LA to meet with immigrant families waiting for asylum Tues., Aug. 7, 7 p.m., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Nolan will share stories of how immigrants came to America to flee terrorist gangs and extreme poverty. Free. Info: Steve English artistbydesigns@yahoo.com 

Support Group at Smith Village. Friends and family members of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are invited to a free support group, Tues., Aug. 7, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl. Elizabeth Fronczek from Great Lakes Caring will speak about palliative and hospice care and coping with cognitive loss. Seating is limited; reservations required. Info and reservations: 773-474-7300 or familyandfriends@smithvillage.org  

Open Mic Night at Smith Village. Singers, musicians, comedians and other entertainers are invited to perform at an Open Mic Night, Tues., Aug. 7, 7 to 10 p.m., Smith Village Community Hall, 2320 W. 113th Pl. Free. To sign up your act contact Debbie Parks, dahp2002@aol.com or 773-574-9727. Info: Megan Maple, 773-474-7300. 

BACinema. BACinema presents will screen the following movies this month: “Dick Biondi,” a documentary about the Top 40 rock and roll rebel DJ, Wed., Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m.; and special screening of “Among Wolves,” a riveting documentary about a motorcycle club in post-war Bosnia, Herzegovina that has done inspiring work to heal themselves and others from the trauma of war, including a herd of wild horses, Sat., Aug. 25; Q&A with the director will follow film. All screenings 7:30 p.m. at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111 St., Tickets: $6 ($5 for BAC members). Tickets and info: 773-445-3838 or www.beverlyartscenter.org 

CAPS Meetings. Area residents are encouraged to attend 22nd District Police CAPS meetings. Meetings this month include Court Advocacy Subcommittee, Wed., Aug. 8, 1:30 p.m. 22nd District Police Station; Beat 2213, Thurs., Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m. Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr.; Domestic Violence Subcommittee, Thurs., Aug. 23, 10:30 a.m. 22nd District Police Station. Info: CAPS Office, 22nd District Police Station, 1900 W. Monterey, 312-745-0620. 

Church Hosts Events. Imago Dei, 10511 S. Oakley (south wing), invited Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors to join them around the firepit to celebrate National S’Mores Day, Fri., Aug. 10, 7 to 9 p.m. at the church, and to a Labor Day picnic, Mon., Sept. 3, 12 to 4 p.m., Kennedy Park, 11320 S. Western Ave., where hot dogs and burgers will be served. All are welcome. Info: Pastor Tom Kubiak, 773-609-3135 or tkubiak@imagodeichicago.org.  

Youth Cooking Classes. Teens ages 14 to 17 are invited to learn basic cooking skills, kitchen safety, new recipes and team work, Mon., Aug. 13 through Fri., Aug. 17, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Morgan Park Presbyterian Church, 2017 W. 110 Pl. Students will meet with chef Carla Ringo each day to prepare a new meal. The session will conclude with a meal for friends and family on Sun., Aug. 19 after worship. Free. Space limited to 15 students. Registration required: 773-779-3355.  

Shakespeare in the Parks Presents an Enchanting Summer Comedy. Now in its 7th year, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will be heading to Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr., with a 75-minute abridged production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Tues., Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m. Performances are free. On the night of the play, a specially equipped truck will roll into the park and unfold a stage unfold where a company of professional actors shares Shakespeare’s magical comedy with families and neighbors of all ages. Adapted and staged by Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, this merry version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” tells the enchanting story of four young lovers who set out for the forest, in which an amateur theater troupe is rehearsing. When the Fairy Court discovers mortals in their midst, mischief ensues. The citywide tour is made possible by a renewed civic, cultural and corporate partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and BMO Harris Bank. Since the inception of the Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks program six years ago, more than 130,000 Chicagoans have taken advantage of free performances in their communities. 

LSC Meetings. Morgan Park High School LSC meeting, Wed., Aug. 15, 7 to 9 p.m., School Library, 1744 W. Pryor, 773-535-2550; and Kellogg School LSC, Thurs., Sept. 6, 6 p.m., Kellogg School Library, 9241 S. Leavitt St., 773-535-2590. 

Work Skills Workshops. The Church of Chicago, 10000 S. Kostner Ave., will host workshops in Microsoft Word Processing Software covering opening and saving files, page layout and more, Sat., Aug. 11, 8 to 10 a.m. and  Resume Writing covering basic resume writing skills and etiquette, Sat., Aug. 18, 8 to 10 a.m. Open to all. $5 per workshop. Small class size; reservations required: 773-672-7230 or connect@churchofchicago.org. 

“Let’s Go Rice!” Learn the fundamentals of competitive cheerleading from Brother Rice Varsity Cheerleaders, Sat., Aug. 11 and Sun., Aug. 12, 12 to 4 p.m., Brother Rice High School, 10001 S. Pulaski Rd. Campers will be split into age groups ranging from Pre-K to incoming 8th graders and will learn basic motions, jumps and safe stunting, along with cheers and dances. Camp will conclude with a performance Sun., Aug. 12, 3 p.m. $55 per child, $85 for two children of the same family. Registration and info: www.brotherricehighschool.com 

A Midsummer Night’s Play. Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks presents Williams Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Tues., Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m., Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Admission is free. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Info chicagoshakes.com/plays  

Southwest Symphony Auditions. The Southwest Symphony Orchestra will hold auditions for 2018-2019 seasons Tues., Sept. 4, Trinity Christian College, Ozinga Chapel Auditorium, 6601 College Dr. All orchestra instrumentalists are invited to audition; orchestra is especially seeking strings. The SSO is mainly composed of community musicians. Reservations required. Info and scheduling: Shari Ebert, 708-802-0686 or southwestmanager@gmail.com. 

Cooking with Summer Produce

By Kristin Boza 

With the 95th Street Farmer’s Market in full swing, there’s an abundance of delicious, fresh and local summer produce available. As you head to the market at 95th and Longwood Drive each Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., keep in mind these tips for choosing and preparing seasonal produce from local chef and Beverly/Morgan Park resident Alvin Green. 

Talk with the Farmers
Farmer’s markets are more than simply places to buy fresh food. They are an opportunity to speak directly to the people who are cultivating the food you are purchasing, so you can get a better understanding of where your food is coming from.  

“Find out what’s really in season by asking the farmers questions about their food,” Green said. “You can even find out about their ‘second harvest’, which may not be the perfect ‘supermarket ready’ foods we’re use to, but this produce is great for cooking now and freezing so you can have fresh and healthy food all winter.”  

Anything in-season will be cheaper and more flavorful, since it is in abundant supply locally and fresh from the vine without being packed and shipped from warmer climates. 

Choose Fresh Foods That You Will Actually Eat
Green advises farmer’s market shoppers to buy foods that they’ll actually eat. Gather up fruits and veggies that have imperfections, such as an odd shape or small size.  

“So much food in this country never makes it to market because of imperfections, which means it is ultimately wasted,” Green said. “I’ve found that a farmer’s ‘second tomatoes’ [the second harvest of the seasons, usually a smaller yield] make the best tomato soup or pasta sauce. Even food that is a little past its prime will still make flavorful smoothies or soup.” These imperfect foods usually are priced lower than produce without blemishes. 

Buy Now, Eat Later
“Use everything and go back to the way people used to eat. They didn’t throw anything away,” Green said. Normally cast-off ends, peels and odd sized pieces of produce can be saved to make a vegetable stock that will keep for months in the freezer.  

For example, buy corn on the cob at the market, but don’t discard the cobs. Instead, create a corn stock that will act as a base for soup or polenta. Put cobs in a pot, cover with water and simmer. You can also make vegetable stock with the ends of carrots and other vegetables from the scrap pile.  

“This cuts down on food waste and works with nearly any vegetable. There’s still a lot of flavor and nutrients in these parts of the vegetable. I freeze the stock in quart size bags and it’s great to pull out in the middle of winter to make soup that will taste a lot better than canned soup,” Green said. 

Adding produce to dishes that traditionally don’t contain them is another great way to use up the farmer’s market bounty while adding more vegetables to the diet. Green developed a recipe to use a zucchini surplus in a popular breakfast food; check out this recipe: 

Alvin Green’s Zucchini Pancakes 

Ingredients 

2 cups grated zucchini 

2 large eggs, slightly beaten 

2 Tbsp. chopped green onion 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1/2 tsp. baking powder 

1/2 tsp. salt 

1/2 tsp. garlic powder 

1 tsp. Italian herb seasoning blend 

1/4 cup olive oil, or as needed 

Directions 

Blot grated zucchini with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Stir zucchini, eggs and onion in a large bowl. Mix flour, Parmesan cheese, baking powder, salt, garlic powder and Italian herb seasoning blend in a separate bowl; stir flour mixture into zucchini until batter is just moistened. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop rounded spoonful of zucchini batter onto hot oiled pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes per side until golden brown. Set aside and keep warm. 

Add more oil to pan as needed and continue with remaining batter. 

Historic Home Welcomes Teen Filmmakers

For one week in July, The Ingersoll-Blackwelder house, 10910 S. Prospect, was transformed into a movie set when 14 teen filmmakers arrived to make a television pilot. The teens were participating in a workshop offered by Fresh Films, an organization based at Augustana College in Rock Island, that provides teens around the country chances to gain experience in film through summer programs that pair youth with industry professionals.  

The teens used the local historic Victorian house at the setting for a spooky TV show about a young woman who inherits her grandmother’s inn then discovers she has the power to communicate with the ghostly guests that inhabit it. The pilot will be reviewed by executives from Amazon Studios and Disney Channel Original Movies, and the young filmmakers hope it will be picked up. The pilot will be available on the Fresh Films website in fall.  

In addition to filmmaking the teens participating in Fresh Films workshops also engage in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers that are part of the film industry. Sandra Biedron, owner of the Ingersoll-Blackwelder home is a physicist and engineer, and was thrilled to have the teens filming here in Beverly/Morgan Park.  

“I love how Fresh Films is melding the excitement of film with science and technology,” Biedron said. “There are many careers like VFX, sound engineering, even lights and camera that need STEM skills.” 

The teens will develop career skills as they work on a Hollywood-style film set alongside professionals, getting a chance to experience working in lighting, audio, camera and producing. Now that filming has wrapped, the teens are participating in four-week internships with Chicago companies.  

Fresh Films, a not-for-profit arm of Dreaming Tree Films, has been offering teen filmmaking projects since 2002. For more information, visit www.fresh-films.com 

 

Renaissance Academy Invites New Members

Renaissance Academy at Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St., invites area residents who retired or semi-retired to become new members for the 2018-2019 season. 

Renaissance Academy that was created for community people who have the desire to learn simply for the joy and excitement of learning.  Its primary purpose is to provide forums for participatory group study on to with topics decided on by the members. The group’s focus is on member participation and peer teaching with the aim of providing intellectual stimulation, cultural enrichment and fellowship. 

The annual membership is $175, which includes tuition for up to three classes in each of the fall, winter and spring sessions. Classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Upcoming classes include “The Other Side of History,” “Poetry Blast!” “Take My Check Please!” and “The Sky Above the Clouds.” 

Renaissance Academy members can also audit one course per year in the regular weekday SXU college program on a space-available basis and with permission of the teacher; privileges at the SXU library and an invitation to all Renaissance Academy social activities.   

Founded more than 25 years ago, Renaissance Academy encourages all interested people to learn more about membership. Email renaissancechgo@gmail.com or call 773-298-3149. 

Committed to Collecting

By Grace Kuikman 

When Gary and Denise Gardner moved to their Beverly/Morgan Park home in March 1982 they had already started buying original works by African American artists, but it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later – once the children were out on their own – that the couple became serious about collecting.   

“We decided to restore the house into an ‘adult’ place, not a place just about kids or hockey sticks,” Denise Gardner said. When she retired, Denise Gardner had time to travel and visit galleries and art fairs, discovering and learning about artists and their work. Now that her husband is semi-retired, they travel together, “learning, appreciating, collecting,” she said.  

A few years ago, they put an addition on their hilltop home, providing more space for their 100+ works of art, including works by Chicago artist Charles White (1918-1979).   

In many ways, White’s work embodies the beauty and intent of the Gardners’ outstanding collection. White grew up on the South Side and used his talent and tenacity to fight against racism by portraying African Americans with dignity in the context of universal themes. He started as a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago when he was still in high school, and became active with the South Side Community Arts Center, establishing himself as one of the most prominent artists to come out of the Chicago Black Renaissance of the 1930s.    

“White is the leading African American Artist from Chicago in the 20th century,” Denise Gardner said.  

The Gardners are Lead Individual Sponsors of “Charles White: A Retrospective,” the first major retrospective for the artist in 35 years, open through Sept. 3 in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute.  

The exhibit features more than 100 of White’s powerful and purposeful representational drawings, paintings and prints which interpret African American history and culture.   

As a member of the Art Institute Board and a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC), Denise Gardner was among the people who encouraged the AIC to acquire a sketchbook of works by Charles White, and to start the conversation that has culminated in the Charles White Retrospective. The purpose of the LAC is to support diversity in the AIC vision, collections, staff, exhibitions and audience. White’s work fits squarely into that mission.  

And the timing was right: “[White] would have been 100 this year,” Gardner said. 

Mounting the exhibit presented challenges. The African American artists of the 40s, 50s and 60s did not get the recognition they deserved. Co-curators from the AIC and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, where the Retrospective will go next, needed to do a lot of research in the three cities where White lived and worked – Chicago, New York and Los Angeles – to develop a definitive catalog of the artist’s work and exhibitions. That catalog provides an important resource for students, collectors and art historians.   

The Retrospective covers all four decades of White’s career, showing his development as an artist, social activist and eloquent documenter of the dignity of African American people, culture and history. The exhibit goes to MoMA in October then to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in February.  

The timing of the White Retrospective is also right from an art collector’s standpoint. “In the past ten years there has been an explosion of extraordinarily talented living artists of color,” said Denise Gardner. The Gardners are adding works by younger artists to their collection, and seeing the connection of the generations of artists. White’s work, so reflective of the human condition, can be a powerful link in that connection.   

Beverly Therapists Expands Office Space and Services

Beverly Therapists recently expanded its office space and now occupies the entire building located at 10725 S. Western Ave. This expansion allows for more therapists practicing in more modalities and provides clients with a warm and welcoming space where they can heal and grow their minds, bodies and spirits. 

Beverly Therapists was founded in 2010 by Lisa Catania, LCSW; Pat Harthun, LCPC; and Jennifer Lara, LCPC. The practice now includes 16 therapists specializing in everything from individual therapy to LGBTQ support and hypnotherapy to music and art therapy.  

“Beverly Therapists became an opportunity to bring a group of therapists together to grow and improve their own practices and services, while serving the community,” Catania said. “We need to start within ourselves, our families, and communities to make change happen from the inside out.”  

The practice is founded on being heart-centered, and hopes to spread love, peace and understanding to unify a diverse community, a paraphrase of the group’s inclusivity and diversity statement. Beverly Therapists underwent a “mindful rebirth” in 2015, when the team declared an emphasis on inclusion and being a supportive element honoring, protecting and supporting diversity, according to Catania.  

“We believe in kindness, acceptance, and nurturing the unique independent person; we look for therapists who embrace all of those concepts,” Catania said. “Each of us believes in our own individual responsibility and growth, and we support each other in affirming, challenging, and productive ways. We strive to be present in the community and meet its diverse needs and have people feel that they are being represented.” 

For the past two years, Beverly Therapists has paid close attention to the LGBTQ community — particularly teens — within Beverly/Morgan Park and surrounding areas, offering a regular group session for teens who identify as LGBTQ or questioning. “This is the forefront of this community’s needs now; everyone has a right to be unique, recognized and supported, and that doesn’t always happen for certain groups of people on a societal level,” Catania said.  

Beverly Therapists spends a lot of time presenting each individual therapist to the community so potential clients can get a feel for who may be the best fit for their needs. Through videos on Facebook and lengthy bios on their website, potential clients can get a sense for the therapist’s personality. “The most important ingredient is connection; we want people to find a therapist that they can trust and be honest with, and who has the expertise to facilitate and guide growth,” Catania said. 

“We really do things very mindfully,” said Harthun. “We want to build a sense of community within and without. There’s so much potential for growth as a force of good in this city.” 

Monthly seminars are offered to anyone in the community, occurring one Saturday a month from Sept. to May and cost only $10 per session. “Our seminars reflect the different modalities of the therapists, as well as the interests we see in the community,” Catania said. “These classes are a stepping stone for people to feel more comfortable with the idea of mental wellness and improvement.”  

To find a therapist or stay up-to-date on monthly seminar offerings, visit BeverlyTherapists.com. 

O’Shea Named President of Special Olympics Chicago

Matt O’Shea has been named president of SCC/Special Olympics Chicago (SOC). O’Shea has served on the Board of Directors of SCC/Special Olympics Chicago since 2015. 

As president, which is a volunteer position, O’Shea will be responsible for overseeing the operations, fundraising efforts and corporate sponsorships to support Special Olympics Chicago programs and events. He will also be responsible for continuing to increase the awareness of the organization to the public, as well as assisting in recruiting new athletes and growing the program in the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District.  

O’Shea is the Alderman of the 19th Ward which is home to hundreds of athletes with disabilities who attend the Mt. Greenwood Park Special Recreation program and the Chicago Agricultural High School for the Sciences. O’Shea has been one of the top fundraisers for the Chicago Polar Plunge, the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, diving into the icy waters of Lake Michigan each March since the event began in 2000. He is also an avid runner, participating on the Special Olympics Chicago Marathon team for several years and in the Midway Fly Away 5K each September since it began five years ago.  

“I am truly honored to be appointed as president of this incredible organization that changes the lives of thousands of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, each and every day,” said O’Shea. “Special Olympics has been incredibly important to myself and my community over the last several decades. I have seen first-hand how the organization strives to provide memorable experiences for our athletes. As president, I will continue the work of my predecessors and will focus on doing what is in the best interest of our athletes.”  

More than 7,500 athletes are involved in the Special Olympics Chicago program. 

Special Olympics was founded in Chicago at Soldier Field on July 20, 1968, and has since become a world-wide organization with nearly five million athletes in over 170 countries. Last month, Chicago became the epicenter of a nearly week-long celebration in honor of the organization’s 50th Anniversary. Activities included the first-ever unified cup tournament, a star-studded concert featuring Chance The Rapper, a Global Day of Inclusion, and the dedication of a Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope at Soldier Field.
A lifelong 19th Ward resident, O’Shea lives in West Beverly with his wife Cara, and his children, Brigid, Patrick and Eileen.  

 

Cassandra Taylor: Entrepreneur, Mom and Youth Advocate

By Kristin Boza 

Beverly/Morgan Park resident Cassandra Taylor is a tenacious entrepreneur and founder of Just For Kids, a before and after school program that fills a much-needed childcare role in the community. Now entering its 13th year, Just For Kids expanded to include summer camp and school holiday programs to ensure kids have a safe and fun place to go when school is out of session and their parents are at work.  

Taylor began her career as a Chicago Public Schools teacher, but felt called to serve the community in other ways after her first child was born. “I greatly enjoyed my time teaching in the classroom, but it had always been my calling to do something on a larger scale that impacted youth,” she said. “Teaching does this, but it has boundaries. The sky is the limit when you are operating your own establishment.” 

After spending a lot of time in prayer, Taylor says God gave her the vision to develop an after school program. “I began to research the idea and speak with people in the industry in different states. Some local companies were discouraging as they stated ‘you’ll never be able to sustain serving school-aged children only.’ But it wasn’t, and still isn’t, about monetary gain for me. It’s about serving the community, helping other moms, and keeping children safe,” she said. 

Just For Kids officially opened in 2005, and moved to space in Morgan Park Baptist Church in 2006. Taylor was able to make a sustainable business when others thought it couldn’t be done. Community support has been integral to her success. “I am most thankful for the wonderful committee of Morgan Park Baptist Church; they are the most loving, supportive and caring group of people. The neighbors of the church have been so kind in supporting our youth program in the community. Ald. Matt O’Shea has been a fantastic leader and his office is amazing in their support,” she said. “Our children and parents at Just For Kids are family and we seek to be a home away from home for our families.” 

Aside from Just For Kids, Taylor has been a real estate investor in a family-owned business since 1999, and also owned and operated a literacy program for youth that she initiated in 1998. Now, she is working on a series of books that focus on spirituality and children. “The art and reflection that goes into writing requires a lot of time, prayer and solitude,” Taylor said. Yet she’s able to effectively balance her four children, plus her “kids” at Just For Kids.  

As a positive and spiritual individual, Taylor encourages other female entrepreneurs to keep looking at the glass as half full and surround themselves with positive people. “If it sometimes boils down to only you, that’s just fine. God needs personal time to work with you on what your assignment is. Stay focused. When one door closes, there are plenty of others that are available to open. Don’t beat yourself up when failures happen, they exist to make you stronger. This world is gigantic, take your dream where it’ll work for you and you for it!” 

To find out more about Just For Kids, call 773-747-6473 or visit JustForKidsLLC.com. 

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Open House Chicago features Beverly/Morgan Park

Beverly/Morgan Park will be among the city neighborhoods to be featured on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s prestigious Open House Chicago event this fall. It’s a huge, citywide event that will bring more than 1,000 visitors to tour several local sites on Sat., Oct. 13 and Sun., Oct. 14. 

Since 2011, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has organized Open House Chicago. CAF is a non-profit cultural institution that offers toursexhibitionsprograms, and events for all ages. CAF’s mission is to inspire people to discover why design matters. OHC is completely free-of-charge—no registration or tickets are needed.

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