This column describes how BAPA is fulfilling its mission of offering programs, services, and events in the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods.

Village Viewpoint

Dear Neighbors,

Happy Holidays! I want to start by saying thank you to all our board, staff, committees and BAPA members for all their efforts throughout the year. I know there are many demands on your resources, and I am grateful for your investment in our organization.

This is an awesome edition of The Villager — jammed with holiday fun for all ages!! Whether you are looking for a holiday concert, to pick up Christmas tree or schedule a visit with Santa, you don’t have to go too far!

The holidays are such a busy time of year, filled with family and friends but, most of all, a time when our community shines. Every day as I meet with different stakeholders and volunteers I am reminded of what a special place Beverly/ Morgan Park is to live and raise a family. And, while as the City of Chicago and, indeed, as a nation we are facing many critical issues from safety to economic prosperity, we, as a community, continue to grow and thrive. To me that is the best Christmas present one could ask for!

We are thankful for the investment from the community and the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust which awarded us a matching grant. That funding will allow BAPA to dedicate more programing in the important areas of education and safety — areas that have long been cornerstones of BAPA’s work in our community. We continue to empower our” back to basics” approach, guiding the staff and board to fulfill our mission to the residents and businesses every day!  We believe that today, BAPA membership is more meaningful than ever. With the BAPA Card, our members have incentives to shop local every day! (If you haven’t already made your 2016 BAPA membership donation, we hope you will! A membership envelope is inserted in this issue of The Villager.)

As we look forward to ringing in 2017 and the 70th anniversary of BAPA, we are grateful for support and wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

All the best,

Margot

Village Viewpoint

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

What a beautiful fall we have enjoyed! Warm weather and leaves STILL changing, it has been a perfect weather for soccer, football, pumpkin carving and all the other traditions that come with the fall season! I am often reminded of what a special neighborhood we have built here, but November is a time to be grateful for all the beauty and community that surrounds us! Thank you to all the neighbors and volunteers who contribute so much to make our Beverly/Morgan Park what it is today!

And there is lots to be thankful for over here at BAPA! With the support of our growing membership and continued partnership with neighborhood stakeholders, we are able to be the catalyst of change that our mission calls on us to be! It is exciting to be doing so much good work. All across the board we are fulfilling our mission! To foster investment in economic development, we hosted a wildly successful tour for commercial developers at the end of October. We welcomed 35 brokers, developers and retailers on a guided tour of our community, followed by a reception with community leaders and businesspersons. BAPA’s new education committee is off and running, and they will host an open community meeting Wed., Nov. 9, 7 p.m., I the BAPA Community Room. If you are interested in quality schools, please join us!

The success of our events provides BAPA with funds needed to complete community projects. Proceeds from Bikes and Brews funded new landscaping for the parkway on the north side of the 107th Street hill. Partnering with us on the project were the 19th Ward and Beacon Therapeutic Center. The hill looks BEAUTIFUL! Nothing makes working with this organization more fulfilling than the chance to make an impact right here where we live.  Every day we are seeing the positive impact that BAPA is having on Beverly/Morgan Park community – and for that we are SO THANKFUL!

The BAPA board and staff so appreciate the outpouring of support we received over the last few months in response to the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust $10,000 matching grant! We are thankful for the diverse and supportive membership committee who stepped up to help strengthen BAPA’s important role in the community.  Donations have exceeded the match and we thrilled about all the work we will be able to accomplish through this opportunity. THANK YOU!

As my grandmother would say, “There is no grass growing under our feet. “  In addition to all our work out in the community, the BAPA staff has been hard at work planning all kinds of fun for the coming weeks: MORE tree plantings through Openlands, our 2nd annual Tap Into BAPA pub crawl on Nov. 12 and our first annual Holliday Cookie Crawl on Dec. 3. Please look for details in this issue of The Villager! We are thankful for all support from the bar owners on Western for Tap into BAPA and to the local bakers and businesses participating in the Cookie Crawl – both events are sure to be lots of FUN!

All the Best,

Margot

Village Viewpoint

By Margot Holland, BAPA Executive Director

Dear Neighbors,

I hope this issue of The Villager finds you well and able to enjoy this beautiful fall season in our neighborhood. Our paper is jam-packed with fun activities, local business highlights and information to enjoy our thriving neighborhood.

First, all of us at BAPA want to thank the many residents and business owners who have responded to the matching grant awarded to BAPA by the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust. We are so humbled by your support and generosity, and we pledge to keep moving BAPA back to basics to keep our community strong.

Over the last several weeks the alderman’s proposal to reorganize area schools to address enrollment, overcrowding and pressing capital needs has dominated many conversations at the dinner table, at local school council meetings and on social media. At BAPA, we want to focus on what’s best for local students.

The BAPA staff and Board will continue to listen to the discourse and many perspectives regarding the school reorganization proposal and its potential impact on community residents and local school options. BAPA’s role is to consider the broadest impact of big decisions like this and how to best serve the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park community.  We also understand that passions run high when changes are proposed and recognize difficult decisions can sometimes lead to the best results.

BAPA supports that Alderman Matt O’Shea and Sen. Bill Cunningham are willing to address the issues that face our schools.

For 70 years BAPA has advocated for strong school options on behalf of our students and families – that will never change.

More information is needed before decisions are made that affect local schools.

We look forward to working closely with Ald. O’Shea, Sen. Cunningham, parents and school officials to keep our schools and community strong.

BAPA’s staff and leadership are committed to listening and advocating for our community as this conversation continues.

As a result of this proposal, BAPA has revived our education committee, and we are actively recruiting members.

We continue to define our role today and look back on success. In years past BAPA provided a residency resource for local schools. We feel that this should be a part of our education committee discussions and that, potentially, BAPA could resume this resource to ensure residency requirements at our neighborhood schools.

BAPA will administer the Parent Mentor Program at both Barnard and Esmond Schools, fostering parent involvement in the classrooms and providing teachers with extra resources to run their classrooms.

Please contact me at mholland@bapa.org if you are interested in joining the BAPA education committee.

All the Best, Margot

 

 

Village Viewpoint

Dear Neighbors,

Another Chicago summer has come and gone, and for many neighbors and families it’s time to get back into the routine of the school year. I’m not gonna lie, I have some mixed emotions about it all as we gear up for early mornings, lunch-packing, too many afterschool activities and homework instead of sunscreen, s’mores and babysitters! I am sure that before we know it we’ll be back in the swing of things, looking forward to football games, changing leaves and fall festivals.

We continue to be busy here at BAPA! We launched our fabulous new website, www.bapa.org after working for the last six months with local webmasters, Jim and Laurie Cleary to create, a better, faster and stronger online presence that will bring you all the newest and most relevant neighborhood information! It is truly a reflection of our beautiful community. Big thank you to Grace Kuikman for her hard work making this all come to fruition.

We continue to expand BAPA’s mission-driven programming by partnering with local schools, and recruiting for our Parent Mentor Program, beautification projects and weeding Wednesdays. In August, we held our first ever small business tour for high school age students from the Margaret Walsh Mercy Home for Girls.  Special thanks to local small business owners, Jamenda McCoy of Belle up and Rachel Bernei-Green of Laines Bake Shop for opening up their local business and sharing their small business stories.

But the BIGGEST news at BAPA is that we have received a matching grant, thanks to the generosity of the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust. The Trust will be matching dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000, doubling your donation and the positive impact it has on our neighborhood. Please join our membership committee and the other 1350 Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors in supporting BAPA. Help us meet the challenge by giving today!

Thank you for continued support of BAPA, I hope you enjoy this issue of The Villager and the change of seasons September brings!

All the Best,

Margot

P.S. Mark your calendars for our upcoming events: Tap into BAPA on Nov.12, and the NEW Cookie Crawl on Dec. 3! Get more information on our new website, www.bapa.org.

Village Viewpoint

Dear Neighbors,

First, I just want to say THANK YOU to the 3,000 neighbors and volunteers who came out to support and enjoy the Bikes and Brews festival and watch the 14th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic! We were overwhelmed by the attendance and so thankful to see so many neighbors out to enjoy a fun night in the neighborhood. We appreciate all the support from the 22nd District, 19th Ward, Beacon Therapeutic School, the breweries and food vendors.

Everywhere I go, neighbors and friends talk to me about all the changes at BAPA and how we are working so hard to revitalize the organization, the events and what it means to be a BAPA member – it’s more than just a donation, it’s an investment in our community.

It’s true we are working hard to revitalize BAPA but, in the process, we have learned that is can only be accomplished through true partnerships with neighborhood organizations.

Over the last year, we have partnered with many local organizations including the Mt. Greenwood Special Olympics chapter to support the athletes. We have been supporting the 95th Street Business Association to boost the Farmers Market on Sundays – the market is better than ever, showcasing quality vendors, entertainment, kids’ activities and much more! We have been organizing Weeding Wednesdays, continuing to keep beautification at the top of our priority list. We’re so pleased to give neighbors who want to help out an opportunity to join us!

Following the success of Bikes and Brews, we will continue to partner with Beacon Therapeutic School and the 19th Ward to revitalize 107th street hill and parkway.  We are proud to be the catalyst of change and know that it is only possible through these important partnerships.

Your support of BAPA events and membership is a true investment in our community. Thank you for all your continued support and encouragement! As our event season winds down we will be continuing to grow our program areas that make a difference in our schools, parks and local businesses.

In the meantime, I hope you are able to take long walks, runs or bike rides through our beautiful neighborhood, enjoying all the trees and gardens in full swing and saying hello to neighbors.

All the Best,

Margot  Holland