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‘Nice Chicks Making Masks’ Donates 10,000+ Masks to Underserved Communities 

By Kristin Boza 

Remember the beginning of the pandemic? The question “what can I do to help? permeated local Facebook groups. One group that emerged with the purpose of filling a need is Nice Chicks Making Masks. It began when one woman asked for fabric and elastic supply donations in the popular Beverly Free Box Facebook group. When she experienced some pushback, she declared, “Look, I’m just a nice chick with a sewing machine that wants to help people.” And soon, a movement that now includes approximately 100 nice chicks was born. 

Lauren Skerrett, one of the founding members, said the group started early in the pandemic, before masks were widely known to be essential for everyone out in public. “People in the group said they were receiving requests from first responders asking for help with masks. Initially, we provided masks for free to first responders who were dealing with the pandemic without any PPE, and our masks were better than nothing,” she said.  

Skerrett herself has made close to 2,000 masks since March, and she can complete about 10 masks in an hour. By the end of October, more than 10,000 masks have been donated to local police and fire departments, hospitals, the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, Mothers Against Senseless Killings, Mercy Home, Misericoridathe Free Store (hosted by 19th Ward Mutual Aid, Turpin Cares, and BAPA) and other organizations that aid underserved populations. 

No money is accepted for the masks, and the Nice Chicks who are sewing use their own supplies with additional support from friends or the Beverly Free Box group. They make masks in four sizes: toddler, kid, teen/women, and men to ensure a good fit.  

Skerrett makes sure to buy kid-friendly fabrics and other fashionable patterns. “This is one way to show that this mask is made with love; someone loves you and cares about you even if they don’t know who you are,” she said. 

“This has been a shining light during the pandemic. The Nice Chicks are seriously some of the nicest people I have ever met. It’s really heartwarming to know that there are so many people in the neighborhood who want to help other people,” Skerrett said. 
 

Pandemic Preparedness: Redefining Your Organizational Routine 

 

By Kristin Boza 

There are many tough aspects to the pandemic; adhering to a routine is one of them. Between lack of sleep, virtual schooling and working from home, or juggling hybrid schooling and workplace schedules, most households have been living in survival mode. Now that school is back in session, businesses are opening up even more, and people are navigating the new normal, it’s time to take a tough look at life at home to ensure it’s running smoothly. 

  1. Colleen Klimczakis a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Professional Organizing, LLC. In the 17 years at the helm of her business, Klimczak has seen people become more aware of the need for organized spaces as a means of empowerment in their daily lives 

With many families with school age children doing remote learning or homeschooling this fall, Klimczak sees how new routines are being tested.  

“In any household, the basic needs don’t change,” Klimczak said. “The kids still need food before class, no matter where class is held. They need showers and clean clothes. Routines will help smooth the way for the family during each section of their day.” 

Transition periods, which are the time between each activity, benefit most from routine. “If something is going to go wrong, it’ll be during your transition time,” Klimczak said. “When you can’t find the car keys or the Chrome book charger or your mask, it can be a problem. Identify these the transition times in your day and ensure you have what you need before you need it.” 

To establish a routine, Klimczak advises the following: 

Identify where and when things might go awry.  

When these timeframes are identified, planning ahead can solve problems before they happen. For example, Klimczak advises her clients to create landing/launch pads. These are essential spaces in a home where you’ll always be able to find keys, masks, or other important items when you need them. This gives everyone in the family, even the kids, the structure to always know where to put – or land – essential items, and where to find what they need in order to “launch” to their next task 

Determine who is involved in transition times.  

Sit down with the family and help everyone identify their role during each transition period. For example, if you child always forgets their band instrument, give them the task of ensuring it is at the launch pad each night so it’s ready to go in the morning.  

“One roadblock for many people is redefining what put away means. Instead of putting a soccer uniform away in a drawer after it’s laundered, put it in back in the gym bag by the door,” Klimczak said. “Get used to this being defined as ‘away’ since this shirt needs to leave the house and it won’t help you if it’s left behind in a drawer.” 

Always be a routine ahead.  

Think about the morning routine before going to bed the night before, and think about what afternoon you needs in the morning to prepare for what’s coming 

“This way of thinking doesn’t mean you aren’t present in the moment. Instead, it prepares you for the next transition time. Walk through your day tonight and look ahead to remember whether you have everything you need to leave the house in the morning. Being nice to future me is a good thing,” she said. 

Manage your space. 

Especially now when dining room tables are likely used for school or work, be sure to declutter the space before it transitions to a dinner table or family game night space.  

“I recommend getting a desk blotter that can easily be scooped up when school is over. Find a place for these items to live when they’re not in use in order to keep the dining room table as a gathering space,” Klimczak said.  

For even more helpful organizational tips, sign up for Peace of Mind’s weekly newsletter filled with information to bolster organizing skills and motivation to get started. Visit PeaceOfMindPO.com to find out more, or text Peace of Mind to 22828. 

AND Provides Critical Support to Domestic Violence Clients 

By Kristin Boza 

A New Direction (AND) is the only domestic violence organization in Beverly/Morgan Park. Their mission is to provide counseling, education, support, and advocacy to those affected by domestic violence and to provide confidential counseling and advocacy services at no charge 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, AND staff has seen nearly double the number of clients compared to the same period last year, according to Jessica McCarihan, AND Executive Director. 

“We’ve moved our services to serve our clients virtually and we’ve had to adapt to what that means for our clients,” McCarihan said. “There’s some loss of intimacy by not being able to be in the same room as them; however, our clients are still receiving a great level of service and many find it easier to ask for help when they can do so over the phone versus inperson meetings.” 

While AND does not have a crisis line, McCarihan noted that the organization has had to move to more of a 24/7 model in order to accommodate clients who may have difficulty in getting away from their abuser to make a call. With more people staying at home, both during and after shelter-in-place orders, many more people are spending more time than usual with their abusers.  

Since services are available free-of-charge to those in need, AND relies heavily on fundraising support to fulfill its mission and keep people within the Beverly/Morgan Park communities safe. Like all other big events, AND’s annual October gala will be cancelled this year; this event provided a large portion of AND’s operating budget.  

“We are looking for ways to make up the loss of our annual event, and we really need the support from the community to help us continue to fulfill our essential mission as we enter into our tenth year of supporting this community,” McCarihan said.  

People are encouraged to stay tuned to AND’s Facebook and Instagram @ANDBMP to learn how to support the organization. 

“Domestic violence during lockdown was very hard and we’re helping more people than ever. We need the community’s support, and we are extremely grateful for it,” McCarihan said. 

If you need help, reach out to AND by calling 773-253-7226 to speak to an advocate. 

To make a donation to AND’s essential services, visit ANewDirectionBMP.org. 

 

 

Virtual Grief Group  

 

Heather Beth Duke, an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with the Relationship Store, hosts a free virtual Grief Group via Zoom to help people through the loss of a loved one.  Duke will help people navigate through the pain of loss and learn how to miss them while still living their lives.  Anyone 21 years and older is free to join every other Wednesday starting Sept. 9. Pre-register via email , hdukerelationshipstore@gmail.com or call 312-869-2540. 

 

Don’t Wait to Get Medical Care

It’s been reported in publications from the LA Times to the Washington Post: As many as one third of Americans are delaying medical care because they are afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus. The result it that people could become seriously ill or even die not from the virus, but from leaving critical medical conditions undiagnosed or untreated.

Experts at OSF Healthcare Little Company of Mary Medical Center, 2800 W. 95th St., are assuring people it’s safe to visit the hospital for emergency treatment and regular medical care.

“We want to make sure that our community feels comfortable coming to Little Company of Mary Medical Center. Our emergency department is clean. It is roomy so there is enough room to separate patients. It is safe for you to seek the care that you need. It is very important that you feel comfortable coming if you think you have a serious problem,” said Bill Walsh, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center.

Dr. Walsh encourages community members who are experiencing symptoms that may signal a serious health issue to seek care as soon as possible in the closest emergency department.

People in need of emergency care can be confident that the OSF Little Company of Mary Emergency Room is a clean environment that more than meets safety guidelines. Recent ER renovations include social distancing and protective barriers in waiting rooms and new treatment rooms that are now separated by glass walls and doors instead of curtains. All coronavirus protections are being used including plenty of PPE for the staff.

“As we get closer to our new normal and realizing what that looks like, the importance of self-care and preventative health care services is coming back to the front of mind for many of our patients and our community members. As we look towards ‘how do we better serve during that time,’ one of the features that we have brought back online is scheduling online at your convenience,” said Kate Eschbach, MHA, RT(R)(MR)(CT), Director, Medical Imaging & Cardiology, OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center.

OSF Little Company of Mary has made it easy to schedule appointments and save time on updating paperwork.

“We are very excited to bring online scheduling as an opportunity for our patients to book their mammo online for screening services,” said Eschbach, adding that “the entire process takes a total of five clicks.” According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the goal of screening mammography is to find cancer when it is still too small to be felt by breast self-examination or your doctor. Finding small breast cancers early by a screening mammogram greatly improves the chance for successful treatment.

Appointments for mammograms, sports physicals and back-to-school physicals can be made online to osflittlecompanyofmary.org. Click on the banner for the kind of appointment you need to be directed to scheduling, or sign up for the OSF MyChart app and create an account that can help you manage all of your appointments, communications with your physician, and follow-ups. OSF MyChart can easily be accessed on cell phones.

By scheduling online, patients can also complete any paperwork or questionnaires that need to be supplied or updated.

People who are considering elective surgeries are encouraged to move forward. OSFL Little Company of Mary has offerings this option since mid-May. All patients must be tested for COVID-19 before their surgery.

OSF monitors everyone coming into its hospitals while maintaining physical distancing in waiting areas. The focus remains on the best interest of a patient’s health overall.

 

Local Medical Center Offers New, State-of-the-Art Imaging System 

 

OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center, 2800 W. 95th St., has a new, interventional radiology suite, becoming one of only a handful of centers in the nation to offer the state-of-the-art imaging system. The system combines two types of imaging technology, CT and fluoroscopy, in one single machine, which shortenprocedure times and requires fewer trips to the hospital for patients. 

For many years, surgery was the only treatment available for many conditions. Today, many conditions can be treated by interventional radiologists who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments, combining diagnostic and clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-rays, CT and/or ultrasound, and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease internally. 

Treatments offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery and are first-line care for a wide variety of conditions. It can be used to freeze and destroy cancer cells, remove blood clots, cauterize and close abnormal veins, fix spinal fractures, insert and fix dialysis catheters, and drain pockets of infection inside the body. Additional areas that interventional radiology can treat include: deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, gastrointestinal issues, uterine fibroids, pain management and more. 

It deals with almost every body system and you use the technology to solve problems that we couldn’t solve before and provide treatment options that we couldn’t before, explained Dr. Hamid Nazeer, medical director of interventional radiology, OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center. During the peak of the pandemic, in order to keep everybody safe and to get certain measures in place, we were only performing critical and urgent procedures. Now we’re offering every other procedure that we have here, and we can do it in a very safe way.” 

As OSF HealthCare brings back online elective procedures that had been curtailed or cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to take extra measures to ensure the highest level of patient safety. 

 

News from OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center 

 

OSF HealthCare and Smith Village Offer Grief Support
Two of the Southland’s leading sponsors of adult support groups  OSF HealthCare and Smith Village  are joining forces to offer a free six-week adult bereavement program available via Zoom, Wednesdays, July 15 through Aug. 19, 1 p.m. 

Each week, the hour-long sessions dealing with the loss of a relative, friend or close colleague will be led by three experts: Chaplain Dennis Shelton and social worker Jessica Allison MSW, both of OSF HealthCare, and Diane Morgan, Smith Village social service director of long-term care. 

“Deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic have touched many more people than in normal times,” said Allison. “We thought addressing this topic from three points of view would be greatly beneficial to survivors.”  

The first meeting will focus on the grieving process.  

The sessions will be presented via Zoom, a video conferencing platform that can be accessed on computers or mobile telephones. To download the software, go to https://zoom.en.softonic.com/?ex=MOB-575.6. 

Pre-registration is required to participate in the weekly sessions. To register contact Jessica Allison, 708-229-6913 or jessica.n.allison@osfhealthcare.org. The meeting ID and password needed to participate will be provided.  

OSF HealthCare is an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. The OSF HealthCare Ministry includes 14 hospitals throughout Illinois and Michigan. Smith Village is a life plan community in Beverly/Morgan Park.  

 

 

OSF Healthcare Little Company of Mary Names New President 

OSF HealthCare has named Kathleen Kinsella president of OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Evergreen Park.  

Kinsella has served as the hospital’s chief operating officer since 2018 where she was responsible for operational issues with a focus on safety and positive clinical outcomes for patients. She was instrumental in facilitating the successful transition of Little Company of Mary to OSF HealthCare in February.  

Kinsella has more than 30 years of health care experience in ambulatory and hospital medicine consulting and implementing solutions for operational, financial, quality and regulatory issues in varied professional environments. She received her Bachelor of Science in occupational health and safety education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a Master of Science in health care administration from the University of St. Francis.  

“Kathleen is a shining example of our Mission to serve with the greatest care and love and I am thrilled to welcome her into her new role as president of OSF Little Company of Mary,” said AJ Querciagrossa, chief executive officer, Metro Region, OSF HealthCare.  

Kinsella takes over for John Hanlon, MD, who is retiring after a nearly 40-year career, the last two years as president of OSF Little Company of Mary. The transition will be effective July 10.  

 

 

History Mystery Bike Adventure 

More Mystery, More Adventure & More Fun for the Whole Family 

As most community events are being cancelled, BAPA is bringing back a retooled, social distancing-friendly version of its popular History Mystery Bike Tour. An exciting way to see the neighborhood, harness sleuthing skills, and get in some active outdoor time with family and friendsnew History Mystery Bike Adventure offers four all new puzzle-solving challenges with some updates, prizes and family-friendly options.  

In its heyday, the History Mystery Tour was held as a one-day family focused biking event, coupled with food and music. For the new version, people will participate on their own using clues and maps printed in The Villager starting this month and available on BAPA’s website.   

As many residents take to the streets on two wheels to enjoy the warmer weather and stay active, the resurrected History Mystery Bike Adventure is an option for families to add some fun to their rides and discover new routes in the community. It is just one of multiple BAPA alternative events being held this summer that allow residents to practice social distancing, but still get out and participate in a community-wide activity 

The new History Mystery Bike Adventure starts pedaling in West Beverly. Every month through September, the series will take residents to a new area of the neighborhood to solve clues using the printed map in that month’s Villager and at www.bapa.org 

Clues will cover a wide range of topics specific to each area of the neighborhood. From architecture and history, to local businesses and everyday sights, residents can spend the summer discovering everything that makes the Beverly/Morgan Park community so unique.  

Once participants have completed the clues, they will be able to solve the History Mystery puzzle. Each month, completed puzzle answercan be submitted to BAPA via email (bapa@bapa.org) with the subject line History Mystery to be qualified for prizes for that month. Prize winners will be randomly selected from the correct puzzle answers received, one entry per family pleaseFuture adventures will take residents to East Beverly in July, North Beverly in August, and Central Beverly in September. 

BAPA encourages bicyclists to always practice bike safety and etiquette when riding. For more tips and recommendations on how to bike safely in our community, check out Bike Safety Information. To get started on the first History Mystery Bike Adventure of the summer, find your map and list of clues here. Good luck! 

Although you won’t be able to win any prizes, you can still get out and explore the neighborhood with the previous months bike maps and clue sheets here: June, July, August, September

 

CORE Fitness Redefines Postpartum 

By Kristin Boza 

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy, 2940 W. 95th St., is known for its wide range of offerings in Pilates and physical therapy, all in an effort to help strengthen the core and promote overall health and well-being. 

An essential part of CORE’s philosophy is to promote women’s health at all stages of life, particularly addressing the changes that occur after a pregnancy.  

“I like to think once postpartum, always postpartum,” said Cathriona Fey, Women’s Health Fitness Specialist at CORE, with certifications in pre/postnatal care. “The changes that are required of our bodies to carry and birth children can impact our deep core and how we move for the rest of our lives.”  

From a fitness approach, CORE’s prenatal and postnatal classes are geared toward helping women feel stronger and more connected to their bodies. “Our goal is that they can return to their regular exercise routine more confident and supported, armed with these essential techniques to train safely and more effectively postpartum,” Fey said. “Postpartum recovery started during pregnancy and a lot of the techniques we teach can prevent common postpartum issues, like incontinence, diastasis recti, low back pain, prolapse, and more.” 

Issues like pelvic pain, painful intercourse, urge incontinence, and post-surgical therapies can be treated through physical therapy and fitness classes at CORE. Even if insurance doesn’t cover physical therapy, women can find help through the fitness classes, or they can graduate to the fitness classes after completing a physical therapy program. All classes are designed to provide a safe and effective full-body workout while promoting a functional and stronger core.  

“It’s so important to shed light on women’s health therapy and pelvic floor therapy because it’s not usually talked about,” said Terri McCabe, Studio Manager at CORE. “Most women experience issues at some point, and these issues are related to pregnancy and deliveryFor us culturally, we’re sent home from the hospital without a prescription for physical therapy and told to ‘just rest.’ If we were given the proper tools and rehabilitation opportunities or therapeutic interventions immediately following labor and delivery, we may not have issues feeling out of alignment or offbalance years later.” 

CORE Fitness and Physical Therapy is in the insurance network for BCBS PPO, and they also accept self-pay and workman’s comp individuals. Since physical therapy is an essential service during the shelter-in-place orders, CORE is able to see these patients; telehealth appointments are also available. Online fitness classes are available for a drop-in price of $10 per class; register online at CoreFitnessPT.com. 

Safe Crossings and Emptier Streets Add to Local Bikeability 

By Kristin Boza 

Bike riding in an urban community is challenging; often, only the most experienced riders will even attempt to bike down a major thoroughfare like Western Avenue. However, promoting walkability and bikeability is essential to bringing even more traffic to small businesses in Beverly/Morgan Park — without the polluting effects of cars.  

UrbanMain is one organization seeking to find ways to encourage walking and biking on Western through a grant to the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business AssociationSeveral local organizations, businesses and individuals are working on ideas to spur economic vitality in our community along Western Avenue.  

Beverly/Morgan Park resident Anne Alt is committed to working with UrbanMain on initiatives to attract more bike and foot traffic and generate more ideas for businesses that can fill the low-activity gaps on Western 

“Part of the potential for this project is encouraging people to visit businesses on Western by walking or biking,” Alt said. “I’ve been working on ideas for better pedestrian and bike access, and event ideas for promoting non-car visits to businesses there. If we improve some crossings with treatments like median refuge island and curb bumpouts, that could encourage more people to visit destinations on Western without getting into cars. Businesses could serve more customers with less parking.” 

While riding and walking down Western is great for local businesses, alternate routes are needed that keep biking families with young kids safe in transitAlt recommends a few alternative bike routes that let families stretch their legs, get some much-needed fresh air and exercise, and avoid traffic and stay safe as much as possible while traveling to their destinations: 

For east-west routes, 91st, 100th, and 109th Streets are quiet and easy for families to follow the rules of the road. 

Wood, Hoyne and Bell are quieter north-south street alternatives to Longwood and Prospect. 

Leavitt has stop signs and traffic lights which make is useful for crossing major streets, though it’s not ideal for little kids because of the amount of traffic it attracts, particularly between 94th and 99th Streets.   

West of Western gets challenging, since many streets are one-way and change direction in inconvenient locations.   

Above all, Alt stresses that families adhere to general bike safety rules, no matter what roads they travel on: 

Ride with the flow of traffic. Drivers are not expecting people to be riding at them in their lane, particularly at intersections or driveways. This opens up the potential for accidents. 

Use a mirror attached to handlebars, helmet or glasses to see what’s coming behind you. Don’t be shy — wave at cars coming up behind you to ensure they see you in their lane. 

Use reflectors. While bike lights are a part of Illinois law, be sure to also use reflectors and reflective bands on your ankles. This combination increases your visibility and makes it obvious to oncoming drivers that you’re riding a bike.  

In Illinois, one important bike law to follow is to affix a white, front-facing headlight and a red rear-facing reflector or light to your bike. This makes the rider visible from at least 500 feet when used at night.  

Use hand signals to alert drivers to your direction changes. Learn more about hand signals at CyberDriveIllinois.com. 

Find out more about Illinois bike laws at BikeLaw.com.