BAPA residential member profiles

Grace and Sid Hamper Will Receive BAPA Community Service Award 

By Grace Kuikman 

For the past three decades, Sid and Grace Hamper have been tireless stewards of one of Beverly/Morgan Park’s most cherished institutions, the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association (VAA) collection of 19th and 20th century American art. As lovers of art and their community, the Hampers have committed their outstanding time and talents in abundance, Sid as treasurer, president and now president emeritus, and Grace as a volunteer and curator.     

For their dedication to the Vanderpoel Art Association, the Hampers will be presented with the BAPA Community Service Award at the Beverly Area Planning Association annual Donor Recognition Reception on Thurs., Nov. 14. The by-invitation-only reception also honors BAPA donors giving at levels of $500 and up, and this year will be held in the John H. Vanderpoel Gallery at Ridge Park  

The Hampers were recruited to the VAA through a friend, the late George Ralston, who recognized the talents that the couple possessed and the Association needed.  Ralston was right: the Hampers’ dedication to the VAA has been unmatched.  

Grace, who always had an interest in the arts, joined VAA in 1989, once the couples’ four children were grown. Grace summed up her experience with the VAA as “years of joy.” Through her work at the gallery, she has helped to curate the art, prepare exhibits and help wherever she has been needed. “I’ve met lots of interesting people from the art world,” she said.  

Sid joined the VAA in 1992, following his retirement from a successful career at the Chicago Board of Trade and as a lawyer in private practice. He was a teenager when he started working as a runner at the CBOT, and in the early 1950s became a trader. He is still a CBOT member and served ten years as a director. In 1958, Sid earned a law degree. In addition to this career as a trader, he opened a law practice with partner. He specialized in wills, probate, commodities and security law, and as a qualified trade advisor. Conveniently, the law office was located in the CBOT building.  

Sid’s expertise in finance and law were pivotal in raising funds needed to protect the Vanderpoel Art Association collection in perpetuity. He cultivated donors whose generous gifts made it possible to provide for the future of the collection and to underwrite important art conservation efforts, including the cleaning and restoration of about 30 art works. The VAA continues to preserve art, working with top quality art restorers.  

The outstanding art collection is named for Dutch-born artist John H. Vanderpoel who lived in North Beverly while teaching at the School of the Art Institute. Following the artist’s death in 1911, community residents took up a collection and purchased Vanderpoel’s painting “The Buttermakers.” In 1914 the painting was placed in Vanderpoel School as a tribute to the artist for whom the school – and the street where it’s located — was named. It was later decided that a memorial collection of works would be an even better honor. Vanderpoel was beloved by his students, many of whom were eager to donate their works to the collection.  

Many of the paintings in the collection were donated by artists or owners. “A lot of the paintings were in people’s homes,” Sid said. He explained that the first curator of the collection – John Campbell – would write to Chicago area artists asking them to donate pieces of their work. And they did. Paintings, drawings and sculpture arrived at Ridge Park. The file of Campbell’s correspondence documenting this fascinating aspect of the gallery’s history still exists.  

When the collection had grown too large to be housed in the school’s gallery, a new wing was built on the Ridge Park field house, creating a permanent home for the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association collection.  The collection of what is now more than 600 19th and 20th century works by American artists also grew in reputation. Counted among the artists are Mary Cassatt, Maxfield Parrish, Grant Wood, Daniel Chester French and Vanderpoel, whose work, “The Buttermakers,” is still on display. 

At the gallery almost every day for many years, Sid also dedicated important time to research and myriad other important tasks that illuminate, protect and benefit the art collection Many people – from the community and beyond – recognize the Hampers as the faces of the Vanderpoel collection. In fact, when Chicago Magazine profiled the Vanderpoel Gallery Feb. 2018, Grace and Sid Hamper were interviewed and appeared in the photograph.  

At age 88, the couple is no longer in the Ridge Park gallery every day, but they remain involved as tremendous resources and keepers of the collection’s history.  

“Grace and Sid Hamper have shown an extraordinary and steadfast commitment to the care and preservation of the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association’s art collection,” said Irene Testa, current VAA President. “Their leadership has been crucial to the success of the organization.  We are profoundly grateful for their efforts to preserve this valuable art collection for posterity.” 

For information on how to support BAPA at the Community Support Circle and higher levels, contact BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood, 773-233-3100.  

  We’re BAPA Members. Are You? 

 

Terrence, Grayson and Carla Herr 

We are BAPA members because we believe that BAPA is the foundation of the neighborhood.  They are the eyes and ears of Beverly.  If we have questions or concerns, need a trade referral or have suggestions on community improvement, they are there to help.  BAPA supports the community in so many ways and we enjoy supporting the activities they arrange.  The Cookie Crawl is one of our favorites but we like that there are a variety of events ranging from family friendly events to adult only events.  We love that the activities highlight the wonderful businesses in the area.  We have discovered so many gems through these activities.  BAPA has also been a wonderful partner in supporting the individual clubs we are involved in.  Thanks BAPA for all you do! 

 

Third times the charm!

By Talie Leeb 

It may be an old saying, and a trite one at that, but for Ayanna McClain, an 8th grader at Christ the King School, the third time really was the charm.  

Ayanna, an outside hitter for both Christ the King and Chicago Elite’s club volleyball team, had dreamed about attending the Girls Future Select camp for years, ever since a teammate told her about the program, but it seemed like it wasn’t to be.  The first year she tried out she was cut during tryouts, and then when she did earn a spot the second year she wasn’t able to attend after scheduling conflicts arose.  But this year, she finally made it, and Ayanna was on her way to Nashville.  

The Girls Future Select program is an elite training program for young volleyball players across the country, an offshoot of USA Volleyball.  Each summer thousands of girls tryout for the chance to participate in the five day camp that bills itself as an opportunity to advance in the US National Team pipeline.  

For Ayanna, the high level of play and competition was new but, “it was comforting, took my mind off the fact that I was being evaluated, she said. 

At camp Ayanna and the other players followed a strict routine: warmups and drilling skills like passing, hitting, blocking and serving in the morning, a break for lunch, then classes on motivation and nutrition, followed by more drills and scrimmages.  

“I wasn’t used to that level of competition, but it was good competition” Ayanna said.  “Physically, knowing that I just played against girls from all over the country was huge, skillwise I improved, but also I figured it really helped mentally.”  For Ayanna, that mental aspect was the biggest part of improving her game.  

As she is starting the new school year and a new season of volleyball, Ayanna said that everything about camp — the intense drilling, the atmosphere, the new friends — was exactly what she needed to up her game, and that she can’t wait to go back next summer. 

GraceNotes Entertain those in Need 

By Kristin Boza 

You may be familiar with the GraceNotesa group has played many eventin Beverly/Morgan Park (and the surrounding suburbs) over the last ten years, including the 95th Street Farmers’ Market, the Beverly Art Walk, and events at Little Company of Mary Hospital. What started as a group of Lesson Factory music students coming together to practice has turned into a group with aspirations to hone their craft and bring musical joy to their audiences — all while becoming great friends in the process.  

The core six members of the group are Tina Gluschenko (vocals, tin whistle), Colleen Healy (banjo, bodhran), Diane Lofquist (hammered dulcimer), Susan McCarthy (guitar, arrangements, booking contact), Joan Radtke (violin) and Kathleen Tangel (accordian). 

“The name GraceNotes was selected because, musically, a grace note is a type of ornamentation used in Celtic-style music, and ‘grace’ refers to our early performances and association with two Beverly churches,” said McCarthy. “The band is a hobby for us, but one that contributes in a special way in each of our lives.” 

While the band is often seen around the neighborhood, there is a very special group of listeners that they love to play for, people in the hospital or other long-term care facility.  

[It’s in hospitals] where you see the true power and magic of music,” said Gluschenko. “When nurses tell you that someone who hasn’t come to any social events or who has been depressed came out of their room to listen . . . it’s powerful and rewarding to play in these environments.”  

Radtke agrees. “Listening to them sing their hearts out to a tune they knew in their youth is precious, she said. And, just as often, the GraceNotes are touched just as deeply as the patients and elderly people in the audience. “The music uniquely touches and heals each of us as performers and helps us escape, too,” said Lofquist. 

After performing in more than 100 settings, the band has its repertoire set down. From sing-a-longs to Celtic music to Christmas tunes, the band is able to ensure their audience is engaged and in the spirit. “Our unique sound comes from the blend of instruments, the interweaving of parts, and our enthusiasm for sharing music with lovely audiences,” McCarthy said.  

“I am grateful for each and every opportunity to share the gift of music,” Healy said. “I believe music uniquely touches the emotional life of each audience member and enables the audience to escape from their everyday circumstances for a short time. That’s powerful healing!” 

The group noted that the best compliment they ever received was from a caregiver who said You guys were great, no one fell asleep!  

Clearly, the impact of this musical group has gone far to bring some moments of joy to everyone they play for. 

To book or attend a performance, follow the GraceNotes at Facebook.com/GraceNotesJam. 

Climbing for Parkinson’s: Chris Vodicka Takes on Challenge 

By Kristin Boza 

Chris Vodicka comes from an extremely competitive family, so it’s no surprise that he and his brother, Zach, decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise much-needed money for research supporting Parkinson’s disease. Their father, Bob, was diagnosed with the debilitating and progressive disease in 2014.  

The Mt. Kilimanjaro climb is sponsored through the Michael J Fox Foundation; the Vodicka brothers are each tasked with raising $10,000 for the foundation to support Parkinson’s research.  

“My dad’s always been an adventurous person. Growing up was all about the outdoors and competing with one another,” Vodicka said. “My dad always wanted to climb Mt. Everest, and he loves reading about it and watching documentaries about it. Everest is a really technical climb, though; after hearing about the Michael J Fox Foundation support of a Mt. Kilimanjaro climb — and the fact that it is more of a very strenuous hike than a technical climb — we knew we had to do it.” 

Vodicka and his wife, Jessica, grew up in the northwest suburbs and moved to Beverly/Morgan Park after spending a glorious day at the South Side Irish Parade in 2009. Now with three children, Anna5, Max3, and Saachi,1, the entire family is getting involved in the fundraising efforts. “The kids are so excited that I’m doing this. They had a lemonade and cookie stand and raised $350!” Vodicka said. “Raising money has been a huge thing for our whole family.” 

Bob has been doing really well, although his extremely athletic lifestyle has changed. “He has slowed down, but thankfully his deterioration has been slower than others with Parkinson’s,” Vodicka said. “They say that ‘if you’ve met one person with Parkinson’s, you’ve met one person with Parkinson’s.’ It affects everyone differently. My dad has maintained a positive attitude and realized his limitations as they’ve come. He sets daily goals for himself and makes sure he approaches every day with a good attitude and making the most of every minute he has.” 

To prepare for the intense trek on Aug. 8 through 13, Vodicka has relied on nearly constant activity, like wearing a 20-pound weighted vest when doing normal daily activities, to get used to walking around with a heavy pack. He’s also run multiple marathons, so he’s used to putting his body through intense training.  

With three young kids at home, Vodicka has had to get creative with his workouts, like getting up at 4:30 a.m. to get a run in. “I’ve been running with the Running Excels group runs; Bev Lynch has been phenomenal in the amount of support and encouragement she’s given me,” he said. “My brother and I have a trip planned to Starved Rock to test our gear and spend the full day hiking up and down.” 

As far as the actual summit, Vodicka and his teammates will slowly hike to get acclimated to the altitude. It will take six days to get to the summit. “On day six, we have dinner and sleep for about four hours. At midnight, we get up and pack and start the trek to the summit. Summit day will be at least 16 hours with the intention of hitting the summit at sunrise,” he said. “Then, we book it down the mountain in two days.” There’s a good chance he and the team will need oxygen tanks, and they have the support of experienced porters to help them with their gear and getting the team from camp to camp. 

“We have to prepare for each season; we’ll start in about 80-degree weather at base camp, and at the summit we’re expecting it to be anywhere from -20 degrees to +20 degrees,” Vodicka said. “So, we need to haul a lot of different gear with us to prepare for rain, snow, extreme freezing, and slugging through marshes.” 

To donate to Vodicka’s quest to raise $10,000, there’s still time; head to https://Fundraise.MichaelJFox.org/Climb-Mt-Kilimajaro-2019/ChrisVodicka 

“The great thing is that all donations will go directly to Parkinson’s research; there’s no overhead. It’s heartwarming to know that support for Parkinson’s disease is out there,” Vodicka said. “There are so many people you can talk to if you have difficulties with this disease.” 

Why We Moved to Beverly – Danielle and Brad Cain 

By Kristin Boza 

House hunting is hard, especially when there are so many great areas of the city and nearby suburbs to check out. For Danielle and Brad Cain, Beverly/Morgan Park wasn’t on their initial radar, but once they spent some time in the community, they quickly realized the neighborhood can’t be beat. 

“The first time we came here, Danielle said ‘I’ll never move here, it’s so far from everything’,” Brad, a marketing executive at a software company, said. “Then we looked at just one house and she was convinced this was the place to live in. I think a lot of people don’t know about Beverly, which is crazy because it’s just a gorgeous, hidden gem of a neighborhood.” 

For Danielle, a registered nurse at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, the distance from downtown where she and Brad both work, was an initial concern. However, the neighborhood had an added draw of being near their families in the south suburbs, which was appealing as they were expecting their first baby at the time. The Cains moved in in February and welcomed baby Edie on Mar. 31. 

“Living in Beverly has been better than we could have thought,” Danielle said. “Everyone’s been so nice and there’s so many families around, which is nice to see.” Their realtor, Michele Pettiford, made sure the Cains saw every nook and cranny of Beverly/Morgan Park and shared information about — and visits to! — the community’s restaurants, small businesses and events with the couple. 

The Cains truly felt welcomed by the genuine friendliness of the community, especially when neighbors they barely know dropped off food after their daughter was born. “We’re really impressed and overwhelmed by kindness and the sense of community here,” Danielle said.  

 

Crashes, Stories and Scars: Conine Ready to Ride in Beverly Hills Cycling Classic

By Grace Kuikman

When the riders in the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic line up for the Masters’ race on Fri., July 19, Beverly/Morgan Park neighbor Dr. Brandon Conine will be making his debut in criterium racing. How does Conine manage to switch gears from his demanding job as an Emergency Room physician at Metro South Hospital and busy family man and father of two to a demanding training schedule for an elite cycling event that draws rides from around the globe?

It seems like he’s as adaptable as he is hardworking.

Conine and his wife, Maura Conine, owner of Capsule Chicago clothing store on Walden Parkway, have two sons, Liam, 5, who just finished kindergarten at St. Barnabas and will start 1st grade at Sutherland in the fall, and Jude, 3, who will be enrolling in preschool in the fall.

The whole family bikes, just for fun and to get to neighborhood destinations like Maura’s store and out to dinner. But Brandon has taken riding to a higher level – that level is known as Cat 3.

Race categories are set by USA Cycling determine the events for which competitors qualify. The lower the category the higher the qualification. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic stages Cat 1, 2, 3 races — the highest levels.

Conine started out riding for enjoyable exercise toward the end medical school. “The Tour de France or something like it must have been going on because I thought I’d like to give [cycling] a try.”

When he moved to Ohio for a four-year residency in Emergency Room Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, Conine found friends to bike with and started on his way to becoming an avid rider. He and Maura, who grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park, moved to Chicago four years ago. Following the move, Conine changed his focus from cycling as a sociable form of exercise to training for and competing in races.  He has competed in more than 100 racing events. “It’s a lot of fun if you’re doing it well,” he said with a smile.

Motivated by the change in the race course for BAPA’s Beverly Hills Cycling Classic last year that now brings the racers zooming past his house, Conine decided to work hard to meet one of his goals: to qualify as a Cat 3 rider and participate in the Classic.

The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic is the first of ten days of racing in the Prairie State Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup. Conine not only qualified as Cat 3 rider for the local race, he qualified to compete in the omnium — all ten days of the race series.

Criterium road races like the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic are lapped races done on closed circuits that range from one to two miles – the local race is 1.54 kilometers, slightly under a mile. Conine will be racing in the Masters’ race, starting at 5:45 p.m. and lasting 40 minutes. At times, he will be riding at 30 to 35 mph on straightaways, and even faster going down the hill.

He expects a crowd of family, neighbors and friends to be cheering him on from his front yard.

In order to be ready to compete on July 19, Conine has been training about 10 to 12 hours a week since March, fitting in his riding around his work and home schedules. He has been practicing on the local route, up and down the hills, and making the sharp turns that will be required in the race which could attract more than 100 professional and elite amateur riders.

The speed at which these steely-nerved competitors are riding is stunning when you’re standing on the sidelines feeling the breeze as they go by in a blur of brightly colored jerseys. Isn’t that scary? Conine says no. “It’s scarier to go slower than faster,” he said, explaining that the faster the cyclists are going, the better the momentum keeps the bikes straight and upright. In his racing experience, Conine has crossed handlebars with another speeding bike and managed to get free without consequence. “Of course, there have been plenty of crashes, stories and scars to get this far,” he said.

Conine has competed in road racing, cyclocross (including the races at Dan Ryan Woods) and a little mountain biking. His competition history includes a 110 mile race at 10,000 feet elevation in Colorado and a 105 mile race on all gravel roads in the middle of Kansas.

Competing in the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic is a thrilling new challenge. “The best part of this ride is that it’s fun to do something you’re not sure you can do,” he said. “I’m really excited. I’ve worked a long time on this.”

Why We Moved to Beverly – Danielle and Brad Cain 

By Kristin Boza 

House hunting is hard, especially when there are so many great areas of the city and nearby suburbs to check out. For Danielle and Brad Cain, Beverly/Morgan Park wasn’t on their initial radar, but once they spent some time in the community, they quickly realized the neighborhood can’t be beat. 

“The first time we came here, Danielle said ‘I’ll never move here, it’s so far from everything’,” Brad, a marketing executive at a software company, said. “Then we looked at just one house and she was convinced this was the place to live in. I think a lot of people don’t know about Beverly, which is crazy because it’s just a gorgeous, hidden gem of a neighborhood.” 

For Danielle, a registered nurse at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, the distance from downtown where she and Brad both work, was an initial concern. However, the neighborhood had an added draw of being near their families in the south suburbs, which was appealing as they were expecting their first baby at the time. The Cains moved in in February and welcomed baby Edie on Mar. 31. 

“Living in Beverly has been better than we could have thought,” Danielle said. “Everyone’s been so nice and there’s so many families around, which is nice to see.” Their realtor, Michele Pettiford, made sure the Cains saw every nook and cranny of Beverly/Morgan Park and shared information about — and visits to! — the community’s restaurants, small businesses and events with the couple. 

The Cains truly felt welcomed by the genuine friendliness of the community, especially when neighbors they barely know dropped off food after their daughter was born. “We’re really impressed and overwhelmed by kindness and the sense of community here,” Danielle said.  

 

 

A Life-Changing Gift

A picture is worth 1,000 words. That may sound cliché, but for Srey Noun, a 17-year-old Cambodian girl born without hands or feet, the smile captured on camera when she was presented with custom made prosthetic hands revealed a life-changing moment.  The hands, created using a 3D printer by Brother Rice High School engineering student Liam Coughlin, were delivered to Srey by Beverly/Morgan Park resident Paul Duggan at the end of March.

Srey is a student at a school supported by Love Without Boundaries (LWB), a charitable organization that provides humanitarian assistance to children in China, Cambodia, India and Uganda. Duggan, a Brother Rice alum, has been supporting LWB since its founding in 2003, and is a LWB emeritus chair.  It was his idea to bring together Coughlin and the Brother Rice engineering curriculum with the young girl in Cambodia. (Read the complete background story in The Villager.)

Duggan traveled to the small town of Poi Pet. Cambodia to meet Srey and, with the help of LWB staff and volunteers, present the prosthetic hands.  The Brother Rice/Love Without Boundaries project was a perfect fit! Within a few minutes, Srey was learning to use her new hands.

Srey wasn’t the only student to receive gifts from Brother Rice High School and local supporters of LWB. Duggan had so many gifts, he brought six suitcases to Cambodia! Each of the nearly 225 children received a stuffed animal and/or Brother Rice t-shirt; little girls were given handmade dresses.  View all of the pictures from the trip in Paul Duggan’s photo album

LWB works every day to offer “hope and healing to orphaned and vulnerable children.” To learn more about their mission and how you can help, visit the Love Without Boundaries website

Client Choice Model New Standard at Food Pantry 

By Kristin Boza 

The Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, located in Morgan Park United Methodist Church at 11030 S. Longwood Dr., has shifted its services to the Client Choice model, per the Greater Chicago Food Depository updated standards. The Client Choice program allows needful families and individuals to shop the pantry just like a supermarket, giving clients numerous choices that will better serve their needs. 

“The Client Choice model gives clients with food insecurities the dignity and choice of food and the innovative experience of being in a grocery store,” said Karen Overstreet, director of the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry. “Our clients are a mix of people down on their luck, senior citizens trying to make it month-to-month, or people who are sick. This model gives our clients a sense of self-worth.” 

It has taken the 36-year-old food pantry nearly a year to revamp and reorganize the existing space to adhere to the new layout guidelines, including providing additional floor space, storage, refrigeration and shelving units.  

Each client can choose a specified number of food and personal care items based on their family size.  

“Clients can now choose between varieties of hot and cold cereal, oats and grits, tomato sauces, and numerous other options,” Overstreet said. The biggest change for volunteers and organizers is ensuring that the shelves are well-stocked with a great variety of items. No longer will clients be simply given a bag of food, some of which they don’t need, want or even like. 

“Our clients are absolutely loving this new layout,” Overstreet said. “It has empowered them and gives them choices so there’s less waste. We serve 60655 and 60643 zip codes, and there’s a lot of food insecurity here. Our clients are so glad to be able to choose fresh produce, butter or margarine, eggs, fresh bread, and even deciding between apples and pears and red potatoes or white. These choices make a big difference in their lives.”  

Perhaps the only downside to the Client Choice model is keeping a variety of items in stock. “We are bursting at the seams, since we need to have so much more on hand than we did before in order to accommodate our clients,” Overstreet said. “We’re constantly in fundraising mode and we’re looking for different organizations, schools and churches to help us out and hold food drives for us so we can keep our shelves stocked.” 

The Morgan Park Juniors have stepped up to this challenge in a new fundraising effort to support the food pantry. The group will host the movie “Big Night” on Weds., Apr. 10, 7:30 p.m. at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W, 111th St. This 1996 comedy/drama film follows two brothers who run an Italian restaurant in financial trouble, and their preparation for a feast to prove their worth to the communityTickets are $10, and a cash bar is available. The Beverly Arts Center is donating the use of the Baffes Theatre, and all proceeds will help the Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry. Tickets can be purchased on the BAC website or at the door.  

“The Morgan Park Juniors used to host a community garage sale in the fall, but this year we wanted to change it up a bit,” said Virginia Siegel, Morgan Park Juniors member. “We also recognize that food necessity goes on all year long, so an April fundraiser would be welcomed as families prepare for their Easter meals.” 

For those seeking to support the food pantry on a regular basis, Overstreet is hoping for 300 households to commit to donating money each month. “Our needs have changed so much that monthly contributors are welcome so we can renovate our space and continue to accommodate the community,” she said. 

For those needing food assistance, simply stop by the food pantry on Tuesdays or Fridays between 1 and 3 p.m. or call 773-239-3013 for information.