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Success of Client Picnic & 2011 Gala

Wed, Sep 28, 2011

Jim LoBianco

Recently I have been on a bit of a hiatus from my article writing. In place of my column was information on the 2011 StreetWise Gala, which was held two weeks ago. Another reason for not writing my weekly article was the many exciting things at StreetWise that were taking up my time.

These included:
• The relocation of the StreetWise office (September 1);
• The annual client picnic (September 5); and
• The 2011 Hand Up Gala (September 15).

The StreetWise office relocation was covered in my article from last week, so I will be brief in saying that we are happy in our new location (4554 N. Broadway, #350) and invite you to stop by anytime.

Client Picnic

This year’s Client Picnic introduced a new partnership for StreetWise. In conjunction with our move to the Uptown Neighborhood, StreetWise partnered with one of Uptown’s oldest and most respected congregations, The Peoples Church. The Peoples Church has been hosting a Labor Day BBQ in the Uptown community for over three decades. StreetWise felt that partnering with the Peoples Church would be an excellent way for us, and our clients, to get to know our new neighbors.

The picnic was a great success. The menu included 330 pounds of spare ribs, 320 pounds of chicken drumsticks, 20 extra large cans of baked beans, six gallons of BBQ sauce, plus enough corn, potato chips, cookies and lemonade for everyone. StreetWise helped serve close to 500 meals to a group that combined Uptown-area residents and StreetWise clients. A good time was had by all, and Street-Wise greatly appreciates the Peoples Church for allowing us to join their annual party.

Gala

The other big event that StreetWise just completed is, of course, our annual Gala. StreetWise editor Suzanne Hanney provides a detailed snapshot of the Gala on pages 8 – 9. Suffice to say it was a great evening with some of StreetWise’s most loyal supporters as well as a lot of new friends. The room at the Chicago’s Union League Club was filled to capacity, with over 300 tickets sold.

StreetWise was excited to be able to share the news that, through a strategic partnership, the agency has secured funding from the City of Chicago to launch a new social enterprise, “The EatWise Produce Vendor Program.” See the article on pages 8 – 9 for more details.

Guests were entertained and enticed; entertained by the beautiful voice and music of Ms. Charlene Brooks and her band, and enticed by the high energy presentation of the live auction items by Jim Miller, our evening’s auctioneer.

Most importantly, however, was the moving video that featured three StreetWise clients who have used the agency as a springboard to their own success: Felicia Atkinson, Vince Collasso, and Percy Smith. You can watch the video by visiting http://streetwise.org/2011/09/hand-up-gala-video/.

The final numbers are still being tallied, but without question the evening was a huge success. I want to thank all of the friends, new and old, who made it possible. If you missed this year’s event be sure to plan on joining us next year.

I would greatly appreciate your thoguhts and suggestions. You are welcome to contact me at either tipline@streetwise.org or (773) 334-6600 (ext. 18).

Jim LoBianco
StreetWise Executive Director

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