Top 10 Hope-Filled Moments in 2018

2018 was a big year at Center for Independent Futures! From fun and glamorous events like SPARK to meeting new people at conferences around the country, this last year held a lot to be celebrated. Join us in remembering our top 10 moments of 2018!

#1: New Partnerships in CaliforniaLogo for Club 21 in red with blue and green people illustrations to the left.

Club 21, a California non-profit, asked us to present at their Tools For the Journey conference. It was exciting to get out of the chilly Midwest for a few days to share our tools & resources with the Club 21 community.

#2: Hosting Activities in Highland Park

We conducted a meet and greet session with Highland Park community members in March. Since then, we have started including the village in our activities calendar through monthly Gab and Grub dinners. It is exciting to meet members of new communities, and we can’t wait to continue!

#3: A Beautiful Evening at SPARK

5 friends dressed beautifully pose for group photo at SPARK.

In April, our annual gala event was a shining evening! Join us again this year on April 26th at the Hilton Orrington! We will have more live entertainment, the annual Awesome Awards, delicious food, and wonderful auction items for all.

#4: Dream Team Biked the Drive

A group of Bike Club members participated in Bike the Drive again this year! They raised almost $7,000 through their fundraising efforts and had a good time biking in the cloudy weather. We can’t wait for next May to ride Lake Shore Drive again!

#5: Presented at National Down Syndrome Conference

Chrissy & Cynthia at the National Down Syndrome ConferenceChrissy & Cynthia went down to Dallas, Texas, in July to present at the National Down Syndrome Conference. They rocked the presentation and made new connections! We appreciated having this opportunity to present to industry experts and families alike.

#6: Held 2 Summer Camp Options for Transition House Students

Our schools team hosted the annual Life Skills Camp in mid-July, in addition to a new summer camp opportunity. Thanks to the Evanston Community Foundation, we were able to provide a Transportation Camp for Evanston Township High School transition students.

#7: Guided Biggest Marathon Team Through Finish Line

On a rainy Sunday, 18 members of Team CIF completed one of the greatest challenges: completing 26.2 miles throughout the neighborhoods of Chicago. Thanks to our community and team, we raised over $16,000 through the Bank of America Chicago Marathon!

#8: Created Community Connections at Housing Conference

At our housing conference in October, we shared our New Futures Initiative and housing resources with over 100 people dedicated to change. We are thankful for each of our presenters, including our panelists, endnote speaker, and keynote speaker, Micaela Connery of The Kelsey. Watch for video of the day coming soon!

#9: Delicious Food & Good Times at Something’s Cooking

We ate to our hearts’ content at the Woman’s Club of Evanston in early November. Thank you to the 25 wonderful food, dessert, and beverage sponsors for supporting our annual fall favorite! We hope to see you all next year!

#10: Turned Hopes Into Reality on #GivingTuesday

Thanks to all of you, we surpassed our $20,000 #GivingTuesday goal! We also met the requirements to receive the full $10,000 match from the Coleman Foundation. That means we raised a total of over $34,000 with your help!

We are deeply grateful for our caring, generous community after such a big year! 2019 looks like it will be even bigger, so we hope that you will continue on this journey with Center for Independent Futures. If you would like to be part of our story, sign up for our monthly newsletter today and make a year-end gift to support inclusive communities in Evanston!

Celebrating Volunteer Appreciation Month

For not-for-profit groups like ours, the help we get from volunteers makes a huge difference. At Center for Independent Futures, volunteers help us run a variety of activities, keep the office looking nice, and make our technology run smoothly. April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, so we want to take the time to honor a few of our excellent helpers.

Volunteer Appreciation Month Highlights

One activity we offer, heARTwords, is run by volunteer Paul Fields. During heARTwords, participants partake in a writing workshop where they can share their experiences and feelings through writing. Paul encourages participants to explore their creativity in these safe spaces, showing off the talent in this community. We showcase the work of participants, like Sandy and Jake, on our blog. Thanks so much to Paul and all the volunteers who support the work of heARTwords!

K.C. & Shamim Esmail contribute behind-the-scenes assistance at the Evanston office. K.C. helps us keep the office organized — which is very appreciated in this busy office. Shamim keeps us operating efficiently by helping us with technology around the office. Because of K.C. and Shamim, we have more resources available to support individuals.

Members of Art Club working with a great volunteer honored during Volunteer Appreciation Month
Art Club creating beautiful masterpieces.

Amy Wojtas Koetz volunteers her time to help at Art Club. Several of our community members participate in Art Club, using the time to express themselves and their experiences. Thanks to Amy, we are able to see beautiful pieces of art from our community at this creative outlet on Mondays.

Join the Volunteer Club

Finally, we would love to shout out our very own Volunteer Club. Led by staff member Joe Jackson, our community comes together to build community here in Evanston. Each month, the group decides to support a different cause or group, enriching the lives of those around us.

Volunteer at Center for Independent Futures

Do you have a fun activity or helpful skill you would like to contribute to Center for Independent Futures? Reach out to center@independentfutures.com to find out about volunteer opportunities today.

Attend Our Annual SPARK Celebration

Performers pose at a past annual SPARK celebrationOn Friday, April 27, the Center for Independent Futures community celebrates a stellar year at our signature event, an annual SPARK gala, hosted at the Hilton Orrington in downtown Evanston.

Great Event & Dessert Sponsors

We are grateful to our annual SPARK sponsors PSAVSidley Austin LLPFirst Bank & TrustNorthwesternInland BankMonahan Law Group, and Brian Rubin and Associates, for their support. This year, craft beer will be supplied by Revolution Brewing and Temperance Beer Company, and desserts will be provided by Flat Top GrillNothing Bundt CakesBennison’s BakeryLawrence Deans Bakery, and Beth’s Little Bake Shop.

Experience Chicago with exciting city getaways featured in our silent and live auctions. This year’s packages include tickets to see Ed Sheeran, Elton John’s Farewell Tour, and U2. We will also be auctioning an original Monet-inspired piece painted by staff member and artist Rob Larson.

PSAV  will help us set the scene for a fun night of dancing, and Collaboraction will provide our entertainment for this star-studded night. At the end of the night, be ready to dance to the sounds of Euphoria Band!

How to Join the Fun

For more updates, join the Facebook event here. As our largest fundraiser of the year, all proceeds from this event directly contribute to programming, services, and sustainability.

If you’re interested in getting involved with SPARK by volunteering, contributing, or learning about sponsorship opportunities, contact Niki Moe at (847) 328-2044 or nmoe@independentfutures.com.

Purchase your tickets today!

 

Success Stories

sat23feb3:00 pm5:30 pmHeARTwords Workshop

mon25feb4:00 pm5:00 pmYoga

mon25feb5:00 pm6:00 pmBook Club

mon25feb6:00 pm8:00 pmArt Club

tue26feb1:30 pm2:30 pmWalking Club

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