The First Annual Backyard BBQ

When summer finally comes to the Chicago area, we all have to maximize the fun we have in the sun. Now that temperatures are finally rising, it is time to get outside and see all our friends in the community. Whether you and your friends are ready to hit the beach or go for a long bike ride, the one thing most of us can agree on is BBQs.

Group chats at first Backyard BBQ, surrounded by colorful balloons to celebrate.That’s why our Advisory Council put together Center for Independent Futures’ first annual Backyard BBQ. At Hub 930, members of the Advisory Council gathered with community members, staff, our Board of Directors, and family members. We had a great afternoon together, complete with refreshing beverages and satisfying meals.

Board of Director co-chair Ira Mitchell acted as our grill master, flipping burgers and hot dogs with ease. Members of the Advisory Council helped Development Director Niki Moe Horrell prep the rest of the food, including fruit, veggies, and – of course – delicious desserts. By the end of the BBQ, there was almost no food left – a sure sign of a successful cookout!

The Backyard BBQ was an opportunity for the Advisory Council to work as a group planning, organizing, and decorating for a fundraiser entirely their own. Many members of the council help set up for other events at Center for Independent Futures, like SPARK, but this was the first fundraiser the group planned.

Aerial view of Backyard BBQ attendees chatting outside near a tree.Niki says, “Our first annual Backyard BBQ was so much fun! The Advisory Council did so well planning and prepping for the event.” There was plenty of food for everyone, and all the brightly colored decorations were perfect for a summer event.

We are already looking forward to the second Backyard BBQ next year. We plan to make this an annual event where everyone is welcome. Hope to see you all next time!

Auxiliary Board and Advisory Council Build Friendships

This week, Center for Independent Futures’ Auxiliary Board and Advisory Council held a joint meeting to get to know each other better and build friendships. The Auxiliary Board, made up of young professionals with and without disabilities, plans fundraisers and events like SPARK. Participants join the Advisory Council to help with events and plan their own fundraisers, like the upcoming Backyard BBQ.

Members of the Auxiliary Board & Advisory Council pose after playing charades to build friendships and community
Members of the Auxiliary Board & Advisory Council pose after playing charades

To start a great night, the groups introduced themselves and what brings them to Center for Independent Futures. Over the last few months, several new members have joined the Auxiliary Board. This meeting offered the opportunity to get to know the Center for Independent Futures community better in a fun and exciting way.

Build Friendships With a Game

At this meeting, the two groups decided they would play charades as a fun community building activity. Anu Rajendran, Auxiliary Board chair, chose a game, and the group divided into two teams, mixing the groups together. The group shared lots of laughter and joy through this game. But this carefree fun wasn’t the only way these groups celebrated.

Niki Moe, the liaison between the two groups, picked up a couple of extra-large pizzas from Gigio’s Pizzeria. The board and council greatly appreciated the pizzas, and purchasing the pizzas supports Center for Independent Futures too. Throughout the month of June, you can contribute to building independent futures too. Just order any kind of extra large pizza from Gigio’s, either by walking in or over the phone, and Gigio’s will donate $2.00 to Center for Independent Futures.

Growing Friendships to Build Community

After playing charades and enjoying pizza together, the Auxiliary Board and Advisory Council members went their separate ways – but that won’t be the end of these relationships. As we move forward, the two groups look forward to building deeper friendships. With plans to have more joint meetings, expect friendships to grow and communities to expand.

Advisory Council and Auxiliary Board Share Laughter

The Advisory Council and Auxiliary Board’s most recent gathering wasn’t a typical meeting. Instead, the office was full of activity as some acted out flipping a pancake or figure skating and others tried to get their teammates to guess movie titles. The two groups came together for pizza, charades, and laughter, creating new connections and strengthening existing friendships.

The Advisory Council and Auxiliary Board both support Center for Independent Futures’ mission through fundraising and awareness efforts. The Advisory Council is a group of Center for Independent Futures participants, while the Auxiliary Board is made up of young professionals. The groups plan separate and collaborative fundraisers and social events and work together to support SPARK, our largest fundraiser.

If you’re interested in meeting members of the Auxiliary Board or Advisory Council, join us for dinner on Tuesday, August 8, at 6:30 p.m. at Evanston’s Potbelly Sandwich Shop (603 Davis Street). That night, a portion of all sales will be donated back to Center for Independent Futures to support our Bank of America Chicago Marathon team. Along with other members of our community, the Advisory Council and Auxiliary Board will gather for dinner to socialize and support our runners.

To learn more about how to get involved with either group, contact us at center@independentfutures.com or call (847) 328-2044.

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