Inclusive Fun at Charity Night HamBingo

Hamburger Mary’s is a staple in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, featuring a dining room, an upstairs cabaret with karaoke, and a brewing company next door. On July 1st, participants, family, board members, and staff gathered at Hamburger Mary’s in Andersonville for a fun evening of charity night HamBingo.

Fun With Charity Night HamBingo

Participant poses with Granny at Hamburger Mary's charity night HamBingo in front of a curtain with a brocade design. We rounded out June’s LGBTQ Pride month with this inclusive fundraiser. At HamBingo, bingo players pay $15 for 10 games of bingo or $25 for 20 games, and the numbers are called by Hamburger Mary’s in-house drag queen divas.

The bingo callers are not the only part of HamBingo that is unique though. There are nearly two dozen different ways to win bingo at Hamburger Mary’s, depending on the caller’s choice before the round begins. There was a performance at intermission, but first our bingo caller, Granny, left the stage to prepare for the performance.

While Granny was gone, two members of the Auxiliary Board took the stage. David Jacob called a round of simple bingo, while Auxiliary Board Chair Anu Rajendran called a more complicated game. “It was great to see the Auxiliary Board take charge of this event,” shared Development Director Niki Moe Horrell.

We played ten rounds of HamBingo with Granny’s intermission performance in between. Granny entertained us with a fun rendition of “Believe” by Cher. After throwing in an impressive high kick out on Hamburger Mary’s patio, Granny returned to finish calling our bingo games.

Thanks to Chicagoland Community

We ended the night with lots of laughter as our community fully enjoyed the offerings of Hamburger Mary’s. This evening of fun and fundraising included a diverse crowd of attendees offering support to Center for Independent Futures. We want to extend a large thanks to each of our attendees, as well as to Hamburger Mary’s. Thanks to their hospitality and space, we raised over $1,000, which will support our growing community.

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.

Our Top 10 Moments of 2017

Join Center for Independent Futures in celebrating our favorite moments from 2017, our fifteenth anniversary year. We look forward to supporting more full lives and stronger communities in 2018!

Our Top 10 Moments

  1. We published our 2016 annual report to share stories of support, including Nestor’s full life, students planning for the future, and communities 3 members of 2017 Bike the Drive team smile after successful ride.creating connections. Read the annual report here!
  2. Our annual SPARK gala was an evening of glamour under the stars. Staff member Rob Larson, participant Matthew LaChapelle, and community partner First Bank & Trust received Jane Doyle AWESOME! Awards. Check out the Facebook photo album here.
  3. Staff members traveled internationally to Canada to work with Community Living Essex County and across the country to train Club 21 in Pasadena, California. Click here to learn about our Full Life ProcessTM resources, being shared in Illinois and beyond.
  4. The Dream Team soared down Lake Shore Drive in Bike the Drive, raising funds for Center for Independent Futures while enjoying amazing views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. Read about the ride here.
  5. Life Tools Campers from Evanston Township High School explored their community and learned new skills. Find out where their week took them.
  6. Our young professional board welcomed new members, including a new board chair. Learn about the Auxiliary Board and how to get involved.
  7. Eight runners representing Team CIF took the 26.2 mile journey of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, every step supporting the journeys individuals with disabilities take along the way to full, independent lives. Read more about race day here.
  8. Our community celebrated Halloween in style at our annual party. Check out the creative costumes in our Facebook photo album here!
  9. We celebrated community and local cuisine at our fourteenth annual Executive Director Ann and Board co-chair Jeff smile at Something's Cooking. Something’s Cooking. This fall classic was updated with a new venue, new restaurants and breweries, and live music. Read more here.
  10. Our community raised over $27,000 in 24 hours on #GivingTuesday, supporting individuals with disabilities and the friends, family members, and communities that they interact with every day. Learn about the success here.

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.

Auxiliary Board Welcomes New Members

With four new members, our Auxiliary Board of young professionals is ready to support the Center for Independent Futures community by raising awareness, hosting fundraising and social events, and making connections with participants.

In the next few months, the board will be busy supporting SPARK, riding with the Dream Team at Bike the Drive, and hosting HamBingo at Hamburger Mary’s on June 4. Later this year, the board will hold social events with the Advisory Council and participate in Something’s Cooking, our fall fundraising event.

If you or a young professional you know is interested in supporting individuals with disabilities, making new connections, and having creative leadership opportunities, contact us at center@independentfutures.com or (847) 328-2044. In the meantime, meet our new board members below!

One of our new members, Anu Rajendran, has taken the leadership role of board chair. Anu, who earned her bachelor’s of science degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, works at GE Healthcare as an IT sales executive for ambulatory practices. Along with her experience in events, sales, and healthcare, Anu brings to the board her passion for giving back to the community.

David Jacob studied architecture at Southern Illinois University before going on to intern at an architecture firm, support medical research at Cook County Hospital, and served as a project manager at a start-up IT company. David now works in consulting, with particular interests in sustainability and alternative resources.

Monika Warnecka joined the board in part because of her experience volunteering with special education students while in school. Monika earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and works as a CPA on the state and local tax team at Grant Thornton.

David Suchite is already familiar with Center for Independent Futures community, having worked with our staff as a student at the Evanston Township High School’s Transition Program. David completed an internship at Center for Independent Futures and joined the staff as Office Administrator before accepting a full-time job at Prevent Blindness. David is excited to return to the community in a new role.

Success Stories

tue16jul1:30 pm2:30 pmWalking Club

wed17jul4:00 pm5:15 pmVolunteer Club

wed17jul6:30 pm7:30 pmBike Club

fri19jul6:00 pm8:00 pmLadies' Night

sat20jul3:00 pm5:30 pmHeARTwords Workshop

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