Finding Community Through the Chicago Marathon

Elizabeth runs in the Chicago Marathon in a bright yellow tank top, waving at supporters near the Charity MileWhen running has been part of someone’s life for a long time, the next logical step might seem like completing a marathon — 26.2 miles of feet hitting the pavement and sweat dripping down your face. A ton of hard work goes into getting ready for a marathon. You might find yourself asking, “Why would anyone put themselves through a marathon?”

A familiar face many members of our community will recognize has an answer. Elizabeth Male began running at about age 10, and she completed her first half marathon in high school. She completed her first Chicago Marathon in 2012. This experience running leads you to believe she has always loved the sport, but Elizabeth used to hate running.

It wasn’t until she was in college that she started to enjoy running. “When I ran in college, it helped me balance my mental health and de-stress from classes,” Elizabeth says. This will be Elizabeth’s sixth time running the Marathon, partly because she enjoys the challenge but also because of the community she has developed.

Running the Chicago Marathon

In 2014, Elizabeth ran the Chicago MarathonElizabeth stands with another woman post-marathon in a heat sheet and running gear, demonstrating finding community. as part of Team CIF for the first time. The introduction of the lottery system meant she could secure guaranteed entry to the race by running for a charity. Luckily, Elizabeth had access to a great team at her fingertips. She took over planning for the team and decided to join the team to help with motivating other runners.

For Elizabeth, running as part of Team CIF is about the community she is part of. This year, she made the commitment to run the marathon before leaving her job at Center for Independent Futures. It has been an exciting way for her to remain involved after finding community. Elizabeth says, “I miss everybody, and I’m happy to be able to stay involved.”

Tips for Fellow Marathon Runners

One of the team’s most experienced runners, Elizabeth has advice for team members, plus anyone interested in joining next year. “The journey will be full of hard work, but it’s about achieving a challenging goal.” While having more experience running long distances might make this race less daunting, Elizabeth avoids falling into a trap by remaining motivated. No matter how many marathons she has run, Elizabeth needs to do the work like everyone else.

Elizabeth poses in front of Chicago skyline in orange tank top with her medal after Chicago MarathonAt the moment, Elizabeth is training for a race in July, and then she will begin preparing for the Chicago Marathon. She is looking forward to the race, especially getting to the Charity Mile, where our core group of participants and friends will be waiting to cheer on Team CIF! You can help Elizabeth meet her $1,500 fundraising goal by going to her CrowdRise team page and clicking the big red “Donate Now” button.

If you are interested in joining the 2019 team, reach out to Connor Larsen at (847) 328-2044 or by email. It’s never too early to think about your own hopes and dreams!

Runners Get Ready to Race

Chicago Marathon runners cheered on by supporters
Chicago Marathon runners cheered on by supporters

Have you ever dreamed of running a marathon? The challenge is tempting for many people, but especially for the 18 runners participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for Team Center for Independent Futures this year. On October 7th, these runners will gather at Grant Park to run 26.2 miles — or a collective 471.6 miles.

In the next four months, the runners on our team will be working hard to train safely. Training plans help marathon runners track their mile times, build endurance, and maintain a nutritious diet throughout preparation for the marathon. To help the runners prepare, you can support the team by helping them fundraise through their team pages on CrowdRise.

To donate, go to the Team Center for Independent Futures CrowdRise. You can select a specific team member, or you can donate to the general team page. Click the big red “Donate Now” button on the right side of the page to help the whole team, or click one of the runners’ names below to help a runner.

All of the funds raised by this team will help Center for Independent Futures continue creating innovative housing and planning solutions for individuals with disabilities and their families. Contact Connor Larsen or call (847) 328-2044 to learn more about supporting our Chicago Marathon team. Thank you for supporting Team Center for Independent Futures!

Chicago Marathon Center for Independent Futures Team

Kim Benton

Past team member Lucille holds arms out in victory after completing Chicago Marathon
Past team member Lucille holds arms out in victory after completing Chicago Marathon

 

Carlyn Berghoff

Ellen Burke

Kaitlin Dunn

Alex Finnegan

Will Kerns

Mark Kriston

Elizabeth Male

William Meyers

Ann Sickon

Jordan Sickon

Leslie Sickon

Marie Sickon-Burke

Susan Sickon

Alex Swift

Emmy Swift

Taryn Westra

(More team member pages will be added as we move forward.)

Save the Date: SPARK 2018

Save the date for a night of celebration and community! On Friday, April 27, Center for Independent Futures hosts SPARK, our signature spring event, at the Hilton Orrington in downtown Evanston.

SPARK attendees cheerfully poseThe event includes dinner, an open bar, and dancing to live music provided by Euphoria Band. Silent and live auctions throughout the evening will offer exciting prizes. Last year, winners took home tickets to see “The Joshua Tour: U2 and the Lumineers,” “The Bruno Mars 24K Magic World Tour,” and airfare with a four-night hotel stay in a warm destination! Details about what’s up for bidding this year will be released soon.

Event invitations and online ticket purchasing will be available in March. For more updates, join the Facebook event here. All proceeds from this event, our largest fundraiser of the year, directly contribute to programming, services, and sustainability.

If you’re interested in supporting SPARK, contact Niki Moe at (847) 328-2044 or nmoe@independentfutures.com. Opportunities are available for sponsorship, auction contribution, volunteering, and more.

Reach Your 2018 Goals with Team CIF

Every mile of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is a chance to test your strength and achieve a dream. For runners on Team CIF, those miles mean Chicago Marathon Team CIF runner in front of Chicago skylineeven more.

As an official member of the Chicago Marathon’s Charity Program, Center for Independent Futures offers guaranteed race entries for runners who pledge to raise funds and awareness for individuals with disabilities and their families. Since 2007, Team CIF has raised over $100,000 by running for possibilities.

When you join Team CIF, you’ll become part of a community that values all dreams and will provide you with one-on-one support along your path toward a dream of your own. During your weeks of fundraising and training, you’ll engage with our dedicated staff, meet Center for Independent Futures community members, and see the difference your efforts are making. To read more about the benefits of being a Team CIF runner, click here.

The 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is Sunday, October 7. Registration is open now, and guaranteed entry spots are limited. Contact Elizabeth Male today at (847) 328-2044 or emale@independentfutures.com to join Team CIF for the race of a lifetime.

Something’s Cooking Updates a Fall Classic

Two Something's Cooking attendees poseCenter for Independent Futures’ fourteenth annual Something’s Cooking featured a new venue, new entertainment, and new menu items, for an updated version of a fall classic. We are grateful to all who helped make this festive afternoon a success!

Nineteen of the area’s favorite restaurants and bakeries shared their signature dishes. Returning favorites included Koi, Edzo’s Burger Shop, Farmhouse, Peckish Pig, and more. New this year were three restaurants from our block on Davis Street. Yeero Revolution served Greek meatballs and salad on a stick, LuLu’s shared chilled sesame noodles, and Table to Stix Ramen featured tuna tartare. Check out the list below to see the complete menu!

To toast Center for Independent Futures’ fifteenth anniversary, three local breweries and one distillery served samples of their products. FEW Spirits shared their small-batch spirits, while Revolution BrewingSketchbook Brewing Company, and Temperance Beer Co. all poured tastes of different beers.

The afternoon was complete with a dessert display and a silent auction, including Cubs tickets behind home plate, passes to a WXRT Studio X performance, and culinary-themed packages. To finish the event, Van Go Go, a collaborative of musicians with and without developmental disabilities played a lively set of their signature blend of reggae, roots rock, and funk.

Thank you the Woman’s Club of Evanston for hosting this celebration in Something's Cooking attendees happy to taste food from Evanston communitytheir beautiful, historic venue. We’re grateful to the businesses who contributed to our menu and silent auction, to our volunteers for your time and enthusiasm, and to all of our guests who joined us for this celebration.

All funds raised by Something’s Cooking support individuals with disabilities and their families to access to all of the opportunities of a full life. Click here for a complete album of photos from the afternoon!

Something’s Cooking 2017 Menu

Bagel Art Cafe: Bagel Bites
Celtic Knot Public House: Mini Shepherd’s Pie
Edzo’s Burger Shop: Nutella & Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes
Eli’s Cheesecake: Assorted Cheesecakes
Farmhouse: Butternut Squash Soup with Golden Raisin Pesto
Flat Top Grill: Chicken Pot Stickers, Chilled Edamame
Gigio’s Pizzeria: Assorted Pizza
Hearts & Flour Bakery: Cookies and Bars
ILOVESWEETS: Assorted Shortbread Cookies
Koi: Vegetable Maki with Mango Sauce
La Macchina Cafè: Vegetable and Meat Lasagna
LuLu’s: Chilled Sesame Noodles
Nothing Bundt Cakes: Assorted Bundt Cakes
Peckish Pig: Chorizo-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Blue Cheese Dressing
Table to Stix Ramen: Tuna Tartare
That Little Mexican Café: Barbacoa and Pork Tacos
Trattoria D.O.C.: Orecchiette con Spinaci
Yeero Revolution: Greek Meatballs and Salad on a Stick

Four New Additions to Something’s Cooking

Participants experience Something's Cooking and the delightful foodSomething’s Cooking is less than a month away. From a different venue to more featured restaurants, we can’t wait to show off all that’s new for November 12, the fourteenth annual edition of this fall favorite.

Four Updates to Something’s Cooking in 2017

  1. New venue: join us to explore the beautiful and historic Woman’s Club of Evanston. This fully accessible, two-story building offers room for enjoying food from fifteen restaurants alongside bars featuring local breweries and distilleries. And, in the stunning ballroom…
  2. Live music! Arts of Life’s Van Go Go, a collaborative of musicians with and without developmental disabilities, will be playing their signature blend of reggae, roots rock, and funk. We’ll make room for dancing!
  3. Exciting raffle prizes: Buy at least one ticket for this year’s raffle for your chance to win one of two packages. First, you could enjoy “A Night Out on the North Shore,” including dinner at Boltwood, tickets to Music Theater Works, and a stay at the luxurious Stone Terrace Bed & Breakfast ($650 total value). The second raffle prize lets you enjoy your favorite tastes from Something’s Cooking all year long, with a collection of gift cards from our participating restaurants ($300 total value). You can buy your raffle tickets at the event or online ahead of time, and you don’t have to be present to win.
  4. New restaurants and breweries: This year, our line-up includes newcomers FEW Spirits, LuLu’s, Revolution Brewing, Sketchbook Brewing Company, Table to Stix Ramen, Temperance Beer Co., and Yeero Revolution. They’ll be joined by returning favorite restaurants and bakeries. To see a full list, click here.

    Purchase Your Tickets Today!

    Executive Director Ann and Board co-chair Jeff smile at Something's Cooking.Tickets are on sale now for Something’s Cooking, November 12, from 3-6 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Evanston.

    All funds raised at Something’s Cooking benefit Center for Independent Futures’ mission to support individuals with disabilities and their families to access all the opportunities of a full life. To get involved in Something’s Cooking by volunteering or donating items to the silent auction, contact Niki Moe at (847) 328-2044.

Local Breweries Join Something’s Cooking

On November 12, join Center for Independent Futures for eats, sweets, and sips at the Woman’s Club of Evanston. Our fourteenth annual Something’s Cooking features new restaurants, our favorite bakeries, and, for the first time, local breweries and distilleries.

FEW Spirits will serve tastes of their handcrafted, small-batch spirits. Two Evanston breweries, Sketchbook and Temperance, will sample craft beer, joined by Chicago’s Revolution Brewing. Alongside these beverages, guests will enjoy food from Evanston favorites like Edzo’s Burger Shop, Bagel Art Cafe, and Celtic Knot Public House. Farm-to-table fans will be treated to bites from Farmhouse, Ten Mile House, and Peckish Pig, while those seeking international flavors can try menu items from Koi, Flat Top Grill, La Macchina Cafè, That Little Mexican Café, and Trattoria D.O.C. And Center for Independent Futures’ own block will be represented by Davis Street restaurants LuLu’s, Gigio’s Pizzeria, Yeero Revolution, and Table to Stix Ramen.

With one ticket, you’ll have the chance to try signature dishes from all fifteen featured restaurants, sips from four local breweries and distilleries, and a dessert display including offerings from Nothing Bundt Cakes, Eli’s Cheesecake, and more. Check below for a full menu of this year’s flavors.

All funds raised at Something’s Cooking support our mission to give individuals with disabilities and their families access to the opportunities of a full life. To get involved in Something’s Cooking by volunteering or contributing to the silent auction, contact Niki Moe at (847) 328-2044.

Here’s the complete lineup for November 12:

Bagel Art Cafe
Celtic Knot Public House
Edzo’s Burger Shop
Eli’s Cheesecake
Farmhouse
FEW Spirits
Flat Top Grill
Gigio’s Pizzeria
Hearts & Flour Bakery
ILOVESWEETS
Koi
La Macchina Cafè
LuLu’s
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Peckish Pig
Revolution Brewing
Sketchbook Brewing Company
Table to Stix Ramen
Temperance Beer Co.
Ten Mile House
That Little Mexican Café
Trattoria D.O.C.
Yeero Revolution

Marathon Approaches for Team CIF

On October 8, Team CIF will head to the starting line of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. They’ll represent Center for Independent Futures on the course to raise funds for the hopes and dreams of individuals with disabilities. Race day represents the culmination of months of hard work and dedication.

How to Help Our Team

  • Help them reach their team fundraising goal of $10,000 by visiting this link and clicking on the red button that says “Donate to this Fundraiser.” You can also support individual runners from their fundraising links at the bottom of the page.
  • Send a note of encouragement to our runners! Email Elizabeth at emale@independentfutures.com to share any messages that you would like to have passed on to the team. Let them know you appreciate their hard work and that you’ll be rooting for them on race day!
  • Cheer on the team with the Center for Independent Futures crew on race day! Every year, participants, staff, and supporters gather on the course at the Charity Block party, a mile that celebrates the community organizations involved in the marathon. The cheering squad enjoys breakfast and cheers on the runners as they pass. To join the group for this fun and inspiring morning, email Elizabeth at emale@independentfutures.com.

If you have any questions about how to support Team CIF, contact Elizabeth at emale@independentfutures.com or (847) 328-2044.

Save the Date for Something’s Cooking 2017

Your favorite fall tradition is on the calendar! Center for Independent Futures hosts Something’s Cooking on Sunday, November 12, from 3-6 p.m. To continue celebrating our fifteenth year of supporting hopes and dreams, we’re hosting this event at a new venue: the beautiful Woman’s Club of Evanston in the heart of downtown.

Executive Director Ann and Board co-chair Jeff smile at Something's Cooking.Our featured restaurants will each serve up a signature dish for sampling for a complete taste of Chicago and the North Shore. To toast our fifteenth anniversary, we’ll enjoy tastes from local breweries and distilleries. A full dessert display and culinary-themed silent auction complete the celebration.

All funds raised at Something’s Cooking support our mission to support individuals with disabilities to live full, more independent lives. Stay tuned for updates about our featured restaurants and a link to buy tickets online.

Want to get involved in this fun event? We need volunteers to help with planning and running the event and community businesses to support our silent auction. To learn more, contact Niki Moe at (847) 328-2044 or at nmoe@independentfutures.com.

Thank you to the following sponsors who make Something’s Cooking and other events possible throughout the year!

Dream Team Conquers Bike the Drive

On Sunday, May 28, the Center for Independent Futures Dream Team woke up before the sun rose. By 5:15 a.m., they were at the office, ready for the first leg of their journey into the city for the MB Bike the Drive.

During Bike the Drive, our Dream Team and thousands of other bikers took over Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, which was closed to cars for the event. The skyline on one side and Lake Michigan on the other perfectly framed miles of open road. The cyclists who rode with the team included participants, staff members, and other community members, some of whom rode for the sixth year in a row. Two father-son duos rode this year, along with three staff members and three members of our Auxiliary Board.

The ride set off from Chicago’s iconic Buckingham Fountain, where the Dream Team headed north. The trip to the end of Lake Shore Drive was nine miles, and many riders continued on their bikes all the way back to Evanston.

Bike the Drive 2017 may be over, but you can still support the riders by helping them reach their fundraising goals. To support the Dream Team, visit their fundraising page at this link. You can donate to the efforts of individual riders by clicking on the photos at the bottom of the page, or support the entire team by clicking on the orange “Donate to this fundraiser” button. Thank you to our team and all who supported their efforts to ride for hopes and dreams.

To see more photos from the event, click here!

Success Stories

mon19aug4:00 pm5:00 pmYoga

mon19aug5:00 pm6:00 pmBook Club

tue20aug1:30 pm2:30 pmWalking Club

wed21aug4:00 pm5:15 pmVolunteer Club

wed21aug5:30 pm7:00 pmHighland Park "Gab and Grub" Dinner Out

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