The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago Provides Home Cooked Dinner for Chicago Youth
November 25, 2015
(Chicago, November 2015) Thanksgiving came early for young people who had once been part of the child welfare system in Cook County. The Foster Care Alumni of America, Illinois Chapter, held its fifth annual holiday dinner on Saturday, November 21. This year, The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago helped the celebration extend to more than one hundred older teens and young adults, plus 30 volunteers.
The dinner originated in one living room for youth who would otherwise go without a traditional family celebration on Thanksgiving. This year the event was held at Uhlich Children's Advantage Network (UCAN), a residential facility for youth under Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) care on Chicago’s West Side, with room for tables, a buffet and entertainment. ILIA-Chicago chefs prepared and donated trays of macaroni and cheese, greens, handmade rolls, desserts and condiments to add a true “homestyle” feel to the dinner.
All afternoon youth could eat, catch up, and listen to music at a gathering designed under the banner of “It Begins With Us: Giving Youth a Place to Go for Thanksgiving.” DCFS Director George Sheldon also extended an invitation to other cabinet heads so they could witness the positive impact of encouraging young people after they leave the child welfare system.
Public sector volunteers included: First Lady Diana Rauner, Chief Justice Anne Burke, Public Guardian Robert Harris, and the heads of the Illinois departments of Public Health and Healthcare and Family Services.
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