Avenues to Independence
Fall Volunteer eNewsletter
Fourth Edition
$23,000 Raised at Local BBQ Competition
Thank you to organizers and volunteers of the Vine St. BBQ Fest & Competition.  On August 18, forty teams competed in the Second Annual Vine St BBQ Competition in Uptown Park Ridge. Avenues to Independence was one of three local charities that will benefit from the $23,000 raised at this year’s event. Avenues Board Chair Jerry Feldman along with team members, Steve Hands, Bill Kusack and Bob Acker, participated in the competition as team Smokin’ Avenues. Thank you to the organizers for making this event such a success!
The Avenues Thrift Shoppe
Needs Your Gently Used Clothing
As the seasons are changing and you are switching out your clothing for the cooler weather the Avenues to Independence Thrift Shoppe is accepting donations of gently used men, women’s and children clothing. There is always a need for Fall and Winter coats so please take your donations to the Thrift Shoppe at 7710 W. Touhy Chicago 60631. The Thrift Shoppe is open Monday through Saturday from 10am-5pm. To find out more information click here or visit the website at: http://avenuestoindependence.org/what_we_do/thrift_shoppe/
Fall Board Clean-up at Avenues
On Saturday October 13, members of the Avenues Partnership Boards gathered at Sasser Family House and Amundsen Family House for a Fall clean-up. Volunteers spent their morning beautifying the homes by raking leaves, trimming bushes and laying mulch. After all their hard work they brought in lunch and shared time with the residents. Thank you to all of the board members and volunteers that were able to help! If you have a group that is interested in volunteering with Avenues please email Stephen Kray at skray@avenuestoindependence.org
The Young Professionals Group of Avenues
This Summer the Avenues Young Professionals group hosted its 3rd Annual Avenues After Work event at Hubbard Inn in Chicago. The event raised more than $4,000 that will help support the soon to be renovated Center for Independence. If you are interested in learning more about the Young Professionals Group please email Assistant Director of Development Stacie Cragg at  cragg@avenuestoindependence.org
Please join the Young Professionals for their next fundraising venture as they partner with Kendra Scott for
Sips, Sweets and Jewels. The event will be held on Wednesday December 12 from 5:30-7:30pm at 3426 N. Southport in Chicago, and 20% of the proceeds will be donated to Avenues. If you are unable to attend phone orders can be taken all day by calling 708-669-0230. To find out more information please email Assistant Director of Development Stacie Cragg at  cragg@avenuestoindependence.org
Get to know one of the Avenues Thrift Shoppe Volunteers
Meet Sharon Kemerer
Sharon has been a volunteer with the Avenues Thrift Shoppe on a regular basis since July. She is starting a new project at the Thrift Shoppe where items will be featured online and can be purchased and picked up at the Shoppe. Be sure to keep a look out for more information about this new project!
How did you get your start at Avenues?

I have some long-time friends whose daughter is a resident of Avenues and went to school with my boys. I respect what the organization does and I've seen the impact it has on people's lives. For several years, I would come to the shop on Saturdays to support the cause, but didn't think I could volunteer because of my work schedule. When I found out I could help on a restricted basis, I was on board! Since my retirement this past July, I've been able to help more and in different ways. I love my time working with Avenues.

What is your favorite item that has been donated to the Avenues
Thrift Shoppe?
There are so many wonderful things that have come into the Shoppe, that it's hard to come up with one. We all love thinking about what the stories might be behind the donations. Early on in my volunteer experience, we got a beautiful Tiffany-style table lamp, as we cleaned it up, it became more and more lovely. It sold in a heartbeat! 

What are some of the skills you see being used by the Avenues program participants who work at the Thrift Shoppe?

The Thrift Shoppe is a great training ground. I've seen clients use sorting and decision making, staying on focus, problem solving with electronics and appliances that are donated, and being creative with personal art projects. Clients are encouraged to "be all they can be", within an atmosphere of respect. The clients take a great deal of pride in having a job and being able to contribute in a tangible way.  

We hear there might be a new project happening at the Thrift Shoppe involving online sales. What are some items that would be really helpful for people to donate to help support this new project?

Of course we appreciate all the donations we get, including housewares, accessories and clothing. For the new online project, we are looking for unique items, collectibles and pieces that may have a little more value. Crystal, fine china, and vintage housewares are good examples. Since we're just getting started with this, we will learn over time what is most appealing to our customers/supporters.
Avenues to Independence  |  515 Busse Highway
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