Beacon Place Volunteer Program Managers and Community Members greet guests and share information about our summer programs at our 2nd Annual READY, SET, SUMMER Fundraiser April 19
 Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest. 
Beacon Place is ready for another busy summer of growing programs thanks to the great success of our 2nd Annual Ready, Set, Summer Fundraiser which was held on Wednesday, April 19th at Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest. More than 175 volunteers, donors and community members came together that evening to help to raise over $35,000 to support our growing summer programs!!

With more than 350 kids expected to enroll in our Summer Lunch and Backpack Programs, more than 50 MOMS and caregivers expected in our adult programs, 20 kids working in our gardens,   a nd more than 100 kids working 4 hours a we ek to improve their success in school, our programs continue to grow and expand as our community leans on us for support!

This special evening was a heartwarming opportunity for many of our  supporters to  meet the families of our Beacon Place neighborhood. Ten year old Angel V. confidently  spoke to the large crowd and shared his thoughts on how his family has been impacted by Beacon Place.  Angel was followed by Lina V., one of our college interns and a dedicated volunteer who lives in  Round Lake Beach and sees the b enefit an organization like Beacon Place can have on a community. Mr Alloy Perez, parent of two children in our programs and whose wife Rocio is a committed participant and volunteer, ended the presentation with a truly heartfelt message of appreciation for the support his family has received. All in the room were touched by his sincere expressions of gratitude. 

If you were not able to attend and would like to share your support for our programs, please take a moment to make a donation now.  One small moment of support can change a summer for the kids in our neighborhood!


Carmen Cabrera is a well known community leader in Waukegan recognized for her dedication to community service and it is that same spirit that she shares with Beacon Place. Carmen came to Beacon Place with her son Elias four years ago, and has been actively involved ever since. Carmen is employed by the Waukegan Center of the Chicago Workers Collaborative where she serves as a collaborator bringing together state and local leaders on behalf of issues faced by workers in temporary positions.  

"Carmen is our biggest local advocate and connector in the community. I learn from her each day about the issues in this community and all of the many citizens who are working hard to make changes. Carmen inspires me every day!" Barbara LaFasto, Beacon Place Executive Director

Carmen has helped expand the work of Beacon Place in the broader community by connecting local government and business leaders, newspapers and radio stations, and other agencies to our mission of supporting the kids and families in our community.  Carmen has regular neighborhood meetings at her house and has initiated a neighborhood watch group, clean-up days, and supports local ESL efforts. 
Carmen making homemade tortillas at a thank you luncheon at Beacon Place!
Carmen was one of the first moms enrolled in our MOMS group and attends whenever her work and volunteer schedule permits. She is a weekly volunteer at Beacon Place and helps out at all special events and programs.    

Carmen truly believes that there are brighter days ahead for her neighborhood and community. In 2016, she and her family bought their first home in Waukegan, across the street from Beacon Place. "I see this neighborhood changing because of Beacon Place and this is where I want my family to be." 

Thank you Carmen for the support you give to your family, your neighborhood, the broader community, and, to Beacon Place!
Carmen and her son and a friend work cleaning up the elementary school yard near Beacon Place. 
Karen Kolb
Karen Kolb, or "Miss Karen", as she is affectionately known by moms and kids alike, is one of those special Beacon Place volunteers that has embraced this community like a s econd family!

Karen was a math teacher for more than twenty years, with the last 15 years teaching  at Carl Sandburg Middle School in Mundelein. She retired in 2010 and when looking for a new challenge, started volunteering at a local food pantry where she began working with the moms in the area.  When Beacon Place began in 2013, Karen helped establish the first Beacon Place "MOMS" group, and then as she became aware of the concerns these moms had for their children's  success in school, she started our first After-School Homework Club. That program has now expanded and she works closely with Anne Durot, supporting students year round.  One of her greatest joys is seeing these students develop a love of reading and confidence in their ability in math. In 2016, Karen worked closely with a family whose daughter went through surgery and missed several weeks of school. 
Miss Karen works with her young friends making math seem easy!
Karen prepared special treat bags and work packets to help her young friend stay upbeat and on track at school. 

"Miss Karen has worked hard to help my son and daughter in school. They are always happy to do the work she gives them at Beacon Place!" 
mom, Lourdes

Karen and her husband, John have lived in the Chicago area for over 38 years. They have three daughters Kristen, Brittany and Carolyn and three granddaughters Naomi, Addison, and Ainsley. 
Karen Kolb, Maria McGuire and Anne Durot speak with moms in the summer, 

"I  told Miss Karen about a book I wanted to read and she got it for me the next day! I can't wait to start reading it and then I can tell her about the story!"  Jon Carlo


We're Looking for Summer 2017 Volunteers!

We expect up to 350 children and more than 60 adults to attend our programs this summer and we cannot do it without LOTS of awesome volunteers! We need teens and adults alike and have lots of different ways you can share your time and talents! 
Choose the volunteer activity that best suits you - whether it is having fun with kids as they enjoy a nutritious lunch and then stay for an afternoon of fun activities, or if it is working with kids in kindergarten-8th grade who want to try and improve their academic skills over the summer, or babysitting little ones, leading a cooking class with kids, or working in the garden, we have got a spot for you! 

We rely on a certain amount of volunteers each day so be sure and sign up now on the days and times that work best for you!
Get involved now and create a brighter tomorrow for someone today!

We are actively seeking strategic, forward thinking individuals who will help guide the future of Beacon Place! As we come upon our 5th year anniversary which will be celebrated next fall, it is amazing all that has been accomplished in a short period of time. As we embark on the next leg of this journey, we  are actively recruiting new members to our Board of Directors.  W e welcome all those who have a strong passion to continue the impact Beacon Place is making in our community, and are specifically in need of individuals with marketing, strategic planning, legal, and risk management expertise.

To find out more about Beacon Place Board of Directors opportunities, please email admin@beacon-place.org.  
Our special thanks to......
 ...All of our friends, neighbors and supporters who attended our 2nd Annual READY, SET, SUMMER event!

...Amy Russel and the team from St. Paul the Apostle Church for donating books and buddies for our summer reading programs!

...ACCO for backpacks filled with school supplies for the kids in our neighborhood!

...Our young friends at East Lake Academy who continue to provide special lunches once per month to the students who attend after-school programs at Beacon Place!


Beacon Place
603 S. McAlister
Waukegan, IL 60085