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Friday, August 3, 2012

Thank you Mayor and the Media for Best Back2School Event Ever!

What a rewarding week....our Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation Back 2 School event not only kicked off distribution of 19,000 school supply kits to deserving students!  We  invited/hosted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to meet hundreds of kids and personally hand out school supplies.  He truly was a very special guest.  Big things like that happening to a kid can definitely create life-changing experiences. Thanks to Mayor Emanuel and his great staff!

My appreciation goes out to everyone that participated.  Daniella Guzman, morning anchor on NBC 5 News Today was a special guest and taught kids to dance, and laugh, and visited many of the educational booths.  She was unfazed and beautiful, even with an 8-ft python draped around her neck!  Fitness guru Andrea Metcalf had the group working out like never before...dragging their feet on the way in... and all with huge smiles at the end! I have a feeling they may also possibly turn down donuts and pop tarts for breakfast (for a couple days at least).  Andrea added some great gymnastic moves (good timing with the Olympics!) for excitement and had the kids lifting their school supply boxes as part of the workout.

Kids from Pilsen and Chicago Heights learned all about bees from the North Lawndale Employment Network--what a great program providing jobs and producing honey that the kids loved!  (I first met that great group when their CEO was awarded a green award from Chicago Magazine). There were plenty of smiles for the macaws owned by Chicagoan Nick Butkovich and the super friendly 8-foot-long albino burmese python that Bill Pickert from Windy City Reptiles brought to the show. (He works in my building!) The science experiments led by Mike Davis of City Colleges of Chicago created clouds of white smoke and many "oohs" & "aahs" from eager learners. Chicago Lost & Found helped kids re-use old t-shirts and make cool necklaces.  Chicago Scores engaged everyone in soccer. And, Oberweis brought their cute cow truck and low-fat chocolate milk that was noticed by our fit mayor.  Plus, vitaminwater(c) provided cases of all the kid's favorite flavors--including sugar free (taking time out of their busy preparation for Lollapalooza).

The Rauner YMCA, a great partner, provided their giant outdoor soccer field (and indoor gym).  Friends above kept the skies clear and sunny. And, it definitely made me smile to know that the futures of 19,000 kids will be that much brighter knowing that they have full school supply kits to start out the coming year. 

Many thanks to ABC7, Local News Service, NBC5, WGN 9, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Medill News Service and everyone who celebrated the day by coming out and/or covering the event.

As they say, "It takes a village..."and that has never been truer.

If you want to feel equally proud, march yourself into any one of 400 local Illinois Currency Exchanges and make a donation to the Illinois Currency Exchange Foundation's "Back 2 School" program.  Just $11 funds a jam-packed school supply kit for one more child in need.  A recent survey showed that 50 percent of kids receiving school supplies from this program are in households living below the nation's poverty level.  www.icef.org

Let's all contribute to education and a brighter future for kids in Chicago, Illinois, USA.