LIFT-Chicago Hosts First Regional Summit

On April 2nd over 100 LIFT-Chicago region volunteers, staff and community partners gathered for a full day of best practice sharing, ongoing training, team building, strategizing and fun at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in West Evanston for LIFT-Chicago Region’s first Regional Summit.

Bishop Moody and his family graciously welcomed LIFTers from across the region to the Church, where the LIFT-Evanston office is co-located.  The event was the culmination of six months of planning on the part of LIFT-Chicago and LIFT-Evanston AmeriCorps*National Direct Site Coordinators.

In his opening remarks LIFT-Chicago Executive Director Ben Reuler commended the Site Coordinators and volunteers from across the region for their dedication, organization and professionalism.  Ben cited recent growth in the region including the addition of the LIFT office in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, which has expanded the student advocate base to include volunteers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University and the University of Chicago.

After honoring the graduating seniors, attendees then spent the day participating in a series of breakout sessions.  Guest speakers included representatives from Lakeview Food Pantry, the McGaw YMCA, Volunteers of America, National Able Network, Legal Aid Foundation and Banana Republic, among others.  Some of the guest speakers were also LIFT-Chicago alumni.

“It was a powerful day” said Reuler.  “My favorite part was watching the volunteers from across the region break bread together and chat informally.  It’s really a remarkable group – working with these young people as they hustle in to LIFT in between classes and other college commitments is one of the sheer joys of my job, and quite frankly makes me more optimistic.  These are the future leaders of Chicago and Evanston, and that brings my heart a little extra peace at night.”