Metro Achievement Center celebrates special bond between mothers, daughters

midtown metro valentine's lunch

A mother and daughter celebrate their special bond at a Metro Achievement lunch

by Helen Gerety, Service Initiatives Coordinator, One Good Deed Chicago

“A mother must be physically strong, emotionally stronger, and spiritually strongest.” This is the message that Pascale Burns, mother of four and Midtown Educational Foundation advocate, shared with more than 200 mothers on Saturday, Feb. 18.

The day marked Metro’s 12th annual Mother-Daughter Day Luncheon, where people from Chicago’s underserved communities gathered together to honor each other with the Valentine’s Day –themed lunch, “Mothers are Stronger Role Models than Pop Culture.” I was lucky enough to spend the day at this event. As One Good Deed Chicago’s Service Initiatives Coordinator, I often get the chance to attend the events of our Success Coaches partners and see their work firsthand.

midtown lunch zumba

Mothers at the event do a Zumba-style dance exercise.

The event began with a call to action. Local priest, Father John Waiss, reminded not just daughters to honor their mothers, but mothers to also honor their daughters.

“Mothers, honor your daughters by picturing what qualities you want your daughter to possess and then acquire them yourselves,” he said.

Mothers and daughters separated for part of the day; Daughters wrote love letters to their moms, while the parents had a chance to discuss what makes a strong and successful mom.

The day came to a close when daughters rejoined their mothers for lunch and presented them with hand-crafted love letters. When mothers were asked about how Metro has impacted their daughters, one was especially thankful. She remarked “Metro taught my daughter how to become a young lady.”

The event reminded me of the important relationship that I share with my own mother and the significant role that she played in my development as a self-confident and independent woman. I am thankful for the work that Metro is doing to build and support similar relationships between the mothers and daughters in Chicago.

In addition to hosting an inspiring event like this, Metro for girls, along with its brother site Midtown Center for Boys, is celebrating 12 consecutive years of 100 percent graduation and college enrollment. Midtown Educational Foundation helps close the achievement gap for Chicago’s urban youth by providing one-on-one tutoring, high school prep, and college counseling.

If you are interested in contributing to Midtown and Metro’s success, become a tutor! Visit the profile of Midtown Educational Foundation, the sponsoring nonprofit organization for Midtown and Metro, on to learn how.


Why volunteering makes sense, from a human resources professional

Volunteering can help you find your career path.

by Tony Rea, 20/20 HR LLC

There are many good reasons to volunteer your time and energy to a worthy cause. Volunteering can be rewarding whether you are currently employed or even if you are looking for work.

One of the strongest reasons to volunteer is the sense of fulfillment one gets from giving back to the community served by the nonprofit organization. You may volunteer because you are drawn to the mission of a particular nonprofit or because someone in your personal circle was helped in some way by that nonprofit.

You could volunteer you time assisting the nonprofit in their operations. A good example is the bell ringers during the holidays for the Salvation Army.

Another way to volunteer is to contribute your personal and / or professional expertise. Many nonprofits seek out this type of assistance which can be provided on a pro bono consulting basis or by serving as a board member. Board membership is typically built around having the right combination of business, marketing, accounting, legal and other professional level skills to lead the organization.

For those who are looking for work, this represents a “win-win” for both the individual and the nonprofit organization. What a great way to stay active and connected to your profession by giving back. For new graduates and those considering a career change, it is also a great way to break into a desired or new field of interest.

Volunteer experience looks good on a resume and can be helpful in covering employment gaps created by a period of unemployment. If you give of your professional skills, it will keep you sharp and also show initiative to any prospective employer. It also shows that you are resilient and respond to adversity in a positive and proactive way.

Volunteering can help improve your visibility through networking with people throughout your community. While most likely not a direct path to a position at the respective nonprofit, you will have the opportunity to meet and work with people within the nonprofit, those served by the nonprofit and possibly even influential board members.

While I don’t believe in spiritualism, I do believe that volunteering brings good karma!

Tony Rea is a human resources professional at Orland Park-based 20/20 HR, LLC.


This is part of a guest blogging series highlighting good deeds and volunteerism. If you have a story to tell, we want to hear it! Email alexandra.baird[at] for more information.

Show Us Your Good: Moustaches are back

Members of the University of Chicago Movember team

[Note:This is the first in a guest blogging series highlighting good deeds across Chicago. If you have a story to share, we want to hear it! Email]

by Tracey Swanson (middle right), Web Marketing Specialist at the University of Chicago and Movember team member

A style trend is taking off among men of the staff, student body, and faculty of the University of Chicago. Since early November, upper lips have gone unshaven across the offices and classrooms of UChicago. This is no mere coincidence; it’s a soup strainer conspiracy—the University of Chicago Movember Team.

Movember, an international men’s health movement that began in Australia in 2003, has spread to over a dozen countries and has raised over $174 million, including $7.5 million raised by 1.1 million participants in the U.S. in 2010. Beneficiaries of funds raised in the U.S. include the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, The Lance Armstrong Foundation.

For some, the movement is deeply personal. Avi Schwab (middle left), an IT Specialist and Web Developer at the University of Chicago, was recently diagnosed and treated for testicular cancer. He joined Movember “to help raise funds so that others could receive the same high-level of care that he did.”

Dan Monico (top left), the team captain, who has been participating in Movember for three years, got started because his Australian brother-in-law was growing a Movember moustache.

“Getting people to sacrifice their face for a month is not easy,” says Monico, “but a lot of guys have responded well to it and no one I’ve talked to has ever regretted it. It has been an amazingly rewarding experience.”

As team member Jonas Attenhofer (bottom left) puts it, “some guys use Movember as a test of manhood, others as a beauty contest, and some even to further their mating prospects. Whatever your motivation is, we all achieve the same goal of raising awareness.”

This awareness benefits not only men at large, but also the moustache-growers themselves, who as men have a shorter life expectancy, are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and are statistically less likely to get regular health checks. These men (and the women who support them) not only have more opportunities to discuss issues affecting men’s health, but to give more thought to the ways they keep themselves healthy, including a strong reminder to schedule a yearly check with a doctor.

Few charitable activities are as simple. A month-long moustache is a surprisingly effective icebreaker to allow otherwise reserved men to discuss health issues that affect them and to support prevention, treatment, and research of cancers that affect men.

The 20-member University of Chicago Movember team has a $5,000 fundraising goal. You can help them meet it and see more photos at the team page at