giving backMartin Luther King Jr. once said “People who have a stake in their society protect that society, but when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.” I firmly believe that not only is this true, but that giving back is a way to earn a stake in society. Whether it’s on a personal or corporate level, or both, it’s necessary to help anyone or anything in need.

Working with charities is rewarding for everyone involved. By giving your time, you get a new perspective on issues and learn humility. When an organization gets together to volunteer it can be an exercise in team building. We’re proud to say that this year we will be assisting 3 different charity organizations.

Housing Forward

Housing Forward is local organization in western suburbs of Chicago that set out to transform the lives of those needing housing. They work to address health needs as well as income needs as they transition people back into stable housing.

Melinda is serving on the auxiliary board for their upcoming Have-a-Heart Gala! The gala will be held at The Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago on February 11th, featuring a reception and a silent auction.

Anyone who is interested in donating prizes, big or small, please reach out to Melinda at

Sarah’s Inn

Sarah’s Inn is a local non-profit whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by domestic violence and to break the cycle of violence for future generations. Their services and initiatives focus on ending relationship violence through domestic violence crisis intervention, community education, and violence prevention programs for youth.

Earlier this year we all got together to cook dinner for the women and children at the shelter, cooking enough for about 40 people! This year, not only will we be donating holiday gifts, but we’ll also be acting as drop off center. If you’re interested in contributing, feel free to swing by our office at 7630 Madison in Forest Park, Il  to drop off an unwrapped present through November 27th.

If you’d like to donate an item but aren’t in the area, feel free to browse their Amazon Gift Registry and have the gifts shipped right to Sarah’s Inn!

A few of the ladies here will be volunteering at Sarah’s Inn through the holidays as well! We love the partnership we’ve formed over the year and we’re happy to help in any way we can!

The Jane Adeny Memorial School

The Jane Adeny Memorial School, or JAMS, is an girls boarding school located in western Kenya that offers a high school education that is good enough for the richest, but open to the poorest. In lieu of gifts last year, we decided to sponsor a girl for all 4 years of her high school career.

I personally volunteer my summers teaching at JAMS and this past summer I had the chance to meet the bright young mind we’re sponsoring! Her name is Phloice and she comes from a small town about 5 miles from the school. Phloice is left with only her younger sister and father, having lost her mother at a young age. Upon being accepted at JAMS with full sponsorship, she gathered the few items she had and walked from her home in Koru up into the hillside to her new home.

The education JAMS gives is unmatched by any other school of it’s kind. The girls are taught to be curious and ask questions. They work all day and night to ensure that their grades are up and their campus is clean. National exams are administered yearly and determine which students will be eligible for university. While only 31% of students qualify to go to university nationally, 80% of JAMS students qualified!