Thank you Thursday

On Thursday May 14th, One for the Kids held its first annual Honors Ceremony Reception for our host family, the Janowiak Boys and our partner charities. The cocktail hour was held at Ditka’s Restaurant in Oak Brook where we munched on great appetizers, mingled with our guests and of course, had a great time celebrating this great cause. Since this was our most successful event to date, we wanted to thank those who really stepped up to make this event a success. Cheers to all of the hard work!

“What is the largest sporting event in the world?” Bob Lanigan asked to the group. “Special Olympics World Games in LA this summer will be the largest sporting event in the world. The first Special Olympics Event was held at Soldier Field in 1968.” We first presented a check to Susan Nicholl, the Executive Director of Special Olympics Chicago. Susan shared some kind words about the organization. There are currently 4 million athletes involved with Special Olympics and 5,000 in Chicago. They continue to grow their program every year. “This money allows us to reach more athletes,” Susan said. “More than 80% of athletes live at or below the poverty line- so Special Olympics allows them to get involved in something to develop everyday skills.” The money that we give Special Olympics helps offset more than 40 events that the athletes enjoy throughout the year. “We can’t thank you enough and are thrilled.”

Our next partner charity was Advocate Children’s Hospital. We heard some heart felt stories from Dr. Andrew Van Bergen. “We are very fortunate to stand before you and on behalf of the staff and especially our patients, we are exceptionally grateful for this.”

The next check was presented to Mark Lennon, Executive Director for Benton House. Benton House started in 1907 and is a community center of Bridgeport that is 100% volunteers. They currently provide food to 4,000 families and go through 3,000 pounds of food a month. They have teen programs for job trainings, a robotics program and also a math circle. Benton House serves a unique blend of people each week. “The money goes a long way. It goes right to the buildings or right to the programs. I am humbled and thankful that One for the Kids shines their spotlight on us.”

Finally, we were able to give the biggest check to our amazing host family, The Janowiak’s. Tim O’Malley introduced Jim Janowiak, Matt and Phil’s uncle. “I couldn’t be more proud to know them. They brought a community together like I’ve never seen before.”

“People just step up,” Jim said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

We also wanted to recognize some individuals that really went above and beyond and showed true leadership for the Curve Ball this year. A few could not be in attendance but the following people received the “2015 Leadership Award.”

Mike Corrigan who single handedly brought in over $10,000 in sponsorships, the most we have ever had as an organization.

Wendy Fleming got the Fenwick Hockey team together and brought in over $3,000 in donations and silent auction items.

Joe Leonard gave One for the Kids an extremely generous donation of $5,000.

John Mannebach sent out a personal email to almost 100 people that resulted in numerous donations and thousands of dollars in raffle tickets.

Tim O’Malley calls Jennifer Ostrowski “our fearless leader.” Her passion is infectious and she holds the record for raffle ticket sales. You go girl!

Sue Hutchinson has done such an outstanding job for this family and really got the Fenwick community involved with fundraising efforts.

Danny O’Malley was also recognized for his exceptional organization and execution of our Lollapalooza raffle success.

And finally, Eric Degnan, the Curve Ball chairman received “The Step Up Award.” He stepped up and hit a home-run with this event. He has been stepping up for many years and has been an exemplary board member so this was no surprise to our board. Great job Eric!

Thanks to everyone who came out and we look forward to an even more successful event next year!