Donating to the future
Township of Lyons helps The LeaderShop
By Steve Metsch
The Township of Lyons is giving a sizable contribution of $12,500 to The LeaderShop, a program based in La Grange that helps teenagers.
Township Supervisor Christopher Getty and other township officials think the program is a worthwhile recipient.
“We previously this year sponsored their organization for the identical amount. Their original request to the township was for $40,000,” Getty said at the board’s Feb. 11 meeting.
“I am recommending we do a grant for them. It’s a good organization. They mentor a lot of youths. They also provide a space for them to go to. Their facility is across the street from Lyons Township (High School’s) south campus. They also have programs they run in Summit,” Getty said.
The grant was unanimously approved.
The LeaderShop “has lost some foundation funding,” so the township stepping up is timely, said Ron Melka, Executive Director of the Lyons Township Community Mental Health Commission.
“They’re teaching kids to be leaders. That’s why it’s (called) The LeaderShop,” Melka said.
Alan Dorobiala, president of the Township of Lyons Mental Health Commission, added, “it’s a good organization. Hopefully, this helps.”
According to the mission statement at www.theleadershop.org.
“The LeaderShop empowers youth to become community-minded individuals through diverse programs that foster confidence, knowledge and leadership.”
According to the site, “since 1978, the LeaderShop has provided a safe and welcoming environment for elementary through high school aged youth. Our programs range from mentoring and leadership to performance groups, outreach/volunteer services and special community-based events.
“The LeaderShop participants are encouraged to express themselves by getting involved in the diverse programs which are designed to give them the tools, confidence and passion to want to make a difference in their community.”
Trustee Timothy Sprague called it “a great organization.”
Getty agreed: “They do a fantastic job helping them get through high school,” adding “we’re planning to give them another $25,000 next year.”
Melka noted: “They’re teaching kids to be leaders. That’s why it’s (called) The LeaderShop.”
One example of what they do is that students get help with homework after school twice a week at The LeaderShop offices, 4903 S. Willow Springs Road, La Grange; the Hollywood Community House in Brookfield; and at the Summit Park District.
Township Clerk Mike Porfirio added: “I know The LeaderShop appreciates the assistance. They’re in a tough financial crisis this year, so we hopefully can throw them a lifeline … We want to do what’s right.”
In other business, the township board approved a $250 donation to the Argo Higher Education Foundation for its fourth annual casino night.
The event, held in honor of Stacey Ziccardi, is planned for Feb. 28 at Crystal Sky Banquets in McCook.
The board also approved a $1,000 sponsorship to the city of Countryside’s St. Patrick’s Day Family Parade planned for March 7.
“If you want to walk or ride in the parade, you’re welcome to,” Getty told the trustees.
Countryside Mayor Sean McDermott, the township’s highway commissioner, said funds raised by the parade will be donated to the Center for Independent Living, located in Countryside, and the School District 105 Foundation.
The board is giving a $50 donation to the Countryside Women’s Club.
The board is increasing the general assistance rent benefits from $240 to $255.
“The assistance is paid directly to the landlord … and (those receiving assistance) are still responsible for the difference,” Getty said.
“I wish we could do more,” Sprague said.
Meanwhile, the township is “very close to launching a new website,” Porfirio said. “We’re doing final tweaks.”
Porfirio said the township’s mental health commission will bring a parent/teen café, entitled “How to Talk with Teens,” to Gurrie Junior High in La Grange on March 10, and Pleasantdale Middle School in Burr Ridge on March 12.
The township board next meets at 6 p.m. March 10.
— Desplaines Valley News
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