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Residents, patients and parents enjoy Date Nite

  • Written by Claudia Parker

Advocate Children’s Hospital-Oak LawnPage-5-2-col-DAT-niteParents, residents and child patients have different reasons to enjoy Date Nite at Advocate Childrens Hospital. Photo by Claudia Parker. has partnered with the Children’s Museum in Oak Lawn to offer respite service for children with disabilities.
The pediatric resident program at ACH-OL is an arduous three years of eighty-hour workweeks. The residents are collectively known to many as the house staff of the hospital because the majority of their life is spent there. Yet, many of them are managing to squeeze juice from a turnip to provide respite to parents and caregivers of children with special needs.
Many parents have felt anxious about leaving a child with a disability in the care of others. The concern is reasonable. Even so, having a medical expert, specialized in child development, to babysit- in a museum, should erase apprehension like a mistake written with a No. 2 pencil.
The CMOL hosts Date Nite Respite once a quarter. It’s two, fun-filled hours of complimentary childcare on a Saturday evening where each child is paired to play with a resident doctor or medical student.
Before Leanne Mihata became a Pediatrician out of Springfield, Ohio, she too was a resident at ACH-OL. She’s known to be as passionate about parent-child relations as she is child development. She spearheaded the Date Nite Respite program in 2010.
Adam Woodworth of Lockport has been the Executive Director of the CMOL for eight years. He said, “I too have a child with a disability. I understand how important these programs are to families.”
In 2011 Mihata completed her residency and relocated to Ohio. At that time, Molly Phillips of Tinley Park and Kim Arvidson of Oak Lawn became the new coordinators. Arvidson “There are three medical schools feeding into Christ,” Arvidson said. “We maintain a continuum of volunteer residents.”
Arvidson went on to say the amount of hours a resident works pales in comparison to the 24/7 job a parent has.
“Two hours? It’s the least we can do to help.” she said, with a smile.
The Illinois Respite Coalition has a library with 24 organizations that can assist those with unending needs. The special need may include chronic, terminal, physically emotional, cognitive or mental health condition requiring ongoing care and supervision, including Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, developmental disabilities, and children with special medical needs. Visit http://www.illinoisrespite.org/
 The initial participants derived from Mihata’s resident clinic. Today, there are 30 patients of various residents driving the initiative. Parents say their children enjoy being with the residents. The program for Date Nite Respite is currently at capacity. However, if you have a child with a disability that would be interested, please send your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to be added to the waitlist.
Woodworth said Date Nite Respite is just one of several initiatives for those with disabilities. He said, “The CMOL organizes an annual Easter Egg hunt for kids with disabilities, complete with beeper eggs so that blind children can participate.”
Inclusivity for all visitors isn’t just a goal for the CMOL, Woodworth is striving to make it the standard.
“When I’m out on the museum floor, I’m looking at exhibit placement and asking myself questions like, ‘Can a wheelchair fit through here’? or ‘How will this exhibit work for a child who is vision impaired?’’’ 
Woodworth said there’s a new exhibit in the works called “What if…”  This exhibit will allow visitors to experience an inkling of what a disability is like. It will include activities like learning basic sign language and lip reading “If” they were hearing impaired. It will also feature a “What if… I were vision impairment?” where kids will perform every day activities blindfolded. The objective for the exhibit is to create an understanding of what people experience while living with limitations.
The CMOL has several adults with disabilities who volunteer. The museum has a partnership with Park Lawn and the Garden Center. Woodworth said, “Through Park Lawn’s jobs program, we hired a young lady with down syndrome back in 2009.  Later this year she’ll be celebrating 5 years as an employee with us.”
The museum’s mission is to positively impact every child’s potential in life through play-based education. There are several ways to get involved, such as volunteering or making a donation. The CMOL is a 501(c)(3) organization which means, any donation made to the museum is tax-deductible. Visit www.cmoaklawn.org.

Church Corner from 4-17-14

 Sacred Heart Church, 8245 W. 111th St., Palos Hills, is hosting its third annual summer music series for the 2014 season.
  Musicians, under the guidance of James Grzadzinski, music director, will present five installments throughout the summer months, and everyone is invited to attend. Those attending may make a free will offering to benefit the Sacred Heart Music Department. For more information, call Grzadzinski at 974-3336, Ext. 245.
  The series will be presented on these five dates:
  • Sunday, June 8 at 4 p.m. in the Ministry Center Gym. The theme will be Broadway Hits and Popular Favorites and will be featuring musicians Rita Burns, Tom Cameron, Dave Gaidas, and Christine VanLoon.
  • Wednesday, June 11 at 7 p.m. in the church and the program will feature an organ recital featuring Grzadzinski.
  • Wednesday, July 16 at 7 p.m. in the church and the program will be a voice recital featuring soprano and published author Michelle Gliottoni Rodriguez.
  • Sunday, July 20 at 4 p.m. in the church and the theme will be Musical Meditations on the Life of Blessed [soon to be Saint] Pope John Paul II in the Year of His Canonization. The musical program will be featuring the Sacred Heart Cantori and Organ under the direction of Grzadzinski.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Church. There will be music for church and chamber featuring an ensemble of strings, woodwinds, brass, and keyboard. Musicians include Helen Blazie (violin), Stephen Moran (violin/viola), D. Liane Cochran-Stafira (cello), Angelica Nolan (trumpet), Christine Otrembiak (flute), and Josh Rodriguez (saxophone/clarinet).
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  Holy Week Services Planned at Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ.
  Palm Sunday worship at Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ, 9411 S. 51st Ave., Oak Lawn, will begin with a children’s palm processional at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. All children should be present by 9:15 a.m.
  Pilgrim Faith will observe Maundy Thursday with a Seder supper at 6:30 p.m. April 17. The supper will celebrate God’s deliverance of God’s people from oppression and recall Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
  The Community Good Friday service at noon on April 18 at Pilgrim Faith will include communion and reflections on Peter’s denial of Jesus.
  Pilgrim Faith’s Easter worship will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 20, beginning with children decorating the cross with flowers. Easter breakfast will be eaten at 10:30 a.m. and is open to all.
  The church is handicapped accessible. The community is welcome at all services.

Former Mercy Housing CEO to deliver SXU commencement addresses

 

Saint Xavier University announced that former Mercy Housing Chief Executive Officer Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM, and Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett will speak and receive honorary degrees at the University’s 2014 Commencement on May 10.
  Murphy will deliver the commencement address at the Undergraduate Ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. and Byrd-Bennett will deliver the address at the Graduate Ceremony, which begins at 3 p.m. Both ceremonies will take place in the Shannon Center at SXU’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.
  Murphy has been CEO of Mercy Housing since 1987. Under her leadership, Mercy Housing has grown to become an award-winning, national, not-for-profit housing organization with a staff of 1,300. It serves more than 136,800 people in more than 40,000 quality, affordable homes with a presence in more than 200 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia. She is a national spokesperson for the cause of affordable housing and the needs of people who are economically poor.
  Before becoming CEO of Mercy Housing, Sr. Murphy worked in the health care field for 16 years. She received the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California’s Affordable Housing Leadership Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1999, and the 25th Annual Housing Leadership Award from the National Low Income Housing Coalition in 2006. She was inducted into the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame by Affordable Housing Finance magazine in 2009.

Church Corner from 4-10-14

  Holy Week Services Planned at Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ.
  Palm Sunday worship at Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ, 9411 S. 51st Ave., Oak Lawn, will begin with a children’s palm processional at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. All children should be present by 9:15 a.m.
  Pilgrim Faith will observe Maundy Thursday with a Seder supper at 6:30 p.m. April 17. The supper will celebrate God’s deliverance of God’s people from oppression and recall Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
  The Community Good Friday service at noon on April 18 at Pilgrim Faith will include communion and reflections on Peter’s denial of Jesus.
  Pilgrim Faith’s Easter worship will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 20, beginning with children decorating the cross with flowers. Easter breakfast will be eaten at 10:30 a.m. and is open to all.
  The church is handicapped accessible. The community is welcome at all services.
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  The St. Gerald Mother’s Club is expecting between 60 and 80 vendors to appear at their annual spring craft show, which is taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, at the school, 9310 S. 55th Court, Oak Lawn. Entrance to the show is through door number 5 at Southwest Highway and Central Avenue. Various items will be for sale, including: handcrafted items like home decorations, children’s clothing, toys, accessories and more. For vendor information, call Mary Ellen Bizzotto at 422-0121, ext. 5504, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The St. Gerald Mother’s Club has been in existence since 1942 and helps raise funds that directly support the students’ educational needs.

Benefits & Fundraisers from 3-27-14

Johnson-Phelps VFW Post 5220, will be having a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, at the post home, 9514 S. 52nd. Ave., Oak Lawn. For more information, call 423-5220.
  Because of the severe winter weather, there is a critical need for blood donors. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged. To register, call Lifesource at 877-543-3768, or visit lifesource.org and use sponsor code: vfwsor30. A free complete breakfast will be served to all donors, as well as all who attempt to donate. Individuals preparing to donate should eat and stay hydrated.
  A proper ID is needed to be eligible to donate. A driver’s license/state identification, Lifesource or military identification, an employee badge with picture and full name, or a birth certificate with picture identification with a full name all qualify as acceptable identification.
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  Individuals are needed to join Park Lawn’s Tag Days April 11, 12, 18 and 19 as volunteers. The volunteers are needed at street intersections and store fronts in the southern suburbs of Chicago. The “Miles of Smiles” are to inform the local community about the work of Park Lawn, which provides programs and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  To volunteer, call Cynthia San Miguel at 425-6867, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
  Safety vests, collection buckets and handouts with Park Lawn’s logo will be provided to all volunteers. Locations can be scheduled close to home, or a place of employment. Those who are unable to volunteer and would like to make a donation to Park Lawn, visit www.parklawn.com.