Danielle Gensburg, Staff Writer, The Glenivew Lantern
Friends of Youth Services, a group of women who fundraise to support Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, a community agency providing programs to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families in Glenview and Northbrook, hosted its eleventh annual fundraiser, “Girlfriends Breakfast & Boutique,” Friday, Nov. 13.
The event featured 14 boutique vendors, encouraging visitors to shop around with 20 percent of sales going towards Friends of Youth Services, complimentary coffee and muffins, a $10 champagne bar and a sit-down breakfast with a centerpiece raffle. Vendors included Dino’s Sports Fans Shop, North Shore Boutique, Vintage Nest in Glenview, Just Class Jewelry in Chicago, Necessities (jewelry) in Northbrook, Mom’s Enterprises in Elmhurst and several independent owners such as B.V. Adams (a shop for exclusive women’s fashion and accessories), FiftyBlue, Joshe Style (a store for women’s fashion jewelry and clothing), The Sign Maker (a company based out of Naperville that creates custom, hand-painted, and antique signage), and ViVi Jewelry.
Both new and old vendors participated in the fundraiser this year, and there were a variety of items on sale, ranging from jewelry, sports apparel and clothing to cards, notebooks, hand-made signs and pillow totes. A particularly unique and new vendor this year was Santa Rosa Stitches, a non-profit organization that sells quality fair trade products from El Salvador to raise money for a group of women living in Chiltiupan, a very poor and remote village in the country with a 98 percent unemployment rate. While at the fundraiser Friday, the organization sold jewelry, bags and scarves, among other items.
Denise Miskella, who was helping her friend run Santa Rosa Stitches’ booth on Friday and went on a mission to El Salvador to help the women there, said that fundraisers like Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook help raise awareness for the non-profit.
“It definitely helps getting more exposure, and at an event like this, I know so many people and that’s fun for me too,” Miskella said.
Kelly Held, a personal stylist for ViVi Jewelry, a jewelry company based out of California, said she has been selling jewelry for 11 years and it was also her first time participating in Youth Services’ fundraiser.
“We’re all about giving back. We’re actually affiliated with the American Cancer Society, so anytime I can do fundraisers, I’m happy to do it,” Held said.
Held said her favorite part about the fundraiser is interacting with the women who attend.
“I think the ladies, the shoppers, are all very nice. They’re very polite, very professional and just fun to be with,” she said.
A sit-down breakfast took place after the shopping, where attendees listened to jokes from Second City comedian, Kevin Reome, who mc’d the event, and watched a video to learn more about Youth Services and the organization’s work in helping children and families in Northbrook and Glenview. The video included personal interviews with children who had benefited from Youth Services and many of the agency’s leaders.
“I’m here to share a little bit about my own journey with Friends of Youth Services and what a rewarding journey it has been, to be a part of such a wonderful group of women,” Friends of Youth Services Board Member Beth Kirk Malecki said during her speech at the breakfast.
Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook offers everything from counseling for social, emotional and behavioral issues, crisis interventio, and psychiatric evaluations to after school groups for children and a “Study Buddies” program that helps children in grades 1-8 with their homework. Representatives from Friends of Youth Services and the agency itself talked about how they offer care and compassion for children and help families to help their children.
“If I could describe Youth Services in one word, it would be ‘exceptional,’ Director of Youth Services Amy O’Leary said.
O’Leary also spoke during the breakfast.
“This is the biggest event that Friends of Youth Services does, which is great because they do everything, so they’re hard at work all year, and that allows our staff to continue to just focus on programs and providing the services that we have. It’s real great partnership, and they’ve been very successful over the years.”
A special raffle was also a part of the breakfast, where attendees could win items ranging from a luxurious one-night stay and spa services at the Four Seasons in Chicago for $560, rose gold faceted sapphire drop earrings for $660, a Mackinac Island getaway for $1,668 and twelve bottles of wine hand-selected by Chef Bobby Arifi of Café Lucci in Glenview.
Combining shopping with a delicious breakfast, the fundraiser was successful for yet another year. Glenview resident Ellen Girard was invited by a friend to attend the fundraiser for the first time and said she enjoyed shopping at the local boutiques and the breakfast.
“I really like Youth Services and what they do. I’ve been to other events, and I think it’s a great cause because in our community there are a lot of people who do need services that are very expensive. I definitely support them,” Girard said.
Glenview resident Missy Jerfita who has been a sponsor of Youth Services in Glenview/Northbrook for the last five years, said that the agency is close to her heart, in her neighborhood and a worthwhile cause to give back to.
“There are some organizations that you feel connected to. The reason why I give to Youth Services is I just feel really connected to this because it’s part of my community and has to do with kids and people who generally need help with a family crisis. I feel like it’s money well spent, and I hope I’m making a difference,” Jerfita said.
Friends of Youth Services Board Member Peg Macaluso said the organization hopes to raise around $50,000 during the fundraiser to go towards Youth Services.
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