Approximately 500 community members, civic leaders and donors attended Toast & Twinkle, the Center on Halsted's third holiday party, on Dec. 12. A quintet from Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles played seasonal tunes as guests checked in for the center's open house.
Staff members and volunteers conducted tours of the community center and talked about the many services it provides. "It's a great opportunity for people to see what the center is all about," said Tom Elliott, director of public relations. "Every door is open. On the third floor, we offer sports such as volleyball. In our theater ... we're teaching tango classes. On the second level, we have our youth space, HIV testing, a senior center and a mental health wing. Every day we have 1,000 people walking through our doors for a variety of services."
Guests also toured the Cyber Center, where there are 20 computers available for public use. The evening featured artwork from Doug Birkenheuer, Emily Rutledge and Michael Payne, as well as desserts served by culinary students from the center's Silver Fork program, a nine-week course for members of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community who are unemployed or underemployed.
"My reason for joining the board was because I wanted to belong to an organization that really embraced the community and made it a better place for everybody," said Marcus Brady, chairman of the board for the center. Located in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, the center has been serving the LGBTQ community since 2007.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.
Click here to see photos from these events.
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