Projects & Presentations
Over nine Fridays between October and June, Community Leadership Program participants – local working professionals – join with faculty facilitators from Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business and a diverse roster of area business and governmental and nonprofit pros to further develop their acumen in the areas of project management, strategic planning, and creative problem-solving, as well as conflict resolution and staff motivation. As an essential experiential portion of this Program, participants form teams to work on projects that aim to benefit Oak Park-River Forest.
2014-2015 Team Projects
- Open House OPRF
CLP Participants: Sarah Corbin (Member Services Specialist, OPRF Chamber of Commerce), Tom Gull (Director of Development, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust), and Heidi Ruehle-May (Executive Director).
This team created a day modeled after Open House Chicago, in which residents will be given the opportunity to visit OPRF landmarks and museums for free. The day, September 12, 2015, is focused on educating residents about the volunteer opportunities associated with these organizations. The group has submitted a grant application to the Village of Oak Park and has also gained support from the OPRF Chamber of Commerce.
- The Surplus Project
CLP Participants: Tod Altenburg (CFO, OPRF High School), Jennifer Gawlik (Therapist, Thrive Counseling), Jennifer Grenier (RN & Unit Director, Rush Oak Park Hospital), Beth Klein (Bookkeeper, OPRF Food Pantry), and Joy Wright (Director of Development, OPRF Day Nursery).
This team developed collaboration between local organizations, including Rush Oak Park Hospital, OPRF High school, and the OPRF Food Pantry. Members of this group jointly created a partnership which will focus on transferring unused food at the hospital or high school to the food pantry for distribution.
- Getting “On Board”
CLP Participants: Denise Brown (Program Administrator, Daniel J. Nellum Youth Services), Omar Diaz (Systems Engineer, Dominican University), Mayra Ortiz (Marketing Associate, Nicor Gas), Fernando Rivera (Branch Manager, Forest Park National Bank)
This team has created a proposal for a local training program on board and civic involvement (specifically aimed at getting young adults interested in such leadership roles).
- Framework for Readiness
CLP Participants: Danielle Condon (Catering & Events Manager, 19th Century Club), Alison Corsino (Training Coordinator, Hephzibah Children’s Association), Kim Polk (Aquatics Director, West Cook YMCA), Chemaine Carr (Asst. Principal, Percy Julian Middle School)
This team crafted a collaboration between group members’ respective organizations (Nineteenth Century Club, West Suburban YMCA, District 97 and Hephzibah Home) to provide middle-school age youth with the opportunity to take culinary preparation classes, which will help to develop skills for future employment.
- Our Community: Social Services Resource Fair
CLP Participants: Douglas Dixon (Principal, Sales Performance Solutions), Paul Simpson (Executive Director, Academic Enrichment Center – Dominican University), Emily Sjostrom (Marketing Manager, Visit Oak Park)
This team produced the Our Community : Social Services Resource Fair – held on June 17 aimed at improving the flow of ideas and information among and between service providers and community advocacy organizations in Austin, Berwyn, Forest Park, Maywood and OPRF. The aim is to expand the circles of power, resources, and human capital between these neighborhoods.
2013-2014 Group Projects
- Cultivating Community
CLP Participants: Kathleen Mullaney, Molly Philosophos, Rhea Yap, Michele Zurakowski
Construction of a sustainable garden at Hephzibah, which will be utilized to help its foster children learn new life skills in relation to nurturing. The children will be directly involved in maintaining the garden and will connect to their community by donating some of their crops to the OPRF Food Pantry.
- Volunteer OPRF
CLP Participants: Judy Deogracias, Melanie Weiss, Jackie Werner, Anna Wilson
Creation of a comprehensive database/search portal that community members can utilize to connect to community organizations for volunteer opportunities. Currently in the form of a Facebook page.
- 8 to 9 Connection
CLP Participants: David Benson, Lasheena Lee, Carol Seley, Tina Steketee
Development of a promotional video for the 8 to 9 Connection program, which works to improve our students’ transition from 8th grade to high school.
- Mentoring Teens
CLP Participants: Carmen Rivera, Amanda Sonka, Brian Yarbrough
Development of a mentorship/leadership program for OPRF youth
2012-2013 Group Projects
- Early Childhood Nutrition “Seed to Sprout!”
CLP Participants: Faith Cole, Colleen DeDecker, Shanon Williams, Ellen Winter
- CompostAble for Oak Park
CLP Participants: Steve Nazaran, Julie Moller, Courtney Orcholski
- OPRF Embrace
CLP Participants: Tracy Brooker, Cristy Harris, Jill Moorhead, Max Austin-Williams
- Rising Readers Club
CLP Participants: Morgan Davis, Larissa Garcia, Jessica Mackinnon, Edward Redd, Victoria Scaman, Kristina Skare
2011-2012 Group Projects
- Online Teen Calendar
CLP Participants: Merryl Brownlow, Jennifer Hayes Thomas, Abby Miller, Leigh Tarullo
- Water Conservation Education
CLP Participants: Jose Garcia, Sean Olis, James O’Shea, David Romano
- Mission Possible: Solving by Connecting
CLP Participants: Missy Hawley, Maureen Madden, Joan Ormsby, Michael Pikowski, Viktor Schrader, Liz Visteen, Cathy Woods, Cathy Yen
2010-2011 Group Projects
- Mapping & Shared Services
CLP Participants: Carla Pierre Gini, Julie Mann, Tom Olis, Ellen Plourde, Karin Schindel
- Expectation Gap: Student Advisory
CLP Participants: Karen Faust and Lauren Smith
- Childhood Obesity: Youth Energized in Activities for Health (YEAH)
CLP Participants: Julie Farrell, Caleb Fields, Michael Lushniak, Sarah Niederman, Melanie Nowacki, David Parsons, Kathryn (KC) Poulos, Angie Spino
2009-2010 Group Projects
- Alternative Activities for Youth
CLP Participants: Michael Carmody, Tina Levy, Zach Moyer, Jim Rolff, Marc Stopeck
- Mentoring: The Success of All Youth
CLP Participants: Melissa Devries, Sarah Durbin, Faith Humphrey-Hill, Annese Piazza, LaDon Reynolds