In September of 2015, soon after moving into UCAN’s Therapeutic Youth Home, several young people became inquisitive about their new space. They asked their trusted caretaker and Vice President of UCAN’s Residential program, Kathy McCarthy, for answers. “A couple of kids thought I had paid for everything myself! I told them a little about UCAN’s board and how the board and other people in the community donated money for the home. I could see right away that they wanted to show their gratitude somehow.”
On Monday, January 11 before UCAN’s Governing Board hosted their monthly meeting on the new campus in North Lawndale, they were invited for a special dinner presented by UCAN’s residential youth. Close to 15 youth worked all day to decorate a room, prepare and cook food, and dress in their finest to greet some of the donors who made their new living arrangement a possibility.
Everyone gathered to eat roasted chicken, rosemary potatoes, and grilled asparagus. Quite literally the cherry on top was an ice cream bar in the cafeteria for board members to build their own sundaes. The most exciting part of the evening for the youth was being allowed to use key cards to escort board members on a personal tour of the facility.
When asked why they were interested in throwing this party, 15-year-old Kimone said, “This place is much bigger than where we were before, and we even have our own rooms.” Kaitlyn chimed in, “We wanted them to see how excited we were and cook some good food!”