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Monday, February 6, 2023

Little Friends: A time to say thank you

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By the time this column goes to press, our Thanksgiving holiday will have passed us all. I hope that you and your families experienced a wonderful celebration that included great food, fun, and fellowship amongst all you were with. You may have even been able to watch a football game or two during the festivities and, of course, in between the naps that always seem to happen because of all the good food we eat!

One of the benefits of the Thanksgiving holiday is that creates an opportunity to pause and think about the things that we are thankful for. In thinking about Little Friends, there are so many things we need to acknowledge and take a moment to thank those who help us provide the support that we do.

According to Jason Altenbern, Vice President, Agency Advancement for Little Friends, Inc., several months ago, representatives from the local YMCA allowed Little Friends access to Kroehler YMCA to “salvage some of the fitness equipment” for use by Little Friends’ students, residents, and staff. In early November, all that equipment found new home, thanks to leadership from the Fry YMCA, Little Friends, Steve Rubin and collaborator Tom Miers. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, friends of Little Friends, Inc., recently met to express gratitude to the YMCA for donating fitness equipment from the now-demolished Kroehler Y for use in its new workout room. To everyone’s delight, attendees enjoyed learning how everyone connected to Little Friends. Pictured are Little Friends Board Member RAY MCGURY, YMCA Board member CHRISTEL GRIFFIN, Little Friends CEO MIKE BRIGGS, YMCA Board LULU ELSHAFEI, RAMSEY ELSHAFEI, YMCA Staff ERIC BOUNAMICI, YMCA Board TOM MIERS, Little Friends Board Member RAY KINNEY, Little Friends JASON ALTENBERN, SHERI RUBIN and STEVE RUBIN. Founded in Naperville in 1971, Little Friends, Inc., is now located at 27555 Diehl Road in Warrenville. The fitness equipment found a home at the school there.

To all the people who have made the decision to help us with a donation of time, talent, or treasures, thank you for everything that you have done for us this past year. As for time, not only do I think about our employees and their selfless gifts shared with the children and adults we serve, I also think about the incredible number of hours we receive from volunteers who give up their time to help.

Our Serendipity store is a great example, where literally thousands of hours come from a team of people committed to helping raise money for our cause. Thank you all!

Little Friends Serendipity Resale Shop is located at the Aurora Marketplace Shopping Center, 461 S. Route 59. Hours are 10AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday.

For talent, I think about our team in all the programs we operate. Their gifts to help not only those directly involved but families who value the work as well. Thank you for what you do knowing your impact spreads across so many.

As I think about treasures, people continue to be incredibly generous and help our mission. Whether gifts in kind or of financial nature, our ability to expand and grow services only happens because of this amazing support. Thank you again for wanting to help make a difference in the lives of those whose needs are special. While we hope that you are inspired by our work, your support plays a huge part in what inspires us to keep doing more!

As those who read this column think about the balance of the end-of-the-year holidays and the start to a new year, please know how much your help matters. It matters to us, and I know on behalf of every other organization like us, it matters to them, too!

We all survive because of your willingness to help, and for that, thank you!

Mike Briggs
Mike Briggshttp://littlefriendsinc.org
Mike Briggs is the President and CEO of Little Friends. Little Friends empowers clients with autism and other developmental disabilities to thrive in our community. Their groundbreaking programs and nationally-renowned staff provide lifelong opportunities for growth, so their clients can work, learn, play and experience the joy of life’s everyday moments.

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