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This is the year at the 30th Annual Dinner & Dance Avenues friends, supporters and program participants celebrated Dreaming Big.

The event was held on Friday June 15 at the Chicago/ Northbrook Hilton Hotel.  The nearly 430 guests joined together for a night to remember.  Jerry Feldman, Board Chair, kicked off the evening, “The celebration tonight has an extra special meaning. We celebrate our clients and their big dreams of being able to lead the lives they choose.”

Bob Okazaki was honored for his 40 years of dedication to Avenues to Independence.  He was presented a gift by fellow staff and Avenues program participant Brett.  

Elaine Hodgson, daughter of Avenues founder William Knaack, was presented the Spirit of Avenues award in honor of her family’s dedication to individuals with developmental disabilities.  The award has been renamed the William and Jean Knaack Spirit of Avenues award in her parents’ honor.

During the program Ron Reeves, Avenues Vocational Director, and Amy Wenzl, Case Manager for Avenues, introduced different vignettes where the dreams of our clients were introduced on stage.  John McDonough, President of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Louis, a 28 year resident of Avenues, shared the story of how they met and became friends.

Louis was then joined by his housemates on stage and they talked about the Chicago Tonight segment with WTTW Board Trustee Marv Goldsmith.  “You’ve seen what’s gone on here tonight, you can see the enthusiasm, the commitment and the fun of the people who are here” Marv Goldsmith said of the night’s festivities.

Nora, Cindy, Jeff and Kurt shared the stage with Laura Chicoine of the Advocate Down Syndrome Center in Park Ridge.  They talked about filming the healthy lifestyles peer-to-peer videos they made in partnership with the Center.

Thank you to all those who were able to attend and support Avenues as we continue to Dream Big.

To view more pictures from the event click here of follow this link. http://avenuestoindependence.org/gallery/Album.cfm?ID=1158

     

     

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