Since its inception in 2009, StandUp For Kids (SUFK) – Chicago has welcomed volunteers from the city to help in its mission: ending the cycle of youth homelessness in the city of Chicago. At the drop-in center, open three nights a week, SUFK – Chicago provides youth a warm meal and safe space, mentorships and much-needed essentials from a community closet donated by inhabitants of the greater Lakeview neighborhood.
A major driving force behind the work SUFK – Chicago is able to accomplish comes from in-kind monetary donations from individuals and companies alike in the Chicagoland area. While many of these donations already arrive on a regular basis, the SUFK – Chicago volunteer base is responsible for continually spreading the word about the organization and inspiring others to enact change in any way possible. This came to fruition over the summer and developed into a full-fledged partnership in December 2018. Jill Ryan, a committed volunteer, has been with SUFK – Chicago for seven months. Her dedication to the organization and to helping homeless youth caught the attention of Evive, where she currently works. Evive combines big data and predictive analytics to change how people use their employee benefits through their proprietary platform which makes is simple for employees to make better decisions regarding health, wealth and work/life decisions and for employers to maximize the investment in employee benefits.
Jill Ryan first introduced Evive to SUFK – Chicago in July 2018 when she brought in a team of coworkers to paint the drop-in center. In the ensuing months of seeing and hearing about the work she and her fellow volunteers do at the center and the results they are able to achieve, SUFK – Chicago was fortunate enough to be selected as one of Evive’s partners for 2019.
On December 6, 2018, Wayne Stiles, Director of SUFK – Chicago visited Evive to recognize this partnership. While there, Wayne shared a more in-depth picture of the work the center does for the homeless youth of Chicago. He also discussed his vision for the future of SUFK – Chicago, a desire to expand the frequency and depth of their services to youth struggling with homelessness in Chicago. Ideally, the center would be open for more than three nights a week and therefore have a greater reach within the homeless youth community and provide more comprehensive and sustained help to those in need. In honor of this partnership, Allen Kline, EVP of Client Experience, presented SUFK – Chicago with a check for $10,000. With this contribution, StandUp For Kids – Chicago will be in a position to provide more programming and keep the lights on in Lakeview for the homeless youth of Chicago.