Ceremony Celebrates Renovations to Erie's Historic Settlement House
July 19, 2014 | Chicago, IL
An intimate gathering of Erie Neighborhood House supporters celebrated the recent renovations to the historic settlement house site at 1347 W. Erie St. during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, July 7.
The event marked the culmination of a $500K project—funded by a capital improvement grant from the State of Illinois and executed by former Erie House Board President Mark Jolicoeur, architects Perkins+Will and Novak Construction—that will serve to increase program capacity for Erie House’s Youth Options Unlimited (YOU) as well as YOU's flagship mentoring program, TEAM.
Executive Director Celena Roldán-Moreno expressed her delight as she greeted those in attendance to open the ceremony. “A rich variety of programming operates in this space,” she said, individually calling out each of the Erie House programs aimed at working for a more just and inclusive society. “The amazing renovations to this facility will only enhance these operations and ensure that Erie House is providing the highest level of services to our participants.”
John DeCarrier, owner of Solano-DeCarrier Management and Erie Neighborhood House Board President, also joined the festivities on Monday evening.
“This is a great night to be sharing this amazing new space with all of you,” DeCarrier told attendees while giving remarks on behalf of the Erie House Board of Directors. “I’m proud to say that this year TEAM celebrates its 30th anniversary, and the graduating class has a 100% placement rate at a four-year college or university.”
In addition to the remarks from DeCarrier, two YOU participants spoke about the role Erie House has played in their growth and development as student leaders. Eddie Martinez and Karla Perez, rising seniors and active participants in Erie’s TEAM mentoring program, embody the impact for which YOU administration, staff and volunteers hope.
“Hopefully the space will allow many other youth to join the program and stay off the streets,” said Martinez, who has been a member of the Erie House community for seven years. “Because I believe that YOU can be a successful program for those students who are committed to its potential to produce great individuals.”
The capital grant which funded the renovation project was championed by Senator John J. Cullerton, President of the Illinois Senate.
“[Senator Cullerton] has always been so caring and giving to young people throughout the city of Chicago,” said Walter Burnett Jr., Alderman of Chicago’s 27th Ward. Burnett pointed out that Cullerton, who was unable to attend the ceremony, had labored in Springfield to secure the grant funding for Erie House even though the agency lies outside of his district. “It’s a testament [to his character], and I want to commend him for that.”
To thank Sen. Culllerton, YOU participants created a wall mural decorated with colorful messages of gratitude on the new classroom wall, coated—as requested by YOU participants at the beginning of the renovation project—with a dry-erase finish to allow for temporary artwork and mural projects.
Joe Moreno, Alderman of Chicago’s 1st Ward, accepted an award of recognition on behalf of the senator.
“I am humbled and honored to accept this award on behalf of our good friend Senator John Cullerton,” said Moreno, whose jurisdiction encompasses the 1347 W. Erie St. site in addition to the Erie Community Center at 1701 W. Superior St. “He’s been behind Erie House from day one.”
Moreno also took time to emphasize the vital role STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education programs—the very initiatives that are a focal point of the YOU and TEAM programs—can play in the lives of young people in the city of Chicago.
After the ceremonial ribbon was cut, attendees were able to tour the new facilities as they visited with one another. To view photos from the evening as well as portraits of the renovated space, please watch this brief video montage.
YOU and TEAM benefit greatly from the generous support of volunteers and philanthropic leaders in the community. If you are interested in getting involved, donating, or know a colleague who would serve well as a mentor, please visit us online at www.eriehouse.org or call 312.563.5800.