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Community Celebration Board

Welcome to the Ridgeville Park District Community Celebration Board! This is a space for us to celebrate the diverse clutures and wonderful humans that make up our great community. Ridgeville Park District is honored to spotlight the accomplishments and service of our neighbors. Links to events all around Evanston and Chicago that you and your family can attend are posted throughout! 

In January, Ridgeville Park District celebrates....

Yvonne Vanden Avenne

The following was written by Anna Boekstegen on November 30, 2017.

Yvonne Vanden Avenne, passed away November 5, 2017 at Westminster Place, in Evanston at the age of 90.

From 1977 to 2003 she lived at 716 Brummel St. in Evanston. During some of those years she worked in the children's division of St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in Chicago as a psychiatric social worker.  Her interest in the welfare and safety of children carried beyond her professional commitment to the children in the neighborhood where she lived.

At the time, Brummel Park neighborhood was confronting problems of safety, due to gang activity in the area.  During Yvonne's time, a teenage girl was killed half a block from where she lived. Together with the alderman, Ridgeville and the police, Yvonne was instrumental in getting neighbors together  and she became the coordinator of Brummel Park Neighbors, a neighborhood organization.  

Some of the things that happened while she was coordinator:

New equipment was installed in Brummel Park; a supervised summer program provided a safe place for the children during the summer months. Neighborhood clean-ups were organized. To express their pride in the neighborhood, every spring, neighbors organized a flower planting along Custer Avenue between Howard and Oakton.  The plantings were maintained by neighbors who had the planters in front of their buildings.  

Another major project was the creation of the mural on Callan: with the help of an artist (whose name I don't recall) the ideas of neighbors for the theme of the mural, one of cooperation and respect  for and appreciation of differences in the neighborhood, became a reality. Many neighbors came to help paint the mural, it was truly a neighborhood project.

At the neighbors' urging, the police established a neighborhood police outpost on Howard Street near Custer.  It became also a place where neighbors would hold their meetings.  

These accomplishments are a testimony to the day to day care Yvonne took to bring neighbors together so that all could enjoy a safe and pleasant place to live.

On behalf of Ridgeville Park District, THANK YOU to both Yvonne and Anna for being such an important part of our district. 


See below for all the incredible folks we celebrated in 2017!

In December, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Animal Rescue Oragnizations!

Click HERE for EASA events that your family can be a part of!                                                 Click HERE for EASA Facebook Page!

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

The Evanston Animal Shelter

"Peek in the back room of the Evanston Animal Shelter and you'll find many of the cages are empty or being used to store equipment.

To members of the Evanston Animal Shelter Association (EASA) — the volunteer group which replaced the previous Community Area Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.) with the goal of operating it as a "no-kill" shelter last year — that's a good thing.

In 2015, the group saw a brisk increase in adoptions — an important component of their strategy, shelter representatives said.

"We get these days when your head is spinning," said Alisa Kaplan, with Vicky Pasenko, co-presidents of EASA. "We must have adopted 20 cats over the holidays."

The city contracted with EASA in June on a two year agreement to take over fundraising and responsibility and coordinate the volunteer program at the city's animal shelter, located at 2310 Oakton St.

Kaplan and Pasenko, former C.A.R.E. volunteers, played a strong role in the city severing its relationship with that group after going public with concerns about high euthanasia rates and lengthy shelter stays.

EASA is finding "the whole transition was definitely more smoother than we expected it to be," Kaplan said at the shelter last week.

The organization quickly built up its membership base and now easily has 150 volunteers, she said.

"And the fact that we became a no-kill shelter helps," she said. "It's something that people can more easily commit to."

EASA also has worked at improving customer service, said Shannon Daggett, another volunteer, "and making this a welcoming environment for people."

Sarah dos Santos, a volunteer at the shelter last Thursday, said she has noticed the change.

"They'll take everybody's opinion," she said. "If you have an idea they'll listen to you."

According to figures the organization provided the city's Animal Welfare Board, the shelter took in 91 dogs and 122 cats in a period covering between June and October of 2015.

Euthanasia was only necessary in three cases, the organization said, and during that period, 37 dogs and 109 cats were adopted.

On finding animals new homes, "we'll explore every possible option," said Kaplan. "We never said we're going to be able to re-home every dog. And if we have a dog that we think is dangerous we're not going to put that dog out there. But we will explore every possible option and so far that's been pretty successful."


"One of our goals is to get a dog not thriving at the shelter into foster whenever possible," explained Kaplan. "Expanding our foster program is a big part of keeping the shelter count down and improving the adoptability of (animals) that wouldn't be necessarily adopted if they stayed at the shelter."

[The EASA hosts an annual fundraiser- Tails in Bloom]

EASA foots the bill for medical supplies and other costs, shelter officials said. But as much as the fundraiser is about raising money, "it's letting people know we're out there and a resource for the community," said Kaplan.

"When people come in here they are in desperate straits, they need to give up an animal," she said. "It's very important for us to tell them we'll do everything possible to save your beloved pet and to find a good home for it."" -Pioneer Press, Chicago Tribune


In November, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Native American Indian Heritage Month!

Click Below for events in Chicago-land that your family can be a part of!

-Chicago Public Library

-American Indian Center

-Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

Dorene Weise

"Dorene Wiese isn't afraid of going against tradition — even though tradition means everything to her.

She was one of seven American Indians in the state of Minnesota to ever graduate high school in 1967. She went on to get her bachelor's degree and even her doctorate so she could convince other American Indians that it's important to get an education. After all, she said, it's the only way her people can thrive in the United States.

Now living in Chicago, Wiese, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, is the president of the American Indian Association of Illinois. She created a small liberal arts college program affiliated with Eastern Illinois University that focuses on general education and language classes for American Indians.

She also sponsors preservation, culture and native language growth projects throughout Chicago so that urban American Indians can remember their heritage while living in the city.

"American Indians have been ignored," Wiese said. She's hoping to change that.


Q: What's the future of American Indians in Chicago?

A: I think it's very positive. If we get people to embrace how important education is for our students and all the parents and all the children — it's important in terms of people being able to find work and find housing and support themselves. I am very hopeful." -Chicago Tribune

Learn more about Dorene Weise!

In October, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Muslim American Heritage Month!

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of!

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

Iman Boundaoui

"Once or twice a week, Drinker Biddle & Reath associate Iman Boundaoui hops on the Blue Line to O’Hare International Airport after work to sit by the McDonald’s in Terminal 5.

As part of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Chicago Travelers Assistance Program, Boundaoui is one of about 300 regular volunteer attorneys who staff the international terminal to provide assistance to travelers detained in the wake of President Donald Trump’s various travel bans from Muslim-majority countries. Federal judges have blocked both executive orders seeking travel bans, but the political mood is putting more travelers, visa-holders and non-native residents under additional scrutiny, Boundaoui said.

Boundaoui said she personally sees four to five cases a night.

“Immigration attorneys who have been doing this for years will tell you we’ve never seen so much expedited removal before,” she said.

The group, formed in the wake of mass protests at O’Hare in January, staffs the terminal in groups of two to four attorneys, interpreters and/or law students from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. They intervene where needed by request of families of a traveler held for additional questioning, inquiring into status or informing officials of language barriers, special needs or mitigating circumstances.

The travelers have no right to an attorney, as they’re not citizens. Officials have no obligation to speak to or listen to the lawyers..." -Paul Dailing, Chicago Lawyer

Iman Boundaoui provides representation to a variety of businesses involved in class action litigation and other civil litigation. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Muslim Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. 

Learn more about Iman Boudaoui! -NPR

Learn more about Iman Boudaoui! -Chicago Tribune


In September, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Hispanic Heritage Month!

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of!
Click HERE for events in Evanston that your family can be a part of! 

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

Jorge Prieto, M.D. 

"Dr. Jorge Prieto, [was] a pioneer in delivering health services to the poor in the inner city and for migrant farm workers in rural areas.


After receiving his medical education in Mexico, Prieto worked as a doctor in the isolated villages of Zacatecas state. In 1952, he began a medical practice in Chicago, treating a clientele largely of Latinos and other poor patients and making thousands of house calls.

In 1966, he joined Cesar Chavez and supporters of the United Farm Workers on their California march for a labor contract with grape growers. Later, he helped found the Illinois Migrant Council to provide rural medical care, and he assisted the UFW in its grape-boycott efforts in the Midwest.

"We always had a farm worker or two living with us," recalled daughter Luz Maria, one of the nine children of Prieto and his wife, Luz Maria Davila.

Prieto became director of community medicine at Cabrini Hospital in 1970 and was appointed chairman of the family practice department at Cook County Hospital in 1974. Before accepting the latter position, as Prieto explained in his autobiography, "Harvest of Hope," he insisted that the main training center for residents "be placed out in the neighborhoods rather than at the hospital annex."

During his tenure at Cook County Hospital, clinics were established in predominantly Mexican and black neighborhoods. Nationally and statewide, Prieto's work began to address what remains a problem--an oversupply of doctors but a shortage of generalists or primary care physicians, particularly in rural areas and urban core neighborhoods.

Chicago Mayor Harold Washington named Prieto president of the city's Board of Health in 1984. In that position, the physician again called for closer relationships between doctors and their communities.

Prieto was born in Mexico City, and his route to prominence included an unscheduled stop in Los Angeles when his father was forced into exile during the political turmoil of the late stages of the Mexican Revolution.

The family took refuge in Houston in 1923 and in Los Angeles from 1926 to 1933. 


"It has been a long pilgrimage," Prieto concluded in "Harvest of Hope." "From the villages in the desert of Zacatecas to Chicago's Board of Health, it has been a mysterious, fruitful journey." "  -LA Times

Learn more about Jorge Prieto! -Evanston RoundTable, 2009

Learn more about Jorge Prieto! -Illinois Periodicals Online

In August, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...


(In Honor of World Humanitarian Day on 8/19) 

Click HERE for volunteer opportunities in Chicago for the whole family!
Click HERE for volunteer opportunities in Evanston for the whole family!

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

Dick Peach

Dick Peach is the President and Director of the Evanston Rotary Club. He also writes for the Evanston Round Table, and works as the General Manager of Dempster Auto Rebuilders, Inc. 

Dick Peach, a volunteer for Evanston in numerous capacities, received the Corrine Passage Spirit of Evanston Award at the annual MashUp on Sept. 16, 2014.

There are few organizations in Evanston that have not felt the touch of Mr. Peach’s enthusiasm and compassion. A graduate of Evanston Township High School and the Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. Peach, the general manager of Dempster Auto Rebuilders, is a past president of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Evanston. He currently serves as vice president of Evanston Environmental Association.

Other organizations that have benefited from his philosophy of giving back to the community include the Evanston Community Foundation, Citizens for Greener Evanston, and the Fourth of July Association. Mr. Peach also chaired the Evanston Minority/Women/Evanston Business Enterprise Development Committee.

An award-winning columnist for the Evanston RoundTable, Mr. Peach has given numerous hours to improving the lives of students and members of the community.                  -Evanston Round Table, 2014

In July, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

American Independence!

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of!
Click HERE for events in Evanston that your family can be a part of!  

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

Tammy Duckworth

Ladda Tammy Duckworth (born March 12, 1968) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party, serving as the junior United States Senator for Illinoissince 2017. She was a member of the United States House of Representatives for Illinois' 8th district for two terms (2013–2017).

She previously served as Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs from April 24, 2009, to June 30, 2011, and the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs from November 21, 2006, to February 8, 2009. In the November 8, 2016, election, Duckworth defeated incumbent Republican Senator Mark Kirk for the seat in the United States Senate.

Duckworth is the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand. Her father, an American, and her Thai-Chinese mother were working and living there at the time. Duckworth is the second Asian-American woman serving in the U.S. Senate after Mazie Hirono and next to Kamala Harris.

An Iraq War veteran, Duckworth served as a U.S. Armyhelicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, losing both of her legs and damaging her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war. Having received a medical waiver, she continued to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard along with her husband, Major Bryan W. Bowlsbey, a signal officer and fellow Iraq War veteran, until her retirement from the Army in October 2014.

Learn more about Tammy Duckworth!


In June, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

LGBTQ Pride!

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of!

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

Mario Treto, Jr.

Mario Treto, Jr. serves the City of Evanston by providing legal counsel to its elected officials and departments. He is the lead attorney for the Plan Commission, Board of Local Improvements, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Preservation Commission.

Treto has drafted various ordinances and resolutions, including updating the Human Rights Ordinance and creating a gender neutral restroom ordinance in collaboration with the State of Illinois. He is also active in the Chicagoland community, serving as the Board of Directors Vice-Chair and Secretary for Howard Brown Health, the Midwest's largest LGBT health and social service provider.

In addition, Treto is Vice-President of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law Latino Alumni Advisory Board and has served on boards for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and LINK Unlimited.

He has spoken at national and regional conferences regarding municipal issues and the legal profession. Treto received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and his Juris Doctor from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. The National LGBT Bar Association will highlight Treto's professional and philanthropic accomplishments at the 2017 National LGBT Bar Association Annual Conference on Thursday, August 3, 2017 in San Francisco, California.(Evanston Patch) 


In May, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Jewish American Heritage!

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of!
Click HERE for events in Evanston that your family can be a part of!

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of... 

Rabbi Rachel S. Weiss

Rachel Weiss joined JRC on August 1, 2016. Rabbi Weiss is known for her commitment to Jewish life that is creative, connective, and deep.  She brings her warmth and energy to life cycle officiation and pastoral counseling, is an innovative teacher of Torah and a passionate spiritual leader.  A graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Weiss was an Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman scholar, and the recipient of the Berger Prize in Practical Rabbinics.  She holds a certificate in Congregational Life and has taken leadership roles within the Reconstructionist movement.

Rabbi Weiss joins the JRC community having previously served Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York City’s LGBTQS synagogue, as their associate rabbi.  At CBST, Rabbi Weiss directed the Limmud Family Education program, creating an original curriculum for Jewish LGBTQ families.  She brings her experience from CBST, a large metropolitan synagogue for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, to her work and her commitment to social justice.  In 2014, she was named one of the New York Pride Guide’s “45 Under 45” for her leadership.  Rabbi Weiss previously served as the rabbi of JRF affiliate Am Haskalah in the Lehigh Valley, PA, and was a member of the senior staff and faculty of Camp JRF.  As a rabbinic fellow at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, she developed this multi-denominational rabbinic fellowship to bring rabbinical students from all backgrounds to study social justice and community organizing.

Prior to becoming a rabbi, Rabbi Weiss served as the Director of Nuestro Center in Highwood, providing social work services to recently immigrated Latino families through Family Service of South Lake County.  A fluent Spanish speaker, she is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa where she earned a B.A. in Spanish with an interdisciplinary concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies.

A JRC and Evanston native, Rabbi Weiss is excited to return to her home congregation and community and to Lake Michigan.  She is a foodie and fan of all things culinary, an artisan and craftsperson, a lover of languages and grammar, and a Hebrew/English calligrapher. She is married to Julia Tauber, and they are the parents to Hannah and Norah.  

Learn more about Rabbi Weiss!

In April, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Asian Pacific American Heritage!

*Note: May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! We just couldn't wait to celebrate. 

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of! 

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of...

Tuyet Le

Tuyet Le is the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago (Advancing Justice | Chicago), formerly the Asian American Institute. Established in 1992, this is a pan-Asian, not-for-profit organization that promotes equity for Asian Americans through advocacy, by utilizing research, education and coalition building. Other members of Asian Americans Advancing Justice are based in Washington DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

In leading the organization since 1999, Ms. Le has focused on improving cooperation among diverse Asian American communities, on raising their visibility, and highlighting their concerns to policy makers and the public at large. Advancing Justice | Chicago’s programs have included civic engagement, community organizing, leadership development and legal advocacy, advocating for immigrant rights, affirmative action, voting rights, redistricting, and advocacy against hate crimes. Advancing Justice | Chicago has been recognized for its work by numerous government agencies, as well as local and national organizations.

Ms. Le currently serves on the board of Access Living, and formerly served on the boards of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugees.  She was a 2013 Rockwood Leadership Institute fellow, and a member of the 2004 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellows Class. In 2012 she gave the The Annual Balgopal Lecture on Human Rights and Asian Americans at the University of Illinois. She has served as a panelist and keynote speaker on a wide range of issues including refugee resettlement, disability rights, human relations and political empowerment.

Ms. Le is a polio survivor, who started advocated for the rights of students with disabilities in college. She came to the United States as a refugee at the age of three from Vietnam, and previously worked at the Vietnamese Association of Illinois for over two years, and last served as its Acting Executive Director.

Learn more about Ms. Le!

In March, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Women's History Month!

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of! 

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of...

Grace Wilbur Trout

Grace Wilbur Trout was an American suggragist instrumental in getting the Illinois legislature to pass a law allowing women to vote in local and national elections. She was born on March 18, 1864 in Maquoketa, Iowa.

She married George William Trout and had four children, one son dying in childhood and one son dying in 1912 at the age of 21.

Trout became president of the Chicago Political Equality League in 1910, originally founded in 1894. The league published pamphlets and circulated petitions to lobby the state legislature to grant women voting rights.

In 1910, Trout and other activists such as Catherine Waugh McCulloch made speaking tours of Illinois arguing for suffrage. Two years later, at the annual convention of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association (IESA) on October 1–2, 1912, Trout was elected president of that association. She changed the IESA's tactics, setting new goals such as creating more local organizations and lobbying individual legislators to support suffrage.

A partial suffrage bill was introduced in 1913, permitting women to vote "for Presidential electors and for all local offices not specifically named in the Illinois Constitution", but not for state representatives, Congressional representatives, or governor.Trout mobilized a public show of support and the resulting bill was passed on June 11 (83 votes for, 58 votes against) and signed by Governor Dunne on June 26, 1913. Efforts to repeal or weaken the law in 1915 failed, in part due to the IESA's opposition.

Trout's goals did not extend to challenging racial segregation. When African-American Ida B. Wells wanted to march in a March 3, 1913 demonstration in Washington DC, Trout demanded that segregation be preserved to avoid offending Southern marchers who might boycott the event, and therefore all the black suffragists would have to march in their own group, not with their respective state delegations. While Trout was personally opposed to such exclusion, she was more concerned with avoiding the potential boycott. The day of the event, Wells "slipped out of the crowd along the parade route" to join the Illinois delegation.

In 1921 Trout moved to Jacksonville, Florida and became the first president of the Planning and Advisory Board and president of the Jacksonville Garden Club. She resided at an estate called Marabanong.

Trout died on October 21, 1955 in Jacksonville, Florida and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.

Learn more about Grace!


In February, Ridgeville Park District celebrates...

Black History Month!

Special Announcement: On March 9th at 7:45pm, RPD welcomes President of the Evanston/North Shore NAACP, Reverend Dr. Michael C.R. Nabors to our board meeting to speak with us! 

Click HERE for events in Chicago that your family can be a part of! 

Ridgeville Park District spotlights the accomplishments of...

Reverend Dr. Michael Nabors

Senior Pastor-Elect
Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors is senior pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Evanston, Illinois. He was called to the church in December of 2014 after serving New Calvary Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan for sixteen years. He also served as Assistant Pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church of Trenton, New Jersey and as Pastor of First Baptist Church of Princeton, New Jersey.

Most recently, Dr. Nabors has also served as Director of the Master of Divinity and Student Life Programs at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit where he is professor of Homiletics and African American Religious History. He also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio; Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan for the past ten years. His primary academic interest is in helping students practice homiletical preparation for preaching in the changing world of the 21st century. He has used Samuel Proctor’s “Hegelian dialectic”, Paul Scott Wilson’s “Four Pages of the Sermon”, and William Buechner’s literary genre as a foundation for his preaching courses. His primary church interest is in building bridges to erase the gap between community and university, the African American religious experience and the academy.

Dr. Nabors earned his undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He earned the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. He completed his Doctor of Ministry degree as a Samuel DeWitt Proctor Fellow at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He was a Fellow in the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program of Lilly Endowment, Inc., as well as a Fellow in the Pastor-Theologian Program led by the Institute of Theological Study.

Dr. Nabors has received over 100 community, church and ministry awards for leadership and service in New Jersey and Michigan. Before leaving Princeton, New Jersey, the Mayor and City Council commemorated his leadership by naming October 12th as “Dr. Michael Nabors Day.” He has been president of the Princeton and Trenton, New Jersey branches of the NAACP, the Michigan Progressive Baptist Convention, and Chairman of the Board for Detroit East, Inc., and Gateway Community Health.

Dr. Nabors is married to Sydni Nabors and is the proud father of six children: three who are adults; Spencer Alexandria, 17; Pierce Alexander, 11; and Parker Anne, 6.