Monday, May 20, 2019

YSEALI PFP Day 17: Social Services and Legal Aid Under One Roof

6 May 2019

Founded in 1857 as Chicago Relief and Aid Society, my fellowship host organisation, Metropolitan Family Services, has an illustrious history. 

The Chicago Relief and Aid Society played a key role in supporting those affected by the great Chicago fire of 1871 which left over 100,000 homeless. The Mayor back then had even proclaimed to "turn over the administration of all relief and fire victims to it.

Mayor Richard M. Daley proclaimed 19-25 November 1989 as the Family Week in Chicago

Sat in a briefing on the process flow for subpoenas, requests for records and appearances to Metropolitan Family Services staff by Bryan Johnson

Met Miguel C. Keberlein, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society to learn about the legal support provided to families and individuals in need. In his previous role, he visited migrant farm workers at their farms and supported immigrants and workers' rights.

This year marked the 100th year of the Chicago Legal Aid Society joining United Charities (the former name of Metropolitan Family Services). This is the second oldest law society in the United States.

By having the legal aid society and a social service provider together in the same organisation, it is efficient and provides families with a one-stop platform. The organisation balances the demands on strict confidentiality of clients' information from its legal services arm, and the case reporting for the social services arm.  

The Legal Aid Society assists individuals and families with issues on housing; safety and family (domestic violence; elder justice); individual rights and social justice (victims of crime; human trafficking).

Miguel brought me to take a look at the legal aid clinic that is sited within the courthouse. Was introduced to Dana Harbaugh, Staff Attorney & Pro Bono Coordinator. The clinic serves those 60 and above on elder justice cases, housing, and other matters, excluding criminal cases, wills and personal injury cases. While there are walk-in cases, some of the clients, who are not legally represented, are referred by judges to the legal aid clinic. 

A view of a church built on a building from Richard J. Daley Center
Was told the First United Methodist Church of Chicago is on top of the building, making it the tallest church building in the world based on the distance from the church's street level entrance to the top of the church's spire or steeple

Circuit Court room

MacDonald's Avenger Toys

After lunch, I sat in a conference call taken by my host, Ric on building support over a certain policy position. And sat in the weekly campaign meeting with colleagues from the Development team - Barbara West Stone, Chief Development Officer; Corinne Henry and Alex Harris - the unsung heroes who bring in funds for Metropolitan Family Services to serve more families. I expressed my interest to my host on learning about fundraising, an element which in my area of work and volunteering did not necessarily prioritise my attention to it. 

Not sure why Illinois state flag was lowered on half-mast

Was reminded of the #ColdBucketChallenge

Meanwhile, our Fellows in South Carolina entertained us with what they gotten themselves into.
They thought they were volunteering to enter the pitch to have a hand at baseball, but...

Dinner was at Giordano's. Most are split in their opinions on whether it served the best deep dish pizza in the city.

45 minutes wait time for the pizza to be served


Went to Londonhouse to catch a view of the night cityscape from the rooftop bar.

The rooftop bar was closed due to the cold weather, but was still accessible

Londonhouse was right opposite the Trump Hotel

And since we were here, we might as well check out Trump Hotel.

Outdoor bar would be officially opened for the season on Thursday. Well, at least I got to use the washroom.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

YSEALI PFP Day 16: Cinco de Mayo

5 May 2019

It was our last morning in Springfield.

Wefie with the house

And a wefie with the pond

Had waffles breakfast at IHOP

May 3, 1865 - At this site, countless mourners stood in solemn witness as the Chicago & Alton Railroad Engine No. 58 arrived pulling the funeral train carrying the remains of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.

We had loads of fun and learnt a lot from our interactions with our hosts, Angel, Scott and Chris. If not for Angel who asked Chris to host the four of us, we would not have been introduced to such a warm family. Our packed schedule and our eagerness for new experiences exhausted Angel day after day. Despite her being on low battery, she still brought us to places and optimised our time in Springfield. We penned our appreciations in a postcard and handed to our hosts. 

Farewell to our hosts and Springfield

On our train to Chicago, Park Rangers were on board to address queries and hand out the City Maps

On the Amtrak at the start of the 3-hour ride

Union Station

The red dot on the map artwork depicts the location of the building on the River of Chicago

After dropping off our luggages, we made our way to Birmingham Fountain to witness the launch of Switch On Summer, which we found out while jogging the other day.

The Bean

Butler Field

We were slightly late for the launch, but hey, the Fountain is on!

A huge carnival on the day of Cinco de Mayo

Great weather = Happy People

Magic shows

They literally switched on Summer

A vessel of the Chicago Park District

Had late lunch at Shake Shack

Didn't make it in time to catch the Shake Shack in Singapore so experienced it here

The City of Chicago forbids property developments along the lakefront, keeping the scenic view accessible to everyone. 

Switch on Summer really did switch on the sun

Brian and Andrea invited us for Mexican dinner at El Tapatio to mark Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo marks the anniversary of Mexican's victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War. Interestingly, Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in Mexico as much as it is in the United States, where people get to know about Mexican culture and heritage, as well as providing a good reason to party.

El Tapatio @ 9707 N Milwaukee Ave



Brian drove us around some neighbourhoods, including Glenview and Park Ridge.

There are new things to be learnt each time we speak to Brian. Although the struggle of African Americans was very well documented, the struggles and harships faced by the other communities were not as salient. Chinese immigrants built some of the major railroads in the United States. At the end of the 19th century, Chinese Americans started to assert their rights and achieved them through lawsuits.

A dedicated TV channel for telecast of meetings of Cook County Board and Forest Preserve District of Cook County

#talkedagoodgame #drivesafetakesthefunaway