In and Around Park Forest Week of December 22, 2014

Winnebago Park
One of our favorite shots ever, Winnebago Park, for you during these dreary days of winter. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—December 22, 2014. Saw a bumper sticker on a car the other day that read, “the best things in life….aren’t things.” The older we get, the meaning of these words becomes clearer. While we’re spending these last few days before the Christmas holidays begin rushing around doing last minute errands, let’s take time to remember that good health, food to fill your spirit along with the love of family and friends are the best gifts you can have. Wishing all our eNews readers a joyous holiday season.

If your club, organization or local business will be holding activities or events in our community during the upcoming week, please send an e-mail to [email protected] with the details. Submission deadline is noon on Friday of each week.

Village of Park Forest

Village Hall Closure

Park Forest Village Hall will be closed on Wednesday, December 24 and Thursday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday.

Village Commissions & Advisory Boards

The following Park Forest Commission is scheduled to meet the week of December 22:

  • Wednesday, December 23 at 7 p.m. – Plan Commission

The meeting will be held at Park Forest Village Hall and residents are encouraged to attend.

Arts & Entertainment

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, 377 Artists Walk, Park Forest

Brahms and Elgar – Tickets Now on Sale
Tickets are now on sale for the performance of Brahms and Elgar which will be held on Saturday, January 17 at 8 p.m. at the Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center, 19900 S. Harlem Avenue, Frankfort. Acclaimed international rising star and 2013 Avery Fisher Career Grant winner, Bella Hristova captivates the audience with her virtuosity in Brahms’ stirring violin masterpiece. Criss-crossing the globe, the orchestra performs American composer Gabriela Frank’s Peruvian-inspired elegy to the South American Andes and English composer Elgar’s mysterious and playful musical references to friends. Tickets are priced at $35, $45, and $55 and can be purchased online at https://secure.ticketsage.net/EventsPage.aspx?&PerfID=251675&SectId=5933. For additional information call 708-481-7774 or visit www.ipomusic.org.   

National Veterans Art Museum, 4041 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago

‘The Things They Carried’ – Permanent Exhibit

The National Veterans Art Museum reopened its permanent exhibit ‘The Things They Carried’ in a brand new gallery space meant to be more immersive for viewers. Inspired by Tim O’Brien’s book ‘The Things They Carried,’ this exhibit serves as a visual companion that illustrates the narrative with fine art and photography from veterans that lived the stories in the novel. Much like the book, the exhibit explores the concept of storytelling and questions how one might share the story of the Vietnam experience. The exhibit takes as its central question “how to tell a true war story” and prompts viewers to consider their personal stories and contemplate how they might share their own narratives. By literally incorporating the essential elements of storytelling: Who, Where, When, and What, ‘The Things They Carried’ begins by chronicling the Vietnam conflict through first-hand visual accounts and descriptions. The exhibit culminates in the re-creation of an authentic Vietnam-era tented shelter to bring viewers into the intimate physical experience of sleeping, living and working in the field during that time. With artworks and objects created and collected by over twenty Vietnam veteran artists, ‘The Things They Carried’ also provides visual interpretations to viewers, illustrating the war by those who were there. This form of pictorial storytelling offers insights into the individual personalities of those who served, where they were in Vietnam both geographically and environmentally, and what the cultural climate of the time looked like. Representations and artifacts come together in ‘The Things They Carried’ to offer an individuated and holistic presentation of the social and historical context of the Vietnam War. With didactic guides and lesson plans that accompany the artwork and artifacts, visitors of all ages can gain a better understanding of “how to tell a true war story” as explored in Tim O’Brien’s book, as well as explore possibilities and benefits of personal storytelling. Featured artists include László Kondor, Dean Sharp, Charles Shobe, William Myles, James McJunkin, John Hosier, Michael Harac, and Arthur Jacobs. The Museum is open Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers free admission year-round. For additional information, call 312-326-0270 or visit: www.nwam.org

Park Forest Public Library, 400 Lakewood Boulevard

Library Closure

The Park Forest Public Library will be closed on Wednesday, December 24 and Thursday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas Holiday.

Educational Lectures & Opportunities

Governors State University (GSU), 1 University Parkway, University Park

Job Search Assistance Every Tuesday at GSU

The Mobile Workforce Center’s mobile unit will be at GSU every Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., parked near the university’s front entrance. Center services include resume development, access to online job boards and websites, instruction in how to conduct an online job search and improve keyboarding skills, and assistance of staff. The center is equipped with 11 computer stations with Internet access, printer, and copy machines, and is wheelchair accessible. Services are free and available to residents in all counties. For additional information, contact the Workforce Services Division of Will County at 815-727-4980.

Prairie State College (PSC), 202 S. Halsted, Chicago Heights

2015 Spring Registration Now Open – Classes Begin January 12

Registration for the spring 2015 semester is now open at PSC. New this semester at PSC is Flexible Scheduling – classes starting at different times during the semester. Students can choose their schedule, their class, their time. Hundreds of courses are offered days, evenings, weekends, and online to accommodate busy schedules. The traditional 16-week course option is still available with a start date of Jan. 12 and end date of May 7. New this spring is the 14-week course, with a start date of Jan. 26 and end date of May 7. What were formerly called late start courses are now called 12-week courses with a start date of Feb. 6 and end date of May 7. All of these courses — 16-week, 14-week, and 12-week — offer the same course material with the same credit hours. The shorter the number of weeks, the longer the class period. Also for spring, PSC is offering two different eight-week courses. First eight-week courses start Jan. 12 and end March 9. Second eight-week courses start March 10 and end May 7. The eight-week courses typically are fewer credit hours. Many of the college certificate programs offer eight-week courses, allowing students to fit two courses in a semester and to make progress towards that certificate. Spring registration began Oct. 20 for current students. New students can begin registering on Oct. 27. Students are encouraged to register early as classes will fill quickly. Both credit and non-credit courses are listed in the spring class schedule, available on the PSC main campus, located at 202 S. Halsted St., Chicago Heights. The schedule also is available at area public libraries and online at prairiestate.edu. To register for credit courses, new students must complete an enrollment application in person at the college or online. Enrollment Services is open Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Current students can register for credit courses in person or online. Students can register for non-credit courses online or in person. To register online via Instant Enrollment, go to prairiestate.edu and follow the directions to choose How To Enroll under continuing education courses. Another option is to complete the registration form available in the back of the printed course schedule. Students also can register for non-credit courses in person at the Matteson Area Center, located at 4821 Southwick Drive in Matteson, or in the Enrollment Services Office on the PSC main campus. The Matteson Area Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about registering for courses, visit www.prairiestate.edu or call 708-709-3500.

South Suburban College (SSC), 15800 South State Street, South Holland

Paralegal Program Open House – Tuesday, January 6

SSC will be hosting an Open House for its Paralegal Program on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in Room 5190 at the Oak Forest Center, 16333 South Kilbourn Avenue. Attendees will learn about an exciting career that is expected to grow 18% through 2020 according to the US Department of Labor.  Information will be provided about SSC’s Paralegal/Legal Assistant curriculum, including the Associate Degree and certificate programs.  In addition, former students from the program, working as paralegals, will be present to answer questions.  The curriculum prepares students to work in a variety of legal environments including civil and criminal litigation, insurance, banking, public and governmental agencies, law offices and corporate legal departments.  Emphasis is placed on the development of core skills in legal research and writing techniques including compilation and analysis of data, understanding legal vocabulary, law office technology, and preparation of legal documents. SSC has the only American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal program in the Chicago Southland region, giving graduates a huge advantage when entering the workforce.  The college also requires that all of the instructors in the program are lawyers or judges to ensure the quality of instruction. While the majority of the paralegal classes are offered at the Oak Forest Center, some classes are offered online and some are offered at the Main Campus in South Holland. For more information, please contact Mr. Cieslik at 708-596-2000, extension 2579 or email [email protected].  Spring classes begin Monday, January 12, 2015.

Online Educational Resources

Online college programs are a great way for today’s busy people to complete or earn a degree. To find an online college program in Illinois, visit http://www.onlineschools.org/guides/Illinois/ where you will find a compilation of every college program offered online in Illinois offered on a full or part-time basis.

Top U.S. Universities

Choosing what college or university to attend can be a very daunting experience. With educational costs continually increasing, it’s more important than ever to choose a university that meets your specific educational needs. At http://www.topschools.com/, you will find a comprehensive resource that ranks each university throughout the nation by size, degrees offered, tuition costs, admission, graduation and retention rates.

Healthy Living

Governors State University (GSU), 1 University Parkway, University Park

Free Psychotherapy Available from GSU’s Psychology Program

GSU’s Psychology Department is offering free psychotherapy services to members of the community. Conversations with a psychotherapist can help people cope with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, stress, and life transition problems. Confidential, one-on-one sessions are held with a GSU graduate student in psychology under the supervision of a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Individuals and couples, 18 years and older, are eligible. All sessions are conducted in Matteson, IL. The number of sessions is determined by the client’s needs. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, call 708-235-2841.

Sertoma Centre, 4343 West 123rd Street, Alsip

Free Community Education and Prevention Programs about Mental Health

Sertoma Centre’s Mental Health Services facility is offering community mental health seminars, free of charge to community groups, schools, law enforcement agencies, religious organizations, and other community groups at their location in Matteson or facility. Education Programs will include: Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) which increases public awareness of suicide and improves one’s ability to identify and refer those at risk for suicide. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a public education course that helps participants identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance disorders. Also included is Mental Health First Aid for Youth and Anxiety/Depression Screenings. Thanks to a grant, these educational opportunities are available at no cost to you or your organization. To arrange a free educational opportunity for your club, group, workplace, organization, or church, call Gia Washington at 708-748-1951, Ext. 418 or email at [email protected].

Park Forest Fire Department, 156 Indianwood Boulevard, Park Forest

CPR Classes

CPR classes are available at the Park Forest Fire Department. Click on the following link for more details: http://pffd.vopf.com/cpr-classes.html

Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA)

Assistance With Medications & Health Services

If you, or someone you know, are struggling to pay for medications every month, they may be able to get the medicines they need for free or almost free through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. If you live in Illinois, you can get access to more than 475 public and private program available to help you pay for your medicines. Simply visit http://www.pparx.org/en/click_illinois to find out if you can apply to any of these great programs and to get connected with 10,000 free clinics and doctors.

Shirley J. Green Senior Center, 297 Liberty Drive, Park Forest

Senior Citizen Weekday Lunch at the Senior Café

Senior citizens of all income levels are invited to lunch weekdays at the Rich Township Senior Café located inside the Rich Township’s Shirley J. Green Senior Center. The CNN site is open to all south suburban residents, including those living outside of Rich Township. Participants must be 60 years of age or older. The suggested donation for lunch is $2.50. Lunch is served Monday through Friday at noon. Bingo begins at 10 a.m. For additional information or to make a reservation for lunch, call 708-747-2700.

Unitarian Universalist Community Church (UUCC), 70 Sycamore Drive, Park Forest

Qigong with Jim Kobus – Most Thursdays

UUCC will host Qigong with Jim Kobus on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the church. This class will usually meet on Thursdays but there may be exceptions, so if you are interested in attending, please send an email to Jim Kobus at [email protected] so he can notify you when class will NOT be held. There is a suggested donation of $5 per class. Please bring your own water. It is recommended that you eat dinner after class, not before. For additional information, please call 708-799-1925 or visit www.uuccpf.org.

Holiday Shopping & Events

Park Forest Historical Society, 141 Forest Boulevard

Park Forest House Museum, 141 Forest Boulevard

‘Step Back Into a 1950s Christmas’ – Through January 3

‘Step Back Into a 1950s Christmas,’ exhibit will be on display at the 1950s Park Forest House Museum which is open Wednesdays and Saturdays through January 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or by appointment, if possible. Period decorations are on display in every room. A Black Forest green metal tree is decorated in period ornaments, and stands on a pedestal which plays Christmas carols.  The stockings are all hung with care; toys and gifts are under the tree.  Period wrapping paper and cards are there.  Dolls, toys, and games, and even Howdy Doody are there to bring back memories or to share with other family members and friends. Call Jane Nicoll, Museum Director, at 708-481-4252 to confirm opening in case of extreme bad weather. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of 21st Century holidays to revisit the holidays of your past in this gem of a museum, just down the street. The special admission/donation for December is $3.00 for adults; 12 and under free with a paying adult. The museum tour is free with the purchase of a Marshall Field’s Brick. Several other Park Forest related gift ideas are available at the museum and in the online store at www.parkforesthistory.org. Convenient street parking is available in front of the museum!

Park Forest Public Library, 400 Lakewood Boulevard

Holiday Items for Sale at the Park Forest Library

The Park Forest Public Library will once again be offering Holiday Pecans, calendars and other unique items for the holidays.  For more details, visit the library or check them out on-line at www.pfpl.org.

South Suburban College (SSC), 15800 South State Street, South Holland

Give a Gift of Scholarship This Holiday Season

The South Suburban College Foundation (SSCF) is seeking year-end gifts from those who wish to help make a difference in the lives of local college students who need assistance.  The SSCF Scholarship Donor Drive will continue through the end of the year, providing both a charitable gift opportunity and tax-deduction for all donors.  This support provides scholarship assistance each year to many students who otherwise would be unlikely to begin or complete their college education.  One-hundred percent (100%) of Donor Drive donations benefit scholarship and student assistance funds.  Whether it is a high school graduate, an unemployed resident looking for a career change, or a single parent pursuing their college degree for the first time, the SSC Foundation offers scholarship assistance to all students in need. Helping students achieve their college dream can give them the tools to improve their lives and their communities. Scholarship opportunities are critical for SSC students.  Many are struggling to balance family, employment, and school responsibilities while they are often unable to receive Financial Aid.  The majority of SSC scholarship recipients do not qualify for any other type of financial assistance. Scholarship money is provided primarily through the annual fall Scholarship Donor Drive. All scholarship contributions to the SSCF are 100% tax-deductible (TIN: 23- 7191736).  The SSCF staff works cooperatively with individuals and organizations to develop a donor plan of any level. New scholarships can also be established with a $750 donation. Donations may be made online at www.ssc.edu/foundation, via PayPal to [email protected] or mailed to:

“SSC Foundation”
15800 S. State Street
South Holland, IL 60473

At SSC, 90% of students fall under the low income, first generation or disabled criteria. The SSCF once again awarded over $100,000 in total awards to these students in 2014, and has now granted over $1.6 million since 1987.  For more information, please contact the Foundation Office at 708-596-2000, extension 2697 or [email protected].

Tall Grass Arts Association, 367 Artists Walk, Park Forest

Annual Holiday Show – Through January 10

The Annual Holiday Show will open at Tall Grass Arts Association will run through January 10. The show will feature one-of-a-kind artwork, jewelry and other items, perfect for gift giving.  Curated by Giselle Pereault, the entire gallery will be magically converted into a gift shop. Mark your calendar and begin your holiday shopping with a visit to the Tall Grass Gallery. For additional information, visit: www.tallgrassarts.org or call 708-748-3377.

Volunteering this Holiday Season

If you/your family might be looking for ways to give back to your community this holiday season, organizations that you can either volunteer with, or donate to, include the following: 

  • St. Irenaeus Church in Park Forest sponsors a local food pantry. The pantry operates from 10 AM to Noon on Mondays in the Religious Education Building of the church.  For more details on the food pantry, and other services offered in conjunction with it, see the attached flyer or contact the church office at 708-748-6891. On a related note, there is a Good Vibes Clothing Closet being coordinated at St. Irenaeus byway of Suburban Open Access. For more details on this program, please contact Nick Koster at 708-799-9190.
  • The Rich Township Food Pantry is always accepting food donations.  The Township is also conducting its annual Toy Drive wherein new, unwrapped toys can be donated through December 21st.  For more details, contact: Vicki Sline, Director at 708-228-5035 or visit www.richtownship.org/food-pantry.
  • Respond Now in Chicago Heights is accepting food, clothing and toy donations with the following contact information:  
    • Carl Wolf, Executive Director
    • Amy Weber, Associate Director
    • 1439 Emerald Street
    • Chicago Heights, Illinois
    • 708-755-4357
    • www.respondnow.org

Green Events

Thorn Creek Nature Preserve, 247 Monee Road, Park Forest

Become a ‘Friend of Thorn Creek’

Friends of Thorn Creek Woods is the citizen activist group responsible in very large part for preserving and securing the dedication of the Thorn Creek Woods as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Friends’ volunteers continue to provide support in so many ways: staff the nature center on weekends; trail work; displays; leading hikes; special events; cleaning; pruning; artwork; music; research; and so on. Friends is a voice for the Woods and preservation values, donates funds for equipment and sponsors an annual meeting, Garlic Fest and Earth Day. Members receive a quarterly newsletter. Annual membership in Friends is $10. For additional information, call 708-747-6320.

Experience the Thorn Creek Nature Center

Thorn Creek Nature Center is housed in a historic building, originally Immanuel Lutheran Church of Matteson, Illinois built in 1862, and later Village Bible Church of Park Forest. A gothic frame country church, its notable architectural features include curved ceiling, tongue-and-groove paneling and a raised pulpit. Its current attractions are displays of the preserve’s flora and fauna, a bird feeder viewing area, Eugene E. Schwartz reference library and an expanded children’s section. The Nature Center is open Friday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Trails are open daily year-round, dawn to dusk. For additional information, call 708-747-6320.