In and Around Park Forest Week of January 6, 2014

Bridge in Park Forest
"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." Albert Camus. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—January 6, 2014. The weather outside might be cold and snowy but there’s lots of things going on in the Park Forest area this week that will want to make you get outside. A ‘Read to Succeed Event’ will be held on Tuesday, January 6 at 6 p.m. at the Park Forest Library, 400 Lakewood Boulevard, where you can visit with Wolves Center Pat Cannone! There will be prizes and lots of fun for everyone.

In addition, budding actors and actresses are invited to try-out for the Black History Month Play that will take place on Tuesday, January 7 beginning at 3 p.m. at the new Teen Space at Dining on the Green, 349 Main Street in DownTown Park Forest. Additional information about both of these events can be found in the Park Forest Library’s events located in the ‘Arts & Entertainment’ section.

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 Board Meeting

The Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, January 6 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive. Residents are encouraged to attend. Board meetings air live on cable access channels (Channel 4 for Comcast subscribers and Channel 99 for AT&T subscribers) as well as on the Village web site at www.villageofparkforest.com.

To view previously held Board Meetings, visit the Village’s web site at: http://www.villageofparkforest.com and click on the date of the meeting you wish to watch.

Village Commission & Advisory Boards

The following Park Forest Commissions and Advisory Boards are scheduled to meet the week of January 6:

  • Tuesday, January 7 at 7 p.m. – Plan Commission
  • Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. – Economic Development Advisory Group

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

Arts & Entertainment

Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park

Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’ – Tickets Now On Sale

Tickets are now on sale for Stephen Sondheim’s timeless and beloved musical about love and marriage, ‘Company’ which will be performed on Friday and Saturday, January 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 26 at 2 p.m. Winner of six Tony Awards in 1970 (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score) and the 2006 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’ is considered a landmark "concept" show that inaugurated the modern era of musical theatre. Set in New York, the play tells the story of five couples and their mutual friend, Robert, on the night of his 35th birthday as he contemplates his unmarried state. Robert watches and learns from the various couples and the three people he is dating. He looks back on his life and sees both the wonders and pitfalls of relationships. In the end, Robert realizes that while relationships rarely turn out like they do in fairy tales, life is still better when you have someone to share it with. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the box office or online at http://purchase.tickets.com. For additional information, please call 708-534-5000.

Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Boulevard, Park Forest

CALJE – Tickets Now on Sale

Tickets are now on sale for the February 22 performance of Chicago Afro-Latin jazz ensemble, CALJE. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. With a global sound and ensemble, CALJE represents Afro-Cuban Jazz as well as music from all of Latin America, delivering a captivating, high-energy groove. This dynamic group continues the legacy of Latin Jazz big band, creating new original and genre-bending works. Guitarist Neal Alger joins CALJE for this show. Tickets are $24 and can be purchased at the box office, on-line at www.freedomhall.org or by phone by calling 708-747-0580. For additional information, call 708-747-0580.

‘Close to You – Music of the Carpenters’ – Tickets Now on Sale

Freedom Hall’s Senior Theatre will present ‘Close to You – Music of the Carpenters’ on February 18 at 11 a.m. One of the best vocalists of all time, Karen Carpenter captured a generation with her catchy pop music. The Carpenters’ beautiful, memorable love songs topped the Billboard charts with more than a dozen number one hits. Close to You: The Music of The Carpenters brings these classics back to the stage with spot-on renditions performed by singer Lisa Rock and her six-piece band. Tickets are $13 and can be purchased at the box office, on-line at www.freedomhall.org or by phone by calling 708-747-0580. For additional information, call 708-747-0580.

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), 377 Artists Walk, Park Forest

IPO Presents Pianist Thomas Ridgway – January 18

On Saturday, January 18 at 8 p.m., young Steinway artist and Southland native, Thomas Ridgway, will perform with the IPO Chamber Players. The event will take place at the Lincoln-Way North Performing Arts Center, 19900 Harlem Ave., Frankfort. The recital will feature: Beethoven’s Sonata No. 16 in G major, Op. 31/1 and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in F minor, Op. 32/6, Prelude in D major, Op. 23/4, and Prelude in G# minor, Op. 32/12. In addition, Shelby Flowers will perform the world premiere of a new work for solo piano. The event will include a post-concert conversation featuring the performer. Tickets are priced at $35 and $25 and can be purchased online at http://www.ipomusic.org. For additional information, call 708-481-7774.

National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM), 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago

Espirit de Corps Exhibition – Through August 1, 2014

NVAM is celebrating its first anniversary in its Milwaukee Avenue location with its art exhibition, Esprit de Corps, an exhibition highlighting the spirit of creative resilience. Esprit de Corps features art by nine veterans of Vietnam, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror. The NVAM will be free and open to the public through August 1, 2014. Esprit de Corps is sponsored by Omicron, Bank of America and Paratech Incorporated. Drawing on breakthroughs in using art to assist with reintegration of veterans and for therapeutic expression, Esprit de Corps traces the process and roles of therapeutic art from the act of initial perception through expression of experience to an ultimate communal sharing and understanding of the real impact of war. Featured artists include Joseph Fornelli, Jerry Frech, Jonathan Hancock, Peter Sullivan, Benjamin Suarez, Thomas Gilbertson, Theodore Gostas, Richard Williams and Erica Slone. High resolution images of work in the show are available through the NVAM’s Dropbox. For additional information and hours, visit the museum’s website at www.nvam.org

Park Forest Public Library, 400 Lakewood Boulevard, Park Forest

This Week’s Events at the Park Forest Public Library

The following events will be held this week at the Park Forest Public Library:

  • Monday, January 6 at 3:30 p.m. – Teen Café — This laid-back space was created for teens to share and create with each other.
  • Monday, January 6 at 4 p.m. – Ductigami — Learn to use duct tape to make crafts.
  • Tuesday, January 7 at 10:30 a.m. – Movement & Me — Come in and enjoy time with your preschooler during this class combining movement with adventure and stories. Exercise is a key to living a healthy lifestyle. In this class parents and caregivers are able to move with their children while having a great time.
  • Tuesday, January 7 at 6 p.m. – How Does This Gadget Work? — Did you get a new tablet, E-Reader or mp3 player for the Holidays? Stop by the library get help using your new gadget. Also, learn about all the free material you can access.
  • Tuesday, January 7 at 6 p.m. – Read to Succeed Event — Join us for a visit with Wolves Center Pat Cannone! Win Tickets, Hats, Beanie Pucks and More!
  • Tuesday, January 7 at 6:30 p.m. – PJ Storytime — Wear your pajamas & come join us for stories, crafts & games.
  • Wednesday, January 8 at 10:30 a.m. – Masters of Art — Children will have the opportunity to listen to a story and complete an art project related to the story.
  • Wednesday, January 8 at 3:30 p.m. – Engage! — Create and participate in civic art projects. This event will take place at Dining on the Green is located in downtown Park Forest at 349 Main St.
  • Wednesday, January 8 at 6 p.m. – Teen Advisory Board — The Park Forest Public Library Teen Advisory Board (TAB) is for young adults who would like a more active role in decisions regarding book selection and programming for their age group. Young adults in grades 7 through 12 may participate, Meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 6:00 PM.
  • Thursday, January 9 at 3:30 p.m. –Tech Thursday — Learn to make websites, android apps, and iPhone apps.
  • Thursday, January 9 at 5 p.m. – Let’s Go LEGO — Play and learn with LEGOs at the Park Forest Public Library! The creations the children make will be on display in kids’ zone.
  • Friday, January 10 at 11 a.m. – Discover! — Join this weekly science program for home schooled kids!
  • Friday, January 10 at 1 p.m. – The Cyber Shelf — Do you have a tablet, E-reader or other gadget?
    Stop by the Library and chat with our experts and find out all the great materials you can access with your library card!
  • Friday, January 10 at 3 p.m. – Friday Funday — Join us for an assortment of after-school activities!

For additional information or to register for certain events, please call 708-748-3731 or visit www.pfpl.org/

Black History Month Play Try-Outs – Tuesday, January 7

On Tuesday, January 7 at 3:30 p.m. at the new Teen Space at Dining on the Green, 349 Main Street (located in DownTown Park Forest), try-outs for the Black History Month play will be held. Just be yourself! Come dressed comfortably and ready to move around. All actors will play theatre games and read from a script. About the show: When a time warp leaves friends trapped in the Black History Museum after hours, the paintings of historical figures come alive to help the students understand their stories and their significance in the evolution of African American culture in this country. A chorus of children raps some of the information in a series of songs as the friends learn about their ancestry. The updated version of the play includes stories about history makers such as Dwayne Wade, Barack Obama, Leanna Archer and Raven-Symone.

The Healers Trilogy Contest

Enter for a chance to win $2,500 for you and $2,500 for your library! To enter:
1. Complete the entry form here.
2. Read Donna Labermeier’s book, "The Healers" – it’s free for contestants. Sign up at the Info Zone desk to get your copy.
3. Create a billboard, video, speech, essay, poem, song or commercial based on the book (More details here)
4. Submit your work through social media.
5. Keep your fingers crossed while the judges decide!
6. Winners will be announced in March 2014

Park Forest Historical Society, Park Forest

Step Back Into to the 1950s at the Park Forest House Museum

The 1950s Park Forest House Museum at 141 Forest Blvd, Park Forest, is open Wednesday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the museum can also be open for groups by appointment, at other times. Donation is $5 for adults; children 12 and under free with an adult. Scout and school tours are priced individually. For details, to arrange a special group tour, or to volunteer, visit the Park Forest Historical Society website, www.parkforesthistory.org, or call Jane Nicoll, 708-481-4252.

Park Forest Plaza Print for Sale

Annabelle Gould’s print of the Park Forest Plaza is available for sale at the Park Forest House Museum, 141 Forest Boulevard. The vibrant print is from an original watercolor, showing kids and their moms in the Park Forest Plaza, in front of the old Holiday Theatre and Golden Hanger Shop. The print can be purchased at the House Museum during normal hours of operation on Wednesdays and Saturdays or through the Society’s online store on their website at www.parkforesthistory.org. Prints are $15 each. Online purchases also required an additional $6 fee for postage and handling. For additional information on other items for sale by the Society, visit www.parkforesthistory.org.

Salon Artists Gallery, 249 Main Street, Park Forest

‘Cold Snap’ Exhibit – Opens Friday, January 10

Come out and see out wonderful pieces of art from pottery, paintings and jewelry in the ‘Cold Snap’ exhibit. These items will all express winter cold. A reception will kick-off this exhibit on Friday, January 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. where you can meet the artists. The exhibit will run through January 31. Both the exhibit and the reception are free and open to the public. For additional information, call 708-833-5108.

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

Children’s Theatre Company to Present ‘Hansel and Gretel’ – Tickets Now on Sale

The Children’s Theatre Company of SSC is back with an exciting and delightfully amusing variation of the Grimm classic, Hansel and Gretel, by Michele L. Vacca. Performances will take place in the Kindig Performing Arts Center on SSC’s Main Campus on Saturdays, January 11 and 18, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Additional weekday performances will take place Monday through Friday, January 13 through 17, 2014, at 9:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. each day. Hansel and Gretel live on the edge of a huge, dark, forest with their stepmother and father. They are very poor and have no food. Stepmother (Sandy Wagner of Lansing) sends Hansel and Gretel (Brendon Smelko of Munster, IN and Catherine Hundt of Thornton) deep into the woods to pick strawberries for their supper. The children have heard stories of a mysterious witch who lives in the forest. They only partially believe them to be true, until they become lost and actually meet her. Madame Hagatha Grundilly Sweetbriar (Wendy Spencer of Beecher) is the zaniest witch anyone could ever hope to encounter. Accompanied by her two apprentices, Dizzy Weirdeena (Angela Martin of Midlothian) and Rasputin Machiavelli Vampiro III (Pat Nevins of Homewood), she lures Hansel and Gretel to her delectable gingerbread house in the heart of the forest. There she holds them captive, threatening to bake them into gingerbread. One day while the witch is off haunting, the children’s father arrives (Eric Pradelski of South Holland), searching for them. Dizzy and Rasputin decide to help Father save Hansel and Gretel. Will Madame Hagatha bake the children into gingerbread or will their father be able to rescue them? Only the Narrator (Paul Braun of Lansing) knows for sure. Follow the trail of bread crumbs to South Suburban College and find out what happens next! Hansel and Gretel is suitable for young and old alike. Tickets are $5 each, and group rates are available. For more information or to reserve tickets, call the 24/7 box office voicemail line at 708-210-5741 or e-mail [email protected]. Reservations for weekday performances are required as many shows are already sold out.

Tall Grass Arts Association, 367 Artists Walk, Park Forest

Annual Holiday Show – Through January 12

Have you ever wished you could give someone a gift, such as a piece of jewelry of clothing that would be totally unique – instead of something mass produced and sold in a department store? Have you event wished you could hang something handcrafted on your tree or hung something artistic on your wall that is one-of-a-kind? Have you ever wished to send holiday cards that one of your friends will ever receive from anyone else? Then come to Tall Grass Arts Association Gallery for your holiday shopping. The Annual Holiday Show will run through January 12, 2014. On that day, the entire gallery will have been turned into a gift shop filled with original art, specially priced for gift giving. The gallery is open 11 a.m. through 4 p.m., Tuesday, through Saturday. The Holiday Show features artworks by a large number of Tall Grass artists. The artworks include paintings, prints, photographs and pastels. There are three-dimensional works including wooden bowls, ceramics and glass. A large selection of necklaces, earring and pins are available. They range from jewelry made from blown glass to semi-precious stones. This show includes hand-painted porcelain ornaments and dishes, hand-made holiday cars and hand-knit scarves, socks and hats. There is also a selection of items handcrafted in Kenya. For additional information, visit www.tallgrassarts.org or call 708-748-3377.

Union Street Gallery, 527 Otto Boulevard, Chicago Heights

Help Repair Union Street Gallery Silent Auction – Running Through February 8

Auction ends at 4 p.m. Saturday February 8th, 2014. Winning bids will be notified Wednesday February 12th. This silent auction includes original artwork by Karen DeWitt, Mary Bookwalter, and Marlene Galagher. Bids start as low as $20. All proceeds will benefit Union Street Gallery, a not-for-profit art center, and go toward much needed building repairs. USG currently has over $60,000 in building repairs.

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

Edgar’s Place Coffee House Presents Mark Dvorak & Eddie Holstein – Saturday, January 11

Edgar’s Place Coffee House, located in UUCC, will proudly present Mark Dvorak and Eddie Holstein on Saturday, January 11 at 8 p.m. Mark Dvorak is a modern day troubadour who has never stopped performing, writing and recording. He has been called “a folk singer’s folk singer” with an “encyclopedic knowledge of traditional songs.” His song writing has been called “wonderous” and “profound.” Eddie Holstein has been a stalwart of the Chicago folk music scene for over 40 years. Eddie continues to perform today as well as teach at the Old Town Scholl of Folk Music in Chicago. He has written a number of songs with Jazzman the best known, having been recorded or performed by Bette Midler, Bonnie Koloc, and others. His unique blend of folk songs, blues and humor always entertains. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. For additional information, call 708-481-5339.

Village of Park Forest, 350 Victory Drive

Senior Trip to Jacob Henry Mansion Lunch and Show – February 5

The first Senior Trip of 2014 will be to the Jacob Henry Mansion on February 5. The Birdhaven Greenhouse and Conservatory at Pilcher Park is our first stop, followed by a tour, lunch and a show at the Jacob Henry mansion. Enjoy a meal in one of the 40 rooms that feature old world fixtures and Victorian charm. Each guest will be treated to a glass of champagne with their lunch and the chocolate fountain for dessert. The entertainment for the day is Nick Willet, who performs the most loved songs from the 50’s through 70’s. This is an all-inclusive trip with a fee of $94 per person. The bus will depart at 9:15 a.m. from Park Forest Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive and return at approximately 3:45 p.m. You can register at the Recreation and Parks Department at Village Hall in-person or on the phone with a credit card by calling 708-748-2005. Please mention Program Number 148780-1 (Rectrac) when you register.

Park Forest Idols — Vote for Your Favorite Contestant in Each Category

Voting is now taking place on the Village of Park Forest’s website for the 2014 Park Forest Idols Online Contest! You will find three categories: the general online category, dance and rap. There will only be one winner per category, but you (the voter) have the opportunity to select three different online contestants. Click on the links below and check out the following videos and vote today!

General Online category – Second opportunity to win by the number of votes provided by the public. Winner will receive a trophy!

Dance category – These contestants made it to the finals, but were unable to participate due to the amount of entries. Choose wisely, the 1st place winner will win $150.

Rap category – These contestants made it to the finals, but were unable to participate due to the amount of entries. Choose wisely, the 1st place winner will win $150.

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

Free ESL, GED and Spanish GED Preparation Classes –Classes Begin January 27

The Adult Education Program at PSC is offering free English as a Second Language (ESL), General Education (GED®), and Spanish GED Preparation classes, beginning Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, at the PSC Adult Training and Outreach Center (ATOC), located on the main campus at 202 S. Halsted St. in Chicago Heights. Registration dates for GED classes are on Monday, Dec. 16 at 5 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 9:30 a.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 5 p.m.; and Thursday, Jan. 9 at 9:30 a.m. Registration dates for ESL/Spanish GED is Monday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 9:30 a.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m.; and Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 9:30 am. An assessment is required upon registration for all programs. The assessment is free. No appointment is necessary for the assessment, although participants are encouraged to arrive early as space is limited. No children are allowed during the assessment. Participants also need to bring an official government-issued photo ID and proof of public assistance, if applicable. Students who are 16 or 17 years old must provide documentation proving formal withdrawal from high school. The ESL program is designed to help people make the transition from different countries and cultures to American society. The purpose of the program is to teach skills in speaking, reading, writing, and listening to those whose native language is not English. Classes are offered twice a week, and are held on and off campus. To find out more about registration dates and how to enroll, call 708-709-3790. GED classes offer students an opportunity to complete high school studies and receive an equivalency certificate. The GED certificate is accepted as a substitute for a high school diploma. Preparation classes also are offered in Spanish for those interested in taking the GED in their native language. For more information on Spanish GED classes, call 708-709-3790. For more information on GED classes, call 708-709-7880 or 708-709-7931. The current version of the GED test is expiring at the end of 2013, and will be replaced with a new test on Jan. 2, 2014. The cost for the new test will increase from $50 to $120. All previous test scores expire on Dec. 31, 2013. PSC’s Adult Education Program is committed to providing services to our district residents. The districts PSC serves include Beecher, Chicago Heights, Crete, Flossmoor, Ford Heights, Glenwood, Homewood, Matteson, Monee, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park, Sauk Village, South Chicago Heights, Steger, and University Park, including portions of Country Club Hills, Hazel Crest, Lynwood, Tinley Park, and adjacent unincorporated areas of Cook and Will counties. If you are not a resident of the PSC district, please contact your local village hall for a program near you.

Opt In to Technology at PSC

You can bridge the gap between technology and a new you at PSC’s new Opt In program that consists of two computer training centers and free classes to teach basic technological skills. One location is at the Adult Training and outreach Center in Room A145 at PSC’s main campus. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The other location is at the Matteson Area Center’s Computer Training Lab located at 4821 Southwick Dr., Matteson. Hours for this location are Monday through Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. No matter what skill level you have or want to have, Opt In can help. Both computer labs and on-site tutors are free and open to the public. For additional information, call Lisa Zeigler at 708-709-3548 or e-mail [email protected].

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

Become an Adult Volunteer Literacy Tutor at SSC – Training Begins January 14

SSC is seeking tutors and participants for the Adult Volunteer Literacy Tutoring Program. The program is structured to train volunteers to become one-on-one tutors for adults in need of basic literacy skills. Instruction in basic literacy includes the development of phonetic reading skills combined with communication skills. SSC is encouraging residents to take this opportunity to make a New Year’s resolution and volunteer as a literacy tutor, or encourage someone you know to take advantage of this free program. New tutor-training sessions will take place on the Main Campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. from January 14th through January 30th in Room 1243c. The tutor training is an 18-hour program that culminates with literacy training certification. Once certified, the tutors will go out to visit their adult learners at locations in or near their neighborhoods. Tutoring sites have already been established at the following locations: Acorn Public Library, Oak Forest; Calumet City Public Library; Grande Prairie Library, Hazel Crest; South Holland Public Library; South Suburban College Library, Main Campus; Oak Forest Center Library, Oak Forest; Lansing Public Library; Dolton Public Library; and Midlothian Public Library. Tutoring is scheduled by the availability of the tutors and the learners, and the availability of space and hours of the tutoring sites. Illiteracy is an issue that can be debilitating in so many ways for adults who never received the proper instruction. Adults who are unable to read have a much more difficult time with many daily activities that others may take for granted, along with a clear disadvantage in today’s competitive job market. SSC’s Office of Community Education administers the Adult Volunteer Literacy Tutoring Program in addition to General Education Development (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL), and Adult Basic Education (ABE). Tutors will receive one free professional development hour through this program in Adult Education, Reading, Writing, and many other subjects. Successful tutors are also eligible for letters of support or recommendation for jobs, scholarships, educational opportunities, and more. These opportunities are made possible by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a division of the Office of Secretary of State, using state funds designated for literacy. In just its third year of operation, SSC’s Adult Volunteer Literacy Program has enlisted hundreds of volunteers to date and is already an award-winning program, earning two prestigious Spotlight on Service (SOS) Awards from the Secretary of State and Illinois Press Association. Volunteer tutor Mary Gercken won an SOS Award in 2012 and a literacy learner Tennie Fitts won the Spotlight on Achievement SOS Award in 2013. Gerken and Fitts are featured in a video accessible on YouTube entitled Improving Lives through Literacy. Also featured is author Ruth J. Colvin–a 95 year old SSC alumnus. (Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttli_Xa73pc to see the video or access it from www.ssc.edu under the “Adult Education” link.) If you would like to volunteer or know someone who would benefit from these services, please contact Christopher McElroy, Coordinator of the Adult Volunteer Literacy Program, at 708-596-2000, extension 2558, or email [email protected].

Rich Township Free Basic Computer Classes for Adults

Rich Township is offering free basic computer skill classes for adults every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Leonard Robinson Family Services Center, 22013 Governors Highway, Richton Park. Participants will learn Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, internet skills, résumé building skills, and more. Classes are open only to residents of Rich Township. For additional information, call Mark Mason or Joe Moran at 708-748-6722.

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

Thorn Creek Nature Center, 247 Monee Road, Park Forest

Wednesday Morning Walkers – January 8

Follow the Forest’s winter changes, enjoy light exercise and experience nature firsthand on Thorn Creek’s winding trails. Trails can be wet or muddy so please wear sturdy shoes. Terrain is moderate. Group will meet each Wednesday through January 29 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and is open to those ages 11 through adult. There is no fee involved. For additional information, call 708-747-6320.

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].

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Washington, DC

Information on Health Insurance & the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Visit healthcare.gov for information about Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act. The following paper applications are available to print out: Individual Short Form, Individual without Financial Assistance, and the Family Form.

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.

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

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 Community Nutrition Network (CNN) site 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 11 a.m. For additional information or to make a reservation for lunch, call 708-747-2700.

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.

Green Events

Sauk-Calumet Group of the Illinois Sierra Club, Matteson, IL

January Meeting to Feature Nature Photograph – Monday, January 13

The Sauk-Calumet Group of the Illinois Sierra Club will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, January 13, at 7:15 p.m. at the Frankfort Public Library, 21119 Pfeiffer Rd. (just off Rt. 30). The group will be having their annual members’ slides night. Members will bring in photos of this past year’s experiences involving nature, be it grand adventures on the other side of the world or the beautiful butterflies of their own backyard. Former years’ slides have included Grand Canyon river rafting and hikes in the Smoky Mountains. Sierra Club meetings are free and open to the public. People who enjoy outdoor activities, who want to protect the environment, or who wish to preserve the world in which we live, are encouraged to attend. Join us and see what your fellow nature-lovers have been doing this year! For additional information, contact Patrick Coffey, Publicity Chair, at [email protected].

Thorn Creek Nature Preserve, 247 Monee Road, Park Forest

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.

Green Community Connections, 166 N Humphrey Avenue, Oak Park

One Earth Film Festival Announces its ‘One Earth…Our Earth!’ Young Filmmakers Contest 2014 – Submission Deadline is January 12, 2014

Entries are now being accepted for the 2014 One Earth…Our Earth Young Filmmakers Contest! This film contest is part of the One Earth Film Festival (www.oneearthfilmfest.org) and is open to students from grade school (third grade) through to college level. The goal of the Young Filmmakers Contest is for students to use the creative medium of film to address the issues surrounding climate change and sustainability. Students are invited to make a solution based, 3-8 minute film or short 45 second animation. Films are judged by industry professionals and leaders within the environmental community. Winners from each age category will have their film shown throughout the festival and/or at the Green Carpet opening event, in addition to being awarded a cash prize with matching grant. Deadline for film contest submissions is January 12, 2014. Additional details for the contest are available at: http://greencommunityconnections.org/contest-details/ For questions, please contact: Katie Morris at: [email protected] or Sue Crothers at: [email protected].

This & That

Park Forest American Legion Post 1198, 1631 Western Ave., Chicago Heights

Friday Fish Fry

Join Park Forest’s American Legion Post 1198 for fish, shrimp, wings, beef and appetizers on Friday, January 10 beginning at 6 p.m. Carry outs are available. For additional information, call Jesse Rodriguez at 708-481-3055.

Donate Unused Air Miles to Support Families of Wounded Servicemembers

"Operation Hero Miles" collects unused frequent flyer miles to help military families visit service members who were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan and are recovering in military hospitals around the world. Airline partners are: AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American, Frontier, Midwest, Northwest, United, and US Airways. To donate airline miles, visit www.FisherHouse.org.

Donate to Troops Serving Abroad

The Village of Park Forest is currently seeking the names and addresses of local military personnel currently serving overseas so that they may receive packaged donations from Park Forest residents. If you are a Park Forest resident and have a family member from your household currently deployed or if you have recently returned from a tour of duty, please call Judi Lancaster at 708-283-5608 or stop by the Manager’s Office at Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive.

Greening of Park Forest

Sertoma Centre, Inc., 4343 W. 123rd St., Alsip

Recycle Unused Wheelchairs

If you have a used motorized wheelchair that you no longer need and would like to help a person with a disability, the Sertoma Centre will accept your donation. Contact Melanie Jones at 708-730-6206 for additional information.

South Suburban Family Shelter Used Cell Phone Collection Drive

South Suburban Family Shelter (SSFS) is seeking cell phone donations for their ongoing fundraising program. Proceeds from the collection fund the critical programs and services provided to families who experience domestic violence. All victim services are provided free of charge and are available in English and Spanish. Cell phone collection sites currently include:

  • SSFS Administrative Office, 18139 Harwood, Homewood, IL
  • Bergstein’s NY Deli, 200 Dixie Highway, Chicago Heights, IL
  • Doyle Designed Salon, 2630 Flossmoor Rd., Flossmoor, IL

All donations are tax deductible and receipts are available at collection sites. For more information about SSFS or the fundraising drive, please contact Ms. Meilach at 708-794-2140, extension 303.

Local Recycling Resources and Proper Disposal of Unused Medicine

Do you have old televisions, computers, video games or other electronics or household appliances that need to be recycled? Want to know how to properly dispose of old or unused medication? Click on the "Recycling" icon found on the top of eNews Park Forest and you will find useful information on proper recycling/disposal that will not only be good for the environment, but in some cases, earn you a few dollars as well.

Recycle Used Cell Phones and Cell Phone Accessories

The Rotary Club of Park Forest is conducting a used cell phone and accessory collection drive to benefit the families and programs of the South Suburban Family Shelter. Donated items can be placed in the collection box located in the lobby of Village Hall. For more information, call Denyse Carreras at 708-283-5603.

Sources: eNews Park Forest, Park Forest Historical Society, Village of Park Forest, Governors State University, Prairie State College, South Suburban College, DePaul University, Roosevelt University, National Veterans Art Museum, Center for Performing Arts, Freedom Hall, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Illinois Theatre Center, Sertoma Centre, Inc., Union Street Gallery,, Thorn Creek Audubon Society, and Tall Grass Arts Association websites.