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Patch Picks: 5 Great Nonprofits Making a Difference

On the lookout for those doing the most good.

Earlier this month, Oak Park-River Forest Patch launched a new feature called Patch Picks. It's designed to give you a quick look at places and people around town. 

We hope you'll find the lists helpful to you, your family, friends, and significant other in finding places for everything from Sunday brunch to New Year’s Eve celebrations, pumpkin patches, date night destinations, florists, girlfriend nights out, kids party places, parks and more.

This week, we're highlighting local nonprofits doing great things. (Want to suggest a list? Submit your idea in the comment box.) Let's get to it:


The Parenthesis Family Center was formed in 1980, with a focus on child development and social services. Today, staffers at the nonprofit center offer a variety of services, including counseling, parental education and case management. For adults, the center provides a place to learn and grow as a parent through workshops and "parenting coaching" sessions. For kids, the center is a place to have fun and be with other children.


The Hephzibah Children's Association is committed to its mission of providing "safety and care to society's most vulnerable children." The association, comprised of more than 130 employees, offers a range of services geared toward providing at-risk children with positive care. Hephzibah offers day care for children with working parents, and also houses as many as 26 children at its North Boulevard home, which is divided into two sections: the Diagnostic Treatment Center for neglected and abused children and The Residence, a longer-term group housing environment.


Founded in 1981, Sarah's Inn provides a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse. The center provides a wide ranges of services, including a 24-hour crisis line, counseling for women and children, support groups, art therapy, child care and legal advocacy. Staffers also provides emergency shelter and transportation for those in need.

PING! (Providing Instruments to the Next Generation)
Founded in 1998 as a test program in one District 97 school, PING! now finds ways to give musical instruments to students from low income families in District 97, River Forest Public Schools District 90 and Oak Park-River Forest High School. The volunteer-run organization also offers free music lessons, scholarships and workshop. 


LVWCC provides a place where adults can receive literacy tutoring services and programs, free of charge. The not-for-profit group is always in need of reliable volunteers to help lead programs such as Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language and GED preparation. Instruction is also offered through the weekly "Conversation Cafe," which is held in Oak Park in the Marion Street office, as well as another session in Norridge. The cafe's are designed to help intermediate and higher-level learners converse in a more relaxed atmosphere. In 2011, the group will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

meg bracco liebreich February 20, 2011 at 09:26 PM
You should really check out Oak Leyden Developmental Services Early Intervention Program. It provides excellent therapy services to children birth thru 3 with developmental delays and disabilities, and hosts playgroups for these children as well. They have a Music Together program too. This is really a jewel, and sadly not many people in the area know about it, despite it providing services to so many Oak Park area kids. I should know, I worked elsewhere in a center and then alone for years before i decided to join OLDs because I thought the therapists there were doing such great things for the children they see!!! Rachel Wood is the division chief and she can be reached at 524-1050 ext 107. Thanks!! meg liebreich, kidzpt531@aol.com
Casey Cora (Editor) February 21, 2011 at 01:38 AM
Thanks, Meg. Sounds like a great program. I know that early intervention is key for some developmental disabilities. Really curious about the Music Together program....

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