As evening light shined through the tall windows of the Pritzker Pavilion stage, Dining & Conversation 2019 – SOS Children’s Villages Illinois’ unique spring gala — opened with Chief Executive Officer, Tim McCormick, inviting Chicago Mayor-Elect, Lori Lightfoot, to offer a welcome to the evening’s Luminaries, Celebrity Chefs, 2019 Sponsor, and guests.
“The work and the commitment is beyond admirable and commendable: its lifesaving.” – Mayor-Elect Lightfoot
Joined by wife, Amy, and surrounded by familiar faces in civics, business, and entertainment, Lightfoot thoughtfully took to the podium. “The true character of society is defined by how we treat its children,” Lightfoot remarked. “…The Foster Parents out there who open up their homes, who give love and support to children are truly part of an important ecosystem of care that we must have throughout our community. They truly are unsung heroes that deserve our support and our praise because of the tireless things they do every day…I want to make sure we call them out for the important work they do.”
One unique way of doing this, as Lightfoot spoke on, is with the comprehensive services and model of care offered through SOS Children’s Villages Illinois.
“SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is a village – one that assists Foster Parents in providing the love, support, and security that a child needs…” Lightfoot commended. At this heart of this Village model are our dedicated, professional Foster Parents, who Lightfoot took a special moment to praise.
“Foster Parents are so important to improving the quality of life in children.” She shared. “I’ve heard countless stories of children who were lost for a whole variety of reasons, but that one adult can make such a difference in changing the trajectory of a child’s life and how they feel about themselves and also the world around them.
We know that children thrive when they have good, healthy adult mentorship and love…The work of this organization is critically important. For more than 25 years, this organization has been caring for children in Chicago. The work and the commitment is beyond admirable and commendable: its lifesaving.”
Lightfoot provided context as to why fostering and adoption is so near to her heart and policy as mayor-elect. “Our daughter is adopted,” Lightfoot shared. “Going through that process, Amy and I had to become foster parents. It was a very rigorous and daunting process, particularly thinking that if we didn’t pass the test, we might not able to be parents…It really gave me a point of reflection on how important it is to make sure that we are opening up opportunities for children across our city.”
“We have to challenge ourselves to think about ways that we can dig down deeper…There is no more important mission in my mind than making sure that we create good, safe, healthy communities for our children and this organization is certainly part of it.”
As we continue to advocate for more comprehensive policy and programming related to foster care, family strengthening, child welfare, and permanency, it was an honor to host Lightfoot at the 2019 Dining & Conversation VIP reception and evening’s speaking program. To read about this evening in depth, check out our blog covering the event.