In partnership with The Maestro Cares Foundation and Goya Foods to serve the neighborhoods near 13th Street and Blue Island Avenue
SOS Illinois opened the doors to its new Roosevelt Square Community Center in October 2020, but finally was able to hold its grand opening event – a long-awaited gathering after the pandemic delayed earlier program plans – on November 17th. SOS Illinois partners Maestro Cares Foundation and Goya Foods were on-hand for the festivities and to also celebrate the opening of the Goya Learning Kitchen, a key feature in the Center which will provide hands-on cooking and nutrition classes for the families served at SOS Illinois and in the surrounding community, as well as educational and media-driven initiatives.
The event included a cooking demonstration by Goya Foods Executive Chef Fernando Desa. Chef Desa took time to teach SOS Illinois Foster Parents how to make a quick, healthy dish to help feed the large sibling groups in their care. A formal program took place at 2:15 PM with representatives from each organization and local elected officials. Tours of the Center were then available followed with small bites and refreshments courtesy of Goya Foods.
“This center already impacts the lives of over one hundred children and families in our care at SOS Illinois, but our promise when we built this Center was to serve the entire community. We intended to fulfill that promise by offering programs and services that will positively impact our neighbors,” said Tim McCormick, SOS Illinois CEO. “We are excited to open our doors and share our plans and are grateful to our partners Maestro Cares Foundation and Goya Foods who have been with us on this journey.”
“The Roosevelt Square Community Center will be instrumental in helping transform and strengthen this local Chicago community. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of this ‘Labor of Love’ and to witness the impact that it will make in the lives of children, foster families, and the thousands of individuals that this space will serve annually.” said Henry Cardenas, Maestro Cares Foundation Co-Founder.
About the Roosevelt Square Community Center
The Roosevelt Square Community Center, designed by internationally recognized architect Juan Moreno, was designed to nurture and transform lives. Construction was able to continue during the height of the pandemic and SOS Illinois staff moved into the building in late 2020. The 11,000+ square foot facility is projected to serve over 5,000 individuals annually from University Village, Lower West Side/Pilsen, Little Village, North Lawndale, and other surrounding neighborhoods. The Center will serve as an urban prototype for the delivery of human services that will specifically provide:
- Academic, therapeutic, social, and recreational outlets for youth and families served at the Roosevelt Square Village homes
- A communal center for neighborhood residents – a safe place where they can meet in the community and connect to public resources and engage in training, activities, seminars, and special events
- Family meeting rooms and learning center providing financial and educational training
About the Goya Learning Kitchen
A centerpiece of the Center is the Goya Learning Kitchen. Through in-kind donations and philanthropic support, the Goya Learning Kitchen was designed to educate the community about nutrition and culinary education including relevant job skills training.
The Goya Foods Learning Kitchen resides in the Center’s 3,000-square-foot multi-purpose room and features:
- Intentional design for culinary demonstrations, hands-on learning experiences, and special event entertaining space
- Stations for cooking instruction and student prep area to promote culinary and nutritional education programming
- Professional-grade appliances provided by Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove and kitchen design and cabinetry provided by Snaidero
About SOS Children’s Villages Illinois
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, founded over 30 years ago, is a 501(c)3 child welfare agency that provides a stable home in a supportive, community environment designed to help children in need grow into caring, productive, and self-reliant adults. The SOS Children’s Villages model differs from traditional foster care in emphasizing the following four components: 1) Children live together with their siblings, 2) Children receive care and support from a full-time, professionally trained Foster Parent, 3) Children grow up in a private, single-family home, 4) Children are supported by the Village, designed as an intentional community of care.
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois unites brothers and sisters in foster care and provides a safe space to heal for at-risk youth. Currently, the organization operates four sites: three Villages providing sibling group foster care at an 18-home Village (opened in 1993) in Lockport, Illinois; a 19-home Village (opened in 2004) in the Auburn Gresham, Englewood neighborhood of Chicago; a 14-home Village (opened in 2014) in the Roosevelt Square Community of Chicago, as well as Casa Tepeyac (acquired in 2011), a facility that offers preventative and in-home services in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago.
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois celebrates a 100% high school graduation rate, compared to a national average of 50% for children in foster care. In November 2015, Chicago Magazine named SOS Children’s Villages Illinois one of the “Best Charities in Chicago.” For more information on SOS Children’s Villages Illinois visit sosillinois.org.
About The Maestro Cares Foundation
Maestro Cares Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Marc Anthony & Henry Cárdenas. The foundation aims to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged children and communities in Latin America and the United States.
Maestro Cares Foundation works to achieve its mission by creating safe and healthy environments for children to live, learn and play, while also supporting their developmental and academic needs.
Since 2012, Maestro Cares Foundation has impacted the lives of thousands of children by funding the construction of over 22 projects throughout Latin America and the United States. The foundation also promotes academic excellence through the Maestro Cares Foundation Scholarship Program, which provides valuable opportunities for deserving Latino students who demonstrate academic achievement, financial need, a desire to continue higher education and proof of prior dedication to charitable/volunteer work. Through these efforts, Maestro Cares Foundation is strengthening communities and helping children become tomorrow’s leaders. For more information go to www.maestrocares.org
Founded in 1936, Goya Foods, Inc. is America’s largest Hispanic-owned food company, and has established itself as the leader in Latin American food and condiments. Goya manufactures, packages, and distributes over 2,500 high-quality food products from Spain, the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Central and South America. Goya products have their roots in the culinary traditions of Hispanic communities around the world; the combination of authentic ingredients, robust seasonings, and convenient preparation makes Goya products ideal for every taste and every table. For more information on Goya Foods, please visit www.goya.com
A sense of community nurtures and nourishes us. The Roosevelt Square Community Center is meant to do just that. None of this would have been possible without the constant support, dedication, and passion from our friends at Maestro Cares Foundation and Goya Foods.
Thank you for making this a reality for the Roosevelt Square community!