15: Midwestern

Protecting our Kids

It was his parents' worst nightmare. In May 1998, Danny Keysar was found dead in his licensed childcare home in Chicago. The top rails of a Playskool Travel-Lite portable crib had collapsed, strangling him. Shockingly, the crib had been recalled five years earlier; yet his parents, caregiver, and the state inspector who visited the site days earlier were not aware of the recall. Danny was the crib's fifth victim. A total of 19 children have died in portable cribs of similar faulty design.

Dee's Story

Dee is 79 years old with an easy smile and an indomitable spirit. She had a rich and happy life with her husband of 52 years. Then one September morning, he was diagnosed with stage-four cancer and within two months he was gone. Dee was devastated. But Dee's troubles did not end there. Eight months later, her ophthalmologist told her that the blurry lines she was seeing were the result of macular degeneration. He told her it would continue to get worse until she would be unable to drive, read or even recognize the faces of her grandchildren.

The Night Ministry Provides Human Connection to Chicagoans in Need

The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based non-profit whose mission is to provide housing, health care, and human connection to community members struggling with poverty or homelessness. With an open heart and an open mind, we accept people as they are and address their immediate physical, emotional and social needs while affirming their sense of humanity.

Furlough Brings a First-Time Visit to a Food Pantry

Good, steady work for nearly a decade. Then, suddenly, nothing.

That’s how it was for Albany Park resident Andrew. He worked at Navy Pier—until he was furloughed in March as a result of the pandemic.

Restaurants gradually reopened . . . so did the restaurant where Andrew and his girlfriend worked—but only at 20% capacity. They weren’t brought back.

The couple tried to get by on unemployment benefits, but to make ends meet, they sought additional help. For the first time in his life, Andrew turned to a local food pantry.

LSSI Foster Parent Success

With her warm voice and infectious laugh, Gloria Cunningham jokes about being one of the first therapeutic foster parents to welcome a fourth child into her home. “I got a reputation to keep up here.” Ms. Gloria, as she is affectionately known, joined Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’s Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) program as it was launching in 2017. She had spent her career as a CNA, and as she retired she wanted to take all her caring and passion to help children with high behavioral or mental health needs. She embodies the TFC model with great enthusiasm and skill.

One Woman's Journey - Michelle

The youngest of 5 children, Michelle was the “baby” of her family. Never knowing her father, she shared a special closeness with her mother. When Michelle was just 17 years old, she lost her mother to a years-long battle with cancer. This sent Michelle reeling. She began to suffer from a deep depression that would upend her life for many years to come.