How our Graze & Raise Event Benefits the Rice Child & Family Center
As February nears an end, our Graze & Raise event is right around the corner. We are thrilled to be part of such a unique event, featuring celebrity chef Gale Gand. However, there is something even more important and special that Graze & Raise provides: proceeds profoundly impact the lives of children at the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Child & Family Center.
The Rice Center is a therapeutic residential center in Evanston. It provides a temporary home for children ages 6 to 15 with emotional and behavioral problems that prevent them from living in a family setting. By the time these children come to the Rice Center, it’s likely they’ve already bounced around to multiple foster homes and have endured some sort of traumatic event that brought them to the attention of DCFS. They are in great need of a stable environment where they can learn the necessary skills to smoothly transition to a safe and loving home environment. Vice President of Child Welfare Services Melissa Ludington says the key to this transition is normalcy.
Programming at the Rice Center provides a range of therapeutic services that encourages personal growth. It’s focused on having the children learn how to be successful in a typical family, school and community setting. Therefore, Melissa says, “a typical day at the center is very much like an average day in any family household, but with 10 plus brothers and sisters.”
The kids wake up and get ready for the day, attend school in the Evanston community, complete their homework and spend time with the other kids. When the kids aren’t focused on school work, they take part in essential therapy sessions and individual treatment plans.
However, there are also extra activities meant for the kids to enjoy themselves. Whether it be exercising at the YMCA, going to see a movie, or taking individual music lessons, they have a range of options. This has a tremendous impact on the children’s’ morale.
“These kids want to feel normal. They want to feel like their peers.”, says Melissa. She also tells us without events like Graze & Raise, these extra activities would not exist. “We are inadequately funded; our state funding primarily covers our most basic needs such as room and board.”
Although the kids at the Rice center typically stay as residents for about 12 to 18 months, Melissa says they’re aiming to shorten that stay length and that is why these extra activities are crucial.
“We know from research that the brain is heavily affected after experiencing trauma. Activities such as yoga, art, music and dance therapy can heal some of this pain and make a world of difference”
Join us for a night of enjoyment with cooking demonstrations and chef tastings while supporting the Rice Center and making a difference in the lives of children in need.
Click here for additional Graze & Raise details and for sponsorship and registration information.
Thank you to our sponsors who make this event possible!