Soiree heats support for Warming House
Andrew Textor, Andrew D’Angelo and Jacob Goldsmith, all 16 and all of Wilmette. | Lee Litas~For Sun-Times Media
Warming House Youth Center, 1187 Wilmette Ave., PMB 152 Wilmette; (847) 256-5288 or warminghouse.org
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:05AM
The Event: You can say the Warming House Youth Center knows how to throw a party. On April 28 the beloved 41-year-old Wilmette institution welcomed 120 guests to the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club in Gillson Park to enjoy Soiree on the Shore.
The WHYC is a drop-in center for junior high and high school students in Wilmette and the surrounding suburbs that offers a safe and professionally-supervised space for teens to go, as well as a number of structured programs.
Cause Célèbre: “The idea of a community center is becoming somewhat obsolete but [the kids] are so technology heavy that I think having a human relationship and face-to-face time is really important to them,” said Cynthia Doucette, WHYC executive director.
A staple in the community since the 1970s, WHYC serves as a place for some kids to just be with friends, while for others “it’s like a lifeline, a place that they really needed and that impacted them pretty greatly throughout their lives,” Doucette said.
“It also increases your social abilities, allows you to meet people and have fun,” said 16-year-old Jacob Goldsmith, a current member.
Amanda Zitlin came to WHYC while growing up and assisted as a volunteer in its remodel.
“It was wonderful space for me and my friends to have a great learning experience, to work on communication and relationships, and feeling like we were in a safe place,” Zitlin said.
A nonprofit organization, the Warming House’s mission is to provide mentorship, build self-esteem, develop identity and character, and emphasize social responsibility for the community’s teens.
“It’s a safe, substance-free place for teens to make new friends and for when they have some issues to have a trained ear to help them,” said Paul Gazzolo, WHYC board co-president.
Bottom Line: The event raised $25,000 for WHYC.