Light Up the Night to illuminate virtually this year

Working as a Chicago Public Schools speech pathologist, Clarendon Hills mother-of-two Jen Alsman saw first-hand the struggles low-income families faced while striving to provide quality health care and resources for their families. Because of this, Alsman and others have devoted countless hours of service to fundraise for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago's Angel Harvey Family Health Center via the organization's Clarendon Hills chapter and its annual benefit.

"I saw the struggles of families similar to those served by the (health center) - families who wanted what was best for their children, but had limited resources," said Alsman, who serves as the current president of the 50-member strong Clarendon Hills Chapter of the Infant Welfare Society. "To help provide speech services, occupational therapy and dental care to families in need makes my heart happy."

The Infant Welfare Society's mission is to provide support and fundraising to the Angel Harvey Family Health Center of Chicago, which offers a full range of health care services for low-income families who are uninsured or underinsured.

With donations to the health center totaling $100,000 annually through the chapter's Light Up the Night benefit, coupled with its luminaria sale proceeds, the Clarendon Hills chapter, along with its local sister chapters throughout the Chicago area, help support the more than 13,000 patients who rely on the center each year.

However, given the current health crisis, this year's Light Up the Night event will be held virtually at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23.

"We realized we would have to pivot this year, so we started planning for a virtual event in July of 2020," said Danielle Wheeler, who is co-chairing the event along with Melissa Woodbury. "This has been a really positive development for the message of Infant Welfare, because the virtual benefit format allows us to engage supporters across the entire United States. It increases our reach exponentially, and by extension we hope it will increase our fundraising abilities this year."

The chapter hopes to exceed its fundraising goal of $100,000, because supporting the Infant Welfare Society in the face of a global health pandemic is more important this year than ever before, she added.

"The community that Angel Harvey Family Health Center serves includes populations that have been hit hardest by the pandemic, and everything we can do to help ease the burden of COVID-19 will have a positive impact on families in need," Alsman said.

In preparation for the virtual event, guests will have the opportunity to purchase add-ons for their home gatherings, including appetizers, a four-course meal created by Maison Cuisine, cocktails from Prairie Organic Vodka, a wine tasting with Gallo wines, luminaria and floral centerpieces from English Garden in Clarendon Hills.

The event will kick off with a slideshow before the main content begins at 7 p.m., featuring guest speakers, including patients and staff. Chicago's own Pat Tomasulo, WGN sports anchor, comedian and host of WGN's "Man of the People" will entertain guests. Additionally, event-goers will have the opportunity to view premier auction packages online, with a chance to win a Peloton raffle grand prize.

To purchase tickets, which are $75 per household, please visit

Cupid takes the court

More than 100 women from the western suburbs will gear up for cold weather play to participate in the 11th annual Cupid Courts paddle tennis fundraiser from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12.

Benefiting Chicago's Misericordia Home, which supports more than 600 children and adults living with developmental disabilities, the event will consist of non-competitive paddle matches across seven local golf/tennis clubs with refreshments, a light lunch and party favor/raffle prizes to follow.

Players are encouraged to purchase tickets, $100 per person, at prior to Feb. 8.