Sunday, June 10, 2018

Christopher House Alum Honored At Annual Gala

Elizabeth Akinbusuyi (Zachary Johnson Photography)
Christopher House held its annual gala dinner last month and took the opportunity to honor a woman who epitomizes its success, Elizabeth Akinbusuyi.

For those who don't know, Christopher House is a 112-year-old organization that offers care and education for low-income children, from birth through eighth grade, and also provides after-school and parenting programs.

Its mission is to create stable, self-sufficient families through its programs in Uptown, Belmont Cragin, and Logan Square. Its elementary school was recently ranked in the top 1 percent of all Chicago Public Schools. The Uptown location, at 4701 North Winthrop, serves nearly 200 families annually, including infants as young as six weeks old.

Elizabeth first came to Christopher House's Uptown location as a child who had recently arrived in this country from Nigeria. Her mother had two toddlers, a full-time job, and a husband away in the military. Elizabeth remembers that Christopher House provided a safe environment for her and her sister and made her parents know that they had a support system, providing everything from diapers to after-school care.

Even when Elizabeth began at Rickover Academy, Christopher House remained in her life, as she volunteered there throughout her high school career to give back some of what she had received. She received a full-ride scholarship to Howard University, and the staff threw her a trunk party to help supply some of her college needs.

Her mom, the overworked parent who turned to Christopher House and found much-needed support? She became a teacher there herself, and is now site director at the Uptown campus. Elizabeth continues to be part of encouraging the current generation of students: she is a Christopher House Youth Leadership Coordinator.

She says, "No matter how I tell my story, or who I tell it to, Christopher House will always be a part of it."

If you'd like to learn more about this wonderful Uptown organization, visit its website.

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