Deb Quantock McCarey is a freelance writer who has worked with Wednesday Journal Inc. since 1995, writing features and special sections for all of its publications, including Chicago Parent. As a "green" person who chooses to ride her bike and walk to work and everywhere else year-round, Deb has also completed two Chicago Marathons. In addition to that, she is an avid urban gardener, an active participant in social justice issues and involved in several community service projects, many of which she has written about on her blog, Deb's Big Backyard. She is also a writer/producer at Lyman Street Productions (www.lymanstreetproductions.com), and a mother of two grown sons who resides with her spouse, Kevin, and their big dog and two small, bossy cats in Oak Park.
The responsibility of bringing children from their first years through high school and on to a career path is not one that can be "simply outsourced to teachers, principals or schools." Instead, at all points of contact from a church to a social worker to a youth sports team, a child needs to be nurtured and propelled by the wide community.
Eager to grant a range of modest awards to several local nonprofits from a cache of funds raised by their Future Philanthropist Program are six fresh-faced high school juniors, awaiting their turn to present their proposal pitch at the regular meeting of the Grants and Programs Committee at the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation.
Some folks figure being a folksinger is mostly a matter of definition and deeds. Until the standards start flowing, from names like Bob Dylan; Woody Guthrie; Joan Baez; John Denver; Peter, Paul and Mary and so many other icons.
Six or seven times a year, Dr. Ben Stark, a biology professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, drops everything and goes into his "adopted" fourth-grade classroom at Beye Elementary School in Oak Park.
What a brutal winter it has been for gardeners, and everyone else. Especially for us green thumbers who always have an itch to garden year-round, but couldn't dig into the soil, past the so-called permafrost, until now.
By now my butt is usually in the air as I work the soil in my edible and native landscape.
This year, though, Mother Nature hasn't given me the nod to do that yet. So, instead, last weekend I planted my bum in a seat on the last day of the Good Food Festival for Sugar Beet Co-op. It's a worthy cause and an extremely exciting grass roots venture that is no longer just a long-term vision.