Oak Lawn to Celebrate Park Lawn Awareness Week
Seven Chicago Southland communities have declared the week of Jan. 23 to Jan. 30 as "Park Lawn Awareness Week."
The Village of Oak Lawn and six other municipalities have declared Jan. 23-30 the first Park Lawn Awareness Week.
Founded in 1955 by 10 families from Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn, Park Lawn is a non-profit organization offering programs for more than 450 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"It was initiated by two Park Lawn guardians, Charles and Maureen Reilly," said Kristen Bonk, spokeswoman at Park Lawn. The Reillys have a son, Kyle, who is enrolled in Park Lawn programs. Both parents are active with Park Lawn; Maureen serves on the board and is a member of the Resource Development Committee and they are both active in Park Lawn's February auction committee.
"Park Lawn is one my absolute favorite organizations and one I have grown up with and known my whole life," Mayor Dave Heilmann said. "Park Lawn approached me about making a proclamation a couple of months ago. I couldn't be more thrilled to do that."
Half of the money raised at Oak Lawn's annual Fall on the Green festival goes to Park Lawn. The 2010 fest raised $10,000 for the organization.
"Bringing attention to Park Lawn is so wonderful," Heilmann said. "This is what we should be talking about in the community, orgazanitions like this and the people who work for it. I can't say enough."
The Reillys have supported Park Lawn for the past five years, since their son has been enrolled in programs there, and said they are dedicated to help promote whenever they can. “This extraordinary organization needs the help and support of the communities it serves,” Charles said in an email to the surrounding mayors.
Bonk said throughout the week, the organization will be promoting online, through Facebook, Twitter and their website, information about Park Lawn and issues concerning intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Other participating areas include Evergreen Park, Worth, Orland Park, Palos Park, Palos Heights and Chicago Ridge. In recognition of Park Lawn Awareness Week, the organization has asked the communities to support the agency by wearing Park Lawn’s color, blue, on Friday, Jan. 28.
"We're really excited about that," said Bonk.