The We Are ONE Chicago Celebration held on June 2nd successfully joined a diverse group of individuals, fostering an incredible sense of unity and connection among our community. This enchanting event offered a captivating blend of dinner, dancing, and heartfelt conversations, creating an ideal platform for sharing inspiring stories and celebrating our remarkable achievements. Throughout the evening, we were privileged to hear from exceptional speakers and enjoy the presence of remarkable individuals such as Cinaiya Stubbs, Jakina Dortch, Ms. Ford France, and Ms. Janice Evans. The joyous celebration exemplified the power that mentorship, guidance, and support can have on shaping lives and igniting the path to greatness.

Untitled Design ( )

Devoted friend and staunch supporter of Children’s Place, Robin Robinson, gracefully presided over our memorable evening. Having served as the esteemed emcee of our inaugural gala three decades ago, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for her unwavering commitment to championing the cause of CPA children. Subsequently, our President and CEO, Cinaiya Stubbs, graced the stage and passionately shared her personal journey growing up in Chicago. With profound sincerity, she shed light on the devastating impact of poverty, which tragically robs families of their guiding matriarchs far too early.

Believing in Dreams: Jakina Dortch, our Director of Child Thrive, captivated the audience with her truly inspiring story, becoming one of the highlight moments of the evening. Dortch shared her remarkable journey through a challenging childhood, recounting how the unwavering support of mentors became the catalyst for her self-belief. Through sheer determination and relentless effort, she defined the odds that life had stacked against her, ultimately graduating from both the prestigious University of Chicago and Harvard University. Her speech struck a deep chord with the audience, emphasizing the profound impact of mentorship in empowering individuals to unlock their boundless potential.

A Surprise Reunion: To her utter amazement, Jakina Dortch received an unexpected and heartwarming surprise following her speech. Ms. Ford France, one of her cherished mentors, made a special appearance at the event. The room instantly filled with a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation as the mentor and mentee joyfully reunited, symbolizing the enduring bond forged through unwavering support and guidance.

Untitled Design ( )
Untitled Design

Celebrating Long-Term Dedication: Ms. Janice Evans was also honored for an extraordinary 20 years as a CPA foster parent. Her unwavering dedication to nurturing and supporting foster children exemplifies the transformative power of love and stability in a child’s life. Ms. Evans’s presence at the event inspired others to consider the vital role they can play in making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.

We also honored Nitin ‘Nit’ Vyas, our caterer from J&L Catering, who shares a meaningful connection with the foster care community. Nit is a dedicated foster parent to four boys, aged 4 to 18. While he did not foster through Children’s Place Association, his connection to the organization became evident through the boys’ birth mother, who utilized CPA services. This beautiful connection highlighted the interwoven nature of the foster care community and the vital support it offers, emphasizing the profound impact organizations like CPA can have on the lives of children and families in need.

Untitled Design ( )

Along with the connections, we raised $107,875.00 through sponsorships, donations, and raffles.

Raffle winners:
Winner of Chef’s table experience at Aba, valued at $1,250: Austin Maggard
Winner of Lettuce Entertain You Gift Cards, valued at $1,050: Charyl Parry
Winner of 50/50 Raffle: Alicia Lowisz ($3,512.50)

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of our sponsors, vendors, event co-chairs, and volunteers, as our celebration would not have been possible without their generous support and the dedication of the CPA Development Team.

Sponsors: CIBC, Mesirow, Henry S. Givray in memory of his wife, Jannine, Quality Truck & Trailer Repair, James and Danielle Litinsky, Robert and Kathy Ryan, John F. Ward, Jr. and Amy Hardgrove Ward, Chris and Laura Murphy, Liberty Mutual, Cotter Consulting