Immigration Education Night

In February we welcomed Mano a Mano, a resource center in Round Lake, to come present to our community about President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration. Their bilingual outreach staff explained deferred action, who it applies to, and what qualifying adults can do to get ready for the application! It was a great success – 28 adults attended to learn and participate in a great discussion!   Are you part of an organization that would like to come speak to our community? Contact us today!


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Computer Classes in Spanish

We had a successful start to our computer classes this February! The sessions are at our site, in Spanish, and free to those in need. Adult participants learn the basics of computer use, the internet, and common software programs (Word, Excel, etc.). We have computers available where they can practice their new skills; computers are also available at our Resource Center for families to use whenever needed!  Interested in supporting our adult education programs? Contact us today!

A HUGE thank you to the Chicago Community Trust Nuestro Futuro for supporting this program:

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Help Us Keep Our Doors Open!

Online fundraising for Keep Garden Quarter's Doors Open


Help us to keep our doors open!  Click the donate button above to join our campaign!


McHenry County Mental Health Board Eliminated Our Funding

As you may already know, we were informed on October 30th that the McHenry County Mental Health Board (MCMHB) has reduced Garden Quarter Neighborhood Resource Center’s organizational budget by 74% by choosing to eliminate our funding. This funding is used to provide year-round prevention services to some of the most at-risk youth in our community; in addition to education, we also provide emotional support and referrals for mental health and other basic needs services to their parents.

As we have received funding from the MCMHB since January of 2010 as an independent organization, have consistently met or exceeded the grant expectations and have maintained a very positive working relationship with the organization, we were shocked to be informed via email that our funding was entirely eliminated effective December 1, 2014 with no stated reasons. The MCMHB Interim Executive Director, Lyn Orphal, had previously stated in the Northwest Herald on July 29, 2014 “We’re not cutting any funding, period. It’s staying the same for what it was in 2014” when asked if the Mental Health Board would be maintaining its funding levels for all its agencies. Unfortunately, this has proved to be untrue for the Garden Quarter Neighborhood Resource Center to the detriment of the youth and families we serve. While we have been quite successful in diversifying our organization’s funding, such a substantial deduction in funding with only one month’s notice is something that will cause our services to be greatly reduced or quite possibly eliminated in the next few months.

Your Outpouring of Support was Overwhelming

We cannot say thank you enough to all of our supporters. We are so grateful that so many of you have taken the time out of your day to advocate for our organization, students, and families. Our inboxes were flooded with letters of support from all corners of the community. Connee Meschini, president of the Mental Health Board was overwhelmed with letters from our supporters.

Many of our supporters stood with us on Thursday, November 6th during the MCMHB’s meeting to finalize their funding decision. We were so honored to have Susan Low, Mayor of McHenry show her support as well as Police Chief John Jones’ passionate words on his support for our families. They were two of many who came out that night to show their support.

The Mental Health Board Board of Directors Voted to Keep their Decision

We were given one more week to appeal this decision by sending a letter to the Board presenting the reasons why we believe they should reverse their decision and renew their support for our program for (at least) another year. We have submitted a formal letter outlining our response to the Board’s reasons for denying our funding as well as providing an overview of the services we offer and our vision for the future. We now await the final decision which will be made at their November 18th meeting.

They Will Most Likely Deny Our Funding or Reduce their Support Drastically. We Need Your Help.

Even if we do receive funds, it will most likely not be for the full amount and there will be a break in the continuity of funding. If denied, our MCMHB funds will no longer be received after November 30th. Please consider supporting our programs with a financial donation. We are hoping to raise enough money to keep our doors open for at least one more month. This will give us the time to seek other sources of funding and create a sustainability plan so that services will not be cut to the students and families of McHenry.

Welcome to our New Staff Members!

Julia Bonti

Julia PictureTeen Girls Group Mentor

Prior to joining Garden Quarter Neighborhood Resource Center, Julia worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of McHenry County for a combined total of 4 years.  Throughout her time with BBBS, Julia worked in various areas of the organization, with her main focus being direct facilitation of after-school mentoring programs.  Julia has spent the last 2 years partnering teenager mentors with youth from Garden Quarter and as a result, has developed a professional, yet personal relationship with the teens at our center.
We are excited to have her working with us and our girls! The group (supported by the McHenry County Community Foundation) will consist of a variety of topics that range from healthy relationships to entrepreneurism. Sessions will be twice per month starting in September.

Patricia Wallin
Hello! My name is Patricia Wallin and I am the bilingual Parent Program Manager!

In the past I have worked within the social services field in McHenry County and Chicago assisting families by providing them with appropriate referrals and supporting them in accessing different resources in the community based on their needs.
I was born in Latin America and immigrated to McHenry County when I was a child.  I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Western Illinois University and I am currently working on my thesis to obtain a Master’s degree in International Social Work from the University of Stockholm, Sweden.
Some of my responsibilities at the center will include facilitating educational meetings for Spanish speaking parents on different topics based on their interests. I will also facilitate computer classes for Spanish-speaking parents. Aside from that, I will have parent-friendly office hours at the center for parents that would like to inquire about the resources and support available to them. In the near future I will be starting a training program for ‘Padres Activos’, a parenting curriculum, that I can share with all interested parents at the center.I am very excited to start working together with the families, the staff and the community that supports Garden Quarter. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this team to ensure a better quality of life for the residents of McHenry County!

Successful Registration Night

backpacks 2 LASO Library picnic 2 picnic 3 picnic 4 picnic 5 picnic 6 picnic Registration forms 2 Registration forms

Thank you to everyone who made our Registration Night a success!  We had more than 25 families who came out and many more children who received free backpacks full of school supplies!  We had 13 wonderful volunteers who assisted us with the night, including some of our own teen girls (I’m so proud!) Thank you to Gwen and Mary from the library, Tina, Sarah, and Debbie from Families ETC, Lauren and her team from LASO, Carol from 4C, and Mary and Angie from the Chapel!  It was so nice to have such a great turnout from the wider community to support the Garden Quarter families.  Thank you!  I’m looking forward to a great 2014-2015 school year!