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Greetings Big Shoulders Fund supporters,

Our 22nd Annual Lend A Shoulder Day was held last week. Nearly 300 supporters visited 14 Big Shoulders Fund schools across Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Being able to be together in-person, in schools, witnessing firsthand the heroic leadership of our teachers and principals was truly invigorating. . .and something we no longer take for granted. Our mission is alive and well, and it was an extraordinary thing to be able to come together and see our talented and resilient students in action. For those of you who weren’t able to join us, please scroll below for photos from the day.  And, if you do nothing else, please watch the video (linked here) of our student speaker, a remarkable student from Leo High School. I promise you it will be uplifting and soul-filling! 
I was fortunate enough to visit two schools, St. Francis de Sales High School and St. Gall School.  St. Francis de Sales High School is led by Principal Roni-Nicole Facen, an alumna of the school and of our Big Shoulders Fund scholarship program.  She is a dynamic leader who has grown enrollment by 40 percent this year, preserving the vitality of an important high school option for residents of Chicago’s Southeast Side. St. Gall is led by Big Shoulders Fund Sullivan Fellow, Caitlin Lee, and is another important community institution, serving more than 200 students from Brighton Park, Gage Park, and other surrounding communities. Both schools are working extremely hard to ensure their students have every opportunity to realize their potential during challenging times in our City.
Thanks to all who were able to join us at Lend A Shoulder Day.  We have another great opportunity to visit and lend a hand to our schools at our upcoming Give Back Day.  Details below! 

All my very best,

Josh Hale
President & CEO
Lend a Shoulder Day
Pictured Left: Lend a Shoulder Day guests visit St. Francis de Sales High School.

Pictured Right: Chair of the Board of Ambassadors at St. Francis de Sales High School and Big Shoulders Fund supporter Mike Melendrez (L) and President and CEO of Big Shoulders Fund Josh Hale (R) stop by a science class.
It was great to see so many familiar and new faces at the 22nd Annual Lend a Shoulder Day! We had over 300 guests join us at 14 schools across Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Whether you joined us in-person or virtually, we hope you enjoyed witnessing the impact of your support and how it is helping to nurture the next generation of leaders just like Auxiliary Board scholar and Leo High School senior Cameron. During the lunch at Smith & Wollensky in Chicago, Cameron shared how having the support from his school and Big Shoulders Fund is helping him to achieve his dreams.
"Due to Big Shoulders’ generosity, I am able to take Honors and AP classes at Leo as well as college level courses at St. Xavier University. At St. Xavier I’ve started my studies in computer science and business. I plan to continue along this path by majoring in computer science and business at a four-year university. And thanks to Leo and to Big Shoulders, I’ll have some options."
Cameron is currently applying to MIT, Stanford, Morehouse, North Carolina A&T, and many other prestigious institutions. This is what your support is helping students to achieve. Click here to watch Cameron's full speech.
The day would not have been possible without the support of our Chairmen's Advisory Council, the Lend a Shoulder Day Committee and the Committee Co-Chairs Joe Thompson and Brett Huelat. We thank them for being virtually unstoppable and for organizing an unforgettable event.

Click here to view pictures from the day.

Click here to watch the recording of the virtual program.
Lend a Shoulder Day in Northwest Indiana
(L-R) St. John Bosco School Principal Nancy Repay; St. Casimir School Vice Principal of Curriculum and Instruction Angelica Foy; St. John the Baptist School Principal Jessica Gonzalez; St. Casimir School Principal Matt Chico; Bishop Noll Institute Principal Lorenza Jara Pastrick.
Former NBA player and three-time All-American college basketball player from the University of Notre Dame Luke Harangody with student ambassadors at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond where he serves as a Big Shoulders Fund mentor.

We were thrilled to have three schools from our network in Northwest Indiana join us in hosting Lend a Shoulder Day this year! Aquinas Catholic Community School in Merrillville, St. Stanislaus Elementary in East Chicago, and Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond all welcomed guests back to school for a day of learning and interacting with students.

A special thank you to the Big Shoulders Fund Northwest Indiana team for helping to make this day possible and to the schools for being great hosts. Click below to read an article from The Times of Northwest Indiana on how Aquinas Catholic Community School celebrated the day and the impact joining the Big Shoulders Fund network has had.
Read Article
News Corner
On Friday, November 5, Leo High School Principal Shaka Rawls shared the stage with Chicago journalist Heidi Stevens for a conversation around the violence affecting communities across the City for First Friday Club of Chicago's video conversation series. Shaka shared how Leo High School students and staff support their community through activism and awareness and how we can all proactively address topics of violence. 
The Academy of St. Benedict the African is an anchor in their community. Their annual peace walk brings together students, alumni, and their community as a whole to serve as a reminder that “we are better together” and as a call for peace in their Englewood neighborhood.

Click the link above for a video with recap of all the media coverage this community event received.
Thank You Volunteers!
Thank you to our friends at EY for hosting their annual EY Connect Day at three Big Shoulders Fund schools – Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Malachy, and Visitation – this year. Volunteers went into the classrooms and interacted with students during teacher led activities.
Thank you to volunteers from Inspire 11 for helping to paint the cafeteria, deep clean classrooms, and organize the library at St. Ailbe School!
Volunteers from FXW helped organize the resource room, tech room, and deep cleaned the preschool classroom at St. Agnes of Bohemia this past weekend.
Thank you to the St. Rita High School students who participated in a service day at St. Mary Star of the Sea School. Volunteers spent the day deep cleaning classrooms, raking leaves, and assisting in other general projects that needed a few extra hands.
Volunteers from Nuveen leaped into action at St. Pius V School where they helped with landscaping and cleaning. Special shout out to Chairmen's Advisory Council member Tara Liceaga who was part of the group of volunteers and has supported our mission throughout the years. 
Our friends at Junior League stopped by St. Malachy School last month and helped to organize and clean classrooms!
Tax Credit Scholarship Program
The Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, made possible by the Invest in Kids Act, has opened the door to a quality values-based education for 4,000 children in just the first three years of the program. Now in it's fourth year, the need is higher than ever with nearly 14,000 applicants currently still on the wait list. Thanks to supporters like you, we have been able to distribute more than $41 million since inception.

In the video linked above, Caitlin Lee, principal at St. Gall School, describes the generosity of donors who receive a 75 percent credit on their tax bill as literally "life-changing."

To learn more or to participate in the program click here or contact Amy DrozdaMake a life changing gift by December 3 and help carry a child's dreams during the 2021-2022 school year!
Leap Into Action
Help Big Shoulders Fund on Black Friday and Cyber Monday by shopping through AmazonSmile (! When you shop at AmazonSmile, you will find the exact same prices, selection, and shopping experience as, with the added benefit that AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to Big Shoulders Fund. Check it out today and make your next purchase have a bigger impact!
Experience Feel-Good Shopping!
Join the movement and make an impact by signing up to join the Big Shoulders Fund Racing Team and run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Chicago Half Marathon, and/or another race of your choosing.

Click the link below for more information or contact Kevin Pitts
Learn More
Virtual Test Prep
Help make a difference with just a few hours of your time!  Big Shoulders Fund eighth graders are getting ready to take the High School Placement Exam in December. Help us finish preparing them by joining us for a Saturday test prep virtual or in-person session to help them put their best foot forward. Please contact Sam Rodriguez for more information.

Upcoming Sessions
  • Saturday, November 13
  • Saturday, November 20
Virtual and in-person option available. Please click here to view times and sign-up.
Sign Up!
Upcoming Events
The second Big Shoulders Fund Give Back Day of the 2021-22 school year is almost here! Join fellow Big Shoulders Fund supporters for a morning of service at our December Give Back Day hosted by the Big Shoulders Fund Auxiliary Board. 

Big Shoulders Fund is working closely with the school to ensure all state and municipal guidelines for safety are followed. You can read more about our safety precautions below.
  • Give Back Days have a limited capacity.
    • RSVP's are first come, first served.
  • Volunteers will show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR Test within 72 hours of the event.
  • Volunteers will practice social distancing the day of the event.
  • All volunteers will be required to wear a facial covering per Chicago's indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Volunteers will need to complete and sign a risk acknowledgement and liability waiver.
Please RSVP by December 3, 2021.
Register Today!
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