YLS Festivus Dreams Come True

Margaret Duggan, Denise Konen, Kim Vial, Carly Torraco, Liz Janostak, Bernadette Sayegh-Crocco

During the first hour of the YLS Festivus Celebration on Dec. 2 at Hotel Allegro, Bernadette Sayegh-Crocco was talking with a group of eight friends about a birthday party she wanted to throw for her husband in February. She wanted the party to be extra special because Nathan will have just returned home from a year of service in Afghanistan. He is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. Bernadette, who had won a raffle several years before, decided to enter the split-the-pot raffle. “It’s always a good idea to enter the raffle,” she said with a smile. “It’s just a few dollars and it doesn’t really matter whether you win or lose, because the money goes to a good cause.” A couple of hours later her smile filled the room when she learned she was the winner of the split-the-pot raffle. She took home more than $600 and the remaining half of the pot will go toward holiday gifts for children at the Kelly Hall YMCA, a United Way funded agency. YLS members will present the gifts to the children this Saturday at Kelly Hall’s holiday party. Click here to learn more and join the festivities! Bernadette could not believe that she was selected. “As soon as I won, I knew I would be using the money for his party,” she said. At the YLS Festivus party, more than 140 people socialized while enjoying live music by dj RAy Rey, heavy appetizers, a premium bar and a silent auction. The venue was perfect for the occasion at the spacious Walnut Ballroom of Hotel Allegro, one of the city’s trendiest and most popular boutique hotels. A DJ and a dance floor, a first for YLS’ holiday party, contributed to the celebratory atmosphere. Almost $4,000 was raised by Chicago’s young professionals for United Way’s ten-year vision, LIVE UNITED 2020. This support will help Chicago families and communities by providing services in the areas of income, education and health. “It was exciting to see the way Chicago’s young professionals embraced this year’s YLS Festivus,” said Angela Wells, YLS’ Executive Chair. Significant YLS alumni in attendance included YLS founder Joe Jerz, now Director of Major Gifts at the Heart of West Michigan United Way, and Brian Johns, last year’s chair of the YLS communications committee. As for Bernadette, she’s already counting down the days until she welcomes back her husband and throws him a surprise birthday party. “It’s going to be a great party,” she said. The same can be said of the 2011 YLS Festivus.

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