As a leading Illinois family- and child-service agency, Children’s Home + Aid serves more than 40,000 children and families each year through its child-development and -care programs, family counseling, and foster-care-advocacy programs. The organization's roots extend back to 1883, when the Reverend Van Arsdale brought into his home a young girl whose mother was in crisis. The minister's umbrella of care soon spread throughout the country, as he established advisory boards and worked to improve child welfare. Today, Children's Home + Aid focuses on early childhood and juvenile justice, preventing child abuse, and garnering positive child development in strong families.
The organization’s Raising A Reader program helps children ages 3-5 get "kindergarten-ready" by developing early language and literacy abilities. Much of this work incorporates full parental involvement; facilitators encourage parent-child bonding through everything from bedtime stories to engaging, brain-building activities. Currently helping more than 350 children develop these necessary scholastic skills, the Illinois chapter is just part of a larger national trend; in 2011, the national Raising a Reader program touched the lives of almost 118,000 kids across 32 states.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
Ask an out-of-towner what they want to do when they visit Chicago, and they'll probably tell you they want to chow down on some deep-dish pizza. Chicago Pizza Tours owner and pizza aficionado Jonathan Porter leads parties on treks to some of the Windy City's most celebrated pizzerias with three different pie-themed tours. Guests sample Chicago's signature style with the deep-dish only holiday walking tour, enjoy slices with sides of adult beverages during pizza and cocktails outings, or visit the kitchens of four different restaurants during the original tour. Each outing takes visitors to local favorites across a wide range of styles and cuisines, from the caramelized thick crusts of Pequod's, the stuffed pies of Bacino's, or the Neapolitan-style creations of Spacca Napoli.
Recently, Jonathan Porter has teamed up with local writer and tour guide Jonathan Knotek to launch Chicago Prohibition Tours, a romp through some of Chicago's most famous speakeasies still in existence. During the 3.5-hour bus trip through the roaring '20s and beyond, guests can visit the old one-time haunts of gangsters and crooked pols, such as the Green Door Tavern or the Exchequer Restaurant and Pub, all while sipping popular cocktails from almost 100 years ago and communicating only through silent-film title cards.
Inside Old Temple Chicago’s showroom rests a diverse collection of furnishings and accessories imported from Indonesia and China. Pieces range in appearance from the simple to ornate and from purely functional to ornamental—pagoda-shaped stools built from natural wood sit beside crimson cabinets painted with intricate gold designs. Certain pieces date back as far back as the 16th century, though the shop stocks plenty of 20th-century designs to cater toward those who shudder to be reminded of a world without stay-at-home-dads. Beyond furniture, visitors can find accessories such as Buddha statues, colorful silk pillows, and hand-carved soaps.
A small, contemporary frame shop nestled in the West Loop, CMM Framing strives to offer custom framing solutions for clients ranging from artists and designers to galleries and corporate customers. The shop's framing experts each boast several years of experience and prefer to personally oversee and control the quality of individual projects from beginning to end. With hundreds of frame and mat samples on hand, they cater to individual tastes with custom creations, all the while preserving flat mementos—such as drawings, paintings, or trophies that were accidentally dropped in front of a steamroller—within 99% acid-free archival materials. Customers can browse an online gallery of past products to gain ideas, catching glimpses of eye-popping Peter Max–esque prints expertly framed against dark, glossy wood or understated crème-colored backgrounds.
Northwestern Cutlery's knife-sharpening tools have refined kitchen knives' razor-sharp edges for more than 50 years. Though the shop started as a knife sharpener for local packing houses and delis, it now also offers professional and amateur chefs hard-to-find cooking gadgets from brands such as Le Creuset and OXO.