Charity & Grassroots in Highland Park

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The soft glow of 30,919 carved pumpkins lit up the night sky on Saturday, October 22, 2011—the night the town of Highwood set the Guinness world record for most jack-o’-lanterns lit in one location. And this year should be no different. The three-day Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival, which has gained coverage from The Rosie Show and Trib Local, invites guests from all over the country to contribute to its wall of carved pumpkins, an experience that will be captured by HGTV’s “Pumpkin Wars”.

Patrons can decorate prescooped pumpkins at the designated carving stations (or bring their own precarved candidate) as they enjoy a weekend of live music on multiple stages, treats from local vendors, a gourmet farmers’ market on Saturday, hayrides, and a New Orleans–inspired night parade. Participants can even test out their newly carved pumpkin sneakers during the festival’s 5K run, which raises funds and awareness for the Leukemia Research Foundation. The festival culminates with the lighting of the wall of jack-o’-lanterns at 7 p.m. on Saturday, and, when all is said and done, pumpkins won’t be left in the dark as their owners are encouraged to take their record-breaking masterpieces home with them.

1866 Sheridan Rd
Highland Park,
IL
US

Established: 2007

Reservations/Appointments: Required

Staff Size: 11?25 people

Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours

Brands Used: Age-appropriate and quality equipment is provided.

Pro Tip: Be ready for your camper to come home and ask you to play hoops or do pushups together.

Parking: Parking lot

Recommended Age Group: Girls age 4-14

Q&A with Sara Hokin, Director of Operations

Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?

Our incentive programs emphasize and reward effort, teamwork, heart, etc. We have special relationships with local, collegiate, and professional women's teams that offer our camps the opportunity for in-camp clinics and professional sports outings.

As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?

Our staff training is pretty intense, to the extent that we role play worst-case scenarios. We practice adjusting to different circumstances, including quick transitions from outside to inside, should we encounter extreme weather.

What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?

Our impact both on the fields and courts and off?our program emphasizes growth as an athlete as [much as] it does growth as a person.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?

We are proud of the relationships we develop and maintain through the years with our camp families. Throughout these years, we have worked hard to create a customized teaching technique and unique understanding of how young girls best learn and thrive. The results are a program and environment that effectively foster their love for sports and fitness to last a lifetime. This is our passion. This is our mission.

3000 Dundee Road, Suite 210
Northbrook,
IL
US

Established: 1987

Staff Size: 2?10 people

Parking: Parking lot

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Recommended Age Group: All Ages

Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Annual Red Ribbon Race 5K

400 E Illinois Rd.
Lake Forest,
IL
US

CHERUBS has one goal: to help families affected by congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). By researching and raising awareness for this rare birth defect, CHERUBS's volunteers, as well as its board of CDH survivors, parents, grandparents, doctors, and nurses, help search for its cause, prevention, and best treatments while supporting families dealing with CDH. Ultimately, the organization strives to provide the most accurate, timely information possible for parents so they can make educated decisions for their babies. The CHERUBS H.O.P.E. (Helping Other Parents Expecting) tote-bag program, meanwhile, collects donated care items along with information for those who are expecting babies with CDH or who already have a hospitalized infant. In 2012, CHERUBS distributed more than 300 such totes to its members, which include more than 4,000 families in all 50 states and more than 60 countries.

See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.

1135 Hawthorne Court
Wheeling,
IL
US

Established: 1959

Staff Size: 15+ people

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Parking: Street parking

Most Popular Attraction/Offering: The ice rink

Recommended Age Group: All ages

Q&A with the Marketing Manager

What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?

Watts is the North Shore?s premier outdoor refrigerated ice rink open from late November through early March. During the off-season, a variety of recreation programs are held in the center?s two program rooms and outside at Watts Park. Each day, Glencoe Park District staffers serve residents of all ages at Watts Center, many of whom have been enjoying facility for generations.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?

Long before Watts Center was constructed and the outdoor artificial ice rinks were installed, Glencoe residents still enjoyed outdoor ice skating during the winter months. In the 1950s and 1960s, the park district flooded a natural ice rink in the park near Central School at Park and Greenwood. Today, the professional-grade refrigerated rinks at Watts Center offer a smooth skating surface during the winter months.

999 Green Bay Rd
Glencoe,
IL
US

The Kindness Connection works with local charities to define service projects that meet their needs. We then design the projects, procure the required materials, and organize schools, groups and/or individuals to complete the projects.

119 Central Park Avenue
Wilmette,
IL
US

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