In 1979, Stephanie Weber’s mother, Ellen, took her own life. Stephanie, 31 years old and a mother of four then, according to the Chicago Tribune, was encouraged at the time to find meaningful distraction—enroll in an art-history class or join the Red Cross. But Weber’s grief drove her instead to help others. Three years later, she and seven others founded Survivors of Suicide, a group dedicated to consoling families effected by suicide, and in 1998 founded Suicide Prevention Services of America (SPS).
Now a lauded grief counselor and member of the American Association of Suicidology's board of directors, Stephanie steers SPS's services toward the PIP trifecta: prevention, intervention, and postvention. Speaking in her Chicago Tribune interview, Weber said that engagement is critical in preventing suicide, because “anyone who's suicidal has a sense of relief that someone would take them seriously and let them talk about their pain.” To this end, SPS offers a range of counseling services including over-the-phone support with paraprofessionals, in-person depression screening and counseling, and support groups for people who have attempted suicide and who have lost loved ones. SPS also places professionals in several local high schools, and its Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training workshops teach people the signs for potential suicide and instruct them in how to help.
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If he chose to display all his awards in one place, photographer Michael Barton would need just about all the wall space of his showroom at Indigo Photographic. As it is, Michael opts to let his work do the talking and rest silently on the laurels of several Kodak Gallery and Fujifilm Masterpiece awards. Armed with master's degrees in photography and electronic imaging, Michael brings his keen eye and extensive training to bear on stirring solo portraits of children and adults as well as tasteful and edgy boudoir images. He also transmutes images of flowers and landscapes into dreamy, color-soaked compositions. Michael’s camera and imagination also have captured the lithe, balletic movements of a wild garlic plant, sans its traditional tutu made of Miracle-Gro wrappers.
Green Home Care sends accredited energy auditors to homes to assess energy costs and inspect fixtures such as windows, doors, and appliances. To decrease these costs, they offer services such as insulation and window-film installation, roofing, remodeling, and mold abatement. They also offer handyman services that emphasize an eco-friendly twist.
Located on the shores of the Fox River, Fox Paintball has numerous fields suited for chromatic combat, along with a fully stocked pro shop. The Shipwreck field is comprised of a wooded area marked with ancient-styled barriers?ideal for both close exchanges and long shots?and is inhabited by a druid who officiates each match. The new Ninja Arena puts players among wrecked cars, a trench, sandbag bunkers, and a makeshift "power plant" building. Bunkers and two-story structures dot the other woods fields, and geometric inflatables provide protection from pigment projectiles and low-flying pigeons on the regulation XBall! field. Offering a respite between operations, the pro shop and concessions booth are stocked with eats, drinks, markers, and equipment by makers such as Empire, Tippmann, and Kingman. The park plays host to numerous tournaments and scenario games throughout the year.
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In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their children's development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.