Welcome to Random Acts of Flowers’ brand new quarterly e-newsletter! We are excited to share regular updates so that you can see how your support brings hope, healing, and changes lives throughout Chicagoland one bouquet at a time.
But, don't worry! We aren't going to clog up your inbox! We hope that you will stay subscribed so that you can see the power of flowers firsthand!
From our volunteers to our floral donors to our healthcare partners to our financial supporters, we are a family of people dedicated to serving people every day. Thank you for being a channel of hope and encouragement.
Andrea, Sydney, Larsen, and the whole RAF Team
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The weekend before Mother's Day, excited groups of mostly (but not exclusively) moms and daughters gathered at the RAF Chicago workshop for our SOLD OUT Mums and Mimosas - flower arranging brunch where participants created arrangements to celebrate the women in their lives and to provide hope and healing to mothers in healthcare facilities in our community!
Our team is hard at work continuing to celebrate mothers throughout the month with the influx of post-Mother’s Day floral donations. It costs RAF just $5.40 to serve one person - for handling, transportation and general service management. So for every $25 you choose to give now, we’ll deliver an additional four arrangements. We’d be deeply grateful if you’d consider a gift now.
THE VALUE OF DELIVERING HOPE
Scooter Potamites is a job coach at Evanston Township High School’s Transition House, a program whose goal is to “facilitate the independent functioning and self determination of young adults ages 18-22 with disabilities.” Since the fall of 2016, "Miss. P" has jumped on and off the bus three times a week with a fantastic group young adults who volunteer their time to support RAF’s workshop.
“I work with students who have disabilities and we are always looking for partners where students can learn job skills at the same time as contributing to the organization. RAF has been a great fit!” - Miss P.
In a fun, inclusive, and engaging environment, the students complete a variety of tasks to maintain the workshop while also gaining social, emotional, communication, vocational, and other invaluable skills. A total win-win!
She and her students love the mission of delivering hope, and one of the things she especially appreciates is that “the atmosphere at RAF is so positive and upbeat. The students who are volunteering are learning important soft skills as well feeling valued for their work.”
And, RAF’s mission has touched Scooter’s personal life, as well. “While visiting with my grandmother in a rehabilitation facility, she was surprised by a gift of flowers. I was touched when I saw they were from RAF. To me it represented a full circle of giving.”
What do her students have to say?
"I think it is really nice. When people are sick they need someone to look out for them and when they get flowers they won't be lonely and they can feel better." - Ignacio R.
"It's fun. It's cool to give flowers away to people who don't get them. It's important to make people happy." - Angie A.
RAF is also thankful to four additional weekly groups from Have Dreams and Keshet’s GADOL for all of their help composting flowers, breaking down floral boxes, processing vases, stacking buckets, and restocking supplies (and to Jason, of course, our delivery card “Pick Manager”). We are indebted to their hard work!
JOY FROM START TO FINISH
Peter Valessares, Executive Director of The Hellenic Foundation, plays an important role as an RAF Chicago supporter. The Foundation discovered RAF through one of our healthcare partners, the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre in Wheeling. “We were very impressed by the wonderful reviews provided by the GARCC staff of RAF's efforts." So impressed, in fact, that RAF received one of The Foundation’s generous grants to support deliveries to members of Chicago’s Greek Community.
And, he knows that the joy of delivering hope goes both ways. He see the enjoyment experienced by the volunteers and visitors who participate at the workshop and he see the joyful response of the recipients who get the arrangements.
One of Peter’s favorite RAF Chicago memories is when volunteers from the Lyric Opera Orchestra helped plant amaryllis bulbs and perform carols at Hollywood House, a 200 room, senior residential facility, during the holidays. “The staff and residents were overwhelmed by the performance and activities. The music performance was not part of the grant application, but RAF took advantage of an opportunity to provide a wonderful experience to a group of individuals who truly appreciated the moment.”
Random Acts of Flowers Chicago is grateful for their partnership and the opportunity to serve this cherished community, as well as connect our Greek-speaking volunteers with Greek-speaking recipients!
HOPE BLOSSOMS FOR CHICAGO SCHOOLCHILDREN
On May 16, RAF staff and four volunteers provided five, 45-minute Hope Blossoms lessons to 100 nine-year-olds at Forrestal Elementary School! Each student made two bouquets. The first bouquet had to be given away to a special friend or family member (with RAF providing a worksheet for the students to complete that asked about who the student was delivering their flowers to and why). The second bouquet was delivered to children at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Chicago.
Brittany Fritz, school social worker from Forrestal, reported "When our students were arranging flowers they each thought of someone they wanted to give their arrangement to and could visualize how happy they would be. Empathy is an important lesson in our social/emotional development and Random Acts of Flowers put that lesson into action. I was grateful that our third graders could be a part of that process."
The $50 ticket price includes container, flowers, and instruction on floral arranging.
A professional florist will instruct participants in a hands-on demonstration of basic floral design. Each attendee will produce a floral arrangement they will take with them and a second arrangement that will be delivered to an ill or elderly member of our community, adding enrichment to RAF’s mission of delivering hope and kindness.
Coffee, water, and light appetizers will be provided. BYOB for those 21 and over.
Looking for a fun way to give back while also enjoying drinks, hors d’oeuvres and the healing power of flowers with friends, family, or colleagues? Similar to BYOB art classes, RAF opens up the workshop to host bridal showers, birthday parties, networking, and other private events.
Each person takes one arrangement home and any additional arrangements will be delivered to residents in a local nursing home. No previous floral experience is necessary and all creativity levels are welcome!
Megan & Francis Beidler
John & Vicki Bitner
Butler Family Foundation
Crown Family Philanthropies
Kent & Liz Dauten
Deerpath Garden Club of Lake Forest
The Grainger Foundation
Highland Park Community Foundation
Larsen & Adrian Jay
Cheryl & Mark Kaplan
Keller Family Foundation
King Family Foundation
Ronald & Lisa Lavin, JBS Foundation
Legacy Healthcare Financial Services
Lise & Mark Lutz
M. Block and Sons, Inc.
Brooke & Duncan MacLean
Nature's Perspective Landscaping
Gordon & Carole Segal
Anna & Dr. Mark Siegler