Mark Your Calendars- Our Annual Night of Bright Futures Gala is March 2, 2013

Posted December 2012

This year, Onward House will celebrate 120 years of service and our seventh annual Night of Bright Futures Gala at Venue One at 1044 W. Randolph in Chicago from 7:30-11:30 pm.

As always, the evening will include friendly faces, heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks, dancing, live and silent auction and much more!

For more information or to purchase tickets for $125, visit or

All proceeds benefit the people served by Onward Neighborhood House.


Onward’s Fall 2012 Newsletter is Here!

Posted November 2012

Want to know what’s been going on at Onward House? Make sure to read our latest newsletter to get updates about our expanding adult education program, our success teaching students with disabilities, details on Capital Campaign donors and more! If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive newsletters in the future, please contact Emilie Bowman.

We are also in need of donations to support the urgent needs of the community during the holiday season. We are accepting non-perishable food to fill our pantry as well as new toys to distribute to students. If you would like more information on how to be involved, contact Emilie at the email listed above.


Onward hosts informational Deferred Action Panel

Posted November 2012

Join Onward House and Latinos Progresando on November 14 at 6pm for an informational panel discussion on how the presidential election affects you in regards to deferred action.



BBYO youth IMPACT Onward House

Posted August 2012

Onward House was excited to host a group of volunteers from BBYO, Inc., a national Jewish youth organization. Since 1944, BBYO has provided Jewish teens the chance to connect with each other to make a difference on the local and national level.

BBYO partnered with Onward House and three other local organizations for their summer program, IMPACT: Chicago. This experience was an opportunity for teens to learn about local nonprofit projects in order to demonstrate the importance of community involvement and service.

Onward House welcomed 11 youth and one staff volunteer who came from an array of backgrounds and places such as Texas, California and the United Kingdom. After learning about the history and programs of Onward, they enthusiastically got to work. Volunteers were able to immerse themselves in the agency and lead educational activities in the classroom, serve clients in the food pantry, work in administrative offices, clean and organize classrooms as well as supervise on field trips.

Both Onward students and staff and BBYO volunteers enjoyed their time spent at Onward. Talia, one volunteer said, “Being able to sit in on the classes and working with the kids was amazing. I felt as if I was making an impact on their lives and making connections with all of the kids.” Another volunteer noted, “It’s obvious that the kids are so happy to be here and learn.”

To read more about the youth’s learning experience in Chicago, visit their blog.

We appreciate the hard work of the BBYO volunteers. The extra hands are always helpful. Onward House has many one time and ongoing volunteer opportunities. If you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer, please contact Emilie Bowman at


16 parents graduate from Onward's first Abriendo Puertas training program

Posted June 2012

Onward House recently wrapped up Abriendo Puertas, or Opening Doors, the nation's first evidence-based parent leadership and advocacy training program and is supported by The National Head Start Association. The 10-week parent training program from the Latino Policy Forum that revolves around topics of education, health and the social-emotional well being of Latino children under age 5. Abriendo Puertas aims to improve the outcomes of Latino children by building the capacity and confidence of parents to be strong advocates in the lives of their children.

Jessica Ochoa, an Onward Family Support Worker and one of the program's facilitators, was enthusiastic about Onward's participation in the program. "In the end I think everyone gained a lot of knowledge that they have started to apply with their children, family and community."

The program's curriculum incorporates Latino values, concerns, and culture in the content and is based on the idea that parents are a child's first teachers and their home is the first school. Each week a different topic was discussed such as parental engagement and leadership, children's development, family health and learning about valuable community resources.

Jessica says that she received positive feedback from the parents in the program. The parents said that they learned a lot and the program helped open their eyes to things that they could and should be doing as parents to positively impact their children's lives and futures. Judith Magaña, a parent participant, thought the program was very rewarding. "I learned a lot about nutrition, child development, knowledge according to different ages, and the rights of children in their schools." Onward House hopes to offer the program again in the future and open it up to parents of other cultures.

Want to know what else is going on at Onward House? Make sure to read Onward House's Spring/Summer 2012 Newsletter and learn about Onward's ongoing impact in the Belmont Cragin community, the Nuestro Futuro program and our West Town site manager. If you would like to receive our newsletter in the future, please email Emilie Bowman at to be added to our mailing list.


Onward raises $52,000 at annual event

Posted March 2012

We are happy to announce that our 6th annual Night of Bright Futures gala raised over $52,000. Thank you to everyone who attended in support of Onward’s mission and programs. Thank you to members of our auxiliary board, especially Carolyn Connolly, Tom Campbell, Jess Craigie, Shalini Hanoman, Lindsey Pierce, and Johnny Rivera, for their hard work planning a great event. We are also grateful for the support of our sponsors.

We would also like to thank Adam Yencho for being our emcee for the second year in a row, TVK Orchestra for providing musical entertainment, T. Jones Creative for donating the program and invitation designs and to the River East Art Center for having us.

Photo by Percy Ollie of Ollie Photography, Inc.

To view and purchase photos of the event by Percy Ollie of Ollie Photography, Inc. click here.


Onward House Works to Spread Cheer this Holiday Season

Posted January 2012

The Holidays seemed to fly by this year, but not before Onward House got a chance to celebrate the season with parties, gifts and friends.
The Belmont Cragin and West Town sites held their annual holiday parties for students and their families. Party goers enjoyed pizza and cookies as well as creating festive arts and crafts. Onward also received a surprise visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus who distributed goodie bags to all the students. In addition to these small gifts, 421 children from our center, partnership, home based and food pantry programs received presents thanks to our generous donors. The 11 members of our senior program and 17 entire families received gifts as well.

Onward was very pleased to partner with Letters to Santa for the first time this year. Letters to Santa is a 24 hour benefit filled with nonstop music and improv performances. All proceeds from admission, donations and an auction are used to provide money and gifts for needy families in Chicago. Heather Whinna, the event's coordinator, collected holiday letters from Onward House's neediest families and used the $97,000 from the event to give over $6,000 in cash and gifts to each of the 14 families selected that she distributed in person on Christmas Day.
We are so glad that we were able to celebrate the holidays and bring cheer to those who Onward serves.

Thank you to all of our friends who donated gifts and time to make this year’s holiday special: First Congregational UCC of Glen Ellyn, Edgebrook Community Church in Chicago, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Glenview Community Church, Transparent Container, WDRV The Drive, Heather Whinna through the Letters to Santa program, Second City, Onward’s Auxiliary Board and many individual donors.


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Our Mission

The mission of Onward Neighborhood House is to empower families and individuals in need to achieve their full potential in a community-based setting through participant-driven educational, recreational and social service programs.

Onward House Locations

Administrative Offices
5413 W Diversey Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639

Belmont Cragin
5423 W. Diversey Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639

Ph: 773.622.3215
Fax: 773.622.4074

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