The Kiwanis Club of Forest Park and 209 Together are partnering to raise $6,000 for hard-working, college-bound students of Proviso Township District 209 High Schools through “Great Chefs Feeding College Dreams,” a fundraiser that will be held at 7 p.m. on June 28 on the rooftop of the Urban Pioneer Group, 7503 Madison St. 

Proceeds from the fundraiser, the tickets for which are $50, will go toward $1,000 scholarships to students Rickia Zollicoffer and Raneen El-Barbarawi, of Proviso East; Annalyse Le Faire and Sonali Rajput, of Proviso West; and Trevor Moore and Omolabake Oyetayo, of Proviso Math and Science Academy. Scholarship winners had to submit essays, academic transcripts and letters of reference to be considered for the “Overcoming Adversity” and “Persistence Pays” scholarship categories.   

“I think a lot of the review committee has seen themselves in the applications and essays we read,” said Michelle Woehrle, a volunteer organizer. “We know that these kids are heading in the right direction, even if some have had a bumpy start. And that a nudge and hand up from their community will give them the encouragement they need to keep going.”

Scholarship winners have previously attended colleges across Illinois and the country, including Triton College, Northwestern University, Cornell University and more, according to a press release. Half the former winners are the first person in their family to attend college, a quarter have experienced homelessness during their time in school and all have maintained nearly an ‘A’ grade point average. All plan to use their education to give back to the world in some way. 

“If the fundraiser goes well, we will be able to fund more students and smaller renewal amounts for previous winners,” said Ken Snyder, a member of 209 Together. This year the group also plans on making an additional, $500 scholarship available to previous year’s recipients. 

This is the third year that the groups have awarded scholarships to Proviso students—raising a total of $12,000 previously—and this will be the first scholarship fundraiser 209 Together has played host. 

Attendees will enjoy food prepared by the “great chefs” from Gaetano’s Restaurant, the Heritage, New Rebozo, Zesty Catering, Blue Max and Azucar Rococo Cake Studios. Haymarket Pub & Brewery, 90+ Cellars and Famous Liquors will donate wine and beer. Village Free Press Editor-In-Chief Michael Romain, who is also a staff reporter for the Forest Park Review’s parent company, will emcee the event.

Donations to the scholarship fundraiser should made to the nonprofit Kiwanis Club of Forest Park Foundation so they can be tax exempt. Donations should be issued to the Foundation, mailed to PO Box 514, Forest Park, IL 60130 and designated for the Scholarship Initiative.