On October 3, more than 30 Edelman employees from Edelman’s U.S. Executive Leadership Team and our Global Client Relationship Managers visited the Off the Street Club (OTSC) for a pumpkin decorating party and tour of its kid-friendly complex in Chicago’s West Garfield Park. OTSC, Chicago’s oldest boys and girls club, gives 4- to 18-year-old kids a safe and friendly place to do their homework, play games, be creative and build self-esteem.
After a warm welcome and meeting OTSC’s tie-wearing dog, the kids and Edelman team members partnered up to create Jack-O-Lanterns. These elaborate renditions of vampires, rock stars and witches decorated the halls of the OTSC building through Halloween.
Rather than getting involved in gangs, drugs and other activities that lure many West Side youth, the OTSC kids spend their time in a positive environment playing sports, reading, singing and acting. Mark Hass, Edelman U.S. president & CEO, said, “The OTSC is really an amazing place, a testament to the impact people can have on the lives of others around them.”
OTSC executive director, Ralph Campagna grew up in the neighborhood, made his way out with the help of the Club, and then returned to become its executive director. He likes to say: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything;” appropriate advice for the at-risk kids who are club members.
During the visit, Nancy Ruscheinski, Edelman’s chief innovation officer and OTSC board member, presented the club with a $2,500 donation made on behalf of Edelman’s U.S. Executive Leadership Team and the Global Client Relationship Management program. “The work Ralph and his staff do every day makes a real difference in these kids’ lives,” said Julianna Richter, president of Global Client Management. “The OTSC kids are creative, inquisitive and fun. The visit was truly inspiring and made us proud to be involved with the Club.”
Edelman Chicago has an ongoing relationship with the Club and participates in events and fundraising activities throughout the year – playing a small part in making sure the Club is around to service these inspiring kids for years to come.
Michelle Schwadron is the global knowledge manager for Global Client Management and an account supervisor in the Corporate & Public Affairs Practice in New York.