One Cause At a Time – Archive

An Archive of Chicago Now One Cause at a Time Posts

Archive for October 2018

Meet Your Neighbor: Footprints to Recovery

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(Special thanks to Dr. Caitlin Simpson for her time and insights)

Long before I blogged for Chicago Now, I trained to be a substance abuse counselor. Although I shifted focus in my professional career, I still have a casual interest in the field, especially tobacco prevention. So I took the opportunity to speak with Dr. Caitlin Simpson of Footprints to Recovery, a treatment center with facilities in Arlington Heights, to learn about modern approaches to addiction and recovery…and to indulge my professional and personal curiosity.

Founded in 2013, Footprints to Recovery began with a simple mission: to help a loved one deal with the problems of addiction. However, finding the right treatment facility was difficult, with low access and concerns about the quality of treatment. So Footprints to Recovery was created with a mission to provide good, high quality, progressive, evidence-based treatment for those wishing to cover addition. Although a for-profit entity, Footprints to Recovery regularly scholarships to provide addiction treatment for those who cannot normally afford it.

The overall goal of Footprints to Recovery is simple: provide help to as many people as possible. With addiction issues throughout the state (Chicago data can be found in this downloadable PDF), Footprints to Recovery is a great addition to our currently available resources.

Dr. Caitlin Simpson of Footprints to Recovery

Dr. Caitlin Simpson of Footprints to Recovery

Taking a client-centered approach, Footprints to Recovery ensures that every client receives the highest possible quality of care starting with the initial call. The intake process involves assessing physical and mental health, current stressors, and other factors that can enhance or impede recovery. Footprints to Recovery adopts the philosophy that addiction is a symptom of greater, more underlying issues, and addressing those issues can assist the person in their overall recovery. (Although slightly differing from the traditional disease model of addiction, Footprints to Recovery’s approach integrates a more holistic view of addiction and its impact on daily living).

Part of the client-centered approach that Footprints to Recovery takes includes focusing on the totality of the client’s experience and encompassing their needs. With flexibility in scheduling (dependent on treatment level), clients receive a wide range of services that assist them in developing overall wellness. (This not only includes helping clients manage their emotions. Services for clients at Footprints to Recovery include expressive-based therapies (like cognitive-behavioral therapy and DVT), trauma recovery programs (according to Dr. Simpson, 90% of their clients have experienced trauma in their lifetime) as well as yoga, tai-chi, and nutrition. Aftercare from Footprints to Recovery includes an alumni program (for further support) and other services.

But Footprints to Recovery also believes that addiction has an impact on the family. Not only does Footprints to Recovery have a family day for their clients, but they also sponsor a Smart Recovery Friends and Family Group (open to the community) on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Family members can be affected by a loved one’s alcohol or drug use, but there are various resources throughout the Chicago area, including

Dealing with addiction can be extremely isolating…both for the user and their loved ones. Footprints to Recovery is a well-needed resource that is dealing with a critical concern. They’re a great addition to our local community…and a great neighbor to know.

Have questions or comments? Please leave them below, join the conversation on our Facebook page, or use this contact page to e-mail me directly.

And as always, thanks for reading!


Written by gordondym

October 16, 2018 at 2:19 pm

Meet Your Neighbor: Silvana Favaretto of the Tulle Project

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(Special thanks to Silvana Favaretto for her time and insights)

Part of this blog’s purpose is to highlight Chicago-area “mission-driven businesses” like nonprofits or social enterprise. However, the whole notion of a “mission-driven business” seems…abstract. Every business has a mission: to make a profit. However, what distinguishes a truly “mission-driven business” is a move from a single person to a movement…and my recent conversation with Silvana Favaretto of The Tulle Project demonstrates how one person’s personal development can lead to the growth of a community.

I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Silvana Favaretto as she shared her story, as well as provided background into The Tulle Project.

Imagine one day, you find yourself with the “perfect” life, but you realize you’re bored and feel that you lack a sense of purpose. Silvana Favaretto found herself in that place, and she was aware of the limiting messages that people were telling her. Although she was working on self-reflection and self-development, she realized that she needed to establish her own priorities and focus less on following rules and more on just being present. She knew she was on a unique journey, and she wanted to focus on where that journey would take her. silvana-favaretto-tribune-shot

Remembering the casual freedom and initiative of her childhood, Silvana Favaretto engaged in a unique 100-day experiment: she decided to wear skirts made out of tulle, a fine fabric that resembles netting. Journaling and documenting her experience via social media (like Instagram and Facebook), Silvana found that more women were recognizing aspects of her own self-evolution and began following her journey. As the 100-day project came to a close, she found herself feeling more grounded, more honest, and more centered than she had before…

…and as a result, she founded the Tulle Project. As the website describes it:

The Tulle Project is a movement, a tribe, and a space for females everywhere to express their strength, vulnerability, femininity, and whatever they want! The Tulle Project has taken beautiful, sophisticated skirts and transformed them into a symbol of feminine strength—charging women to express themselves, take ownership of their stories and create the life they’ve always wanted.

Engaging women via social media, events, photo shoots, and other means, The Tulle Project actively works to empower women to develop their own strength. (And yes, The Tulle Project also has a great selection of skirts as well). But in many ways, The Tulle Project is a great example of a mission-driven business.

In speaking with Silvana Favaretto, it was apparent that The Tulle Project’s mission was inherent within its company operations. Empowering women was not an aspect simply added to a current business; Silvana’s journey provided greater emotional resonance to The Tulle Project’s mission. It also became apparent that The Tulle Project’s mission focused on values like honesty, authenticity, and empathy rather than focusing on hitting trends. At a time when women’s issues have greater focus, The Tulle Project’s activities allow women to take ownership of the project, investing as much in themselves as they do in the Project. Although the focus may be on fun and fashion, The Tulle Project provides a safe haven for women to provide each other support, guidance, and understanding on a deeper level.

(Yes, there are other organizations that follow a similar mission, yet The Tulle Project is driven by the unique experience of Silvana Favaretto. In short, it is because of her journey that their mission of female empowerment permeates throughout The Tulle Project’s activities. Goodwill, collaboration, and connection are three of the values that The Tulle Project promotes, even if it falls under the guise of distinctive outerwear).

So what’s next for Silvana Favaretto and The Tulle Project? An upcoming “100 Days of Bold” in which women will be encouraged to explore what it means to be “bold”. Although the current tenor of female empowerment is focused on a different set of issues, the 100 Days of Bold may serve as a necessary conversation for a select group of women. Developing assertiveness, self-reliance, self-esteem and a strong support network are challenging for a woman in isolation; in some ways, The Tulle Project has become a key (if very distinctive) ally in the fight.

And they’re a great neighbor to get to know.

Please feel free to leave your comments below. Please join our conversation via Facebook, and contact me directly if you have questions or wish to have your organization featured on our blog.

And as always, thanks for reading!

Written by gordondym

October 8, 2018 at 11:49 am

Appearance: Reading At Volumes Book Cafe October 11th

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As a published author, I am proud to announce that I will be part of Volumes Book Cafe’s Deep Dish reading series on October 11th.

More details via Facebook.


Written by gordondym

October 3, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Community

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Meet Your Neighbor: Rona Borre of Instant Alliance

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 (Special thanks to Ms. Borre for her time and insight)

Over the past ten years, the Chicago technology scene has grown and the need for qualified candidates has also expanded. During that time, there was a lack of diversity (including women) working in the tech scene. Although there has been great growth in the tech field (through conferences like Tech Inclusion and initiatives like App Camp for Girls), much of that growth is also driven by individuals willing to build professional and personal networks that allow them to leverage resources. One great Chicago-based example is Rona Borre of Instant Alliance.

As the founder and CEO of Instant Alliance, Rona Borre has earned the reputation of being “Chicago Tech Connector”. Under her leadership, Instant Alliance has grown from being a small operation run out of her second bedroom condo into a trusted resource for talent by companies like Walgreen’s, McDonald’s, and Allstate. Known for her strong work ethic, Rona Barre has a passion for human capital and notes her willingness to know why people are successful that informs her work for Instant Alliance. (With its 97% return rate, Instant Alliance boasts an extremely client-centric approach to technology staffing based on Rona Borre’s philosophy).

C Now - Networking 02

As Rona Borre explained to me in a recent conversation, much of her success as a recruiter is due to a passion for professional networking and getting to know individuals. One strength of the Chicago tech scene that Ms. Borre noted was that “(Chicago) people are willing to help”, especially in the tech field. With recent trends encouraging women to pursue careers in data/analytics, digital marketing, and other related tech fields, Rona Borre found herself leveraging and meeting hiring trends through mobilizing her network. Approaching the technology market as a way to educate her on those trends was another key factor in the growth of Instant Alliance.

Another factor which Rona Borre cited was that building and leveraging professional and personal networks allowed her greater exposure to her colleagues and professional clients. Networking allowed Rona Borre to build her profile and attending targeted networking events allowed her to start building and cultivating professional relationships. (One of the things that Ms. Borre cited was the need to cultivate and nurture those relationships; networking is not a “quick fix” but requires consistent follow-up).

But what lessons can job seekers and potential candidates glean from a recruiter? When I asked as part of our conversation, Rona Borre had the following suggestions:

  • Always Follow Up – This is not just important upon first meeting a potential employer, but also important in relationships. Making yourself available for work is one thing, but maintaining a consistent relationship is important (especially in working with recruiters)
  • Networking is Strategic and Targeted – With a plethora of networking events in Chicago, it is often easy to overlook smaller, more targeted events in a given industry where it is more likely to find a potential hire. With many events making claims about total attendee numbers (e.g., “More than 250 people will attend”), navigating smaller events may be easier, less stressful, and more productive.
  • Know Your Target Market – Candidates who move through the hiring process are often better prepared than other candidates; this means that they have done research on their target companies (including those that are interviewing them), have insight into a company’s successes, and also have prepared thoroughly for their interview.

As a freelance digital marketing consultant and copywriter, I often find myself challenged to practice these principles in a consistent manner. But one of the great things about my recent conversation with Rona Borre is that not only do I find these even more relevant than ever…but now I find myself challenged to practice them consistently. I am grateful for the opportunity to talk with Rona Borre of Instant Alliance, and I am grateful for her time and insight.

What do you think? Please feel free to leave your comments below. Please join the conversation via this blog’s Facebook page, and please contact me directly via e-mail if you wish to speak one-on-one.

And as always, thanks for reading!