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University of Chicago Laboratory Schools 2nd Graders Collect 500 New Books, Games, Puzzles & Purchase 24 Hair Driers for Military Family Children at Hines 'Home Away from Home'

Blue Star Mothers Greater Chicago IL#3 Chapter spearheaded campaign to assist Friends of Fisher House – Illinois’ mission to help support Hines VA Fisher House

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President of Blue Star Mothers Greater Chicago IL #3 Chapter Joyce Carrasco (left) helped spearhead the University of Chicago Lab School campaign. She also garnered substantisl Blue Star Mothers' member donations. Here, Carrasco and fellow member Judy Stumpf present 34 handmade Prayer Shawls plus hand-crocheted baby crib blankets to Hines VA Fisher House.

Twenty-three University of Chicago Laboratory School 2nd graders gave 500 new books, games and puzzles to children of military family guests to enjoy at the "home away from home." They also presented $800 for 24 hair driers. Shown with youngsters are Joyce Carrsaco (Inset), 2nd grade teacher Nicole Power (back row left) and assistant, Kandyce St. Clair.

Twenty-three 2nd graders from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools presented 500 new books, games and puzzles to Hines VA Fisher House after a two-month campaign. The Hines VA Fisher House provides free lodging to veterans and military families facing medical crises beginning March 1, 2010.

“We are so excited to be coming and to tour the Fisher House,” says 2nd grade teacher Nicole Power. “The students are very invested in this project which is a wonderful life-lesson in giving. Each child came off the bus carrying books, games or puzzles…these are 23 youngsters who really get that this is about giving to the military family children. I’m so proud of them.

“We have placed book plates in the books expressing thanks from our school family to those who use the Hines VA Fisher House for their sacrifice and service,” Power concludes.

The book, game and puzzle drive was spearheaded by former University of Chicago Lab School staffer Shelia Joyce Carrasco, President of the Greater Chicago IL#3 Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America.

According to Betty Stamatis, President of Friends of Fisher House – Illinois (FOFH-IL), local support non-profit, “It was gratifying to receive Ms. Carrasco’s offer of assistance for our mission to support Hines VA Fisher House. We discussed the Fisher House needs and the plan for a school-wide book drive was developed. FOFH-IL truly appreciates all the networking and activity devoted to accumulating 500 books, games and puzzles plus purchasing 24 hair driers.

“Also, Mrs. Carrasco and Blue Star Mothers members have donated many Gift Registry Housewarming accessories for the Fisher House. Their special donation of 24 Prayer Shawls to comfort family members during their long bedside vigils supporting their wounded or ailing veterans is especially meaningful.

FOFH-Il invites more schools, veterans organizations, corporations, small businesses and individuals interested in serving on our Board, volunteering or donating to support of Hines VA Fisher House to visit www.fofhil.org for full information, e-mail assistance@fofhil.org or telephone FOFH-IL at 847-254-2912.

Giving Tree These 24 3rd-Grade Students at University of Chicago Laboratory School Perform Chores to Raise Funds for Purchase of $166-Grocery Card for Military Family Guests at Hines VA Fisher House Teacher Deloris Beaton says, “I’m so proud of my students. They did chores at home to earn money which they hanged on this Giving Tree. They have learned an invaluable life-long lesson in giving to others. We look forward to visiting the Fisher House and seeing first-hand how it supports our military families.

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Military Families Express Heartfelt Appreciation

Fisher House is a Godsend. So many of us want to be with our family members but can’t always afford it with the cost of travel, lodging and food. Thanks to Fisher House we can!


What a blessing! The Fisher House has relieved me of so much stress. Don’t know what I would have done.


This is such a great opportunity for families of veterans affected by war and illness. It warms my heart to see the government, community, families and those who serve out nation working together for the greater good.


The place is more than just a place to sleep. It’s just like your second home.


My grandmother and I stayed at the Fisher House to keep my father company during his long treatment/recovery… If not for this home, my father would have been a sad and lonely man.


…The Fisher House provides peace of mind for the patient as well as their family…the manager and staff are a true blessing…