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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published Aug. 20, 2009                                                         

                                            60 SECONDS

                                           CHRIS BLAKE

 IS CULTURAL ARTS CO-CHAIRWOMAN FOR MONROE’S PTO • MET HER HUSBAND AT U OF I • BELONGS TO A BOOK CLUB WITH OTHER LT ALUMS • ENJOYS DRAWING AND SEWING • HAS A
NEW PUPPY NAMED JIN

 

When Chris Blake moved to Hinsdale 11 years ago, she was looking for ways to get involved in the community. Her next-door neighbor had the answer. “She said, ‘Oh, you have to volunteer with me at the Robert Crown Center,’ ” Blake remembers. She agreed and joined the women’s auxiliary. “And then I realized I went to Robert Crown when I grew up here when it was on Clay Street,” said Blake, who spent her childhood in Western Springs and graduated from LT in 1978. “I just jumped right in, did puppet shows, worked the front desk and met a great group of ladies, I must say.” Eventually the auxiliary membership shrank and the group dissolved. Blake continued to help out at the center and four years ago became a member of its board of directors. “I’ve seen people come and go, board members come and go, but the main purpose is the same,” she said. “The focus is the same. We have always provided education for the kids and that’s what was important. That never changes. As a parent, that is always important to me.” Although its mission has remained the same, Robert Crown has undergone many changes in recent years. In addition to teaching new topics such as bullying and body image, the center has expanded and now has satellite facilities in Chicago and Aurora. In addition to the challenges of managing growth, fund-raising also has been a challenge in the current economy. The board hopes to raise $150,000 through a new campaign, the Healthy Living Circle Challenge. “We’re really trying to recruit people to come on board with that and make a considerable donation and it will be matched.” The board is looking for 50 founding members to donate $1,500 or more a piece, and the Crown family will match those contributions. Blake said she and her husband feel fortunate to be able to help. “We’re just always thankful for what we have,” she said. Her grandparents were “hardworking Hinsdaleans” who owned the R and R Coffee Shop in town and her father also earned a modest living as a teacher, she said. Blake designed clothes for The Children’s Place and Oshkosh before opening her own children’s store, Chris’ Circus, when she lived in Wisconsin. When she, husband Terry and 6-year-old son William moved to Hinsdale, her focus shifted to growing their family. Eventually the couple adopted two girls from China, first Jackie, who’s now 8, and Becky, who is 6. Blake encourages her children to think philanthropically. The girls have donated money from lemonade stands to the Hinsdale Humane Society and Jackie asked the guests at her birthday party to bring food for the Hinsdale Community Service food pantry. “To me, that is where it begins — when kids start learning the lesson of helping others and genuine care and concern.”

— by Pamela Lannom

       Making a Difference is a yearlong partnership between The Hinsdalean
and the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, which works
to teach and motivate youth to lead healthy, happy and safe lives.

 

 

 

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