Things that turn 150 years old in 2019:
- The Periodic Table
- Professional baseball
We happen to think UCAN is as innovative and original as our 150 year-old compatriots. But how does one innovatively celebrate such a milestone?
We kicked off our celebrations exactly 150 days prior to our birthday with the launch of a microsite solely dedicated to our extensive history. In 1869 we were called the “Uhlich Evangelical Orphan Asylum” but as the years passed, we thought UCAN had a better ring to it. Along with the microsite, we rolled out “UCAN’s 150 Facts” campaign where we posted a fact about UCAN’s history on social media every day until our birthday on March 29. You can check out a collection of them here.
As fun as it is to highlight UCAN’s rich history, we also wanted to honor the dedicated employees who continually help move UCAN into the future. Each month, our President/CEO Zack Schrantz presents a select, small group of employees with the 150th Anniversary President’s Coin to recognize the recipient’s spirit, service and teamwork they demonstrate to support UCAN’s pursuit of our vision and mission.
We also unveiled our new UCAN 150th anniversary logo along with lamp post banners lining the street outside of our North Lawndale campus and our office on Western Avenue. Coincidentally (or not), the North Lawndale community is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
March was a particularly busy month. Our staff members showed their silly side by dressing up for a different theme like Superhero day and Hippie day. The week culminated with our annual Employee Banquet (this year we celebrated in Roaring ‘20s style!).
For our 150th birthday on March 29, we started the day with a party featuring delicious cupcakes, games, music, and perhaps most importantly, celebrating one another and the work we collectively carry out to support the youth, families and communities we serve.
The celebrations did not stop there for later that night, we reached the crescendo of months of work and preparation: the 150th Anniversary Celebration held at the Chicago History Museum. We brought old photos and items, like our accounts ledger from 1890, for guests to peak through, along with a historical yearbook for guests to sign. Everyone was treated to drinks, food and even a performance by the founders of UCAN Voices: Fred Long, Jason Daniels, and Vic Spencer. While the evening centered on the history of UCAN, our guests understood that we were also celebrating the future.
And we have more to come!
We are looking forward to the expansion of our Healing Garden, Petria’s Place, located on our Drost Harding Campus in North Lawndale near our youth home. We are installing a brick path that you can also support! To purchase a brick or for more information, click here.
We are looking forward to an event-filled six months and hope you will join us at our 20th annual Youth Leadership Awards on June 6, help us celebrate the opening of Petria’s Place, contribute to a symposium focused on women’s influence in UCAN’s history, and kick back with us at our youth-centric Peace Fest on June 26.
By Carly Hanson