Joan Hadac

Joan Hadac

If you’re young, grab the baton

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By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • joan.hadac@gmail.com

If you’re a young adult in Clearing or Garfield Ridge—or even a middle-aged man or woman—it’s easy to look at the senior citizens leading our local civic leagues or neighborhood watches and assume it’s always been that way.

But you’d be mistaken.

Most of the elderly or near-elderly people leading our neighborhood groups were every bit as young as you when they decided to get involved.

joanhadac

Joan Hadac

  • Marie Zilka, 87, of the Clearing Civic League, was a young mom in the 1960s when her husband, Richard, was asked to join the relatively new CCL. The Zilkas joined and got active. Dick Zilka eventually became the group’s longtime president—and an effective one, I hasten to add–only stepping down years later when his health started to falter. Marie has been there all along, serving quietly and effectively to make the neighborhood better.
  • Mary Shilney is a longtime member of the Clearing Night Force, as was her husband, the late Charles “Butch” Shilney. But they were young homeowners when they got active in the community, back in the 1970s. Today, Mary remains active in the CNF, as well as the Clearing Civic League and other groups.
  • Anita Cummings moved to Clearing in 1967 and as a young mom started volunteering with St. Rene Goupil School—the beginning of more than 50 years’ worth of service in so many ways even Anita herself struggles to recall them all. She is best known as a founder and longtime leader of the United Business Association of Midway.
  • Al Cacciottolo, 59, is a founder of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch who was in his 40s when he got active in crime prevention, starting with just two other people to launch the GRNW and build it into Chicago’s largest and most effective civilian-led, neighborhood crime-fighting organization. But he started volunteering for work in the community when he was just a kid, and through the years, he’s done things like found an annual charity coat drive that runs to this day, and so many more good things than I don’t even know about.

What do all four of these people have in common? They are all aging, and they’d all love to pass the baton to younger folks: men and women who are just as young as they were when they got active, all those years ago.

So how about it, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings? Important groups in Clearing and Garfield Ridge need you, now. Will you step forward and grab the baton that’s being waved in your direction?

You don’t have to be a Marie Zilka, a Mary Shilney, an Anita Cummings or an Al Cacciottolo.

You just have to be yourself. Start small. Volunteer for just one thing, and take it from there.

It’s your call. It’s your neighborhood. Will you answer the call?

Reach out to me via email, and I’ll show you exactly how to get involved.

Mark your calendars

  • If you live in CPD Beat 812 (Clearing west of Central Avenue), your monthly CAPS meeting is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10 at the Clearing Branch Library, 6423 W. 63rd Place. This meeting also serves as a gathering of the Clearing Night Force, a group everyone in Clearing should join and get active with.
  • If you live in CPD Beat 811 (Garfield Ridge west of Central Avenue), you are invited to the next meeting of the Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16 at Valley Forge Park, 7001 W. 59th St. This meeting will also serve as the monthly CAPS meeting for the beat. As always, this is a good opportunity to make all-important connections with like-minded neighbors to fight crime and build a safer community.
  • The Garfield Ridge Branch Library’s Adult Book Club members will be discussing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at the library, 6348 S. Archer.

This grabbed my attention because I had to read this book in late high school or early college. As with any “have to” assignment, I believe it colored my vision on what the book truly offered.

I haven’t reread it, so maybe it’s time? I’m sure I would see things now I didn’t then. I think I would discover why it is a “must read.”

It features Hester Prynne, who is condemned to wearing the scarlet letter “A” for adultery and is ostracized for having an affair, having an out-of-wedlock daughter and refusing to name the father. The men in her life are not exactly hero material.

If you want to delve back into Puritan New England, try this book on for size. Every adult is invited to participate in the discussion. For more information, call (312) 747-6094.

  • Speaking of the Garfield Ridge Branch, I understand the library has a monthly Spanish-language book club that welcomes new members.

The club’s next meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 Kristin Hannah’s Cuatro Vientos will be discussed. Even if you have not read the book, you are still welcome to join the group and make new friends. For details, call (312) 747-6094. Thank you to Children’s Library Associate Patti Tyznik for sharing this information.

  • I have been contacted by a representative of Resurrection UMC Outreach with news of a back-to-school bookbag and school supplies giveaway set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20 on the lawn at the church, 5717 W. 63rd Place. Parents must accompany children.

That’s all for this week. Please stay in touch with me, and I’ll continue to relay your news to a wide audience, with a smile.

1 Comment

  1. Eileen Belmonte on August 24, 2022 at 3:34 pm

    I’ve lived in Garfield ridge for over 45 years and have enjoyed receiving the weekly Clear Ridge Reporter “yellow paper” delivered free to my house. July 6th was the last one I received. I did see an early August edition at my neighborhood hair salon so I knew it was still around. I live on the 5700 block of Neenah avenue. Can you tell me if the paper will no longer be delivered to our homes? I see a version online but not the PDF that I occasionally used to look up & I also see one can subscribe to home delivery for an annual fee. I prefer the free printed version if it’s still available. Thanks for all your interesting columns.



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