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Comings & Goings: Repair Café held at Lyons Township 

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By Bob Bong

Five La Grange teenagers have opened a new venture inside Lyons Township Hall in Countryside that aims to cut down on the number of household appliances and other items that people mostly throw out when they break.

The Repair Café will be held in the township community room, 6404 Joliet Road in Countryside.

The first one took place on Saturday, October 21. A second one is set for Saturday, November 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are being sought to work at the Repair Café.

The Repair Café, a world-renowned event, creates a space for members of the surrounding community to come together to learn how to fix broken or worn-out items that would otherwise be discarded. The teens are tasked with recruiting volunteers and publicizing the event, gathering supplies for the event’s different stations, and structuring the overall event.

All of the teens are part of the township Clerk’s Office Summer Scholars Program, for which young people ages 15-24 are able to apply.

Caroline Workman graduated from Nazareth in 2022 and is currently attending the University of Chicago. Gabi Sanchez and Sophie Imielski are rising seniors at Lyons Township, and Max Itkowitz and Angelica Lazich are rising juniors at Lyons Township.

Sustainability is clearly important to these teens, as at the Repair Café, items that have easily fixable issues can be repaired, helping to reduce waste and carbon emissions.

Instead of simply discarding items, Lazich stated, “People are able to give a new purpose to items they feel they wouldn’t use anymore.”

Discarding items that can be easily repaired is a leading cause of waste creation and carbon consumption, according to the EPA.

Sanchez said that “the sustainability aspect of the Repair Café is significant to [her] and [our] community due to its emphasis on reusing items and reducing carbon consumption. This encourages sustainable, community-focused lifestyles that are beneficial for our future.”

Repair Café is continuously improving its commitment to global sustainability. They recently launched a new tool called the Repair Café Carbon Calculator, which allows Repair Café administrators to visualize the carbon emissions they have prevented with the repairs made at their Repair Café.

Not only does the initiative demonstrate the teens’ commitment to the township’s overall sense of community, but it also exhibits the teens’ desire to preserve important skills that are becoming less and less prevalent in society.

Itkowitz reminds us that “the Repair Café enables the community to come together and nurture the creative side of younger generations.”

Because of the rapid development of technology and increased access to many items over the past 20 years, many people, especially those of younger generations, have not learned skills such as sewing or basic carpentry and electronic repair.

Workman added that “by providing a space for experts to teach others skills that are becoming less and less common, we can simultaneously strengthen our community and increase the presence of waste-reducing practices.”

For information, feel free to call the Clerk’s Office at 708-482-8300 opt. 4.

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