Go Beyond Barrington (GBB), a non-profit philanthropic organization comprising 41 students from Barrington High School, raised $16,000 for the Midwest Shelter. This enterprising and compassionate group of students did not stop there however. They creatively used their donation to secure matching funding from the Greer Foundation, making the total combined gift to MSHV a whopping $21,675.
The group held a variety of events, designed to not only raise funds for MSHV, but to also raise awareness of veteran homelessness. They held car washes, set up stands at local grocery stores, sent out donor letters, sold tshirts, hosted a school-wide scavenger hunt and Olympic-themed games, sold pizzas and more.
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity displayed by Go Beyond Barrington,” said Jane Tyschenko, MSHV Executive Director. “Not only did these students make a generous donation to the Shelter, their tireless volunteer efforts over the last nine months assisted our organization and raised awareness for our mission of restoring veterans and their families to self-sufficiency.”
Founded in 2011 to help those people affected by the tornadoes that devastated the Joplin, Missouri area, GBB has raised more than $75,000 to improve and empower communities in need.
Led by students of the Barrington community, each year GBB selects a different beneficiary partner, after studying the organization’s history and values. The GBB board also looks for charities for which the partnership would make the greatest impact. “When the board proposed the idea of raising funds for MSHV last year, we felt this was a perfect fit,” said Sophie Harwood, a GBB board member. “We instantly fell in love with them and we connected with the Shelter’s mission of empowering homeless veterans. We admired their proven track record and passion for helping those in need.”
"We help them to remember that they were once in the United States military," Adams says. "They understand the idea of a unit. They understand the idea of pulling together to get a job done."
Flags and military insignia decorate the house. Pictures of a 108-pound Adams in Vietnam are in the living room.
"Some have talked to me about feeling like they let their service down. They let their buddies down for falling so far. That's not true," says Adams, who has a master's degree in social work and a private practice in Lombard that serves veterans, police officers and firefighters. "Things happen. I don't make value judgments on that kind of thing."
He also didn't judge a Navy veteran, who got sober and became one of the most beloved residents at the shelter. Before he died from a brain aneurysm, his mother sent Adams a letter.
“Thank you for giving us back our son and our brother," she wrote.
Adams sees another miracle in the man's "short and happy life."
"He had found his way out of the torture of alcoholism, and he reconnected with his family," he says.
Adams still keeps a small office on the home's second floor. But he now visits the house once or twice a week because he has stepped down from the nonprofit's board of directors and as clinical director.
"There's no way this can operate without all of God's grace and a lot of wonderful people who help us," he says.
Some 120 students competed at Go Beyond Olympic Games on March 12, raising over $10,000 for Safe Haven Foundation in Chicago.
The Saturday event in the Barrington High School gym was a success on various levels: money raised; (mostly) clean competition; fun and laughs, as camaraderie and high energy drove nearly three hours of friendly competition.
Four-person student teams, each representing a country, competed in a hectic and often hilarious schedule of events, including basketball cycling, volleyball, archery, dodgeball, hockey, curling, long jump, shot put and discus competition using Frisbees.
While many Barrington High School students were vacationing or enjoying their spring break relaxing at home, a small group of students decided to use their week off to serve other, less fortunate young people.
Members of the student-run Go Beyond Barrington travelled to Milwaukee to volunteer at Pathfinders, an emergency youth shelter and drop-in center serving the surprising number of people aged 12 through 26 who are living without a permanent home in the Milwaukee area.
There are about 600 homeless teens in Milwaukee, but there's only 16 beds (at Pathfinders)…that's such a disconnect.
"There are about 600 homeless teens in Milwaukee, but there's only 16 beds (at Pathfinders)," said Katherine Andraschko, BHS senior and student president for Go Beyond Barrington. "That's one of the reasons we wanted to volunteer there; because that's such a disconnect."