LFHS teens give back during holidays
Joey Franklin, 15, of Lake Forest works on mortaring a basement wall as he helps with rehab work on a Lake Forest home to be sold to a qualifying family. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 21, 2012 5:02PM
LAKE FOREST — Amanda Rule and Layne Suhre, seniors at Lake Forest High School, talked while applying paint, but continually looked for spots they missed and chances to make their work even better.
Their visible concern was not for an art-project grade, but for the individual who will sleep in the bedroom that they and two other classmates painted.
The Lake Forest students’ efforts were part of a CROYA (Committee Representing Our Young Adults) service day providing rehab work at a home in town that eventually will be sold to a qualifying family.
“It feels good to do something to help someone else,” Rule said, when taking a break from painting.
“And it is work we are doing in our own community,” her painting partner Suhre said.
The CROYA effort was done on behalf of Community Partners for Affordable Housing. The Cherry Avenue residence where the students completed tuck-pointing and painting Saturday is the third affordable housing unit CPAH is creating in Lake Forest. The non-profit agency, now in its second year in Lake Forest, has been in existence since 2003 and has created 32 units of permanent affordable housing in Highland Park. (Between 2003 and 2008, the agency was known as the Highland Park Illinois Community Land Trust.)
Rob Anthony, executive director of Community Partners, noted that having groups like CROYA providing labor saves the organization from paying a contractor to do the same work.
“The kids I’m with have been amazing,” Anthony said. “They’ve worked so hard. We save thousands of dollars (through work like this).”
Amy Kaufman, director of community relations for CPAH, noted that the CROYA volunteers spent much of their time at the Cherry Avenue home painting, cleaning, scraping and tuck-pointing.
“The kids have been great, hard-working. They’ve been here since 8:45 a.m.,” Kaufman said. “They’ve worked and they’ve learned.”
CROYA, which is open to seventh-graders through high school seniors in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood, aims to provide teens with a safe place to gather after school and on weekends.
Kaufman noted that while the Community Partners rehabbed home will be sold to a lower-income individual, the land will remain under the domain of the non-profit agency. That way, she noted, the residence will remain a home for a lower-income person.
Anthony called the CPAH program “a win-win-win” for communities.
“The homeowner wins because he or she gets to live in the community. The community wins because it gets a person in town who could not normally afford it,” Anthony said. “And the neighborhood wins because they get back what was a closed-up property.”
Kaufman and Anthony said the CPAH homes normally are sold to people who live or work in the community already. They said earlier Community Partners homes have gone to nurses who work at Lake Forest Hospital but couldn’t afford to live in the community, divorced heads of household and families hit by unemployment.
“I tell people, ‘There is nothing you are going to say to me that is going to make me gasp,’” Kaufman said. “We are here to help.”
CROYA member Joseph Santello, a senior at Lake Forest High School, spent much of his time at the Cherry Avenue house painting. He said he was happy to do something to help in his own town.
“It meant a lot to me to do something in the Lake Forest community,” Santello said. “I am glad CROYA did this because we got to provide a service and it makes you appreciate what you have.”
Joey Franklin, an LFHS freshman, spent much of his time at the residence tuck-pointing and painting.
“Doing this can help someone not have to move,” Franklin said. “They can still be in a Lake Forest home. They won’t have to leave the schools and they will be closer to work.”