I remember November 20th vividly. I was with a group of fellow Evanston executive directors, and we were talking about how to help our staff deal with the trauma they saw on an everyday basis – the trauma of our participants lives. In the middle of that meeting I got a call telling me that one of our participants had been brutally murdered.
Tanuel, sometimes known as Daisy, had been found beaten to death on the steps of First United Methodist Church. Our Connections' community, and the community at-large, was in shock.
On Saturday, February 9, more than 350 supporters gathered for THRIVE, Connections' signature fundraising event. The event, re-imagined in 2017, is the North Shore's premier culinary tasting party, featuring 12 restaurants and three mixologists, as well as nine bakeries in the now-famous Sugar Rush! Beyond just a great party, Connections is proud to announce that this year's event raised over $525,000 - shattering all previous event records. The funds raised support Connections' critical work of ending homelessness on the North Shore, one person at a time.
Just days after starting at Connections in February, James Barnett, our Outreach Specialist, was dispatched to where Tina was camped outside the Skokie Public Library. Tina had been living on the streets, wheelchair bound, since 2015 – sleeping outside Evanston’s City Hall, in Independence Park, a local bus shelter, and at times in front of the Skokie Police Department.
James began regularly visiting her, sometimes daily, trying to build a trusting relationship. That was no easy task as Tina strongly refused most help and often became belligerent and combative when approached.