This past Saturday was a great day for Illinois, and a proud day for me to be a Chez! The University of Illinois officially dedicated the Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. My amazing and generous Father in law gifted $6 million dollars to this center to give back to our troops. He has said, “There is no way we can adequately compensate for the courage and service of our wounded Veterans. It’s our special opportunity to honor these heroic men and women and their families by helping to provide the services and facilities they require.”
The center will offer Veterans and their families residential accommodations, education, counseling, rehabilitations, career and employment services, and health and life skills management. Saturdays dedication was a wonderful celebration with inspiring speeches from Governor Bruce Rauner, retired U.S. Veterans, University of Illinois faculty, and of course, my super Father in law! My husband traveled up state earlier in the week to assist his father in preparations, so I enjoyed a fun car ride up with my sister in law and my niece/mini me/assistant. My parents attended the dedication as well, to pay their respects to my Chez family. It was a celebratory day enjoyed with loved ones!
My Father in law’s efforts at the University of Illinois don’t stop with our Veterans. The Chez Family Foundation also offers a Scholarship Program at the University of Illinois, recruiting promising Chicago area public high school students in need of funding for college. After carefully interviewing potential Scholars, 8-12 impressive students are granted a Scholarship to the U of I. This weekend was also a brunch to honor the incoming freshman Scholars and their families. One of my first exposures to the Chez Scholars, was 3 years ago when my now hubby and I were just dating; now we’re married and I love being introduced as Mrs. Chez!
I’m always blown away by how amazing the Scholars are, and it is touching to see my Chez family interact with the students so enthusiastically. The Scholarship program provides far more than financial support. There’s an emotional connection between the Chez family, as well as a mentoring program for the students, so they can succeed at school. The cohorts, there are 8 so far, are encouraged to interact, to support and encourage each other…I compare their relationships to a Sorority, or Fraternity family vibe. My husband and I had a great time getting to know the new Scholars and their families.
After the brunch we road tripped back to Chicago in time to be cozy on our couch for the Bears game! (which I actually watched and got into!)
I always feel so happy and blessed after a weekend spent with family. Always remember to put family first, and cherish your times spent together. On that note…go call your mom back!:)
Have a great week everyone!