Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge Competition Kicks Off!

Metropolitan Family Services DuPage has been chosen to participate in the Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge! The Art Van Million Dollar Charity Challenge is a fundraising competition where organizations supporting children, healthcare and human services compete to raise the most money with the top teams winning cash prizes from Art Van Furniture. Art Van Furniture, the Midwest’s #1 furniture retailer who is expanding into DuPage County, is donating more than $375,000 to not for profit organizations like ours that are focused on impacting children and families, human services and healthcare.  
Metropolitan is competing for one of the top 10 prizes that can earn between $7,500 to $75,000 for our Head Start Program. Metropolitan is guaranteed to win some amount and anything that is donated to Metropolitan is ours to keep. The Challenge started on Monday, May 19th at 12 Noon and runs through Monday, June 23rd. 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. 

Click here to donate & help us raise money for the challenge or view other ways you can help here


The Cat in the Hat Visits DuPage Head Start


The Cat in the Hat recently paid a visit to our DuPage Head Start students thanks to the volunteers of Pi Beta Phi. As part of their “Day of Service in honor of Dr. Seuss,” sorority volunteers read, enjoyed crafts and donated books for each student to bring home!

“Please pass on our thanks to the wonderful Head Start classroom teachers we met at the Cat in the Hat event. Their warm welcome was so appreciated and felt instantly upon entering the room. The Head Start students in each of the classrooms were respectful and attentive to us. The Head Start teachers have created a safe and fun learning environment. It was a privilege to have been a part of it!” said Pi Beta Phi sorority volunteers.

Thanks for your kindness and volunteerism Pi Beta Phi!! We enjoyed having you at DuPage Head Start!

Midway Mural Comes to Life


After School Matters Summer 2013 Interns are working hard on the mural for Metropolitan Family Services Head Start facility. Artist Rahmaan Statik instructed the young artists in mural painting techniques to develop the newest addition to our early learning center set for unveil on August 8th!

Pi Beta Phi Visits DuPage Head Start

Seuss Birthday_Blog

DuPage Head Start celebrated Dr Seuss’ birthday earlier this month with members of the alumnae chapter of Pi Beta Phi. This interactive literacy event included story time with the children, playing games and decorating a book plate. Pi Beta Phi gave each child a Dr. Seuss book where they inserted their newly decorated book plates. All 68 Head Start children were given books! One child asked when he should return the book. The sorority members answered, “That’s your book to take home and keep!” The child asked, “Forever and ever?” The Pi Beta Phi members were visibly touched as they answered, “Yes, you can keep the book forever and ever.”

Thank you, Pi Beta Phi! 

Voice of the People

Today’s Voice of the People section in the Chicago Tribune featured Metropolitan Family Services President and CEO Ric Estrada. To see the original feature click here.


Voice of the People
March 8, 2013

Early learning
President Barack Obama’s plan to invest in young children is a road-tested strategy that applies resources in ways that have been proven to generate positive returns for children, families, communities and the economy. Expanding the commitment to early childhood also meets critical needs our society cannot afford to ignore. At Metropolitan Family Services, we see both benefits and needs every day in the nearly 900 children we serve with preschool, child-care, home-visiting and Early Head Start/Head Start programs. Our children are ready to learn when they head to school.

The value of early learning has been proven repeatedly by research and decades of practical experience. Nobel scholars like University of Chicago economist James Heckman have long asserted that young children are the smartest investment we can make, pointing to research conducted right here in Chicago that documented returns of $7 for every $1 spent, in the form of better school performance, higher lifetime earnings and decreased costs of behavioral challenges.

If anything is surprising about the president’s proposal it is that early-childhood programs are suddenly considered controversial or speculative.

We hope our elected leaders do not take the bait because every American community is affected. Illinois was once a national early-childhood leader, but it has moved backward since 2009, eliminating services for 22,000 children and creating stress for parents who know what their children need but can’t get.

This challenge exists in every community we serve. We see it in city neighborhoods that desperately need new facilities. We see it in working families in DuPage County who aren’t “poor enough” for Head Start and can’t find affordable child care.

The good news is leaders like Mayor Rahm Emanuel are bucking the trend by finding a way to invest in early education. Law enforcement officials like DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin are making a point to show the connection between early learning and safe communities.

The president has put a thoughtful plan on the table to leverage federal, state and local resources. If we want children to succeed and want our economy to recover, we cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by.

Ricardo Estrada
President and CEO, Metropolitan Family Services, Chicago

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