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Service Club of Chicago celebrates 127 years of philanthropy

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Founded in 1890, the Service Club of Chicago is one of the city's oldest all-women's philanthropic organizations. (WLS)

Chicago Proud
The Service Club of Chicago has been making Chicago proud for more than a century.

Founded in 1890, it's one of the city's oldest all-women's philanthropic organizations. The money they raise helps other groups already making big changes in their communities.

Grabbing a nutritious snack, learning valuable computer skills or taking a field trip are just a few of the activities By the Hand offers kids in its after school program.

"The big thing coming here is it keeps us off the street, it keeps us doing something positive," said Keith Tankson, a 7th grader.

The Service Club of Chicago is a partner in that positivity. For 127 years, the all-female organization has provided vital resources to countless groups across Chicago and the suburbs.

"Not only are we all women, we are very passionate and very giving and make a tremendous difference in the community," said Simona Garcia, president, Service Club of Chicago.

Organizations come to the Service Club for help buying things they couldn't otherwise afford, like the van By the Hand uses every day.

"The vans that we bought for By the Hand, for example, enables them to be able to pick up some children from certain areas in the community that otherwise would not be able to get here and benefit from the great after school programs that they offer," Garcia explained.

"We've taken kids all over the city to do different activities. We can't do that without a vehicle to take kids places," said Sarah James, director of programming at By the Hand.

"I love going on the college trips, experience new colleges that I would like to attend next year when I graduate," said Asia Young, a senior in high school.

"It's given me a lot of experiences, especially the trips," Tankson said. "I don't want to be caught up, I want to do something with my life instead of being on the streets."

On Friday, the Service Club of Chicago is celebrating 127 years of service with a big gala at the Ritz Carlton. In the last five years, the group has awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to community service organizations like By the Hand.

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community-eventschicago proudcommunity service
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