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Mundelein After School Coalition Honors Veterans with Appreciation Dinner

Mundelein After School Coalition (MASC) students under the direction of the Mundelein Police Department, recently hosted an event to honor veterans throughout Lake County. MASC students representing Mundelein High School, Fremont Middle School, Carl Sandburg Middle School and West Oak Middle School teamed up with the MPD to serve a multi-course meal to more than 160 veterans.

Hitz Pizza of Mundelein provided catering for the event at a discount. MASC paid for the event with funds in their account. MASC also secured very generous donations from La Luz Bakery, Taste of Paris, Flowerama, Taylor Rental, and Just for Fun DJ.

To ensure the event’s success, Officer Rachel Messina, School Resource Officer and coordinator of the Mundelein After School Coalition, contacted area VA hospitals in North Chicago and Maywood along with Charitable Veterans Organizations (Midwest Veterans Closet, Veterans R+R, Lake County Veterans and Family Services) to generate interest in the event and distributed event advertising flyers. She also called every American Legion and VFW within a 30-mile radius and distributed the flyer. We also advertised the event on the MPD’s Facebook page and distributed flyers to the Dell Webb community at a recent event.

“Traditionally, MASC hosts a dance for themselves in the month of April. The group’s mission includes embracing charitable deeds. Since I took over the group, we’ve participated in Feed My Starving Children, Highway Clean-up, along with writing a few checks a year to various charities. So, I really wanted the students to see what giving back to a particular group looked like - to have them physically do something in service to someone else where they could see the direct benefit of their charitable work. I presented this idea instead of a dance in April they could host an event that would benefit any group of their choosing. The students came up with various ideas and ultimately, they chose veterans and the idea of an appreciation dinner was formed,” Officer Messina explained.

“We had veterans from all over Lake County attend the dinner. In fact, 150 people RSVP'd but I believe we had closer to 160-170 actually show up. It was very gratifying to see the students interact with the veterans on a personal level and everyone seemed to have a smile on their face. The veterans were very appreciative of our efforts and I believe the students learned a great lesson concerning the concept of giving back to the community,” Officer Messina added.

MASC is comprised of approximately 50 students and school staff. Six students from each of the middle schools (Fremont, West Oak, Carl Sandburg) are part of the group along with a boy and a girl from each grade level (6th, 7th, 8th). MHS students round out the group. MASC provides activities for adolescents after the school day ends to help keep them safe and free from making poor decisions. Part of the group’s mission is to offer outreach services to the community.

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