Memorial Day is a day of remembrance in the United States of America for those men and woman who died in military service defending the USA. It is observed on the last Monday in May of every year. And, traditionally, it is seen as the beginning of the summer season.
People observe the day by attending a Memorial Day parade, and they also have picnics where beer, brats, hamburgers, pizza, pretzels, potato chips and ice cream are served.
Many celebrations feature live bands playing old favorites from groups like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Cheap Trick, The Doobie Brothers, REO Speedwagon, The Beatles and Yes.
Some parties get out-off-hand due to the merriment and alcohol. In these venues, men take their shirts off, and party like it’s 1999. Yeh!!!! They have fun, and it’s relaxing. It’s not something they do often but when they do party, they do it with style and enthusiasm.
One year - 1995 -- the festivities got out of hand; the beer was flowing and the younger men were punching back shots of whiskey. All was well until two of the gentlemen passed out, crashing to the dance floor in a loud “thud”. There they slept for three hours, waking with a headache and wrinkled clothes. But, they had fun and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a party like no other. They could not wait until next year’s festivities.
By Chris Z. Synapse House
The “Bake to Work” Program consists of three parts which are the Work Readiness Program, “Bake to Work” Internship Program, and the “Bake to Work” Supported Employment. The Work Readiness program focuses on preparing participating members for non-supported competitive employment or supported employment through a series of 20 basic work related skill assignments necessary to be successful in return to work efforts. Individuals will also engage in the daily work of the Clubhouse to be able to practice work readiness skills and address any barriers. The Bake To Work Internship program is designed to provide internship opportunities to individuals with acquired brain injury in the food service industry who are preparing for competitive employment. Individuals who are selected for the internship that engage in any food preparation will train to obtain the Illinois Food Handlers Card which is required for any individual employed in the food service industry. Individuals will be required to have addressed or be actively addressing employment barriers and fine tuning work readiness skills through a separate vocational program or through the Synapse House Work Readiness Program or Clubhouse Program. This could include participation in the Culinary Unit for an introduction to food service sanitation and meal preparation. Internships for the program could also focus on the business aspect of the bakery business such as the marketing or customer service needs. The internship program is three months long and is competitive entry based. Internship hours and days are based on shift assignments and are typically 2-3 hours per day, 2-3 shifts per week. Individuals interested in this program are to be available for up to 15 hours per week of internship hours. Hours of operation are from Monday through Friday, 7:30am-4:00pm. Individuals will continue to address any work readiness goals for an additional one to two hours per day. The Supported Employment Program is designed to serve individuals who need basic job preparation and paid work experience in a structured setting. Participants engage in paid work opportunities through our Bakery setting 1 to 4 days per week for up to 12 months. Individuals are assigned a Work Unit Coordinator to address any deficiencies in work readiness and residual barriers. Individuals must have their Illinois Food Handlers Card.
A look at the 2017 DuPage Human Race! It was a great opportunity to connect with amazing people and raise money for Synapse House. It was the perfect workout for a cool sunny Saturday morning!
Synapse House is at the corner of a stripmall in Elmhurst. Joanne manages the day-to-day operations. She is organized and direct, which she has to be to keep members in line. There are often about a half-dozen members everyday. We participate in group activities such as sitting around a table and talking about current events. We also type projects like this one.
Dale, a member, is here today sitting next to me at a computer. He is wearing a Cubs jersey and baseball hat. Dale is a nice, jovial fella. And, he is a Cubs fan, which I appreciate.
What happens at Clubhouse, day-to-day? We usually have a meeting to kick-off the day during which Joanne reviews the day’s agenda. We then transgress to a discussion of current events and member preferences for the day’s agenda. Members also offer feedback on how Clubhouse can be improved, such as having root beer available in the refrigerator machine and stocking the freezer with Dove (ice cream) bars. Yummy! Joanne is giving me, now, a stern look that my last few comments were not appropriate. But, my answer: this is America. Freedom of speech.
By Synapse House Member, Chris Z.
Tony broke into a sprint immediately after the starter’s gun sounded, sand from the beach filtered through his toes before he dove into the lake to start the race. The swim was the first event. It was a mile long and grueling. The cold, dark water was uninviting, very intimidating. As he splashed forward, his eyes caught the glimmer of several small perch. To motivate himself, he tried to catch them, pushing forward hard in the pursuit of the gills. When he emerged at the end, walking on the beach, exhausted, he was glad that was behind him. Sand filtered over his feet as he ran on the beach, approaching the next event.
He moved onto the run, which was a 10-K. It was up and down small hills, through the woods and along a river. He had to be careful not to trip on tree roots along the path. He took off in a sprint, and finished the running leg in record-time. Hooray!
He felt like he had enough in the tank to finish strong. Thus, he mounted his bike -- a “Specialized” -- red, white and blue racing cycle, with a gearbox that had 18 speeds, most of which he would use. His confidence soared, as well as the excitement about crossing the finish line and being surrounded by adoring family and friends.
He sped over the start-line and onto the track, which was a highway closed for this event. The bike-portion of the race was 15-miles, and it covered up-and-down hills, curves and around a crystal blue lagoon. As he picked up speed on the bike, he could feel the breeze in his face and the adrenalin pumping in his veins. The yellow line on the middle of the pavement flew by him and he picked up speed. He had to be careful on the turns not to spins out because the road had gravel and potholes. He was vigilant. His eagle-eyes focused on the pavement and he avoided the ruts in the pavement.
He came around the last turn and saw the finish-line. His bike was cruising, and he pressed forward. He crossed the finish-line and was relieved the race was over. He walked over to the refreshments table and jugged a blue Gatorade. After catching his breath, he strolled over to a bar and ordered a Special Export, nice and cold and very refreshing. That hit the spot!
Congratulations to Liam Fasick for achieving the Eagle Court of Honor! The Eagle is the highest recognition that Scouting offers to Scouts. It is earned through the advancement program, and only a small percentage of boys who begin in Scouting receive this honor.
Way to go Liam!
Liam collected over 600 items for his Eagle Scout Project to benefit Synapse House.
The SH Business Unit is a small group of SH “members” who focus their time and attention, weekly, on organizing tasks that drive the enterprise’s business. Tasks include: planning weekly events, organizing family get-togethers and setting the organization’s priorities. Joanne, Business Unit Coordinator (a.k.a. “the chief”), oversees the tasks of the Business Unit and gives counsel and advice. She gives input on how to improve productivity and outcomes. Generally, the advice is meaningful and thoughtful. But occasionally, her ideas fall flat, and members are quick to point-out the shortcomings, with sarcasm and ridicule. Joanne is good spirited and accepts the abuse patiently and often responds with a crisp, clear jovial retort. The group enjoys one another’s company, and the antics displayed by members and Joanne create an interesting and engaging clubhouse, an admirable result that members thoroughly enjoy and look forward to.
By Synapse House Member, Chris Z.
Creative writing is the process of composing prose that is unique and engaging. It captures the readers’ imagination from the get-go, and thrills to the very end. A reader of creative writing is caught-up in the storyline, thrilled by the plot and intrigued by the prolog. They don’t want to put the prose down, knowing the loss would be gut-wrenching.
Good creative writing is hard to find. One must search for excellent authors and remember them so as to be able to access their works with frequency going forward.
Storylines may include murder mysteries, ghost-sightings or adventures, such as the exploration of the polar icecaps. Creative writing can be enjoyed in various venues, like when a person is on vacation or relaxing in a saloon with a cold beer and pretzels at his fingertips.
The author and reader let themselves go, meaning their imagination runs wild, and they don’t let the day-to-day ordinary stuff interfere.
Where is great creative writing found? If one looks for the work in quality bookstores, at the library or on-line venues, they will find good choices.
By Synapse House Member, Chris Z.
The Annual (2016) Synapse House Gala was staged at an old farm house in Barrington, Illinois. It was an yearly event that gathered people invested in the organization’s mission to raise funds, and heighten its profile in the local community.
Guests would enjoy cocktails, beer or wine and a delicious dinner, either steak or salmon. The choice was theirs. And, dessert was delightful -- a moist, chocolate cake with soft, German chocolate frosting. Yummy! The event lasted six hours.
The featured speaker talked up the mission of the organization and made a respectful request for donations. The organization needed a financial shot in the arm, and hopefully the gathered mass would write some large checks.
The Gala had a long, topsy-turvey history. Like the Synapse House members, the gala was a little “off” balance. That is, it started on time and the band played some nice tunes, but two hours into the production, the lead singer passed out, crashing into the drumset nearby. Apparently, he had diabetes and forgot to take his insulin. Some guests thought he had indulged in too much liquor but the master of ceremonies assured guests that his trauma was medically induced and explainable. This was something that happened to him every two years or so. Crashing to the floor created sores and bruises. But, the vocalists stood up, recovered and carried on with the production. Bravo!
By Synapse House Member, Chris Z.
I went on a Cruise ship to Cozumel, Mexico. Independence of the Seas. I went with my daughter Kate, my son Kenny III, Jenny and I. Joe and Chris, my mother-in-law and father-in-law. where there. Joe, my brother-in-law, Stacey, my sister-in-law, Joey Jr., my nephew, Brandon, my nephew, Johnny, my nephew, and Jimmy, my nephew. We ate a lot. Had fun.
It was a blast.
Synapse House Member, Ken W.