The Austin Weekly News’ West Side Business Network Holiday Party was held on Tuesday, December 17th at the beautiful Columbus Park Refectory.  Our goal was to bring people together from the Greater West Side for an evening of enjoyable entertainment and networking.  We entertained about 250 guests.  Entertainment was arranged by Local-Motions, a West Side performing arts company for children.  Guests came from the West Side, Oak Park, Forest Park, Maywood, and even as far as the south side of Chicago and Aurora.  We had a nice mix of business professionals, community activists, families, clergy, and elected officials.  Many guests have attended one or more of our WSBN groups, which include the AWN Business Development Group, West Side Women, West Side Men and West Side Bridge.
The groups are intended to grow relationships across the diverse and unique communities of the Greater West Side.  West Side Bridge, specifically, is meant to bridge the gap between the West Side of Chicago and Western Suburbs.
The party was funded solely by sponsorships. so we are incredibly grateful from the support of these local businesses who donated $250 or more: 
Chicago Park District
Local-Motions, Inc.
Fathers Who Care / West Garfield Park Youth Council
Hoogendoorn and Talbot LLP
Bethel New Life
Garland Flowers
Circle Family Health Care Network
Larry Williams State Farm
Hogan Marren LTD.
Momma Kemba
Its Marketing Now
SomerCor 504 Inc.
In addition to these organizations, many others contributed to making our event the fabulous evening it was. Prominent attendees included:
Dan Haley, publisher of Wednesday Journal and Austin Weekly News
Anan Abu-Taleb, President of Village of Oak Park
Adam Salzman, Oak Park Village Trustee
Ray Johnson, Oak Park Village Trustee
State Rep. La Shawn Ford
State Rep. Camille Lilly
Alderman Deborah Graham
Judge Marianne Jackson
Alderman Jason Ervin
Windy Pearson, NAACP
Our party was a huge success. Many stayed for the entire evening, which was from 6-9pm.  We had incredibly talented entertainers, ranging from gospel to jazz, praise to comedy, and even dramatic storytelling and song by Momma Kemba. We had many generous contributions to our raffle.  We chose to give our raffle proceeds to Fathers Who Care and the West Garfield Park Youth Council to thank them for their year of service to the Austin Weekly News and their support of our community outreach efforts. 
In 2014, our goal will be to continue to grow our efforts for community outreach, with the intention of creating ways to increase in-depth community journalism, especially as it relates to quality of life on the West Side of Chicago. 
Thank you to each and every person who helped make our first Holiday Party an exciting, fun night!

Dawn Ferencak

Dawn Ferencak likes to go behind the scenes when connecting with her customers to create ways to help make their businesses grow beyond their expectations. What she didn't expect, when she started working...