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More than 500 Kohl’s employees from 53 stores in Illinois and Indiana fill a section of the bleachers at Mooseheart’s football stadium prior to the start of the 2013 “Go Green” event hosted on the Mooseheart campus. The April 27 event helped beautify the campus and Kohl’s presented a check for more than $60,000 to Moose Charities.
2008 Mooseheart graduate Chris Morones speaks to volunteers prior to the start of the April 27 Kohl’s “Go Green” event at Mooseheart. Now a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, Morones lived at Mooseheart more than 17 years prior to graduation.
Kohl’s volunteers work to spread mulch at the Mooseheart school building during the April 27 Kohl’s “Go Green” event.
Mooseheart students worked alongside Kohl’s volunteers at the 2013 “Go Green” event. Among those helping where three residents of the Maryland-Delaware-Washington D.C. Residence home (from left), Jeff Leigh, Derick Graeser and K.C. Brown.
At the conclusion of the April 27 “Go Green” event at Mooseheart, an oak tree was planted and dedicated to the efforts of Kohl’s volunteers. Participating in a ceremonial shoveling were (from left) Kohl’s Vice President Regional Manager Nick Vanella, Kohl’s South Elgin Store Manager Stephanie Krauss, Tyler Krauss, Kohl’s Regional Facilities Manager Kevin Cianferri and Mooseheart Senior Jose Robles.
MOOSEHEART, May 1 -They sat in a grandstand that had the word “Mooseheart” spelled in large lighted letters behind them and a sign that read “Region One, Kohl’s Cares” in front of them. And the fourth annual Kohl’s “Go Green” event at Mooseheart was just that kind of partnership of two organizations -- with the people serving as the glue.
During the April 27 event, over 500 Kohl’s employees from 53 stores in Illinois and Indiana worked alongside Mooseheart students and staff to beautify the campus, including “Team Gurnee,” which came in a van proclaiming their trip to Mooseheart across its windows.
Those volunteers, many who had been to Mooseheart in 2012, some since the first event in 2010, worked spreading mulch and they picked up brush and other items. At the end, they watched as an oak tree was planted and dedicated to their efforts over the years.
Throughout, the volunteers talked. One referred to the “Mooseheart Phenomenon.” Other discussed their desire to attend the 2014 event. And they talked as they took a campus tour, viewing the 1,000-acre residential home for roughly 220 children in-need -- the largest residential child-care community in Illinois.
All of it was done under surprisingly sunny skies, and to make the day just a bit brighter, a check for more than $60,000 was given by Kohl’s to Moose Charities.
“We were blessed with great weather and great people; words can’t even come out to fully express the gratitude of today,” Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler said. “It’s a great event, an outstanding event. These people from Kohl’s, it’s almost as if they’re family now. They’ve been with us for four years now.”
The day started with introductory remarks from Urwiler and Kohl’s executives who attended the event. The brief but impactful address came from 2008 Mooseheart graduate Chris Morones, who spent more than 15 years on-campus before graduating second in his class. Now a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, Morones welcomed the volunteers to the place he called home, and reminded them of the special connection between the campus and the children who live there.
“Chris did a phenomenal job,” Urwiler said. “For him to come back and give his time and to speak as eloquently as he did was wonderful. It was a small message, but it was a very sincere and heartfelt message.”
The work was needed. Mooseheart’s campus had been deluged, just as had been every other community in the area during the wettest April on record in northern Illinois. But with the warm weather, the grass has turned from brown to emerald and the benefits from the volunteers’ efforts were immediately apparent.
“When you have a 1,000-acre campus, you have a lot of maintenance and upkeep, especially in the spring – and especially this season with all the storms that we have had,” Urwiler said.
Mooseheart’s children attended and were there to lend more than vocal support. They helped spread mulch, helped dig, helped remove debris.
“The power of people and the amount of people coming together for a great cause is wonderful,” Urwiler said. “For us to be able to unite at full strength in order to get work done at a ‘Go Green’ event like this is incredible. When you combine it with kids working hand-in-hand on our beautiful facilities, it makes for a memorable event.”
The work done at the “Go Green” event will be seen by many this year. The 2013 Moose International Convention is May 24-29 in Milwaukee, WI and thousands will be on-campus for the high school graduation on May 25. Thousands will again descend on Mooseheart on July 27, when the campus celebrates its centennial with a day-long celebration of food, music, fireworks and a rededication ceremony.
Upcoming Events at Mooseheart
May 3: NJROTC Change of Command Ceremony, 2:15 p.m., Mooseheart Fieldhouse
May 4: Mooseheart Relays Coed Track and Field Meet, 9 a.m., Mooseheart Stadium
May 16: Spring Band and Choral Concert, 2:15 p.m., House of God
May 18: 10th Annual Blessing of the Bikes, 9 a.m., Mooseheart Fieldhouse, House of God
May 20, Memorial Day Program, 3 p.m., House of God
May 23, Honors and Awards Program, 1 p.m., Mooseheart Fieldhouse
May 25, High School Commencement, 3:30 Mooseheart Fieldhouse and Stadium
July 27, Mooseheart Centennial Celebration, Mooseheart Fieldhouse and Stadium
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 210 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $70 million worth of community service programs annually.