The caring people of Elmhurst unite to provide compassionate assistance to people in need in our community.
Since 1997, the Elmhurst Walk-in Assistance Network has provided compassionate assistance to families in the Elmhurst community going through a difficult time. Sometimes families or individuals experience a job loss, a cutback in hours, divorce, disability, or other sudden, unforeseen circumstance that leave them unable to pay a bill. EWAN is a place they can come to for help while they get back on their feet. We serve Elmhurst residents, families with children in Elmhurst schools, or registered members of partnering Elmhurst churches.
We provide assistance with rent, utilities, car repair, prescriptions and gas. We coordinate access to local food pantries and clothes closets, and fund essential dental care through our partner dentists.
EWAN also supports students in Elmhurst schools through the school snack program and the SWAN (Students with Activity Needs) fund, ensuring kids can participate in school programs.
Finally, our EWAN Hope Fund assists families and individuals in particularly dire and unexpected circumstances.
The Elmhurst Assistance Network is available to any member of the Elmhurst community. Likewise, it depends on the support of many businesses, service organizations, and organizations within the community. The following all contribute in a special way.
STAFF AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jackie Crnkovich (non-voting member). Jackie was hired as the first executive director of the Walk-In Ministry in 2014—the first and only non-volunteer position. She began her career as a high school English and Journalism teacher, and left teaching to stay at home while raising her children. During this time she volunteered with a number of organizations that including Habitat for Humanity, Daybreak Transitional Housing, and Meals on Wheels. Jackie has noted that every job she has done, from advising the school newspaper to mentoring with Daybreak gave her useful skills for the wide-ranging duties of her present position. She and her husband Andy live in Elmhurst and have three mostly-grown sons.
Jennifer Morrissey: As an attorney, Jennifer brings legal expertise to the board. She currently works as an adjunct professor at Roosevelt University’s Paralegal Studies Program as well as a contract attorney with the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian in the adult guardianship division. In addition to her legal work, Jennifer has found time to stay involved in the community. She had several leadership roles in the Immaculate Conceptions Parents Club as a well as on the IC Parish Council. She most recently served as President of IC’s Council of Catholic Women. Jennifer and her husband Tom have three children college aged and beyond.
Erin Radcliff: Before Erin came onto the EWAN board, she had designed our client database system as well as served on the Strategic Plan Committee. While she and her husband Tim have been raising their two children in Elmhurst, Erin has been highly involved in a number of Elmhurst organizations. She co-founded the DuPage Cycling Foundation and has had leadership roles in Spirito!, the Elmhurst District 205 Foundation and the York PTSA Academic Boosters. She has developed and donated database application projects to several groups as she did for EWAN, including the Elmhurst Garden Club, District 205 Foundation, Jefferson Science Olympiad and Ronald McDonald House.
Nancy Brook: Nancy is a Senior Vice President and the Board Secretary at Community Bank of Elmhurst. She is also a member of the Spring Road Business Association, and serves on the Pastoral Council at Immaculate Conception Parish. She and her husband Michael have three adult children and a granddaughter. In her spare time Nancy enjoys reading, walking, and biking.
Dawn Muckian: Like many CPA’s, Dawn has found her accounting abilities in high demand by a number of volunteer organizations, including the Elmhurst Garden Club and the York Athletic Boosters. She has also worked as a tax accountant at MP360, and is currently a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) tax return preparer. She and her husband Bill raised three children in Elmhurst. An avid runner, Dawn has run eleven marathons!
Director of Finance and Development
John Czyzycki: John currently works as an Executive Vice President for Wintrust Commercial Banking and brings to the board financial expertise gained through over thirty years in the banking industry. He also gives his time as Treasurer for the Chinese America Service League, a large social service organization in Chicago’s Chinatown and is on the Finance Committee for River Forest Country Club. He is a past member of the IC Catholic Prep Booster Club. As Ohio transplants, John and his wife Alice raised two sons in Elmhurst. They both serve as Ambassadors for the Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Foundation. John has volunteered with a wide variety of local organizations illustrating a strong willingness to share and give back.
Director of Church Relations
Jerry Ostermann: Jerry was born in Elmhurst, worked in importing and merchandising at Jewel-Osco for many years before starting his own import services company, and is currently enjoying his role as “Candyman” at Chicago Candy Works, where he’s re-created an award-winning candy from the ‘60s. Jerry is an active participant in a number of organizations including the Chicago Symphony Governing Members, DePauw University Alumni Association, East-West Center Association, the Osco/Sav-on Alumni Club and his favorite, EWAN. He and his wife Tsue have two sons and five grandchildren with whom they love spending time. Tsue and Jerry enjoy travel, gardening and music.
Director of Site Management
Kari Conkle: This is Kari's second go-round on the board, as she formerly held the role of Director of Volunteers and Training. Kari is well-versed in all things EWAN. She has volunteered at the site since 2013 and has been a Lead Volunteer for much of that time. She has been the Dental Program Coordinator and has served on the 'Cue for a Cause Planning Committee for six years. She also wrote the training book outlining all site procedures. In addition to volunteering at EWAN, Kari serves as a mentor in the Daybreak Transitional Housing Program. She is also involved in the choir and the Bereavement Ministry at her church. Kari and her husband Alan live in Elmhurst and have three grown or almost-grown daughters.
Director of Volunteers and Training
Mary Callahan: Mary has been a dedicated volunteer with EWAN since 2014. Her interest in helping others doesn’t stop with EWAN. She has volunteered with Special Religious Development (SPRED) at Visitation and the Special Kids Day—both groups that work with special needs kids. As a substitute teacher in Elmhurst, Mary also frequently worked in the Special Ed classrooms. A native Minnesotan, Mary moved to Elmhurst when her husband Tom’s work brought them this way, after a detour of several years living in Tokyo and Australia. Mary and Tom have three daughters and two grandchildren.
DIRECTORS AT LARGE
Ken Bartels: Ken is a Senior Vice President and Director at the Community Bank of Elmhurst and Principal at Ken Bartels Consulting. He has spent forty-five years in not-for-profit management and fundraising. His other community involvement highlights this experience: board member/director at the Community Bank of Elmhurst, board member and past chair of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry, an Elmhurst Rotarian, member of the Elmhurst American Legion, member of the West Suburban Philanthropic Network, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has received recognition for his outstanding service to the community, the Chamber of Commerce and Elmhurst College. You may recognize Ken from his many appearances on local broadcast television. He and his wife Marge have three children and three grandchildren.
Katy Halloran Costello: Katy is a native of Elmhurst and lives here with her husband and four children. She has served as President of Visitation Council of Catholic Women (2015), supports many committees at Visitation School and is currently on the York High School Drama Board. Katy is a freelance artist working on a variety of assignments and loves the outdoors and travel.
Mike Hauert: Mike is a lawyer and local small business owner. His areas of legal expertise include business advisory services, real estate transactions, and estate planning. Mike strongly believes in giving back and providing mentorship. He volunteers as a mentor for young attorneys through the DuPage County Bar Association, for Elmhurst University students in conjunction with the Elmhurst University Center for Professional Excellence, and also mentors business owners in underserved communities through NextLevel Exchange. Mike is a current board member of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce and Access Sports, where he also served as a volunteer coach. He was born and raised in Elmhurst where he currently resides with his wife and their two children. He enjoys traveling and watching and playing sports with his sons.
Vicki Julian: Vicki has been a volunteer with EWAN since 2011, the longest serving volunteer among current board members. She is a Lead Volunteer and heads the Hope Fund Committee. With a background in sales and marketing, Vicki has held a number of positions, but most recently has devoted most of her time to raising her four children with her husband John. This has led to a number of volunteer commitments including the IC Parents Club and York Athletic Boosters, where she co-chairs the sales of spirit-wear at York, which she likens to running a store, but as a volunteer. She enjoys sports, exercise, reading, and travel.
Jeanne Kett: Jeanne is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor currently in private practice with Kett Counseling and Educational Services. She has previously held jobs teaching at Elmhurst College, and working as a counselor with Lutheran Social Services. Volunteering has also always been important to Jeanne whether on the PTA or as a board member of the St. Gabriel Theater Guild in Chicago. Her experiences as a counselor as well as a mother inform another hobby of Jeanne’s: writing a blog about mental well-being, parenting and daily life.
Sgt. Steve Mandat: Steve serves as the Elmhurst Police liaison on the board. He has been with the Elmhurst Police Department since 2003 and is currently assigned as the Administrative Sergeant and has filled a number of different roles within the EPD. Steve holds a BA and an MA in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. He and his wife are raising three young children.
Erendira (Eren) Loza Navarro: Eren currently works at York high school as a parent liaison to Spanish speaking families. Her work experience includes logistics, community building, advocacy, translation, and interpretation. One of her duties on the board is to serve as chair of the new Latinx Outreach Committee. Being a Mexican immigrant herself, Eren has a passion for helping newcomers assimilate and for inspiring civic engagement. She also serves on the board for Dare to Dream whose mission is to help Latina girls go to college and is chairing the newly formed Elmhurst Resource Collaboration, which joins the forces of all the local constituencies who serve the most vulnerable in the community. Eren lives in Elmhurst with her husband and four children. She enjoys travel, great food, flamenco shows, and Spanish guitar music.
Jackie Salek: Jackie has an impressive track record of service to the Elmhurst community. A long-time EWAN site volunteer, she currently serves as a Lead Volunteer, heads the Hospitality Committee, and is part of the ‘Cue for a Cause Committee. Jackie and her husband have lived in Elmhurst for 25 years and are almost done raising their three boys. During those years, she delivered Meals on Wheels, was a Cub Scout Leader for ten years and ran the Holiday Greens Fundraiser for Boys Scouts for three years. Jackie’s background is in marketing and she currently works for Enerpace Executive Coaching. In her free time she enjoys running, reading and being outdoors.
Peter Sheehan: Peter and his wife Liz have been residents of Elmhurst since 2016. They have two young boys that keep them very busy. He is Regional Sales Director for Informatica, a data management software company. Peter and his family's first contribution to EWAN was throwing a successful fundraiser on St. Patrick's Day, which started his road to the board. As a relative newcomer to Elmhurst, Peter has a special interest in introducing EWAN to newer families like his and making them aware of both the need in the community and the opportunity to give back.
Rev. Traci Smith: Traci is the pastor of Elmhurst Presbyterian Church and is filling the role as Pastor Liaison on the board. Traci and her family moved to Elmhurst three years ago to lead this church. Her previous assignment was at Northwood Presbyterian in San Antonia, Texas. As pastor, Traci brings a strong commitment to mission and outreach in the community. She is the author of The Faithful Family series, which guides readers in simple ways to practice faith at home. Traci lives in Elmhurst with her husband, Elias, and three school aged children. In addition to leading her church, she enjoys writing, cooking and crocheting. She is also a fluent Spanish speaker.
Susan Wilson: Susan is a businesswoman who has spent most of her career working in HR with a focus on the financial aspects of pay. She currently does this work for General Electric. When not working, Susan has a great heart for giving back. She is a mentor for Chicago Scholars, a group that helps under-resourced and first-generation college students navigate the admissions process their senior year and then follow their progress through the first year of college. For twenty years she has co-chaired a holiday giving event, coordinating a group of friends to provide gifts for over 40 people. Susan enjoys cooking, baking, reading and attending baseball games with her husband, Bill Pearch, despite their spit team loyalties.
Corinna Wojcik, MD: Corinna is a family physician with DuPage Medical Group. She serves patients of all ages and from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. Having some Spanish language skills enables her to count a number of Latinos among her patients. Her breadth of experience touches on a number of situations relevant to the work of EWAN. Corinna and her husband live in Elmhurst and have three school-aged children which keep them on the go.