The people of our faith communities, service organizations, businesses, and caring individuals unite in partnership to provide compassionate and effective 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.
DIRECTORS AT LARGE
Marilyn Arado: Marilyn had a long career as an elementary teacher in Chicago, Villa Park, Naperville, and the Elmhurst Park District. Now retired, she devotes her time to a wide range of community and teacher organizations and is highly active in the Elmhurst Garden Club. Aside from her volunteer work, she is busy pursuing her “bucket list” which includes reading a substantial biography on every US President, visiting every state (only one to go), and keeping up with old friends who might need a note or a visit. She is committed to helping family, friends, and the community whenever she is needed.
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.
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 service organization in Chicago’s Chinatown. He has also been treasurer of River Forest Country Club and IC Catholic Booster Club. As Ohio transplants, John and his wife Alice raised two sons in Elmhurst. John has volunteered with a wide variety of local organizations illustrating a strong willingness to share and give back.
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.
Scott LaMorte: Scott brings to the board a strong background in fundraising and a deep knowledge of not-for-profit work. He has spent nearly 20 years in non-profit fundraising, most recently with The Conservation Foundation in Naperville. Currently, Scott is the Vice President for Business Development at Itasca Bank & Trust. He remains an active adult committee member for Elmhurst Boy Scout Troop #117 and proud inaugural recipient of the Darrell Whistler Spirit Award from The Elmhurst Armpit Orchestra.
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.
Jerry Ostermann: Jerry, an Elmhurst-native, worked in importing and merchandising at Jewel-Osco for many years before starting his own import services company and, most recently, Chicago Candy Works, where he has recreated an award-winning candy from the '60s. Jerry belongs to a number of boards and organizations: Chicago Symphony Governing Member, DePauw University Alumni Association, East-West Center Association, and the Osco/Sav-on Alumni Club.
Rev. Gretchen Sylvester: Gretchen represents the Elmhurst clergy on the board. Ordained in the United Church of Christ in 2002, she currently is the Senior Pastor at Bethel UCC in Elmhurst. She also serves on the Church and Ministry Committee with the Chicago UCC Association. She has previously served on the FEMA Homelessness Force in Monroe, Wisconsin, and on the board of directors for Green County Family Promise. Pastor Gretchen lives in town with her husband Bruce and three children.
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.