I imagine the majority of the readers of this blog are working professionals working toward their career goals, or students earning degrees so they too can achieve their professional goals. We grew up knowing that we would graduate from high school, likely attend college and begin to accomplish life goals we set for ourselves at a young age. To people like us, some level of success is expected, and the ability to follow a “career path” is normal and, at times, taken for granted.

What many of us fail to realize, is that for a large number of Americans, the ability to even read this blog is a feat worthy of recognition. That is because 23 percent of American adults are unable to demonstrate reading proficiency (National Center for Family Literacy), and 53 percent have low or limited literacy skills (Literacy Chicago). In Chicago specifically, students in Chicago’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods are far more likely to receive instruction based on low expectations for student learning (Consortium on Chicago School Research), which translates to likelihood of professional development and achievement.

Discrepancies such as these make organizations like the Golden Apple Foundation increasingly important to the betterment of Chicago’s education system. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Golden Apple Foundation recognizes outstanding schoolteachers and provides integrated, innovative programs and resources that enhance the quality, resiliency, and creativity of classroom teachers and improve teaching and learning throughout Illinois. The organization is now planning to expand its professional development program in the Chicago area to provide quality services to teachers in low-income communities using the whole school as the unit of change.

And you can help. This Thursday, April 29 from 7 to 10 p.m., Chicago nightclub Lumen (839 West Fulton Market) invites Chicagoans to Casino Night, presented by the Golden Apple Associates Board. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this event will support the Golden Apple Foundation.

For just $35, guests will enjoy entertainment from DJ Lil’ Mikey, Dewar’s Scotch tasting, two hours of complimentary vodka cocktails, appetizers courtesy of Hel’s Kitchen and the chance to win more than 35 fabulous raffle prizes. If you would like to join us in raising money to better the education system in our own backyard, please visit and a purchase ticket. Susie Schreiber Account Supervisor