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Approaching a sunnier season, dermatologist Toral Patel M.D. shares little-known secrets about skincare

I’m a dermatologist, so I think about the skin a lot. But I have to admit that I didn’t always think about my skin or even take very good care of it, for that matter. As a teenager, I’d wash my face and brush my …

Interfaith House’s Executive Director Jennifer Nelson-Seals on extending a helping hand to Chicago’s homeless population

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I’m the executive director of Interfaith House (IFH), a unique program in Chicago that provides medical respite care, interim housing, meals and housing advocacy services to ill and injured homeless men and women. Each year, I witness hundreds of individuals heal, rebuild their lives and …

How Stephanie Arnold survived against all odds to become an advocate for women’s health

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In October of 2012, after seven rounds of intense and emotional IVF procedures, I became pregnant with my second child. All was fine until my 20-week ultrasound, when I became overwhelmed with premonitions of my own death. It felt like I was a ticking time …

Windy City Habitat for Humanity’s Executive Director Jennifer Parks on one family’s journey home

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When I hear people gripe about their commute home, I only have to think of Houlaymatou Diallo, whose own journey home took more than 20 years and traversed more than 4,500 miles. As a young woman in 1992, Houlaymatou left Conakry, Guinea, and immigrated to …

Justin Cooper shares why he became an advocate for people with disabilities

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I’ve lived with cerebral palsy and with hip dysplasia my entire life. But in 2001, at the age of 18, my disability progressed to the point that I needed to use a wheelchair. My life became a sort of hell. Inaccessibility forced me to leave …

Chicago author Sara Berelsman on how writing helped her quit drinking

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My name is Sara, and I’m an alcoholic. I am not ashamed to say that. In fact, I feel a sense of pride every time I say it, because it means I’ve finally admitted the absolute truth. It’s liberating. It hurts to hide a secret …

As AutismOne heads to Chicago, curator Jacquelyn Marquette shares how creating art can combat adversity

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My son Trent was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. I have many memories of advocating for his rights and struggling to be a good mother to my other two sons, Todd and Travis. Throughout the school years, I held in my heart …

Mark Tebbe takes a step back from technology to enjoy life in real time

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It’s an understatement to say that I love technology — and that I’m constantly working to keep ahead of that learning curve. As such, I hope you can appreciate how frustrated I was when I discovered I had become a slave to technology — more …

President of Kendall College Emily Williams Knight on why she believes losing might be life’s greatest lesson

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There’s a lot of talk about today’s competitive environment for children. People seem to fall on either side of the issue. Some believe children should be encouraged and awarded equally (a soccer trophy for participation) and others feel children need to understand that the world …

‘The Dinner Party’ host Elysabeth Alfano on how to succeed in business (and definitely trying)

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After owning an art gallery for 10 years, I started a production company called Fear No ART Chicago, which produced a WTTW-TV show of the same name. I now produce “The Dinner Party,” a monthly live talk show with celebrities and chefs. I know firsthand …

Approaching Mother’s Day, ‘American Dream Builders’ star Monica Pedersen shares memories from her first year as a mom

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As you may recall from my last column, I became a mother to Holly last summer. I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally be a mom — this past year has been filled with so much love and beauty (and, of course, a lot of …

Julie Smolyansky on refusing to accept the status quo abroad and at home in Chicago

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I still remember hearing the story of a 30-year-old mother of five living at the United Nations Refugee Agency Nakivale Refugee Settlement in western Uganda. Unspeakable acts of war and sexual violence forced her and her family from their home four years ago; when I …

Grant Thornton CEO Stephen Chipman on the importance of supporting adoption

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During my time in China in the 1990s, I became very aware of the thousands of children who lacked a loving family. Along with a deep-seated belief that every child deserves an environment in which to thrive, this spurred my wife, Kim, and me to …

Jaslene Gonzalez shares how she triumphed over domestic violence

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In the summer of 2003, I started dating someone. I was a senior in high school and he was three years older than me. I immediately fell in love with him — we said the words “I love you” only a few months after we …

Dana Hokin Garvey, Joffrey board member and co-chair of Joffrey’s Spring Gala, on the universal language of performance

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As a lifelong student of and practitioner in the arts, joining the Joffrey Ballet’s Women’s Board five years ago made perfect sense for me. My days as a young woman studying at the School of American Ballet in New York City instilled in me discipline, …

Bob Sirott imagines a future in which the Cubs win the World Series — and transform Chicago

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It’s been exactly one week since hell froze over and the Cubs capped their magical, miracle 2015 season with a stunning World Series championship. When Cy Young and Comeback Player of the Year candidate Edwin Jackson bested Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 1-0 in a …