StoryStudio Gives Back

2013 marked StoryStudio’s tenth anniversary, and to celebrate we decided to give back. In the first half of the year, each month we  donated our time, skills, energy, and community spirit to a different local organization or charity.

For the last half of the year, we decided to focus on you, our StoryStudio Writers. You’ll notice more free classes, open houses, student readings, and Saturday Write-Ins.

Below you can read about some of our activities with local organizations.


May is a Day at the Beach (Er… Riverside) 

In our fifth month of giving back, we’ll work with Friends of the Chicago River to rescue a resource we can all call our own. May 11th is Chicago River Day, and we’re celebrating by grabbing our galoshes, gloving up, and getting down to clean up the river.

Join us on-site at the Chicago River as we remove trash and debris from the river proper. We’ll spend a morning pulling shopping carts, mattresses, plastic bags and other inorganic material from the riverbanks and shallows. We invite all of our friends, students, and neighbors to join us in protecting this important local resource and natural habitat.

WHO: Friends of the Chicago River

WHEN: Saturday, May 11, 2013; 9am – noon

WHERE: Lincoln Village Shopping Center, 6075 N. Lincoln (just north of Peterson) at the North Shore Channel of the River.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: We’ll meet in the parking lot behind the Panera & Starbucks at 8:45. Wear close-toed shoes, and comfortable clothes that can get dirty or damp. You might also want to bring gardening or work gloves, water, and sunscreen. We’re working rain or shine, so dress for the weather!

Drop us an e-mail ( to let us know you’re coming!

April is In Like a Lemon, Out Like a Lamp

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to mean throwing things away! For our April “Gives Back” effort, we’re partnering with Edgewater’s Community Glue Workshop, an organization that specializes in repairing, rehabilitating, and recycling items that might otherwise end up in the landfill.

On April 21st, StoryStudio Chicago will host a Community Glue Fix-Up right here in our Chicago studio! We’ll provide the space for a great exercise in sustainability and community-building as our handiest friends and neighbors volunteer their time, skills, and tools to repair one another’s broken or weathered belongings.

At StoryStudio, we appreciate efforts in sustainability (that’s why we compost, limit paper usage, and keep the lights off when we can!), and we are thrilled to play a part in making our community greener.

WHO: Community Glue Workshop

WHEN: Sunday, April 21, 2013; 4pm – 7pm

WHERE: StoryStudio Chicago

REPAIREES: Bring an item in disrepair (lamps, electronics, bikes, jewelry, toys, etc.) to our Chicago studio during the fix-up event. Your tool-savvy friends and neighbors will be here to make the appropriate repairs.

HANDYFOLK: Bring your tool belts and a can-do attitude. Meet and bond with your neighbors as you put your skills to use repairing their fixer-uppers (light fixtures, instruments, bikes, jewelry, etc).

*NOTE: This is a BYOB event.

March Supports Women’s Safety

Join us throughout March as we partner with Apna Ghar, Inc. to collect women’s toiletries for victims of domestic violence. All month long we’ll be gathering everything from toothbrushes to razors, deodorant to shower gel and other nonperishable necessities to be used and distributed in Apna Ghar’s transitional shelters.

As an organization that rehabilitates and empowers women from all walks of life, Apna Ghar’s work is ongoing and always urgent. As such, we are proud to stand in solidarity with Apna Ghar and to support the women it serves.

Help support the cause on your next trip to StoryStudio.
WHO: Apna Ghar, Inc.

WHEN: Collections will run through April 10

WHERE: Collection Box in the studio lobby

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Bring women’s hygiene items, store gift cards (e.g. Target, Amazon, Jewel or similar stores), universal gift cards (e.g. Visa, American Express, MasterCard), cleaning supplies (e.g disinfecting wipes, cleaning powders or sprays, dishwashing liquid and sponges, garbage bags, etc.), toiletries (e.g. deodorant, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products), diapers, etc.

February Is in the (Grocery) Bag!

This month we will team up with our neighbors at Ravenswood Community Services, the organization behind our local outdoor Market Pantry. We’ll roll up our sleeves as we spend a morning setting up tables, greeting visitors, gleaning produce and bagging groceries for families and individuals needing food assistance.

We can’t overstate the importance of a strong showing for a good cause, so we encourage all of our friends, students, and partners to join us on what should be a fun and rewarding Saturday morning.

WHO: Ravenswood Community Services/Greater Chicago Food Depository

WHEN: Saturday, February 9, 2013; 8:30AM – 11AM

WHERE: Ravenswood School Staff Parking Lot, 4332 N. Paulina

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Interested in joining us? Please drop us an email so we can get an accurate volunteer headcount in advance.

January Goes to the Dogs

To kick off our year of giving back, we’ll be collecting pet food and supplies for the Care For Real Pet Food Pantry, an offshoot of the Care For Real food and clothing pantry in Edgewater. It’s a cause that’s close to our hearts: our studio mascot Zia, a retired racing greyhound who spends most afternoons snoozing by the front desk, helps to set the friendly, inspiring tone we strive for on a daily basis. Director Jill Pollack also has a rescue dog, a lab mix named Kai, who’s still working on her studio manners.

We know how important pets can be in the lives of their owners. As animal lovers, we believe in the Pet Food Pantry’s mission, and we’re thrilled to help support it.

Read more about Care for Real and founder Patti Colandrea.

WHO: Care for Real Pet Pantry

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Bring pet food, supplies, toys, clothes, etc.

WHEN: Collections will run through February 10

WHERE: The collection box is in the front of the studio just next to the coffeepot.

DON’T HAVE A PET? No problem. The Urban Pooch Canine Center, just a few blocks away, is our collecting partner and ready for you to pop in to purchase dog supplies before coming to class.