Illinois Governor JB Pritzker enjoyed learning more about Chicago Treasure from President and CEO Dr. Janet Szlyk during his recent tour of The Chicago Lighthouse. This inclusive children’s book features photographs of Lighthouse preschoolers with and without visual impairments, along with a diverse cross-section of Chicagoland youth. Author proceeds from Chicago Treasure are donated to The Chicago Lighthouse and Access Living, helping to provide necessary programs for children, families, and veterans living with disabilities.
Over 250 Chicagoans came out to The Chicago Lighthouse to celebrate the release of the new book Chicago Treasure which stars local children, many of whom are preschool students at The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled. In this inclusive hardcover book, photographs of Chicago children have been digitally imposed into fairytale illustrations, classic works of art, and photography of Chicago landmarks to create a colorful world where every child, regardless of ability, ethnicity, gender, or age is free to see themselves take on great roles.
The young stars enthusiastically flipped through the pages of Chicago Treasure until they found their pictures, then proudly shared them with friends and family. Chicago Treasure creators Larry Broutman, Rich Green, and John Rabias happily signed autographs until their hands hurt for the never-ending line of eager book buyers. But the fun didn’t stop there.
VisionQuest, a rhythm and blues band made of members of The Chicago Lighthouse Adult Living Skills Program, gave a dynamic performance that had the crowd cheering for more. Elsa sang “Let It Go” with some help from talented and starstruck youngsters. Tinkerbell and Peter Pan even stopped by to pose for pictures with their new young friends.
A puppet show, face painting, balloon animals, arts and crafts, ice cream sundaes, cupcakes, and cotton candy were enjoyed by the young and the young at heart.
The Chicago Lighthouse President & CEO Dr. Janet Szlyk and Board of Directors Chairman Gary Rich spoke to the crowd about Mr. Broutman’s support of The Chicago Lighthouse over the years, which includes serving on the Board and donating proceeds from Chicago Treasure and his three other books of photography to The Chicago Lighthouse and Access Living. Access Living President & CEO Marca Bristo joined in the praise of Chicago Treasure and reminded the crowd of the necessity of telling everyone’s story. Coming to the podium after thunderous applause, photographer and author Larry Broutman shared that the idea for this innovative project came to him in a dream to which a supporter in the crowd yelled, “Keep dreaming, Larry!”
Chicago Treasure is available now from publisher Everything Goes Media, on Amazon, and in Chicagoland bookstores and gift shops.
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*Photographs appear courtesy of Othervertical for The Chicago Lighthouse.