“I love this city, it’s been good to me. I’ve always wanted to help the people around me and now I have a chance to give back to the community.”
Glen Lerner Gives Back
Glen Lerner had a humble upbringing and understands the struggles that can deter people from their dreams. That is why he encourages the lawyers and support staff of his personal injury firm to pursue charitable activities and sponsorship opportunities within the communities where they live and work to help improve the lives of others.With the help of family and friends, great deeds have been achieved through the law firm’s charitable arm Glen Lerner Gives Back in Las Vegas, Pahrump, Phoenix, and Chicago. The law firm’s efforts through Glen Lerner Gives Back assist at-risk children, families and four-legged critters who face daily struggles during these hard economic times.
Charitable organizations they are involved with include:
- Speedway Children’s Charities
- Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada
- Little Friends Animal Foundation
- Las Vegas Sportz Foundation
- Shop with a Cop
Click here for an extended list of organizational groups Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys supports.
Glen Lerner Pays it Forward
Glen Lerner feels blessed to have been presented with opportunities that have made him the success that he is today. He believes in paying forward these blessing through acts of gratitude by giving something back to help make positive community and social changes.Glen hopes that other business and individuals who can will also get involved and show an interest in making a difference and offering positive contributions within their own communities. Together the power of many joining together can make a difference.
Over the past few months, our personal injury firm has become a fan of the Chicago Police Department’s CAPS program. CAPS, (which stands for “Community Alternative Policing Strategy”) seeks to bring the community and other agencies together to identify and solve neighborhood crime problems, rather than simply react to their symptoms.
We believe the CAPS mission aligns with the Glen Lerner Gives Back vision to become immersed in the local neighborhoods and the lives of residents throughout our city. Glen Lerner Gives Back had the opportunity to partner with the CAPS program to create a “Safe Haven” for Chicago Police Department – District 009 area youth during the week of April 10th-14th.
With the CAPS strategy in hand, and recognizing the urgent need addressed by the local community, Glen Lerner Gives Back committed the resources needed to provide 5 days of safe recreational activities for local area kids. CAPS officers and local community leaders collaborated to determine which age range and neighborhood areas would benefit most from a week of programming that consisted of what we termed, “Recreation and Inspiration”. It was determined that the program would be open to youths ages 7-15.
Our “Safe Haven Spring Break” kicked off at 9:30 am on April 10th, starting with a continental breakfast coordinated by the CPD and funded by Target. This breakfast was provided every morning of the program and was a key component of the day, as many of the kids come from homes where breakfast is often unavailable.
After breakfast, the youth would spend over two hours playing soccer and basketball and enjoying the many amenities of Chicago Indoor Sports, who graciously hosted our event. (Mr. John Burns and the entire facility staff, went above and beyond to welcome the kids)
The youth were given full access to all the facility had to offer, which included unlimited game access to the Razzmatazz Arcade, and provided a pizza lunch every day. On Wednesday, the 12th, the kids enjoyed a roller skating party at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park & Family Entertainment Center.
Our firm was also fortunate to receive the much-needed and greatly appreciated time and efforts of Bridgeport community chaperones, coaches, and youth leaders. They made themselves available daily to not only provide supervision but to interact with the children and serve as positive role models. Some of them even got to share their stories during the “Daily Inspiration Youth Chat” and informal conversations throughout the day. Our very own Glen Lerner shared his personal story of being raised by a single parent on welfare, with a dad in prison and how with God’s help he persevered and overcame those setbacks. Glen’s background resonated with the youth, and his story inspired them, along with his advice to have goals, work hard, and to trust God with their futures.
The success of this week was a result of the collective efforts of the community. It was also a powerful testimony of what can be accomplished when groups collaborate to identify issues, work to solve them and make a positive impact where it is needed most.
Our gratitude and appreciation go out to Senator Antonio Munoz, Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council/Craig Chico, City Year, Brenda Davis, 9th District Police, Commander Stephen Chung, Sgt. Ken Janeczko, Sgt. John Verta, P.O. Sabrina King, P.O. Cheryl Clark, P.O. Kevin Rochwicz, P.O. Jim McAndrew, P.O. Jim Campagna, P.O. Oscar Escalante, CAPS implementation office/Rick Contreras and Terry Wenta, San Miguel School/Salvador Chavez, Fuller Park/Lisa Simpson, Sherman Park/Marvin Tolbert, Theresa Johnson, Hermitage Park/Monique Whitfield, Kelly Park/Luis Ruiz, Brighton Park/Jennifer Ruiz, and Cornell Park.
Teaching Life Lessons Through Basketball at Piccolo Middle School
By Injury Attorney Thomas Grace
Basketball has been a part of my life since I was nine years old. I built my early friendships on the driveway playing basketball from sun up to sun down. I learned to compete, I learned how to win and certainly how to lose. The game taught me how to work with others and how to be responsible and accountable to others.
Those same lessons translated for me into the classroom. I knew it was okay to work hard and to want a better grade in my classes than my friends. I set goals for myself, pushed myself to achieve them, and learned from my mistakes when I fell short. Competing honestly and with integrity was okay, basketball taught me not only that competing hard was okay, but how to do it. Along the way, I developed confidence and a sense of self-worth that permeated all aspects of my life.
There is a certain honesty about sport that is unique. I learned that once I stepped on the court, it was not long before the game rewarded my hard work and preparation, but the game also exposed my weaknesses just as quickly. I had to take ownership of my level of play. Basketball taught me the importance of hard work and preparation. Hard work always pays off. Not always in the way I anticipated or when I expected, but hard work always pays off. Basketball taught me that lesson over and over again.
I never achieved great success as a basketball player. But I tried, I completely committed to being the best player I could be. I approached basketball with passion and with no fear of failure. And I loved every minute I was on the court.
I took what basketball taught me and applied it to my studies, to my career, and to all aspects of my life. As I grew older, I found other ways to feed my competitive nature. Ultimately, I became an attorney and traded the basketball court for the courtroom. Even in the new venue, I had to be prepared and worked harder than I ever had before.
I do not know how I would have stayed focused and on the right path without the lessons from basketball. I would have been lost, adrift, without it. When Glen Lerner challenged the attorneys in his Chicago law firm, Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys, to give back to the communities in Chicago, I immediately turned to what I know, basketball. The firm is built around its client relationships and from its founder’s insatiable desire to help people. Glen makes community outreach a priority and demands that those around him also make it a priority.
I have coached youth basketball for 7 years. I have coached in more than 150 competitive youth basketball games in tournaments in Chicago, Austin and Houston, Texas, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. With all due respect to the Cubs’ recent accomplishments, Chicago is a basketball town and Michael Jordan is still its hero. Chicago high schools have produced some of the NBA’s greatest players, many hall of fame players and coaches. Despite that history, funding of the Chicago Public Schools is so strained, that even the city’s basketball programs struggle to get what they need. Combined with the gun violence in Chicago’s west side that has made national news, young ballers are having a tough time.
With the help of Triple Threat Mentoring, I was fortunate to connect with Piccolo Middle School in Chicago’s west side and meet some fantastic educators, Erin Lauesen and Michael Abello. Erin is a teacher, administrator and a coach. Michael is the principal at the school. They are on the front lines, fighting for young boys and girls and their futures. They welcomed me into their school and allowed me to teach basketball to the young players at the school. I worked with them in their practices, conducted Saturday morning skills clinics and helped coach some of their games.
Time on the court with these young players is food for my soul. There is simply nothing comparable to helping a young player learn something new and watch them incorporate what they have learned into their game, and achieve new success. Basketball was instrumental to my development as a man, and these young players cannot, must not, be denied that same opportunity. Neither a city budget crisis, nor the ever presence of senseless violence can be permitted to interfere in the chance of Chicago’s young boys and girls to play and compete in the game of basketball. I can’t fix the problems on Chicago’s west side, but I can teach young boys and girls how to shoot a basketball.
I was fortunate enough to see the boys and girls at Piccolo Middle School compete this past winter through their basketball season. But when their season ended, the school had no funds for a celebration of the players’ commitment and achievement. Winter sports banquets happened across the city, I even attended my own son’s basketball banquet at his high school in a Chicago suburb. But there was nothing planned at Piccolo Middle School. I could not accept that and neither could Glen.
Thankfully, Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys and its outreach program, Glen Lerner Gives Back, stepped up and provided what the school and the players needed – A Basketball Banquet. It was nothing fancy, pizza, pasta and salad from a local favorite pizza parlor, Beggars Pizza. When I explained what we were doing, Beggars gave us a substantial discount on all the food. We also provided 44 trophies and medals from a local trophy and sign company, Crown Trophy. They were happy to help select quality items to commemorate the season for the boys and girls.
Together, the players, parents, teachers and coaches celebrated their basketball season. For an hour or two, one middle school on Chicago’s west side had a party and applauded each other and their accomplishments. I was honored and humbled to be a small part of it.
Basketball has always been and always will be an invaluable tool to teach critical life skills. And thanks to my boss’ refreshing and unique commitment to community outreach, and the help of a couple of local businesses, basketball will continue to teach important life lessons to the ballers at Piccolo Middle School.
We share conversations over meals and serve side by side with local leaders. We celebrate our neighbors’ victories and support them in their losses. We become advocates for their local community.
As an organization, our Chicago injury law firm never sees ourselves as the answer to a community’s problem or pretend to know it. We come alongside other groups to discover solutions.
We ask questions, we listen attentively, and when appropriate, we respond. We are never “THE” answer but we contribute a small part of the solution whenever possible.
Often the real heroes are the nameless and faceless individuals. These invisible heroes are out in communities making a difference every day. They volunteer to meet the needs of their neighbors.
Many of them do so after working full-time jobs and taking care of their own families. Out of their own pockets, they fund initiatives that meet desperate needs.
You and I may never meet them or hear about their work, but they are out there touching lives and leaving lasting marks in the souls of communities.
Every so often, we are lucky enough to be in the same room with them, and for a brief moment or even a season, we share in their mission and support their work. On rare occasions, our Chicago personal injury attorneys have the opportunity to tell their story and to bring awareness to the causes that are deep in their hearts.
Our effectiveness in community outreach comes from learning the lessons these real heroes teach.
Mrs. Erin Lausen by day serves on the administration team at Piccolo School of Excellence on Chicago’s West Side. The school’s vision is to cultivate a multicultural community that will prepare and educate ALL students with the academic and social skills necessary to be lifelong learners and leaders that will contribute to society.
We were first introduced to Mrs. Lausen by an organization called Triple Threat Mentoring, based in Aurora IL, which runs a program called WINGS. Tom Grace, one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys, served as a volunteer through WINGS program at Piccolo. It was through this volunteer opportunity that our relationship with the school and Mrs. Lausen began.
Mrs. Lausen not only serves the school as an administrator and a teacher, but also as its 7/8th Grade boys’ basketball coach. Coach Lausen, as she is known to her team, is one of those nameless and faceless individuals that often go beyond the regular job duties to meet students’ needs.
After full days of work and sometimes even on weekends, Mrs. Lausen is often found coaching her basketball team and helping them create new opportunities that the game of basketball can offer.
Coach Lausen understands that the lessons she teaches on the court are often transferable to the players’ day-to-day lives. She helps the students understand that basketball is not just about a game, but a metaphor for life itself.
Without people like Coach Lausen, these boys would not have the extra-curricular opportunities they now enjoy. The practices, clinics, and games that she leads faithfully help the students learn discipline and stay focused in school.
Glen Lerner Gives Back is honored to tell the story of our West Side hero and friend, Mrs. Erin Lausen.
Being injured in an accident often leaves a victim traumatized and in the need of a Chicago personal injury lawyer. After seeing a billboard, watching a commercial on television, or by the recommendation of a friend or loved one, our clients come to us in physical and emotional pain and our attorneys are ready to help.
Hope is about trust
Once the person makes that first call and we determine we can help, our Chicago personal injury firm commits to providing the best legal representation available and simultaneously activates the full force of our personnel and our resources. The person hangs up the phone knowing that he or she is in good hands.
Our commitment to exceptional legal representation is an important objective but not the only objective in this client/firm relationship.
Hope is about partnerships that create opportunities
We understand that a majority of our personal injury clients come from broken homes and underserved Chicago communities which lack basic resources. For many of them the slogan “In a wreck, need a check” is a timely message and a possible solution to very real and immediate needs.
As a neighbor and a business in these same struggling communities, we have committed our personal injury firm to stand in solidarity with other groups and meet some of these needs.
One of our partners serving the Chicago Woodlawn neighborhood is Hope Works Community Development. Since 2014, Hope Works is doing all they can to help individuals get back to work.
Their staff and volunteers work one-on-one to design specific solutions to long-term unemployment in a community where 41 percent make less than $15,000 per year and 32 percent meet the federal standards for “severely impoverished”. www.hopeworkschicago.org.
Hope is embodied in small acts of kindness
Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys staff became partners of hope by collecting donations of gently used business clothing and shoes for the Hope Works Community Development clients. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers understand that something as simple as a clothing drive can serve as the starting point in someone’s journey out of hopelessness.
Hope can change the world
Jerome came to his first appointment at Hope Works with an interview scheduled for later that week. He was hopeful about the interview, but wanted some help preparing for it as well as with applying for other positions.
When his Community Advocate asked him if he had clothes for his interview, Jerome mentioned that he had just moved to town and didn’t have many clothes with him. We were able to find him a new shirt and pants, but didn’t have shoes in his size.
Another client was in a meeting at the same time and overheard what was going on. He realized that they wear the same size of shoes and offered to give Garvin a pair of his own shoes. Garvin left his meeting with clothes for his interview, transportation so that he didn’t have to walk for 2 miles, and a renewed sense of hope!
David has been working with us for the last eight months. He has a good amount of experience doing security work, and has gotten two unsuccessful interviews since we started working with him. He recently received an interview for a local grocery store and when he was asked what he was going to wear, he was reluctant to tell his Community Advocate.
Upon hearing that Hope Works had clothes that he could have for his interview he asked to look at them. He tried on a shirt that he liked along with the blue jeans that he had come in with. He asked his advocate if it would be appropriate to wear the jeans to an interview.
When he was told that it wasn’t, he was able to find a pair of slacks that he could wear to the interview. He asked multiple times if the clothes were free and if he could keep them. He left his meeting with enhanced interview skills and an outfit to wear for his upcoming interview!
For example, last November we met with CAPS officer Sabrina King of The Chicago Police Department District 9 at an event in Morgan Park to help provide families with Thanksgiving dinner in Southside Chicago.
The event, which also partnered with 45 other organizations including the Boys and Girls Club and the Salvation Army, was able to provide over 1,000 different families with complete Thanksgiving meals.
This success was largely due to the awareness of Officer King that some of the seniors and shut-ins in her district would miss out on this great chance if delivery was not offered, Officer King took action upon herself. So with the help of her partner, Officer Clark registered the families and delivered the food baskets to their homes personally. Without their help, families would have missed out who were in desperate need of food during the holidays.
Though it has been almost five months since our first introduction to Officer King, we have continued to remain in contact and meet frequently in order to coordinate future community outreach events.