Our FIRST Monthly Soup & Chili event hosted by nana

Benton House has teamed up with local restaurant Nana Organic once again!  On January 16th, Nana will host the inaugural monthly fundraiser at Benton House with a spread of soups and chili; we will also have bread and desserts, coffee and other treats from local establishments and volunteers.  Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 advance purchase through Eventbrite or direct purchase in our office at 3052 S Gratten until January 14th.  Each month Benton House will highlight and raise funds for one of our programs; in January proceeds from our raffle will support the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team #4551, the Robotic Rangers.  One lucky person will take home a $50 gift certificate to nana by purchasing raffle tickets at $5 each or $20 for 5 tickets.  Students and mentors from our FIRST Robotics Competition team will be there to showcase last year's bot, coach you on the joystick controls, and talk to you about plans for this year's game, Aerial Assist.  Funds raised will cover needed material, tools, pizza and t-shirts over the intensive 6 week build season from January 4 - February 15.  Check out the flier crafted by our Resident Design Wiz, Ernie, and below for more information on the incredible stories behind this event.

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Our Partnership With nana:

When we asked local restaurants to support our efforts in the Hunger Walk of 2013, they responded with a campaign that raised awareness to the growing problem of food insecurity in our neighborhood, and added $1300 to our fundraising effort.  Thanks to nana, the Food Pantry at Benton House finished 9th of 630 food pantries in the Greater Chicago Food Depository Network.

Their involvement is nothing short of heroic.  These great people have made it a mission to advance our community and play a prominent role in ending food insecurity in Bridgeport.  They are a family-owned, organic restaurant offering choices for those who are not only passionate about great tasting food, but who are also passionate about where their food comes from. They source the finest of organic ingredients from farmers, producers and vendors who meet and maintain USDA National Organic Program standards.

Our Partnership With FIRST:

"The varsity Sport for the MindTM, FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team."  More info at usfirst.org.

In October 2012, Ryan Kamphuis and Kori Bowns, both Science Education majors at IIT and alumni of FRC, approached us about starting a FIRST team, and we immediately fell in love with the idea.  Together with Youth Programs Coordinator Ben Noetzel, the team of Mentors secured the Program Growth Grant from NASA and went on to compete in the Midwest Regional, earning the Highest Seated Rookie Award from FIRST along with several peer awards from other FRC teams, and finished 3 spots shy of qualifying for the World Championship in St. Louis.  We are excited to return this year to the Midwest Regional in a second year partnership with NASA and FIRST and growing our team.