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One-Day ‘Blitz Build’ Will Give Englewood Children’s Facility a Face Lift

A team of more than 150 design and construction professionals and volunteers will come together June 25 for a one-day "blitz build" event to transform Metropolitan Family Services’ Learning and Wellness Center that recently opened on Chicago’s South Side. The team will rally to build a colorful play area and renovate the 30-year-old building’s interior.

The effort is organized by AEC Cares, a non-profit corporation supported by Reed Construction Data, with the American Institute of Architects and Hanley Wood, generous sponsors, donors and volunteers.

“The City of Chicago is deeply committed to providing quality early learning to all children," says Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “A warm and welcoming environment is an important part of the equation. I am grateful to the many corporate and community partners who are coming together to help beautify one of our newest early childhood facilities.”

Renee Pinczes, Vice President of Finance, Reed Construction Data, and Board President, AEC Cares, stated, “We are honored this year to bring AEC Cares to the Chicago community. Working with Metropolitan and our exceptional group of volunteers, we can create an exciting and fresh environment that encourages young children to learn and excel.”

This is the fourth year AEC Cares members have volunteered their time and skills for a rehab project. The effort always takes place in the host city of the AIA National Convention the day before the convention kicks off. This year, with the AIA convention in Chicago, Metropolitan Family Services is the lucky recipient of AEC Cares members’ many talents.

“We are grateful to AEC Cares and Reed Construction for offering their professional expertise to improve the facilities at our Englewood-area Learning and Wellness Center,” said Metropolitan Family Services President and CEO Ric Estrada. “Creating a bright, welcoming space that stimulates children to learn and families and the community to engage is a valuable service that is very much appreciated.”

Metropolitan’s new Learning & Wellness Center—the first of its kind in the area—brings together early learning and children’s health and wellness services, along with family and community programs. The Center offers residents of Chicago’s Englewood, West Englewood and Back of the Yards communities access to quality early childhood programs plus a range of other family services.

"We are excited about the volunteers coming to the Learning and Wellness Center and the work they'll be doing to update the building,” said Reginald Frazier, a parent with a child who attends the Pre-K/Early-Learning Program at the Learning and Wellness Center.  “We really appreciate their time."

The Learning and Wellness Center opened in February with a visit from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and has the capacity to provide high-quality early learning and care for up to 158 children ages birth to 5 years old. Families can access a full range of wrap-around services including support services for parents and pregnant mothers, adult & children’s mental health services, legal assistance, and job readiness programs.  Openings in early childhood and other programs are still available. 

The Center is located in the annex of Arthur Libby Elementary School, 5338 S. Loomis Street, and is operated by Metropolitan Family Services in partnership with the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Miles Square Health Center and numerous other community leaders and contributors. The Center was the focus of a recent visit from the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education & Families, which convened in Chicago to discuss innovative ways communities are aligning services to meet the needs of children and families.

About Metropolitan Family Services

Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal, to thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan has been the engine of change that empowers families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities. Metropolitan reaches more than 63,000 families and individuals annually through seven community centers, with services that promote education, economic stability, emotional wellness and empowerment. For more information, visit

About AEC Cares

AEC Cares is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation actively supported by Reed Construction Data, with the AIA and Hanley Wood, generous sponsors, donors and volunteers. Bringing together architects, contractors, manufacturers and industry professionals from across the United States and Canada, AEC Cares works to create positive change through meaningful projects that benefit a new community every year. To learn more about AEC Cares, visit

About Reed Construction Data

Reed Construction Data, a division of Reed Business Information and the Inaugural Strategic Partner of the AIA, is a leading North American provider of construction information. Reed provides actionable insight to construction professionals through a diverse portfolio of innovative products and services, including national, regional and local construction project data, accurate and reliable construction cost data, effective marketing solutions and dynamic market intelligence. To learn more about Reed, visit

Keywords: AEC Cares, Learning & Wellness Center, Metropolitan Family Services, Reed Construction Data

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