Relief Worker and Mercy Home to be Honored

January 19, 2012 | by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs

One of Chicago’s longest-established service organizations for young people in need and an Elmhurst resident who delivers emergency aid to global disaster zones will receive Elmhurst College’s third annual Leadership Awards.

The College will present the awards to Mercy Home for Boys and Girls and to Mark Dyer, a volunteer with ShelterBox International, on March 17, during Elmhurst’s annual Evening for Scholarships gala, which raises funds for student financial aid. The annual Leadership Awards honor an organization that makes a significant impact on the community and an individual who embodies the values of the College.

Mercy Home, founded in 1887, offers full-time residential care, mentoring and other support for young people suffering from abuse, neglect, abandonment and poverty. It provides academic, vocational and therapeutic services for more than 600 young people each year, giving them “the opportunity to rebuild their lives and realize their dreams.” In its 124-year history, it has served some 24,000 young people in need. It maintains two Chicago residential campuses: one for boys at 1140 West Jackson Blvd., and another for girls at 11600 South Longwood Drive. Among the young people served by Mercy Home are several who have gone on to attend Elmhurst College on full-tuition scholarships.

Mark Dyer began volunteering with ShelterBox, a disaster relief charity specializing in providing emergency shelter, in 2007. ShelterBox delivers emergency supplies to families affected by natural disasters and other calamities. Each of its signature green boxes contains essential equipment—a tent, stove, blankets, water purification equipment and tools—for people left homeless or displaced. Dyer, a business consultant and former owner of an advertising and marketing firm, has been sent on humanitarian missions for the organization in Niger, Somalia, Haiti and Colombia. In 2010, he and his college-age son Eric and 10 other ShelterBox volunteers climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, to build awareness of the organization’s efforts. They also worked with an impoverished Tanzanian school to provide students with math and English textbooks, and raised more than $20,000 for disaster relief. An active Rotarian and Eagle Scout, Dyer speaks to community groups to raise awareness of and support for ShelterBox’s work.

The Leadership Awards and the Evening for Scholarships gala celebrate Elmhurst’s commitment to making an Elmhurst education accessible to all its students. Elmhurst provides need-based financial aid or merit scholarships to 85 percent of its entering students. The inaugural Evening for Scholarships raised more than $200,000 for student scholarships.

The March 17 event at the Frick Center begins with a 6:00 p.m. reception and continues with dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at $175 per person or $2,000 for a table of 10. Sponsorship opportunities also are available. For more information or to reserve tickets, contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (630) 617-3607.

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