2016 is the tenth anniversary for the Center on Halsted, a milestone for the organization that started as Horizons, a small outreach center for the LGBTQ community in Lakeview. Today, their services span an entire city block and include the recent addition of affordable housing and supporting facilities for the senior community.
In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, the COH became a center for collective mourning. A Healing Community Vigil was held in the street lobby to honor the victims. The service began with a speech from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Poet and artist, Staceyann Chin, inspires and soothes while speaking at the Orlando vigil.
The City of Chicago closed the streets around the Center for the large gathering and in impromptu memorial was set up at the front door.
The Center has just finished upgrading and expanding food and beverage functions on the third floor to better serve the growing demand of the social and celebratory side of the facility. Rubiostudio added a new full service bar and teaching kitchen just in time for the party season, starting with Oscar's night.
Silverfork is a 9-week vocational culinary arts training program geared towards under employed members of the LGBTQ community who are searching for a career change or boost. The participants receive hands-on professional kitchen skills training and FSS certification. Case management services help the graduates with their job search and the employment process.
A final dinner at the Center's 3rd floor party space is the culmination of the program and marks their transition to the culinary world of Chicago and beyond. They prepare and serve a spectacular, full course dinner for 50+ guests, including a cocktail hour with passed hors d'oeuvres and dessert.
The new professional kitchen, outfitted with the appropriate commercial grade appliances and work environment, has helped to make this program a huge success and to cultivate the next wave of chefs and service professionals in the food and beverage industry