A Day of Celebration at Third Place Commons

Monday, March 12, 2018

Over 250 people attended the Breakfast

On Thursday, March 8th, Third Place Commons celebrated their “Commons Community Values” with about 240 members of that very special community.

It was the Commons’ annual breakfast – their biggest fundraiser of the year – and the day when individuals come together as one to support the organization that is dedicated to fostering “real community in real space.”

The program focused on the organization’s core values, which guide the nonprofit’s staff and board in their efforts to foster their vision of “a vibrant, safe, welcoming space open to everyone.”

Casey Smirniotopoulos, vice-chair of the
Third Place Commons board of directors,
served as emcee
Casey Smirniotopoulos, vice-chair of the Third Place Commons board of directors, served as emcee for the day.

She shared thoughts on the “Commons Community Values” throughout the program. These core values include accessibility, community, inclusivity, connection and collaboration.

She pointed out that inclusivity is built into the “open to everyone” vision for the space.

Meanwhile, accessibility is fundamental to everything the Commons does – from offering over 900 free events each year, to hosting partner organizations on the Commons stage at no charge, to distributing Market Bucks food assistance vouchers to community members who struggle with food scarcity.

Smirniotopoulos also noted that they focus on real-world, face-to-face interactions at the Commons and at the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market, in order to achieve genuine connection.

And collaboration is essential to their work as they partner with others to host events, fund and distribute Market Bucks, and bring community members together to develop their own collaborations and partnerships.

In fact, the Third Place Commons’ mission statement actually articulates such partnerships as part of a three-pronged approach to fostering and enriching real community in real space. Those three prongs include hosting public events, presenting the Lake Forest Park Farmers Market, and partnering with others to help maximize their impact.

Chair of the Third Place Commons board of directors, Norman Lieberman, highlighted another of these core values, community, which he noted is not just a value, but the organization’s actual mission. And he talked about all the ways that individuals come together to form community at the Commons through music, dancing, games, play, classes, meetings, shopping at the market, conversation, laughter and more.

Norman Lieberman presents the Friends of the
Community Award to Diane Hettrick,
Editor of the Shoreline Area News.

The highlight of the program was when Lieberman, who also serves as chair of the breakfast committee, presented the annual Friends of the Community Award to the Shoreline Area News Editor Diane Hettrick. Hettrick founded the online publication with her partner Evan Smith in 2009 as a new, daily source of community news – by the people and for the people.

And for eight extraordinary years, Hettrick has run the Shoreline Area News solely out of the goodness of her heart, to serve her community. She doesn’t get paid a dime for her efforts! And no matter how long and busy Hettrick’s days are – every night, without fail, she’s there sharing the news of the community with the community.

The crowd gives Hettrick a standing ovation.
Hettrick was the perfect choice for this year’s award, which happened to be presented on International Women’s Day. And she was greeted with an enthusiastic and well-deserved standing ovation for her efforts! Local poet Jean Monce Bryant was even inspired to write a lovely tribute poem in Hettrick’s honor!

Later that day, Hettrick was, of course, right back at it publishing the next edition of the Shoreline Area News. And by 10 a.m. that day, the Commons was right back to business as usual as the community gathering spot and default heart of the community. But the work continues every day on both fronts!

If you missed the breakfast, you can still support the essential work of Third Place Commons. Find out how to make a gift by visiting ThirdPlaceCommons.org/give. See you at the Commons!



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