With the holiday season around the corner, I can’t help but to think about the annual Face the Future Foundation Holiday Party and Toy Drive. On December 10th GUS Company Members will be performing for the third year in a row at the UIC Craniofacial unit for the Face the Future Foundation Holiday Party. Face the Future Foundation works to transform the lives of Chicago-based children with cleft palate and craniofacial anomalies by facilitating access to the best medical care and funding research and education, while helping the children build brighter futures. The Foundation treats all who need the medical care, and does not discriminate against race, ethnicity, or the ability to pay. This performance has become a highlight for all of our Company Members, faculty, & staff at GUS because we are able to experience the joy that the children have when watching our GUS dancers while being a part of this great community.

More than 350 children attend the Face the Future Foundation Holiday Party and each one leaves with a gift from Santa Claus! The patients and their siblings all receive a gift that are provided through the Toy Drive that GUS holds at the School.  We begin collecting toys on November 1st for all of the children and last year we collected over 300 gifts! All of our students at the School are highly encouraged to donate and many donate multiple gifts. Our GUS students love going with their parents to pick out gifts for the children and it all comes full circle when watching the children open them.

After our first year performing at the party, my mother Amy Giordano, fell in love with the children and became a board member for the Foundation. We were invited to go on a tour of the Craniofacial Unit at UIC after she became a member of the board.  We were ecstatic to go on the tour because we were able to see the facility and how much they make an impact on the lives of the children and their families. They treat children from the time they are born all the way until they turn 18 and you could tell immediately that the Director of the Craniofacial Unit, Dr. Mimis Cohen, pours his soul into creating a brighter and healthier life for the kids.  While on the tour and at the party, you are able to see the love that the all of the doctors and staff have for the children.  It is infectious! Our Company Members stay for hours after the performance is over to take photos, decorate cookies, and help the children with crafts. Every year we are honored to be a part of this event.

Written by Lauren Giordano Curran