Sept. 14 brought a crowd of friends and supporters to the new office of the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, 1900A Dempster St. The event featured kudos and thanks to the numerous local vendors who donated much of the labor and materials to make the office seem welcoming; words of praise from Moran Center Executive Director Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Board Chair Betsy Lehman and Second Ward Alderman Peter Braithwaite, along with plenty of food, drink and music.
Justice Palooza, the day’s theme, echoed the organization’s tagline, “Justice Changes Everything.”
The new office is spacious, bright and large compared to the old office. The old office, 1,500 square feet, supported 18 staff members and their clients. The new office has twice as much space, 3,500 square feet, and has private offices for social workers and attorneys, a conference room and room to grow. In the waiting room there are comfortable chairs, a distinguished-looking photograph of Judge Moran and toys to entertain little ones while a parent or guardian is being counseled.
The office is located at Evanston Plaza, on the site of the old WaMu Bank at the corner of Dempster Street and Dodge Avenue, near the Dunkin Donuts. It is within walking distance of Evanston Township High School, is accessible by public transportation and has plenty of free parking.
The site had been empty for 15 years, and much of the interior work required a lot of updating to come up to code. Donna Masini, Director of Operations at the Moran Center, served as temporary contractor and coordinated nearly every detail having to do with the build out. Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse did a stellar job deconstructing the old bank space and making the items available for recycling, reuse, repurposing or refuse, she said.
Mr. Keenan-Devlin was overjoyed when one of the Center’s supporters described the new office space as “client centric.” The Moran Center is dedicated to helping low-income Evanston youth and their families improve their quality of life through integrated legal and social work services. The four program areas of the Center are legal representation, social work services, youth advocacy and restorative justice services.