Building and growing communities is an important part of the work CMSS and its partners do. Fostering relationships, giving people a sense of belonging and helping others is at the foundation of what we look for in a partner. The Honeycomb Project does all of this and more.

The Honeycomb Project is Chicago’s go-to organization for family volunteering. Their programs teach the next generation of volunteers social awareness, empathy and civic action. Parents, children and other mission-driven volunteers from over 120 zip codes in the Chicagoland area support nonprofits to make a bigger difference in the community.

CMSS and The Honeycomb Project began partnering about a year ago. It started as a program that brought families and their pets to CMSS communities so that residents could interact with furry friends and brighten up their days. Residents smiled, cheered and laughed as Honeycomb families and their dogs came to greet them. While social distancing forced us to pause our in-person visits with Honeycomb, we knew we still wanted to work together.

This took shape when The Honeycomb Project decided they needed to reinvent their fall fundraiser. For several years, it had been live karaoke, but this year they expanded it to The Hive Superstar Search. They asked that people from around Chicagoland submit their talents. Countless Chicagoans submitted videos, including five CMSS residents, who did everything from singing, to dancing, to playing piano. The videos can be watched here.

In September, The Honeycomb Project opened up voting to the public and audiences everywhere got to cast their vote for their favorite performance. It came down to two final performers: Nate, the 13-year-old hip-hop dancer and one of our now most popular residents, Gertrude, the 97-year-old tap-dancer. Nate was announced as the winner, but not without a very tough fight from Gertrude. Over $130,000 was raised during The Hive Superstar Search. You can watch the final performance here.

“This is a hard time for people across the city, but the talent show gave us a moment to pause and appreciate Chicagoans and everything our city is about,” Kristina Lowenstein, founder of The Honeycomb Project said. “The variety of talent and the uplifting of spirits is what resonated with folks; as was the opportunity to have fun and be grateful for the people in our city.”

CMSS is so happy to have participated in the talent show and to have helped The Honeycomb Project raise money to support Chicagoland nonprofits. The Honeycomb Project will continue partnering with CMSS by signing up families and volunteers to become pen pals with CMSS residents.

“It means so much to have creative and collaborative partners like CMSS,” Lowenstein said. “We’re all about building a community of giving and compassionate people.”

You can help support The Honeycomb Project by donating today.