112 – Jack Lavin, CEO of Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Reflects on Raising a Child with Down Syndrome
Meet Jack Lavin. Jack has a storied business career including his current role as CEO/President of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce. He’s the father of three children including Emily, 24, who has Down Syndrome. We’ll hear Jack’s inspiring story and the commitment he and his wife Kathy have made to serving those with disability, on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast.
Contact Jack Lavin at: JLavin@chicagolandchamber.org
Find out about the Gateway to Learning at: https://www.gtlchicago.com/programs
The email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dad to Dad 112 – Jack Lavin, CEO of Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Reflects on Raising a Child with Down Syndrome
Jack Lavin: You have to focus on the positive and have stuff around you. That’s positive and tries to keep leading you. And that positive direction doesn’t mean you’re not going to have challenges. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to be some negativity along the way. It doesn’t mean, you know, when you’re fighting for those resources in school, it’s not going to be a battle and you’re going to get frustrated, but. Look at the overall picture and focus on the positive and keep moving forward.
That’s our guest Jack Lavin. Jack has a storied business career, including being the chief of staff for the governor of Illinois and his present role as president of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce. He’s the father of three children, including Emily 24, who has down syndrome.
We’ll hear Jack’s inspiring story on this Dad to Dad podcast. Here’s David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the Dad to Dad podcast, fathers mentoring fathers of children with special needs presented by the c.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process. New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads, to find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.com.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com, groups and search Dad to Dad.
Jack Lavin: And now let’s listen in on this conversation between Jack Lavin and David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with Jack Lavin of Chicago, Illinois. Who’s a father of three and President and CEO of the Chicago Chamber of Commerce. Jack, thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for the Special Fathers Network.
Jack Lavin: Glad to be here, David.
David Hirsch: You and your wife, Kathy had been married for 25 years and the proud parents of Katie 16, Michael 22, and Emily 24, who has down syndrome. Let’s start with some background. Where did you grow up? Tell me something about your family.
Jack Lavin: Sure. Uh, David, I grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, which is a West suburb of Chicago.
I have five siblings, one sister, four brothers, and my father was a family physician and she was a physician at Elmhurst Hospital most of his career. Um, my mom stayed at home and then. Got her bachelor’s degree and worked as a nurse, uh, at the psychiatric various psychiatric hospitals. So I went to York High School and then, uh, when I graduated your High School, uh, I went to the University of Illinois, went there for four years and that was a, uh, once again a great school.
Um, but anyways, so that’s a little bit of background on where I grew up and a little bit of that.
David Hirsch: Let’s go backwards a little bit. You mentioned your dad was a family physician, a lot of stability. That’s what I heard. Uh, you and your five siblings growing up. And how would you describe your relationship with your dad?
Jack Lavin: My dad was a very hard worker. As I mentioned, he was a family physician. He had his own practice. He also worked at a. That’s the company doctor a few days a week at international harvester. Now, Navistar, there is nobody in my life that had more integrity than him. Every one of his children, including myself, have a tremendous work ethic.
My, my wife might say workaholic, but I call it a work great work ethic. He was a solid foundation rock for the family. With great integrity, kind of a dry sense of humor. And just learned so much of how to be a good person. It’s about your actions and how you help others. And that’s as a family physician, we had two phone lines growing up.
One was the unlisted number. The personal one was the number that people would call at all hours to talk to the doctor. I almost call it like a public service because he. He was like the real time family physician, $25 for a, a visit. I know my mom for a period of time worked as his nurse in the office and they’d have arguments about it, how much you charge, but that’s what just believed that that’s what he was to do.
He was to help people be healthy and have a family physician. And if you couldn’t pay, he would let you get your next time and that, and I think that’s something I learned all my siblings learned and I think that’s how partly how we lived our life.
I worked in government and public service for many years and, and, um, in some respects, you know, passed up on maybe making more resources, more money as in a career by doing that.
But I think in part it was growing up with that role model.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, I love to hear that, um, And you didn’t come right out and say it, but almost said it actions speak louder than words, right? No doubt he was a person who has a lot of wisdom to share as well, but it was a role model that he was to you, you and your siblings that stands out in your mind.
So thanks again.
Jack Lavin: Now he was a very stoic person. He was an, uh, Irish stoic, you know, that kind of thing. And, and, um, uh, that can be good and bad sometimes. I think, uh, we’ll get to this later. But when we had our daughter, who was our first child, you know, with down syndrome, it was very emotional and there was a lot of tears in some respects, I was stoic like him, but then that life moment came along.
And I didn’t say much about my mom, but when we had our daughter, the support that they gave us was something that we, my wife and I will remember forever. And the support that they gave us, that we couldn’t have done it without that support. And that’s how they were. They always thought about others. My dad was a family physician and there were times when.
He had families that he was their physician, they had a child with a disability. And I remember after we had Emily, he was contemplating sad. Whatever, thinking about what the message medical profession had told them to say to families. I think admittedly, he said it a few times and he was having regret.
So he was it’s very much ahead of his time, but in the early in his career, the medical profession told. Doctors to say certain things to families who had children with disabilities and he was regretful of that. And later in his career was better, but then even more so when he saw this granddaughter and he thought, uh, how backwards it was, what was told to some families and how different it was and the relationship that he built with my daughter, Emily was a special relationship.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s a reminder that, uh, things have changed in the last generation or so how not only doctors think about, uh, their patients, but about how society thinks about people with differences. Call it knock on the medical world is that they think of things from a deficit standpoint, right. They’re looking to compare everybody to a model or an ideal standard.
And if you don’t sort of measure up that, that somehow less than it’s more than being politically correct. I think that, uh, a more accurate way of communicating. And I appreciate you sharing that because it’s an important insight that we have come. A long way, but you know, let’s just admit that there’s probably some, uh, additional distance to go.
Jack Lavin: Yeah, let’s all be realistic. We all have deficits
David Hirsch: 100%.
Jack Lavin: Now this was one thing. I think it was a, it was kind of a lesson I would say early on when we had Emily, every child’s going to be different and they’re each going to have their strengths and weaknesses. And Emily may have certain weaknesses and strengths.
And Michael and Katie have different strengths and weaknesses too, and some are more obvious than others, but everybody’s that way. So if you’re a doctor, instead of talking about that obvious difference, it’s there. Cause everyone’s going to have different issues growing up and that’s what makes everybody unique and everybody different than everybody uh, good. And that’s just a quick story on my mom. One of my close friends. I didn’t meet them until after college, after I moved to Chicago, but it turns out they were patients of my dad growing up, this friend of mine gives my dad credit for saving his mom’s life.
“You said your dad saved my mom’s life. We love your dad,”
But I didn’t know this until she called me when my mom died a month or so ago, she has a child with down syndrome. Also that’s a few years younger than Holly. So she had called us Kathy and I, what do I do? What does this mean? And they had told her, you know, you have a child with down syndrome inside or whatever, it’s, you probably won’t live very long, blah, blah, blah. What do I do? And, but unbeknownst to me until now, 20 years later, my mom called her up and just started talking to her about what a great gift Emily was to our family. And, um, you know, what a great gift you will have. Um, and it was just what another example, my parents just always thinking about others and giving to others.
And how Emily had brought a great gift to our family, and she was telling them you have a great gift. And by the way, her daughter was born and now she’s 20 years old doing great. And whatever doctor told him, she will only live a couple of years. Maybe it was wrong again.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing those stories are a great testimony to your parents.
And I’m sorry again, that your dad, and more recently, your mom passed away.
So, um, you mentioned that you went to, um, university of Illinois. My recollection was you took a degree in finance. You, uh, went to work and consulting and then, um, ended up going back to business school. From what I remember, University of Chicago.
Jack Lavin: Real quick, I left college and went to work for Abbott laboratories for five years, almost five years then went to grad school at University of Chicago.
Part of that went to Seoul, South Korea, and lived there for a semester of study. Then I actually, after grad school worked for Pat Quinn when he was state treasurer. So four years for the state and the state treasurer’s office, then I went into the restaurant business and was CFO for a company that did Papa John’s Pizza and Panda Express.
Um, we went from eight restaurants to about 140 while I was there. And then following that, I became director of the Department of Commerce and economic opportunity that was under Governor Blagojevich. I did that for six and a half years. And then Pat Quinn became governor. And then I was Chief Operating Officer for a couple of years and Chief of Staffer, uh, two and a half years. And then I was consultant and then became President CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Vommerce.
David Hirsch: And what is your focus there at the Chicago Chamber of Commerce?
Jack Lavin: Yeah, our focus, uh, there, and we, you know, we have over a thousand members. Uh, we focus in three areas. One is kind of business connections. Uh, connecting businesses up with other businesses, basically to whether it’s a seller product, whether it’s a, whatever they do civically it’s to make connections for people and businesses.
David Hirsch: Excellent. Well, thank you for that. A brief recap and I’d like to switch gears and talk about special needs on a personal level and then beyond. So I’m sort of curious to know before Emily’s diagnosis, did you or Kathy have much experience with the special needs community?
Jack Lavin: Yeah, it’s interesting cause um, when I was in college, I had two roommates who had siblings at Misericordia.
Kathy, uh, who, uh, grew up in New Jersey and then later moved to Chicago. She graduated Boston college and went right into the field. She worked at a place, uh, out in New Jersey that served adults with disabilities. Um, it was a residential and day program thing. So she right from the get go, started working, um, in this field.
David Hirsch: Would it be fair to just say in summary that you had a limited level of experience and Kathy had a much higher level of experience with the special needs community?
Jack Lavin: Absolutely.
David Hirsch: Okay.
Jack Lavin: That would be very fair to say.
David Hirsch: So thinking back to when Emily was born and the diagnosis was made, what was your first reaction?
Jack Lavin: Yeah, I mentioned the doctor’s visit where we had some of that pre-testing it was really- okay, this is a possibility, but you know, she’s very active in utero, probably not, you know, nothing. And then didn’t really think about it. And then until, um, she was born, um, and even though it took a few days to get kind of the official diagnosis, I think we had an idea.
That it was, and I think that my reaction was, I think, as I mentioned before, it was very emotional. There was a lot of tears. And then there was a lot of this thinking about, well, what does this mean? And how does this change? What we’re thinking of the future and our children. And that was really kind of early on, you know, and then, and then you have all the stories of all the people that sometimes don’t know what to say to you when they see you, you should be happy.
You had your first child, but you have this diagnosis. And if I had a dollar for everyone said, uh, make lemonade out of lemons, I’d be rich right now. And you know, and then for us, it was our first child. So it was even the first child. The unknown of that. Um, and then you add, uh, this other unknown that, uh, that you’re wondering about.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Welcome to the world of parenting and then welcome to the world of parenting a child with differences. Right?
Jack Lavin: Right.
David Hirsch: So lots of uncertainty. Was there any meaningful advice that you got early on that helped you and Kathy sort of put all these concerns or fears into perspective?
Jack Lavin: Yeah, David, there was early on, there was a straighy piece of advice that we got. Emily was probably about six months old. There was a pediatric down syndrome specialist at La Rabida, uh, world renowned. She doesn’t live in Chicago anymore, but, um, she did then and we went there. She did a whole checkup of Emily around tests and everything, and then gave us a lot of advice about the different checkups at different times and Emily’s life.
But then at the end of it, she said, but here’s one piece of advice I want to give you. And this is the most important, it’s more important than everything else I’ve said. So you and Kathy need to go out on a date night. Once a week, she said the rate of divorce among families who have children with disabilities is higher than the norm.
And the most important thing for Emily’s physical and mental wellbeing and growing up is that you two stay together and she said, you need to have a date night once a week. And Kathy and I have had a date night every week, since that day. Emily is 24 now, so for 24, 23 and a half years, we’ve had a date night. And that really is so important because you are a family. You have a child with a disability, you may have other children everyone’s important, including you individually, and you as a married couple. And you need to be happy because if you’re happy, your children are going to be happy. And so, date night, once a week.
That’s one of the most important pieces of advice that we had, uh, when Emily was young.
David Hirsch: Well thank you for sharing. And I think that would apply to all families.
Jack Lavin: Absolutely.
The event that, so comes back to me that made it okay and made it like, this is just life. Toggle back to my parents and it was my mother. And, uh, it was a few days after Emily was born. They came to stay with us. It was very emotional. We, I think that particular night I probably cried myself to sleep. Um, but in the middle of the night I woke up and, um, my mom was in the living room in the rocking chair, rocking Emily and just telling the life story of Kathy and myself.
And now we met and now she was so lucky to have parents like us. And I think at that moment, and it was like, okay, we just had a daughter and. There’s a lot of love here, and there’s a great story. Three of us meeting in love and, and my mom was just telling her the story and it’s, this is her granddaughter.
That, that, that is a moment that my boyfriend and I both remember cause she then came out and saw that to just be it just, this is like, and you have a daughter. And, and my mom is just saying, I don’t care about anything. That’s my granddaughter. No, we’re going to love her. And she’s just telling our story.
That really helped us move forward.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thank you for sharing. And, uh, it wasn’t lost on me that that was the first week, right. That Emily was there.
Jack Lavin: Right.
David Hirsch: So you had a little bit of an advantage that you had that experience. If you will, from the very get go, and I’m not having to wait a year or a year potentially to get that message or to witness, you know, the love that your mom was showing Emily. And it’s just. Very powerful. Thank you again for sharing.
Jack Lavin: And I’m not saying we didn’t have tough times after that.
David Hirsch: Oh, we’ll get to that. Don’t worry.
What were some of the more important decisions that you and Kathy made as parents raising a child with differences?
Jack Lavin: We almost immediately got involved with other parents. We were both very proactive people and we, I don’t know Emily before she was one, we had started a parent support group in Chicago, Kathy and I, Kathy became very involved with the National Association for Down Syndrome. They have a program for new parents.
She ended up on the board, but during somewhere along that time, we kept saying, well, are there other parents in Chicago that we can talk to? And they didn’t really have something in Chicago. And so we said, well, we’re gonna start something, give us a list of the people- we’ll just invite them over one night to talk. And we did, I can’t remember how many there was maybe 10 other ones, parents or 10 other couples or something, but it was one of the most important things we ever did because that cohort of parents and those kids A, became close. Uh, we had a whole support group to talk about, what should we do? Where should we go? What schools are good, what organizations are good? What early intervention services are good? Oh, you’re not getting that service? You should get that service or. They’re not saying you can get that? You can get that. And we’re telling you, we already got it. Or, you know, whatever, all those things that you don’t know.
And now you have this group, that’s all talking to each other and sharing information in many respects. Many of the things that we’ve been involved with over the years, or I’ve done in my professional career, came out of some knowledge that came out of this group and what we did.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, um, thank you for sharing.
It sounds like that was the catalyst for a lot of the things that, uh, you’ve experienced. Kathy’s experienced, Emily, so many other people have experienced was the initiative you took early on to get this group of parents together, just really to open up the lines of communication and benefit from one and others experience and knowledge, and it’s blossomed into so many different directions.
So I’m wondering what impact Emily’s situations had on Michael and Katie?
Jack Lavin: Well, it’s certainly made them, uh, who they are and made them Michael and Katie young adults that, uh, have a, uh, more, uh, view of the world that’s more accepting and tolerance. I think more empathetic of other people and what they’re doing and how they’re getting through life.
I think all of that, I think the kind of young adults the adults that they become have been impacted by Emily and I think their view of the world is different and more tolerant. Then accepting of, of more people. But it all plays into looking at the world differently and, and accepting people for who they are and their differences and that we all have differences. And that’s what makes life interesting. No, one’s all the same. We’re all different in different strengths.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing. It sounds like it’s been mostly positives from what you had mentioned. Um, you know, as far as the impact that a Emily’s had on other people’s lives.
Jack Lavin: Right.
David Hirsch: And you’ve said it it’s influenced some of the work that you’ve done, and that certainly influenced some of the things that Kathy has been involved in as well.
So thinking beyond your own personal experience and thinking about the things that have transpired, I was impressed with the work that Kathy has been doing previously as the executive director of Abled Play with Leco Tech for decades. And then, um, more recently, what the Gateway of Learning Day Program, what is it that, uh, the Gateway of Learning Day Program does?
Uh, what’s the mission? Who do they serve?
Jack Lavin: Sure.
And by the way, interesting on Let Go Tech, it’s no longer really around, but it was a, it was a toy library for kids with disabilities and how their development goes in different toys. That helped their development. And interestingly enough, Emily was a Leco Tech baby, um, and benefited from Leco Tech.
And then 15 years later, Kathy ran Leco Tech, which is Able Play and Leco Tech are the same thing. So it’s interesting how that worked out. But yeah, now Kathy runs Gateway to Learning. They serve day programming for adults with disabilities. Emily does go there now. She’s just turned 24. So at age 22, you leave the school system and she does go to Gateway to Learning
Everything they do there- they work with the clients to do it, whether it’s making lunch for everybody doing all that, but they also have a bakery. And so they make cookies and chocolates and there’s a local brewery and they they’re taking their, spent grains and making dog biscuits now. And so it’s all job training in these different areas and they do all that and Gateway to Learning.
And Kathy went in. They were doing a lot of things, kind of old school, and Kathy’s kind of brought them into the modern era.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. I also remember learning about, I don’t know if it was directly or indirectly about something called The Bell center. What’s the backstory on that?
Jack Lavin: Yeah. So The Bell Center was a, was an organization for children with ability to be fully included in their educational setup.
And so Bell Center was in St. Louis. It had been helped founded by a gentleman who was CEO of Monsanto, and then he moved to Chicago and he wanted to bring Bell Center here. And Kathy and I found out about it. We went down to St. Louis, we talked to him and then helped bring Bell Center up to Chicago. Um, and you know, this was all us thinking about how is that I’m only going to be in school and is she going to be fully included, but then it wasn’t just about Emily. It was about all kids. And so Bell Center provided speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and consulting for teachers. So it was all the services. A child would need to be fully included in a classroom and then consulting for the teachers. Who, many of them want to be informed and want to have, uh, children with disabilities included, but don’t necessarily know how or have, uh, methods to do it. And so that was what they did.
We helped bring it here. Kathy was on the board. There eventually was chair of the board at Bell Center Chicago. They had sibling shops. So Michael went there and they had, you know, um, Kind of support groups for siblings.
And actually my sister worked there for awhile too. So it was, she worked in the disability field for a number of years, too. So it was a great organization. It’s now part of Aspire, which many people have heard of, but, uh, some of these smaller not-for-profits ended up going to be part of larger. And so Aspire said, we need a whole part of our programming that deals with children and education. And so they, they took it over several years ago.
David Hirsch: Excellent. Well, thank you for sharing. Um, I remember you telling me some things that you were involved in as well. Um, I think the Disability Works, which was part of the department of commerce as well as a task force, uh, during the Daley administration as well.
Jack Lavin: Yeah. Yeah. So the interesting thing, and the great thing that I opportunity that I had is my personal and professional life, was able to bring that together. And as, uh, the Disability Works program, when I ran the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the state, we did all the job training for the state and mayor Daley at that time had a task force about inclusion in the workforce. And he had this study done. And, um, I had been involved in government in a few years and knew that sometimes these studies are done and then they collect dust on a shelf. And I was walking out of the meeting. I had the job training funds and I was like walking out with Jerry Roper, who was then the President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
And I said, “Jerry, You and I don’t do something about this. Nothing’s going to happen. That’s just going to collect dust on a shelf.”
And so we started what was called Disability Works. And it was a, it got a lot of big companies in Chicago, big and small companies involved in hiring people with disabilities and doing the job training that they might need and the coaching, they might need to be included into the workforce and into the workplace.
Um, and so, uh, we did that, then it was wildly successful at Department of Labor. The US Department of Labor gave us, uh, an award for that. It was a great way for me to do something that on a personal level was important to me, but on a professional level, it was the right thing to do. Um, Jerry used to say, we’re, we’re doing disability work, so Emily can get a job when she gets to be an adult.
So the, the Disability Works led to, um, when I was head of Department of Commerce, we developed a tourism guide for the, for Chicago in the state of Illinois for what are disability friendly places, especially for families to go to. I helped stop some of the cuts that the state wanted to do for autism and other areas that serve people with disabilities.
So I had a great opportunity to be able to have my personal and professional life and goals come together and do some good, uh, not just for my daughter, but for everybody. Um, and in fact, at my going away party, when I left, my Chief of Staff and was there with Governor Quinn, I said that there’s a lot of great things that we did, but the one that I, I remember the longest is where these two paths cross the personal and the professional and helping people with disabilities.
And. And Governor Quinn was a huge supporter of all that all along the way.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s sounds like it was very rewarding, not just from a professional standpoint, but like you were saying from a personal standpoint to have these passions that you have work-wise and personally, you know, be in such close alignment.
Jack Lavin: Right.
David Hirsch: So I’m thinking about advice now, and I’m wondering what are some of the more important takeaways that come to mind when raising a child with a different ability.
Jack Lavin: Boy, that’s, that’s a tough question. I, I’m, you know, we, we’ve just, we’ve moved through life and been busy and always trying to do, um, things to help the wider community, particularly the wider community and the, and the disability field.
So, um, I guess it’s just, always just try to be positive and look at the positive side of things and try to do good. Cause if you are helping people, people are going to help you back. If you’re understanding people, they’re going to be understanding to you. If you are thinking of others and helping others, it’s going to come back to you two fold.
And so the advice is not to turn inward it is to turn outward, um, and try to find ways that you can get involved and help others, um, and be part of a wider group because that wider group is going to help you deal with the challenges that are there and celebrate the opportunities and the wins and the good things.
Um, and it doesn’t help to turn inward. You have to look, um, out. You know, I’m talking about a lot of positive things. It’s not always positive. There’s times when you’ll have a pity party, you’ll be mad. And you’ll say, why us? And then if there’s another challenge to say, why we have this one challenge, why are we getting the next challenge?
You know, all those things. And I’m not saying you’re not going to have those. You are going to have those, but keep moving forward. You have to focus on the positive and have stuff around you that’s positive and tries to keep leading you in that positive direction.
Doesn’t mean you’re not gonna have challenges. It doesn’t mean there’s not going to be some negativity along the way. It doesn’t mean, you know, when you’re fighting for those resources in school, it’s not going to be a battle and you’re going to get frustrated, but look at the overall picture and focus on the positive and keep moving forward.
David Hirsch: Well-stated if I could try to paraphrase, um, Look at the big picture, stay positive and try to turn outward to the extent that you can as opposed to inward.
So why did you agree to become a mentor father as part of the Special Fathers Network?
Jack Lavin: I think it, I think it’s important just like we started this parent support group. I think that you sometimes think I’m the only one going through this or I don’t know what to do. And or if I think this thought is that a negative thought, and I think it’s important for people to understand, you know, what others have gone through and help them as they’re dealing with where they are currently and try to see a longterm future. That’s, that’s very positive.
Are they are people going to listen to every bit of advice? No, my kids don’t listen to everything. So once in a while I hear them talk and I know, ah, they were listening to me, but I, I think it’s important to hear what’s happened so that you can think how am I going to live my life? How am I going to raise my family? How am I going to find resources and other things to move forward? And you just don’t know I’m I was lucky. I had Kathy who had been in the field. I was lucky that we found this parent support group, because if we didn’t have that, I mean, there’s a lot of parents out there that just don’t have, or didn’t find those, the resources and they struggle and maybe they find them eventually, maybe they get there eventually, but the sooner you can get there and the better off you are, your child is, and all your children will be in your family.
David Hirsch: Well, thank you. We’re thrilled to have you as part of the network, let’s give a special shout out to our mutual friend, Robert Blackwell of Killer Spin and EKI Digital for helping connect us.
Jack Lavin: Yeah. Robert is a one of my favorite people and he is just a fantastic person.
It turns out we grew up in the towns next to each other, but didn’t know each other growing up, but, uh, he is, uh, he’s a great guy, great dad. Um, I’m a great person in that community.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well, um, it’s not lost on me that he was, um, interview number 102 for our listeners who might want to go back and listen to, uh, Robert’s interview, which wasn’t that long ago.
Um, is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?
Jack Lavin: Um, no, I, it was a great opportunity. I look forward to, to being a mentor. Hopefully what I’ve said can help some people, I think, uh, Our next challenge is Emily moving out of the house. And I know that’s going to be a big emotional moment too, but that’s our next big challenge, but I appreciate you having me on.
David Hirsch: If somebody wants to learn more about the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Gateway to Learning or to contact you, what would be the best way to go about doing that?
Jack Lavin: Uh, the best way is my email is email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find it on our website, chicagolandchamber.org, and, and certainly contacting me there. And then if you want to contact Kathy about Gateway Learning and you know, and over the years, uh, various people we’ve, we’ve been resources and, and support for a lot of people over the years, or if they have questions, um, uh, we’ve been there to help them. So there may be a question for me, maybe a question for Kathy, uh, feel free to contact us.
David Hirsch: Excellent. We’ll be sure to include those in the show notes to make it easy for people to follow up. Jack,
thank you for taking the time and many insights. As a reminder, Jack has just one dad’s who’s part of the Special Fathers Network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs.
If you’d like to be a mentor father or seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation, your own, please go to 21stcenturdads.org. T
hank you for listening to the latest episode of the Special Fathers Network, Dad to Dad podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. As you probably know, the 21st Century Dads Foundation is a 501 c3, not for profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free. To all concerned. Please consider making a tax deductable donation. I would really appreciate your support.
Jack, thanks again.
Jack Lavin: Great. Thank you, David.
Tom Couch: And thank you for listening to the Dad to Dad podcast presented by the Special Fathers Network. The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs.
Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers. Go to 21stcenturydads.org. That’s 21stcenturydads.org.
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Also, please be sure to register for the Special Fathers Network biweekly Zoom calls held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.
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The Dad to Dad podcast is produced by Couch Audio for the Special Fathers Network. Thanks for listening.