Joliet area service club holds 126th annual ball

By Andrea Earnest | Enterprise Staff

The Holly Club recently hosted its annual Holly Club Ball, which serves as the group’s holiday fundraiser.

The local community service group started in 1889, and is the Joliet area’s oldest community service organization, according to the club’s publicity chair, Helen Karakoudas Redfern. The club is run completely by volunteers.

In 1889, the women first called themselves the Young Maidens’ Christmas Association, but they worried about confusion with YMCA and changed the name to the Holly Club.

This year’s Holly Club Ball, held Dec. 12, was the 126th and serves as the group’s biggest fundraiser.

“The ball went very well,” Redfern said. “We had more reservations and donations than last year.”

She added that the milder weather helped.

According to the club’s handbook, its mission is that it “answers calls for help from growing numbers of people who are not poor enough to qualify for government aid, yet whose limited income makes providing basic necessities for their family a real and continuing challenge.”

Holly Club celebrated a milestone this year; it was the 25th year that they founded a psychosocial services program. The program was founded in late 1990 after a tornado that killed several people hit Plainfield, Joliet and Crest Hill that summer.

“This program was organized by our members to help first responders who had been traumatized in their work with tornado victims and survivors,” said Redfern.

The program then grew to help parents and family members of rape victims.

“In the past year, through the Family Counseling Center and Catholic Charities, we helped cover more than 300 sessions of clients with a range of counseling needs,” Redfern said.

The funds that the club raises stay in Will County and goes to several different things including collecting winter coats, hats and mittens for District 86 students, counseling services for the traumatized, food gift cards for the hungry and responding to local calls to action.

The club works with organizations like the Will-Grundy Medical Clinic, Easter Seals, Daybreak Center, Silver Cross Hospital and many others in the Will County region. Additionally, the club gives several scholarships; the Barrett Nursing Scholarship, Medvesky Nursing Scholarship and Rakoski Volunteerism Scholarship.

For more information about the Holly Club, visit

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