Zumbathon 2014 is a success!

CROSO hosted our second annual Zumbathon at Niles North High School on Sunday, May 9th.  We had a great turn out of new and old CROSO friends who danced, sweated and supported CROSO for three hours!  Check out the photo album below that we posted to our Facebook page.  Feel free to tag yourself in the photos and be sure to “like” our Facebook page while you’re there!
We are grateful to our five energetic Zumba and WERQ instructors who so generously gave of their time and skills that afternoon! THANK YOU!!!!!

It’s time for our next Zumbathon!

2014 Zumbathon Cover 1

Mark your calendars for March 9, 2014 for a 3 hour Zumbathon event!

Details for the event:
Date: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Time: 3-6pm
Place: Niles North High School’s Gym (9800 Lawler Ave., Skokie, IL, 60077)
Cost: $25 per person. District 219 students with a current ID can pay the discounted price of $10. To pre-pay, click here.
Register: The registration form is available here.  You can also register at the event, but filling it out in advance will save you time!

Featured Zumba and WERQ Instructors will be Becca Russo, Jennifer Dahl, Tayne Murphy, Sharon Aguilera and Angel Casas.

Please wear comfortable clothes to dance (and sweat!) in. You can bring your own water bottle if you’d like.  We will be providing water and some other refreshments as well.

If you have additional questions, please email Molly@CROSO.org.

Zumbathon  2014

Proud of our 2013 Graduates!

This post is a bit delayed because we were waiting for photos to show off our incredible graduates… but without further ado, here they are:

2013 Otukei GRADUATION

Otukei Godfrey Francis has had quite a long career with CROSO and we are incredibly proud of the progress he’s made!  Otukei was first taken on in 2008 for a 1 year certificate program at the Jinja School of Medicine.  Otukei then went on to start a 4 year diploma program in Clinical Medicine at Kampala International University- western campus in 2010.  On December 17, 2013, his accomplishments were celebrated at the Kampala campus graduation ceremony.  We are so proud of Otukei and can’t wait to see what he’ll do next!

2013 Okolis GraduationOkolis John graduated from Uganda Christian University with his Bachelor’s in Economics and Management on November 1, 2013.  Okolis made a great impression on several of his professors and before he had finished classes during his final semester, they were trying to help make plans for the future for him.  One of his professors encouraged him to pursue his master’s degree so that Okolis could become a professor himself.  When it was clear that there wasn’t funding available for this option, his professor created a different opportunity and offered Okolis a position at a micro-financing bank in Mbale.  When board members Beth Lampson and Molly Heineman were visiting in August, they had the opportunity to meet Okolis’ professor and see his future place of employment.  Below is a photo of Okolis’ professor, Beth and Okolis in front of the Duckhill Microfinancing Bank.

Our final graduate of 2013 was only sponsored by CROSO for his first year of studies and then someone offered him a private scholarship.  Nonetheless, we are very proud of Wangaya Ronald for completing his degree in Economics and Management from Uganda Christian University.  Below is his graduation photo.

13.12 Graduation

 Congratulations graduates!

Top 10 CROSO Accomplishments of 2013

2013 was such a wonderful year for us, but we’ve narrowed down a list of ten of our best accomplishments for the year.  Thank you for all you’ve done to support us in reaching these goals. Here’s to hoping next year’s list is just as wonderful!

1.  Our first ever board-sponsored trip to Uganda for two board members!

13.12.31 Board TripBoard members, Molly Heineman and Beth Lampson, were sponsored by CROSO to visit Uganda for two weeks in August 2013.  During their visit, they had the chance to meet with ALL of our current CROSO Scholars, visit two of their universities, meet with staff of our partner organization, C.R.O., and to take tons of photos.

2. Two more CROSO Scholars GRADUATED!!!

2013 Otukei GRADUATION 2013 Okolis Graduation

Otukei Godfrey Francis (left) graduated with his diploma in Clinical Medicine from Kampala International University- Western Campus on December 17, 2013.

Okolis John (right) graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Uganda Christian University in Economics and Management on November 1, 2013.

3. CROSO was chosen as the District 219 Dance Marathon charity recipient for the 2013-2014 academic year!

13.12.31 DM2

4. We had more individuals/families commit to sponsoring students individually in 2013 than ever before!
This year, we had three families step up and agree to sponsor students from start to finish of their 3 year academic careers!  We also had two families agree to sponsor students for one full year.  Both of these commitments allowed us to take on more students this year.

5. The CROSO Liaison Project was launched in January of 2013 and has successfully increased communication between board members and students and has also improved CROSO’s ability to respond to the needs of our students.
Each of our CROSO Scholars are assigned an email pen pal on the CROSO board so that we are able to more effectively connect with our scholars and support them better. This leads to a greater familiarity among our board of the issues our scholars face and also leads to board members advocating for their scholars’ needs.

6. We have FIVE new CROSO Scholars this year!
Click here to learn more about them!

7. CROSO has a new website design!
One of the two founders of GovDesign, a start-up webdesign company, has been a longtime supporter of CROSO and offered their services pro bono!  We are very grateful to GovDesign for their donation of time and energy and for making out new website clean, organized and easy to navigate!

8. CROSO’s first Zumbathon was a great success!Zumbathon

To acknowledge the International Day for Street Children, CROSO hosted our first Zumbathon!  We raised over $1,000 and had a great time sweating to the beat for the children on the street!

9. We had great media coverage and opportunities to spread the word about CROSO in 2013!

  • 2 Board Members (Lisa Monnot and Tom Bertsche) were interviewed on Live from the Heartland:


  • Participated in the Project 4 Awesome for the first time and had a chance to share CROSO’s mission!

10. Over 400 people “Like” CROSO’s Facebook page!
If you aren’t one of the 400, it’s not too late!

Vote for CROSO!!!

2013 CROSO P4A

Use the link below to vote for CROSO in the Project for Awesome 48 hour campaign.  Today is the last day to vote!


Project for Awesome started in December 2007 (exact same month as CROSO) and has been raising ridiculous amounts of money (last year it was over $480,000!).  They host a 48 hour contest for folks to submit videos of the organization they want to support.  Throughout the 48 hours, everyone has the chance to watch videos about these different organizations and vote for the ones they think should be supported.  This year, CROSO is participating for the first time and we have a chance!  Please take a moment to vote and, if you’re willing, please share the link with your networks via email and on social media (Facebook and twitter, especially).

Thank you for your support!!!