DePaul Students Extend Hospitality to Little City Residents

DePaul Students
DePaul School of Hospitality Leadership students and faculty volunteer at Little City with assistance from Allison Johnson (back row, second from left), general manager of the Fortnightly Club of Chicago and a member of the school's advisory council.

DePaul University School of Hospitality Leadership students have partnered with Little City to mentor residents of the nonprofit service organization, which assists people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Led by the DePaul chapter of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), students met with residents to create and paint canvas artwork, share stories of working in the hospitality industry, and learn more about their respective communities. Students say the partnership has been rewarding both as a community service and learning experience. 

“By volunteering my time to help the residents and staff of Little City, I have grown and learned more about authentic service and hospitality,” says hospitality major Dirk VanderNoot, president of the DePaul CMAA Student Chapter. “Everyone should have the opportunity to learn through teaching, helping and creating strong relationships with others in our industry.” 

These activities are just the beginning of the partnership between DePaul and Little City. DePaul and the Greater Chicago CMAA chapter plan to enhance hospitality training and skills that are taught to Little City residents in a new training kitchen provided to Little City by the GCCMAA, a membership organization for private club professionals. Additionally, the DePaul CMAA Student Chapter will volunteer at Little City again this spring, continuing their mentor relationships with residents. 

Alumnus Oliver Debe (BUS ’13), business manager for the School of Hospitality Leadership and faculty advisor for the DePaul CMAA student chapter, says the collaboration has been valuable for all involved. 

“Students are learning from the residents of Little City how to live and serve as socially responsible leaders within their personal and professional communities,” he says. “In turn, the residents of Little City are connecting with our students and learning more about the hospitality and private club industry. This newly created partnership has benefited both students and residents.”  


Learn more about hospitality programs at DePaul:
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