Volunteers pitch in to beautify suburban Chicago retreat center for Latino youth

The founder of a northwest suburban Chicago spiritual retreat for young Hispanics said his prayers have been answered, thanks to a home improvement chain.

A team of volunteers descended on Casa Iskali in Des Plaines on Wednesday to spruce up the eight-acre grounds.

Casa Iskali, which also offers mentorship programs and other assistance to about 2,790 young adults each year, recently moved in to the property formerly owned by the Cabrini retreat since the 1950's.


About 60 volunteers from the Home Depot Foundation came to the site armed with leaf blowers, weed cutters, rakes and broom for a day of beautification. The group plans to plant flowers, power wash and paint, with a goal of leaving the site in tip-top shape.

"Team Depot", as they are called, will be taking on projects like this one throughout the month of April, working on a veterans home and revitalizing a community center. All of the locations are recommended by Home Depot employees.

"I'm just so excited. This has been a lot of planning, a lot of team work with other stores. We're just happy to be here," said Jane Majerczyk, a Home Depot team captain.

The company donates all of the products used, and workers donate their time.

Vincent Del Real, the founder of Casa Iskali, called their effort "a blessing from the heavens to us."

"And it's a huge opportunity to see a store that is very prominent in every neighborhood, give back to the community."

Del Real said he is really inspired and motivated by the support.

"What's amazing is I grew up around here and I've driven past this place a thousand times and I never knew it was here. And now that will never happen again," Majerczyk said.

Volunteers said it felt great to get out of their stores and work in the community.