Our Leadership Team

Buena Park Neighbors’ 2022 board is a collection of diverse, talented individuals who are carrying forward the organization’s work in the neighborhood. If you’d like to get in touch with any of our board members, please email general@buenaparkneighbors.org.

Cross-Organizational Roles


Rosa Haraf
President

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in Buena Park for six years. My favorite thing about the neighborhood is being close to the lakefront – “Good Livin’ by the Lake!”

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
This is a tough one! Friendly faces with great service everywhere you go in Buena Park, but will have to go with The Reservoir, besides the excellent food and smooth cocktails, it’s a hop-skip from my home!

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I became involved shortly after moving into the neighborhood, I wanted to meet people and think it is important to create community with your neighbors. I have met wonderful people through the association and encourage others to join and to participate in the neighborhood events, if for nothing else, to get to know your neighbors!

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
Bringing people together, no matter race or religion! We are neighbors, we are community, we are Buena Park!

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Jessica Eanes
Vice President

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in Buena Park for three years. I love walking through the neighborhood, especially from the library to the Peace Garden.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
North Buena Deli is my favorite. I’m a big fan of getting sandwiches from there and taking them to go have a picnic when the weather is nice.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
It seemed like a great way to get to know the people in my neighborhood and stay in the loop about what was going on.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
I really want to see Buena Park grow into a community that sees its activities and events as part of Chicago’s larger cultural landscape, and embraces its connections to other neighborhoods in the city. That “small town” feel about the neighborhood that a lot of people talk about is classic Chicago, and I think there’s a lot to be gotten from thinking about it in that context.

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Lisa von Drehle
Exec Board Member | President Emeritus

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have been living in Buena Park for 35 years. I love living in a little village on the lake, nestled between the big city and Andersonville/Edgewater. I also love the community and all of the people I have become friends with through being involved with BPN and the neighborhood.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
Spark Restaurant + Bar in Imperial Towers.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I was ready to give back to the community.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
Brennemann School and strengthening ties between them and the neighborhood.

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Alex Wolking
46th Ward Zoning & Development Committee Representative;
Chair – Hutchinson Street Architecture Tours

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in Buena Park for six years. My favorite thing – the trees, architecture, and people. It lives and feels like a small suburban town in a big city!

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
Klein’s Bakery. Their iced tea is so fresh and don’t get me started on their brownies.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I wanted to meet people and have a sense of community. I feel very at-home here, and want to help others feel the same. It’s a great little community doing a lot of big things, and it’s exciting to be part of its growth.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
Immaculata High School has been a community concern for quite some time, and I would love to work towards a win-win solution for the building and the community.

Functional Roles


Heather Hendrickson
Treasurer

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
Close to 4 years. Moved here (from Detroit) in August 2018. I love the walkability of Buena Park and how that brings the neighborhood together. I see neighbors in the neighborhood when walking our dog and at local restaurants, shops, and by the lake.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
I have really enjoyed taking yoga with Cindy at Yoga Body Elements. I took my first class with Buena Park’s yoga in the park series, and I have continued to take classes with my teenage son. We especially like practicing with the Biocharger.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
Soon after my family moved to Buena Park, I attended a community meeting and was impressed by how many people were in attendance, the important issues discussed, and the many ways neighbors were participating in committees. I initially joined the events committee and enjoyed the work we did, even through the pandemic, and hope to continue supporting Buena Park events as Treasurer. 

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
I look forward to supporting community events – service, cultural, or simply fun ways to bring the neighborhood together.

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Charlie Isaacs
Secretary

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in Buena Park for close to four years. My favorite thing about the neighborhood is living within walking distance of the lake. The lakeside is such a great place to go for walks or runs, to step away and relax, and to enjoy nice views of Chicago.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
There are so many businesses I enjoy in Buena Park. I love grabbing a deli sandwich and a bottle of wine at North Buena Deli, getting a haircut at Gold Cuts, and getting my teeth cleaned at Elite Dental. I also work at Uptown People’s Law Center, which is just a few feet north of Montrose on Sheridan.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I chose to get involved with BPN because I wanted to build a closer relationship with the community. Making the world a better place starts at the local level, block by block. Buena Park has a rich history as a part of the larger Uptown neighborhood, with great things sure to come, so long as we put in the work to get there.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
In my role as Secretary, I’m looking forward to growing our level of organization and activity across all aspects of the group. With the new donation-based membership model, I’m eager to have BPN open its doors to a wider spectrum of residents. I want to officialize more of our practices and policies to serve the organization’s future while overall boosting the energy we devote to bringing people together across Buena Park.

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Lynda Galea
Events Chair & Social Media Coordinator

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have been living in Buena Park for close to four years. I love the walkability of the neighborhood, our easy lakefront access, and that Buena Park feels like a hidden gem in a city of over 2.7 million.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
If it’s a Friday or Saturday night, you can find me grabbing cocktails with Kaye at Spark Restaurant + Bar, or sipping on a hot chocolate from Klein’s Bakery on a weekend morning!

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
The overwhelming sense of community. Growing up in Australia, it was rare to find a neighborhood where the neighbors actually smiled and said hi as they passed one another on the street. Neighborhood events like block parties were non existent there – it was only something I’d ever seen in American movies. When I moved here and realized Buena Park was somewhat like the American neighborhoods I had grown up watching in movies, I knew I had to be a part of it and establish a community for myself that I was proud to be apart of. It was just an added bonus that BPN led me to some of the most awesome people that I now get to call friends!

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
I want Buena Park to be known for putting on the best neighborhood events in all of Chicago! I’m working towards creating a calendar of fun, new events, that bring the neighborhood together, no matter ones age, gender, socio-economic background, etc. It brings me so much joy seeing neighbors connecting at our events and forming new friendships!

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A. Jordan Rothschild
Outreach Chair

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in Buena Park since 2018. My favorite thing about the neighborhood is its location.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
GNS/Michael’s.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
BPN has an important mission to strength and support all members of our community. I support and want to help foster this mission.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
It would be a dream come true to have every resident of Buena Park become a member of BPN and see BPN create events to engage every resident of Buena Park.

Place-Based Roles


Kalindi Parikh
Arts Chair

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have been living in Buena Park for two years. I love the diversity of this neighborhood, and how engaged our neighbors are in creating welcoming community spaces and events for all. Our community meetings are always packed full of people who care about one another and work together to make Buena Park a great place to live.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
I love Kleins! I have such a sweet tooth. I will always tell myself that I am just going in for coffee but can rarely resist one of their freshly baked pastries. Good thing I also have a great dentist over at First Dental Center.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
When my partner and I first moved to Buena Park, we participated in a neighborhood cleanup at Brennemann Elementary School. It was so inspiring to see our neighbors show up to help out and we immediately felt like part of a tight-knit community. After that event, I knew I could bring some of my background working in public art to this amazing neighborhood.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
I am looking forward to bringing more public art to the neighborhood, through murals, music, events and more. I also look forward to expanding our directory of Buena Park artists. If you are an artist who lives or works in Buena Park, please reach out to me!

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Matt Cardoni
Sustainability Lead

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have been living in Buena Park for 15 years. I appreciate the access to nature within an urban environment.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
I love the Dock. The food, nature and people are delicious 🙂

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I came to get more involved in my neighborhood. (I stayed for the people.)

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
Generating more people engaged in positive/sustainability efforts / making a positive difference for the future.

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Gene Tenner
History Chair

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in this wonderful hood for 15 years. I love the diversity of our residents: the languages spoken, the countries represented and the skills developed.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
I enjoy a dinner at Michael’s: friendly staff, efficient service and tasty food.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I like being locally responsible and Buena Park Neighbors gives me that opportunity.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
I want to put together a short video on the history of Buena Park.

Partnership-Based Roles


Rebecca Michael
Small Business Committee Liaison

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have been living in Buena Park for three years. I love the supportive and engaging community, access to the lake front, small cafes, and historical architecture.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
First Dental, I never thought I’d love a dental office so much but they do wonderfully supportive things for the community and just generally provide great dental care, my whole family goes there now. Klein’s for their fantastic coffee and ham & cheese cachitos, Sunflower Cafe for its fantastic coffee and croissants, and North Buena Deli for their always delicious Sicilian sub.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I’ve always been passionate about community involvement and volunteering. BPN is a very active neighborhood group and I was drawn to the intensity of their involvement in the community and the diversity of their volunteer opportunities. As an added bonus it has been a great way to make new friends in the neighborhood!

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
Increasing local traffic to our small businesses. Buena Park businesses have so much to offer and I look forward to increasing community engagement directly in our own back yard.

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Kaye Viecelli
Schools Liaison

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have been living in Buena Park for over five years. My favorite thing about living here is that the neighborhood is very dog friendly and that I am so close to the lakefront.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
I love getting cocktails at Spark Restaurant + Bar and vegan food at XMarket.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
Buena Park is a little enclave in a bigger neighborhood that allows the closeness of a small community but leverages the power of big city individuals. We have the ability to make improvements for our neighborhood quickly and with a lot of community support. We know how lucky we are to live in this neighborhood and we want it to stay the gem it is. Our schools are how children get to see that the community cares about them and their future. I decided to join BPN to help schools be able to give the students in our neighborhood the things they need to succeed and feel safe here.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
I am looking forward to increased community involvement in all our future volunteer opportunities and events for Buena Park and our schools. I know we have really talented individuals in this neighborhood and I can’t wait to meet them all.

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Nicholas Ramos
Government Agencies Liaison

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have been living in Buena Park for two years. The community! It’s so warm and welcoming, it feels as if I’ve lived here for 10 years. It’s a great feeling running into neighbors all over who are so engaged with the neighborhood.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
Bar on Buena for sure. It has such a homey feel, great staff, great food, and great drinks.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
I grew up always being involved and engaged in the the communities I lived in. Buena Park community members instantly impressed me with their drive to better the neighborhood and I couldn’t help but want to do my part as well.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
With the census over now, I would love to equip Buena Park residents to have long lasting relationships with all of the elected officials for our newly drawn districts.

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Darlene Pereda
Nonprofit Liaison

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in Buena Park for over six years. My favorite thing about living in Buena Park is the charm of it all. It’s truly a hidden gem.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
Building strong communities is why I love supporting all Buena Park businesses like Bar on Buena, North Buena Deli, Kleins, Michaels, First Dental Center, and Ox and Oona.

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
Giving back to my community is important to me and I saw the need for diversity on the board.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
I’m looking forward to connecting nonprofits and community members alike.

People-Based Roles


Bob Leininger
Building Captains Liason

How long have you lived in Buena Park & what is your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
I have lived in Buena Park for seven years. Wonderful location across from the Lake/Montrose Harbor, friendly and engaged people. Like a nice village on the edge of an incredible urban city.

What’s your favorite business to frequent?
The Reservoir: great food and service and, of course, David Lynch, the owner/manager, who is such a great guy !!

Why did you choose to get involved with BPN?
To become a more integral part of this great neighborhood.

What is one thing you are looking forward to working towards for Buena Park as a community?
Working with the Building Captains for each of the large residential buildings, I would like to help the residents have a greater awareness of our organization, and what it has to offer and is trying to accomplish, so that they can know that they are all a part of this great neighborhood and can feel more connected to it.