Lakefront Career Network’s Day of Giving shows how much community appreciates Dunebrook

Normally, it’s Dunebrook that serves the community through its child abuse prevention and intervention services.

But on Saturday, the Lakefront Career Network partnered with expert landscaper Dave DeLau and his friends at H&S Services, Duneland Landscape LLC, and Healy’s Landscaping to provide a little TLC to the vital nonprofit.

“Lakefront Career Network – all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Dunebrook executive director Jeanne Ann Cannon.

“They brought shovels, rakes, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, blowers – their own personal stuff. And we pulled weeds and mulched and removed dead wood from 8 in the morning until 11:30. They really did a great job.”

It was LCN’s annual Day of Giving, a time for the young professionals in the group to roll up their sleeves and make physical improvements to a local nonprofit organization.

In past years, Comcast has partnered with LCN to provide supplies for the event, but the corporation pulled out this year, prompting DeLau and the three landscaping businesses to step up and get it done.

“Every year, we spotlight a different organization, a local nonprofit that does good work in the community, one that’s worthwhile; and we try to support them in various ways,” LCN chair Matt Weber said.

“Last year, Dunebrook was our spotlight organization; but with the pandemic, things got halted, nothing got done. So, we decided to extend their spotlight through 2021.”

Through its Healthy Families program, Dunebrook staff members visit clients’ homes to assess infant development, and provide moms and dads with healthy and positive parenting skills and resources.

Through Dunebrook’s Public Education program, staff goes into local schools to educate K-12 students on body safety, and to encourage them to report situations in which they feel uncomfortable.

And through the organization’s Parent & Family Education program, Dunebrook partners with other local agencies, like the Salvation Army and Stepping Stone Shelter for Women, to provide classes.

Outside of those three services aimed at child abuse prevention, Dunebrook also performs critical intervention services by conducting forensic interviews with suspected child abuse victims through its Child Advocacy Center.

According to Cannon, DeLau has been a “friend of Dunebrook” since it opened 33 years ago. During that time, he’s kept the landscaping and facility in good shape, purely voluntarily, out of the kindness of his heart, she said.

And when Cannon took her place there six years ago, DeLau reportedly said to her, “It’s important that Dunebrook look nice because when children and families come here, it’s because they’ve been through a hard time.

“So, it’s important that they’re able to come to a place that’s nice-looking and clean and orderly.”

Cannon said she thought it was a nice sentiment, but didn’t understand at first how accurate DeLau had been. Over the years, though, even the staff at Dunebrook has found that it helps them on particularly hard days to be able to do their jobs in a simple and orderly environment.

She expressed thanks to Lena Ritchie, administrative services director at Dunebrook, for not only working closely with DeLau to make sure everything came together, but for making “beautiful breakfast cakes” for the entire crew of people who showed up to work.

“I’m always amazed at LCN because they’re young people,” Cannon said. “They’ve got careers and young families, they’re busy people. But they’re so good about giving back and they’re so much fun.”

Dunebrook is supported by state and federal funds, grants, fundraisers and in-kind donations. For more information or to make a donation, visit


Story by Kelley Smith, Staff Writer for the La Porte County Herald-Dispatch

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