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Save the Dates for Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center Events!

Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center's 4th Annual Friendraiser!

Rev. Brew.Join us on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, from 6:00PM - 8:00PM at the Brewers' Launge at Revolution Brewing, 2323 North Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60647. Tickets start at $35. Buy your ticket now. The funds raised will help survivors of torture to rebuild their lives.

Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center's Spring Benefit!

Benefit logoJoin us on Thursday, April 23, 2015, from 6:00PM - 9:00PM, at the Woman's Club of Evanston for our Spring Benefit and presentation of the Robert H. Kirschner Award for Global Activism to epidemiologist and human rights advocate Les RobertsPurchase your tickets or become a sponsor here. Have an auction item? Download the auction donation form hereSponsorship forms and Program Book Ad/Tribute forms are available for downloading. We can't wait to see you in the Spring! 

Marjorie Kovler Center commemorates Human Rights Day!

Article 5 of UDHROn December 10th we've commemorated Human Rights Day, proclaimed in 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly "to bring to the attention of the peoples of the world the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations." 

Since 1987, Kovler Center has been dedicated to serving survivors of politically-sponsored torture, a devastating human rights violation. Upholding Article 5 of the UDHR, Kovler Center also advocates for the end of torture worldwide.

We are grateful to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the private foundations who fund our essential work for survivors of torture. But we are especially thankful for friends like you who have opened their eyes and their hearts to recognize our life-changing work. We thank you for your past support and hope that you will consider Kovler Center in your end-of-year giving.

 Your gift in any denomination will directly support Kovler Center's healing services. We especially appreciate gifts in the following amounts:

*$50 will cover a survivor's monthly transit costs for medical and therapy appointments.
*$200 will support a month of International Cooking Groups that feed 80 participants.
*$500 will cover a year's supply of prescription drugs for several uninsured survivors.
*$1,000 will provide emergency financial assistance to participants in crisis.
*$3,500 will cover the costs of healing one survivor for a year.

As long as torture persists, and as long as survivors make the courageous decision to flee their countries and make the perilous journey to find a safe new home, we will exist: to provide essential services; to welcome them to a new community; and to uphold and reflect the dignity that we all deserve. Please consider commemorating Human Rights Day with a gift to Kovler Center.

On behalf of all of us at Marjorie Kovler Center, I wish you happy and healthy holidays and thank you for your support.  

Mary Lynn Everson, MS, LCPC

Senior Director, Marjorie Kovler Center


Inside Kovler Center: International Cuisine with Mary Black

Mary BlackMary Black is one of the most beloved and well-respected members of the Marjorie Kovler Center family. Since 1990, she has been dedicated to helping survivors of torture rebuild their lives, primarily as Kovler Center's occupational therapist. For Mary, occupational therapy is concerned with how survivors occupy themselves everyday in ways that are meaningful while dealing with the residual effects of torture and displacement from family, home, and culture. According to Mary, occupational therapy offers ways of “doing work with your hands to help promote wellness.”

One of Mary’s most popular projects is the twice-monthly cooking group that takes place in Kovler Center's kitchen. It started about eight years ago when she and two participants made cookies to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Today, cooking group has grown to fill the dining room with as many as forty participants (adults and children), friends, and community members chatting, dancing, singing, and enjoying cuisine from around the world. One or two survivors plan a delicious, authentic meal from their home country and serve as head chefs, teaching the rest of the group how it’s done. While the cooking group tries to use as many seasonal vegetables as possible from the community garden, what really makes the group thrive is the selection of ingredients by the expert chefs, which often requires trips to specialty markets to pick out just the right spice or the best type of meat. The feast is served family style and begins with introductions all around and an explanation of the significance of the meal, often evoking personal stories of family and home.

Mary says it’s a meaningful experience for everyone involved. “Cooking is a universal ritual that everyone shares even when you don’t have a lot of resources,” she explains. It empowers survivors, brings pride to the hosts, and instills in everyone a sense of community in a new place. As in much of occupational therapy, something seemingly mundane “can make, slowly, a difference.”

Cooking group

Cooking Group is only made possible because of supporters like you. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to help continue Mary's healing work. For only $100 you can support one cooking group session and dinner for about forty participants. A gift of $200 will sponsor the group for a month. A donation of any amount, however, will support Mary in doing what she loves and help defray the cost of ingredients, tending the community garden, and maintaining our kitchen, while helping survivors create new community.

Thank you for your support!

Mary Lynn Everson, MS, LCPC

Senior Director, Marjorie Kovler Center



Please consider a gift in support of survivors of torture

We believe



"Without Kovler Center, I don't know what would have become of me."

These words from one survivor echo the sentiments of so many more. Help us continue to provide essential services by making a tax-deductible donation.





Watch the latest video about our work!


Learn More: Andrea

When Andrea's husband was kidnapped by Guatemalan soldiers in 1984, she fled the country in fear of her own life, leaving behind two young sons. She never saw her husband again, and the experience haunted her. At the Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovler Center, Andrea—and her sons who followed her years later—accessed counseling for the anxiety, fear and depression that the experience caused. Like many of the clients of this special facility for the survivors of torture, Andrea also received legal and other social services—and today she is pursuing justice for her husband's legacy, one of more than 45,000 Guatemalans who have become "disappeared."


Read about Marjorie Kovler Center in our latest newsletter »

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If you want to learn more about Marjorie Kovler Center please come for a tour of the Center. Tours are given Mondays through Wednesdays, during regular Center hours, by appointment.

Please contact Judith Weinstein, Associate Director of Development, at to schedule a visit.