Get to Know the NPN Portage Park & Old Irving Park Neighborhood Group

Written by: Amy Johnson

The NPN Neighborhood groups are a great way to make new friends, find playdates for your little ones and discover new resources.  Three amazing volunteers, Lisa Falconer along with Cyrus and Katie Clausen, lead the Old Irving Park – Portage Park Neighborhood Group and plan fun get-togethers every month!  Join them at their upcoming event on Nov 19 for a baking class the whole family will enjoy!

We asked Lisa a few questions to help you get to know her and the group.  You can always reach out to her directly with any questions or event ideas at  Look forward to seeing you soon!

Get to Know Lisa:

Tell us about you and your family.  My husband (Andrew) and I have been married for 13 years.  We met in college our freshman year so we’ve been together for 20 years!  We have two boys, Benjamin (5 years old) and Everett (2 years old). 

Why did you start to volunteer with NPN? I started to volunteer at the beginning of 2011.  Towards the end of 2010, I had resigned from my job so that I could stay home with our kids.  Volunteering was something I'd thought of doing for a while and now I finally had the time.  Initially, I thought it would be a great way to meet other parents in our neighborhood (and it is!) but it's also been a wonderful way for me to get involved in our community by partnering with local businesses.  In working to keep our events within a short radius of OIP/PP, I've discovered places that I might have otherwise overlooked.  As an added bonus, I can walk to several of them instead of having to drive!

What do you think is the best part about living in Portage Park/Old Irving Park?  I often think that living in this area of the city feels like a great mix of what we would get if we combined the appeal of the suburbs with the city: easy parking, affordable homes, a growing number of families, convenient access to both public transportation and highways, a short commute downtown, wonderful diversity and a low-crime community.  

Why should someone check out your group?  For all of the reasons listed above, but also because there's a growing enthusiasm for improving our neighborhoods, which you see in new businesses and restaurants, in families you meet in parks, and in individuals who express their desire to contribute to its betterment in forums such as EveryBlock.

What was your favorite event so far this year?  We've had some great events, but my favorite was probably the Parents' Night Out at The Portage Restaurant.  We met some wonderful people and everyone had such fun!

What's your favorite memory of Thanksgiving from growing up? I grew up in Ohio and, for almost 40 years, my parents have been going to the same Christmas tree farm every year to cut down our tree.  Once my brothers and I went off to college, we started going to the farm the day after Thanksgiving, to accommodate school schedules.  We've kept it as that day ever since, and now my husband, kids and I all join my family every year to cut down a tree at that farm.  Even though we're getting a Christmas tree, I always think of it as a Thanksgiving tradition!

Thank you, Lisa!  We appreciate all the great events you plan for NPN parents!  If you are interested in volunteering to plan events in your neighborhood, contact Amy at

Posted on November 11, 2011 at 8:30 AM