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Meet the CCRx Team - Part 1

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx) is a great place to work. All of our Team Members are wildly talented, dedicated and generous. Through their hard work and creative solutions, CCRx offers a well stocked warehouse, intriguing Special Finds, collaborative art projects and a lots of inspiring events, like The Creativity Bus and our semi-annual Back2School Supply Rx-Travaganza.


We'd love to pull back the curtain and introduce you to the team who make things happen at CCRx. Drum roll, please...

Barbara Koenen >

Founder + Exec Director


Where do I live? I live in Hyde Park, in a co-op

apartment overlooking Lake Michigan. It is Mies van der Rohe's first highrise apartment building and I can see the sun rise every day, which is a real gift.

If I could be anything, it would be a clone of me so I could be in two places at once and do all the other things I'd like to do but don't have time for!!

Motto: "Trash is just a failure of imagination."




< Kathryn Trumbull Fimreite

Grants, Creative Reuse Product Development


Where do I live? Edgewater neighborhood - because I love being close to the water!

If I could be anything? I would be a mermaid - ha!

What's my motto? Everyone is creative...and the fun comes when you discover it!





Paige Dirkes-Jacks >

Donations, Warehouse

Where do you live in the city? I live in Wrigleyville in Lakeview!

If you could be anything, what would it be and why? I would want to be a stringed instrument - any kind! But probably upright bass, guitar, or viola. I love the way stringed instruments sound like singing! Also, the upright bass is the first instrument I learned how to play, so I’m biased.

What's your motto? Question everything, love anything. I got this from an amazing professor in college. Question all the systems and rules that are outdated or harmful, but love the things you love unabashedly, even when they exist within those systems. Love them so much you want to change the systems to be better!


< Mark Molenda

Sales, Special Finds


Where do you live in the city? I live in Lincoln Square. I was raised in the EastSide suburbs of Detroit, MI. After earning my education, I moved about in Southeast Michigan - the cities of Detroit, Flint, Ypsilanti, and some rural areas. Although these cities and towns have their own general attributes and characteristics, my experience with the people I've met on the way matters more because of their individual uniqueness.

If you could be anything, what would it be and why?

I would go with water because it provides life. With much hard work and many years, water carves canyons out of mountains.

What's your motto? "Versatility puts the reality of impermanence at ease. "


Valarie "Feather" Hicks

Warehouse Intern / Social Media


Where do you live in the city? I have lived in West Englewood for over 2 years, I'm from the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago.

If you could be anything, what would it be and why? If I could be anything, I would be a teacher because when I needed guidance I had to seek answers outside of my own thinking to get perspective on what I can do versus overthinking the limits that I had set for myself/ comfort zone. To be a teacher is to give assistance to someone that was in the same lost shoes as yourself and showing them the proper road of being patient and consistent with every practice that they focus their intentions on.

What's your motto? "Ending Excuses with a Plan!!" Nowadays there's so many opportunities to get your passion or business off the ground and if you're blinded with excuses you'll never really live in your gift that you were destined to live in.



Thanks to everyone on our CCRx Team and all of our supporters. Together we make meaningful impact for teachers, nonprofits, artists, families, community members, and more throughout the city of Chicago.


Stay tuned for Meet the Team Part 2, featuring Jenn Cullerton Johnson, Matt Ryerse, Ea Williams and Craig Schmidt...


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