2017 Volunteer Spotlight
raise money for the homeless kids in her school. The BIONIC Club does various service projects throughout the school year as well, which she is involved in. Christmas for Kids of Edgar County is a non-profit organization that helps to provide Christmas to underprivileged children. This year Christmas for Kids provided gifts to over 700 children in Edgar County, providing clothing items and toys to brighten their Christmas season. Christmas for Kids could not do this without our dedicated volunteers who give selflessly of their time to ensure this program is successful in reaching as many children as we can. Harli stands out because of her dedication to different charitable causes throughout the year. She is definitely an awesome role model for the younger generation to see how important it is to serve others in their community.
A trip to see Santa Claus at a crowded mall can be overwhelming for any family, but it can be near impossible for children with special needs. The “Sensory Santa” at Immanuel Lutheran Church experience began five years ago, initially for children with autism. Since then they have expanded this opportunity to kids who have an array of developmental and mental health needs. Instead of waiting in line, families schedule an appointment to meet and take photos with Santa Claus. When they first arrive for their appointment, they can make Christmas crafts and eat snacks in a separate room. They provide a sensory friendly environment, so that means there won’t be any loud music playing or bright blinking lights. Children with autism are often sensitive to sounds and lights. This year 29 families signed up for an appointment with Santa, ranging in age from 2 to 16 years. Once in the room with Santa, the photographer takes photos of them interacting naturally rather than forcing a hurried pose. Each child can take as long as they need to warm up to him. The room is quiet with soft natural lighting.
This free event is possible because of wonderful volunteers. They all are either special education teachers in Vermilion County, or members of the Puzzled Minds group. Acree shared how special it is to see the children interact more and more each year. “We’ve not had one unsuccessful visit,” she said. “If anything, we’ll have tears of happiness.”
diners at no cost to them. In addition, a DJ provides music, diners dance, and clowns do face painting and make balloon animals. This year, it was the largest dinner yet, which served between 2,800 & 3,000 diners. Mr. Vogelbaugh is the first to say “I can’t do this without the community’s support.” The community steps forward each year by volunteering, providing monetary donations, a local Catholic School makes table decorations, MetroLink provides free transportation to diners who want to attend but have no way to get there, and SouthPark Mall opens to host the dinner. Mr. Vogelbaugh says “this is not a charity dinner, it is for anyone no matter of income level, those who are alone, or if just wanting to enjoy friendships and fellowship.” He thinks of the dinner as a large family having a party and provides an opportunity for everyone to forget their worries for the day.
Mr. Vogelbaugh’s volunteer service has been in his blood his entire life. He served as a Deacon with the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, was a member of the Moline-Coal Valley School Board of Education, and is involved in various capacities with many community organizations. He has worked with special needs children and adults in the past and has used his own money to take them on various fun trips. Mr. Vogelbaugh currently is a crossing guard with the City of Moline.
He led this trip seven times and is planning the eighth. He led an expedition to Alaska where the boys learned mountaineering, glacier traversing, sea kayaking and whitewater rafting and is planning another one for next summer. He has taken two groups by floatplane to a remote island in Canada for a week of fishing and camping. He also organized a caving trip where the boys camped in a cave overnight and kayaked on a nearby river the next day.
Damon has also served as Cubmaster for Rochester’s Cub Scout Pack and was nominated to the Boy Scout Council’s Executive Board where he has served for several years, two of them as President. While on the Board, he founded the local Eagle Scout Association and spearheaded new fundraising projects.
Damon and his wife, Erin, are the parents of four active boys. He works as a Financial Advisor and Certified Financial Planner at Merrill Lynch. Damon is a former army helicopter pilot and a West Point graduate.
if they would be willing to donate to this worthy cause. During collecting donations Hurricane Irma came along and that caught my attention. I then changed my project just a tad to put it towards all of the hurricane victims. As I was collecting donations from the community, I decided I wanted to get the schools involved too. I did 50/50 raffles at a home volleyball and football game during homecoming weeks. Within that same week I sold caramel apples at those same games that were generously donated by County Market in Gibson City. The Fisher Community Unit 1 School District kindly donated the proceeds from the volleyball game gate fees. Lastly, I did a mini fundraiser inside of my large fundraiser. I put on "Your Change Makes a Difference" fundraiser, which is where you bring in any extra change or dollars you can spare. I did this with the grades K-12. Just with "Your Change Makes a Difference" I raised $1,634.38. Overall I raised $3,303.38. I would like to thank the numerous people who donated their time, money, and efforts to help me complete this project."
focuses her services on those affected by mass incarceration and poverty. She has become a voice of light to the issues that have affected her community by dedicating herself to educating her neighbors and the families of Englewood on human and constitutional rights. In 2017 she served in AmeriCorps with FDLA’s Street Law Corp Team. During this year of service she engaged residences of Englewood by providing a civic engagement curriculum designed by the Street Law Corp (SLC) team and volunteer attorneys. The team engaged over 80 youth in multimedia, peer to peer education, and community events. After finishing the year of service she volunteered the rest of her summer at FDLA.
Today she’s on her 2nd year of service as the Street Law Corp team leader. Every day she motivates her peers and community as a proactive volunteer responding to this issue and those who are deeply wounded by violence in her community. Her passion to service has allowed her to become a true beacon of community service.
met several local Springfield families over the past two years who are unable to provide a safe and fun Halloween for their children. He has made it his mission to provide those kids a safe place to enjoy the Halloween festivities. Jordan has spent the last several months planning and organizing with several local businesses and volunteer organizations so each child can have a Halloween costume they could not afford on their own. The fruits of this work, “Trunk or Treat,” will take place at Matheny-Withrow Elementary School on October 31st at 4 p.m. All branches of the military will be represented. Initially when Jordan started planning this event, he was unsure if it would be successful. The outpour of generosity from the community and local organizations has been amazing. Thanks to them, there will be over one hundred people participating in this event providing kids with a safe place to enjoy Halloween. Jordan has spent countless hours reaching out to local consignment shops to get costume donations, candy donations, and even purchased a few things himself. Jordan’s work to support youth in the community make him an excellent volunteer and a wonderful person.
serve. In addition to escorting patients and visitors, volunteers assist in nearly 30 areas of the hospital, including information desks, waiting lounges, and the gift shop. They also assist with office projects and provide patient care in the emergency department and infusion unit. To learn more, visit Memorial's Volunteer page.
AmeriCorps East St. Louis is honored that he’s serving here with them.
Learn more about AmeriCorps and how you can serve at AmeriCorps.gov.
and math. Maralene not only acts as a tutor but also a mentor. She works with the students that might be struggling socially or emotionally as well as academically. She is a wonderful role model to the children she works with. Maralene currently volunteers at Edna Keith Elementary School in Joliet, IL. According to the principal at Edna Keith, Ms. Henderson, "Ms. Tate is a true asset to Keith School. She goes above and beyond the call of duty. I have told her if I could I would clone her. She has a true passion for helping our young scholars succeed academically and socially. She along with her Kindergarten teacher spent countless hours making academic packets for the 2017-2018 school year over the summer. (Ms. Tate never told the FGP staff about this nor did she ask for reimbursement.) If anyone is deserving of this award it is Ms. Tate."
Ms. Tate does not drive so she relies on public transportation to get to school. The teacher with whom she works with says, "Grandma Maralene always knows what to do even before I tell her. She is willing to do anything. The students love and respect Grandma Maralene, and if she is absent they show genuine concern for why she isn't there."
Ms. Tate has also volunteered at two Head Start Programs in Joliet. There she tended to the children ages 3-5. She gave them her love and guidance as she helped them to learn how to perform skills that would enable them to be ready for kindergarten. She was loved by the teachers and site supervisors as well.
very grateful to be able to partner with Michael in helping him serve the community in so many valuable ways.
individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry.
Gail devotes her time twice a week to help BIB feed the future of America by completing necessary office tasks and working towards their mission. Gail always has a positive attitude and smile on her face no matter what task she is completing!
Gail is also extremely punctual. She is always on time and completes all of her projects on time as well. She is always eager to help out in whatever way she can, whether it’s sending out stewardship cards, helping with data entry, or researching new ways to help feed more hungry children across America. Gail is truly a ray of sunshine at the BIB Chicago office, and they are so grateful for everything she does.
participate for the first year of their program. This year, the McAleer-Forte family engaged the help of students in 7 of 8 District 100 Elementary and Middle schools. The students’ donations of their unused and gently used at the end of this school year tallied up to 570.6 pounds of note paper, pencils, pens, markers, glue sticks, and backpacks.
The D 100 School Supply Drive encourages volunteerism among our school students. It provides needed economic help to school parents by providing many of the school supply items their children will need. The program fosters concern for our environment by encouraging the reuse of usable supplies.
week. He loves cooking, sharing recipes and using new and unusual ingredients. This past Sunday, he did a market show and tell, with a giant bucket of cucumbers ready for a late summer pickling project. He is an exemplary member of our farmers market community, advocating for a regional food system as a volunteer and supporter, and setting an example for what it means to be a wonderful neighbor.
younger sister, Pat, who was finishing her third AmeriCorps year. Pat felt that given her brother’s long history of working with troubled youth in schools, churches, and, while in Montana, the firm of Mountain Peak, and the court system, he would be a great fit for the program and a solid follow-up to her service.
Since joining AmeriCorps, Larry has tutored 40+ youth - two of whom obtained their high school diplomas as a result of the extra help they obtained in tutoring. The boys treat him with the upmost respect. He works effortlessly 40 hours weekly to tutor these boys in science, English, math, history and geography. He works with lower level students as well as with those working towards a GED or diploma. He also helps them learn to take notes, so that they can work more independently in class. His quiet nature allows the young men to see another side to manhood that most of them have never experienced. The youth that he works with are very receptive to his help.
Through AmeriCorps and LVI, Mr. Durfee will continue to help incarcerated youth work towards their goals of obtaining their diploma or GED. This can provide them with the ability to work towards higher education or obtaining a job upon their release, therefore reducing recidivism which is common without educational tools. He continues to mentor them with his gentle, quiet and caring nature and all of his life experiences that he gets to share with them at the end of the tutor sessions daily.
Club of Central IL. Marcus has served in both Brandon’s summer camp and after school program; which provides tutoring, homework help, and computer access to school age children who reside in Brandon and the surrounding communities.
As a male mentor, Marcus openly shares his past mistakes with young men; urging them to stay in school, stay away from drugs, be selective with the friends they hang out with, and always stay away from illegal activity. Children relate well to Marcus, because they know he genuinely cares for them and he wants them to be successful.
Most evenings Marcus can be found volunteering at the Outlet; another nonprofit organization that works with fatherless youth between the ages of 8-22. It is not uncommon for Marcus to take young men to the barber shop on Saturday for a haircut, teach them how to tie a tie, or cut their lawn. You can always find Marcus out in the community advocating for youth, and working to end the violence in the community of Springfield.
D.M., a 5th grader who is enrolled in the summer camp at Brandon said, “I like Brother Marcus because he doesn’t just tell us what to do but he always participates and thinks of fun activities. We went to the Children’s museum in Decatur and Brother Marcus sang on the stage with all the boys.“
Blessings in a Backpack in Galesburg had humble beginnings of serving one elementary school by mostly Knox College students in a school building close to campus. In 2013 when it expanded to four schools and needed a bigger space to gather, sort, and pack the food, Ron was one of the first RSVP members to join the fun. This assistance is especially important when the college students were absent due to their college scheduled winter break that does not coincide with the CUSD school schedule has at risk kids in need of food for the weekends through December.
Without the RSVP volunteers like Ron, the Blessings in a Backpack program serving Galesburg elementary kids would have to be on hold when the Knox College students are on their scheduled breaks.
Ron is also an active volunteer as an usher at the Historic Orpheum Theatre of Galesburg, giving his personal million dollar smile greeting to all who patronize the theatre when he is there. His ability to serve any time of the day is especially helpful for the YES -Youth Education Series at the Orpheum which provides live performances for school children during the school day.
Ron truly makes a difference for the youth of the Galesburg Community.
Lee has made an impact on lives through her tireless community service. She has served on The Salvation Army Advisory Board, and is the incoming chair for this year. In 2012 Lee chaired The Salvation Army’s Christmas campaign that successfully went over goal. She also volunteers in our social services programs.
Lee served as chair of Habitat for Humanity for more than 20 years, assisting in building more than 20 homes. Seeing the need for a halfway house for women transitioning out of prison, Lee opened Well House, a home that bridges the gap from prison to independent living. Lee is a friend and mentor to each of the residents, as she helps them work toward self-sufficiency. Lee is a past board member of Chaddock, and current board member of Arts Quincy. She is involved in Quincy Community Theater. She is a volunteer with CASA, which trains adults to be court appointed advocates for children, and she is involved in prison ministry. Lee is a board member of Addicts Victorious.
Lee sees a need and goes to work to find a solution. Her service has helped strengthen our community through her continued commitment of time, talent and treasure. Her ideas and suggestions for improvement coupled with her ongoing involvement with these organizations helps assure continued excellence in service delivery in our community.
friend’s life in the way most would, Karen saw an issue in Central Illinois that she wanted to address. Through research and interviews Karen discovered that opioid addiction and overdose is a growing issue overall, but especially in the Central Illinois area. Karen could not sit by and watch this issue grow. Thus, Project Emily was born.
Project Emily is a newborn project aimed to educated and certify individuals as well as companies and organizations in the use of Narcan. Narcan, or Naloxone, is a prescription drug used to block the effects of opioids, especially in an overdose situation. Karen, and her friend Bria Karin have been working closely to become educated and trained on the use of Narcan. Karen is now certified to use Narcan as well as train and certify others. She has received several requests from individuals as well as companies and organizations for training and certification on the use of Narcan.
Karen and Bria also have plans to set Project Emily up with a private and confidential phone number. Individuals will be able to text this number completely anonymously to request Narcan, or to share their story should they have to use the Narcan. This way, Karen and Bria hope to eliminate the fear of punishment should people request Narcan or tell their stories. In telling their stories both ladies hope they can compile research into the effect that Project Emily is having on the community in reversing opioid overdoses.
The hope and purpose of Project Emily is to not only save individuals from opioid overdoses, but to increase awareness and education on an issue that has unfortunately become prevalent in our area. Project Emily hopes to also provide a safe and judgement-free place where individuals can request the lifesaving drug, or seek help should they need or want it.
honorable recognition. Jan receive a Community Service Award at a luncheon hosted by the organization on March 16, 2017. The Rockford Park District called her, “The Filer-Extraordinaire”. Her love for serving and helping in the office has brought a deep appreciation from the organizations she serves. It is awesome to see RSVP Volunteers leaving a positive influence in the community. “I think it is a citizen’s duty to be a useful and productive volunteer in a capacity that equals your ability to an organization that can use your service. Grasp the opportunity while enjoying the work and making new friends along the way.” - Jan Merchant
developments in Woodlawn—feel comfortable using computers in the workplace, to manage their finances, and to communicate with friends and family. For those clients who are seeking jobs, Casandra works with them to develop resumes and cover letters and practice their basic skills. Other clients, especially senior citizens, are simply eager to have a chance to learn computer skills in an accessible and welcoming environment. Casandra creates this environment by holding structured classes as well as open computer lab hours, when clients can get one-on-one assistance. Casandra is among the most dedicated volunteers the organization has. She has been especially eager to develop new classes and ideas in response to her clients’ feedback. When she noticed that senior citizen residents seemed interested in the computer lab but hesitant to try it out, she set aside time and space for classes open to seniors only and expanded her teaching repertoire to include typing games and social media. Casandra also learned about free advanced Excel classes being offered at the YWCA and used some of her training hours to increase her own knowledge of Excel and continue building her skills. She has also served as a mentor and supporter of newer and younger AmeriCorps members in the cohort by offering to let them shadow her classes, helping them with data entry, and brainstorming new ideas for engaging clients. She is a cheerleader for the AmeriCorps team, and takes particular joy in building others’ self-confidence.
Casandra’s commitment to her clients has highlighted the importance of digital literacy to workforce development and financial stability. She has forged strong partnerships with her colleagues, including working with the financial coach to equip clients to manage their bank accounts online and supporting workforce staff by integrating Microsoft Word skills into cover letter writing.
positive. She is a concerned member of the Macomb community, giving of herself to help a child in need. She has reliably fulfilled her commitment of weekly meetings, and has exceeded that expectation by participating in every agency-wide extra weekend/holiday activity (facilitated by the organization) since she was matched. When Chandler is not volunteering she works with the Big Brothers Big sister organization as an employee to recruit and match big’s and little’s, as well as manage all the cases.
shopping for children’s books, clothing, blankets, and of course toys and held a Saturday morning “shop” for parents to come pick out Christmas gifts. Not only did this help ensure the children in the district received a holiday gift, but it helped the parents feel like they were providing. Additionally, it helped to solidify the role of the school as a pillar of the community. When excessive snow and ice arrived that Saturday morning, Darcy announced a second date to be held in the evening (of a day when school was closed for Winter Break) in order to ensure that all parents that wanted to get holiday gifts were able to. While all of this was going on, Darcy was teaching 4th grade full-time, finishing a course on her Masters’ degree program, and tending to her husband who had just been diagnosed with a kidney disease. This goes above and beyond and NH-M #88 is very proud to count Darcy as a member of their learning community!
distribute throughout the community. He drives to the food banks, local stores and various food pick- ups to gather the food that is needed to provide help to the community. He does every task with a smile, and he has such a giving and caring spirit. Jeremy is studying Criminology and wishes to work with juveniles upon coursework requirements being completed. Jeremy is a great asset to Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House AmeriCorps East St. Louis!
The empathy she demonstrates when serving Lakeview’s neighbors in need is a very special quality. She has a warmth about her that immediately puts clients at ease. One of Susan's most valuable contributions to the Pantry has been her assistance in the transition from the Pantry’s old building to its new 7,500 sq. ft. building at 3945 N. Sheridan Rd. As a graduate of the University of Michigan Engineering and Business schools, Susan used her advanced critical thinking skills, helping to design the new distribution process. Susan's engineering expertise, analytical skills and her pragmatic problem solving capability were all critical factors in the successful results. She was absolutely tireless in providing the analytical support and recommendations that were so important.
This was a time intensive activity that Susan graciously volunteered to do on top of her regular food distribution responsibilities. Susan is a rare gem and Lakeview Pantry is incredibly lucky to have her on their team! Lakeview can always trust her to effectively tackle any task we throw her way. She is truly an outstanding volunteer!
in her car-they have to "car dance" with her. Her clients may think that is crazy, but in the end they have fun! Gloria is always willing to help whenever she can, she has taken clients when the Program has been in a pinch. Gloria also takes several of her clients to local food pantries, even on the weekends. Gloria is always pleasant and has a smile on her face. Gloria's efforts with the Senior Companion Program help to keep her clients as independent as possible. By being a Senior Companion, Gloria also helps her clients to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Gloria also helps her clients by being a positive and happy person.
power options and usage. Curt presented a PowerPoint and answered questions in the aftermath of the Washington Tornadoes to ensure that everyone could learn from what had happened. Curt also keeps the weather radar computers at the EOC updated and operational. Curt also is always available for any additional project’s and assignments that our needed at the Emergency Operations Center.
While assisting the Woodford County Health Department, Curt helped educate Eureka College about the dangers of not having emergency backup power anywhere on campus. He gave the college valuable information on what their first steps should be when integrating emergency generator power, and how to improve communication between faculty members after a disaster. Not only is Curt an asset to all the agencies in Woodford County, he is also a devoted family man, grand parent, and church member
MacKenzie has been the family that Paula lacked in the Decatur area. MacKenzie has been there for her through big and small events in her life, and though they are not blood relatives, Paula is proud to say that she still has family here; she has a little sister!
Over the years, Paula has enjoyed watching Mackenzie grow from a quiet, shy pre-teen to a much more talkative, focused young woman. She says, “it blows my mind that she will be graduating this year, and going on to college. I know that she will go on to be an incredible nurse and will be able to accomplish anything she sets her mind to accomplish.”
“At first, our relationship centered around food. From making homemade chili (her recipe), to luxurious chocolate cake (my recipe), to chowing down on pizza and watching movies, we got to know each other little by little," Puala said. "MacKenzie has always been a busy girl: a three-sport athlete with good grades. I wanted to provide her with a little guidance to help bring out her inner confidence, to help her build tools to form strong relationships, and to help develop her career aspirations. We discussed the need in the medical field, and agreed nursing would be a great fit!”
The two have also built a strong personal relationship. Lorneesha plays volleyball and basketball and since the passing of her father, hasn’t had someone consistently rooting for her at games. Kate has attended games and competitions, cheering Lorneesha on every step of the way. While becoming a part of Lorneesha’s world, Kate has also welcomed Lorneesha to be a part of hers. When Kate got married this past summer, Lorneesha was a guest at her wedding.
Lorneesha will be the first in her family to attend college and has already been accepted to the Art Institute of Atlanta, the College of DuPage, Kennedy-King College, Northwestern Michigan College, and Robert Morris University Illinois. Kate has committed to standing in the gap and being the champion Lorneesha needs as she navigates the road to college and beyond. Kate recently shared that “while iMentor has opened Lorneesha’s eyes to things she has never considered, it has also certainly done at least that, if not more, for me.”
If you’re interested in becoming a mentor like Kate, email iMentor to learn more.
Invest in Chess, a chess advocacy initiative that he is working on with his peers here at the University.
Though he and his peers engage in a variety of projects, they are particularly proud of the work they’re doing in Andrew Carnegie Elementary, a Chicago Public School. To date, they have directly impacted approximately 100 children at Andrew Carnegie Elementary not only through teaching in the classrooms, but also by leading the school’s chess club, which they helped create. The Principal of Andrew Carnegie Elementary has recognized Sharan and his organization’s service and believes that his teaching has benefited the students tremendously.
Additionally, in June 2016, Sharan organized the first-ever exhibition chess tournament between two Chicago Public Schools—Andrew Carnegie Elementary and John J. Pershing Magnet School. There was a total of about 60 students in attendance from both the schools, and the children were provided with snacks and participation medals at the conclusion of the tournament. For organizing this tournament, Sharan’s organization, Invest in Chess, was recognized by the Chief Education Officer of Chicago Public Schools.
Beyond Carnegie, Sharan has spread chess in Chicago by establishing the “Rebuild Knights” Youth Chess Club at the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, and by collaborating with SocialWorks, Chance the Rapper’s nonprofit organization. To date, all the initiatives conducted through Invest in Chess have impacted approximately 400 children.
Sharan has demonstrated a commitment to positively impacting Chicago through chess, and we would be honored if you featured Sharan Subramanian, our Founder and President, in order to highlight the work that he is doing and to raise awareness of the difference he is making.
A devout catholic, Liz and her husband Bob live in Tuscola and attend Forty Martyrs Catholic church. She always says this is what keeps her going, but actually Tuscola Healthcare Center feels it is she who keeps them going!
workplace, United Airlines, are able to explore new skills and discover their potential to achieve big dreams! He says, "As a kid, I thought that you could be a police man, banker, fire fighter, entertainer, but was not aware of the diversity of jobs in the work force." As a Spark mentor, he works with his mentees to find a common interest, and using skills like, creativity, networking, and teamwork helps them develop a project.
with his reading comprehension, vocabulary, math, and writing skills.
Morris began mentoring Willie while he was in the eighth grade. Before Morris came into his life, Willie had his mind set on being the next basketball star and wanted to attend a high school with a good basketball team. With the guidance from his mentor and support from his mom, he began to realize that basketball was secondary to getting a good education so he selected a high school that would help strengthen him as a student. As a high school sophomore, he continues to play basketball, but he knows that he must be a good student if he wants to get in the college of his choice. He knows that good grades will lead to many college scholarships opportunities.
During their weekly meetings, Morris and Willie also make time for fun. "I play basketball with him and I always lose," said Morris, a Nigerian native, who received his law degree from the University of Dayton. "In fact, I'm awful." Willie stated, "I needed guidance in my life and Morris gives me that. He always gives me his honest opinion, and I know that he wants the best for me."
camps for middle schoolers, and assist at a variety of special events including overnight sleep-overs! Mudha truly is a jack of all trades—Shedd knows they can count on her to learn quickly, be an enthusiastic participant, and bring a sense of wonder and curiosity to all her roles at Shedd Aquarium.
As a representative of Shedd, Mudha’s role in all these areas is to connect guests to the living world while inspiring them to make a difference. She does this by using her past (and present) skills as an educator, cast member at Disney theme parks, and musician. Mudha makes scientific facts fun, accessible, and understandable for guests of all ages thanks to her specific skill set. Her enthusiasm for the aquarium’s work is unparalleled and makes her a guest favorite. While Mudha’s first love is music, and she performs throughout the Chicagoland area, her second love is definitely Shedd Aquarium, making her an ideal volunteer.
“We know Mudha’s presence at Shedd has not only made a difference to our staff, but also to each and every guest that she comes in contact with. We are so grateful for the time and effort that Mudha donates to Shedd each and every week!”
-The Guest Engagement Department at Shedd Aquarium
prepared, a coordinator’s dream. Her lesson planning is tailored to each individual youth she works with. She searches out materials and exercises based on the youth’s interests and abilities and ends each session with something fun, like dominoes or Scrabble. She participates in volunteer events and tutor exchanges and works well with other tutors and staff.
Ann provides a consistent, affirming presence to the young men she works with, something very valuable in the sometimes chaotic world of corrections. She is non-judgmental and accepts each young man at face value and treats him with kindness and respect. She makes it clear that she cares about them and encourages them to do their best and to make positive plans for the future. Her warmth and humor are very appreciated, as are the hugs she gives them at the end of each session.
In the words of one of her current students:
“I like my tutor because she is always there for me. She also makes things easier than I thought…Ann is a great tutor who really cares about learning and helping students with grades. She is the best tutor ever.”
A Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with disabilities ages 14 and older. On Feb 10th, there were hundreds of proms held across the U.S. They are put on and funded by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Nate volunteered as a "buddy" for the prom that was held at Immanuel Baptist in Benton, Il. There were over 130 prom dates that ranged from ages 14 to 65. The night included getting their hair done for the women, and getting their shoes shined for the men. They were able to ride in a limo, and they were dropped off at the red carpet. The red carpet was lined with fans and professional photographers who cheered and shouted. Everyone ate, laughed, and danced the night away. You can ask any volunteer who was there; it was the best prom anyone had ever seen!
Nate stresses that, “Immanuel Baptist is a wonderful church filled with wonderful people, and they are very involved in the community.”
Clare has been active as a 4-H Teen Hunger Ambassador since the group’s inception four years ago. The teens prepare and serve free monthly meals to the hungry at the Milan, Illinois Extension and pack snack bags for food insecure children to take home from school. Clare organized all the logistics for two annual meal packaging events, which included recruiting and instructing volunteers, fundraising, writing grants, ordering the meal ingredients and supplies from Illini Fighting Hunger, and running the events. Clare plans to prepare for and host another meal event this year, and hopes to possibly continue for years to come!
and soaps, and photography. He also enjoys the retired life with his wife and dogs here in Springfield. Alfred is a one of a kind man and a one of kind volunteer with ideas on how to get people to donate more through local grocers or donating their time. I think I can speak for all of us at the foodbank when I say we appreciate all that Alfred has done and will continue to do for our organization.