2021 Volunteer Spotlight
baskets to Manteno Veterans Home residents on Wednesday morning during a special coffee and cookie gathering in honor of her service project, Warming Up our Veterans.
Elizabeth, several of her friends, and sometimes her mom, Julie, spent around five hours each day for four weeks selecting, cutting and tying fabric to make 180 blankets, one for each veteran at the Manteno home. She collected more than 180 donations, ending up with a surplus of funds and plenty of blanket scraps, which she plans to turn around into gifted neck pillows and handmade wreaths for the 87 residents at the LaSalle Veterans Home.
“They just did so much for us,” Barth said. “They were willing to give their life for us and for our safety. I wanted to make them smile and make them feel appreciated.”
In 2010 while in her scout troop meeting, Kennedi was given an assignment that required each troop member to go through their closets and fill up a bag with items that they had not worn in a year. All of the members did what was asked and came to the next meeting with their bags full of stuff. After sorting the donations, the members were allowed to "shop" the tables and take the items that they wanted for no cost and leftover items were donated to a local shelter for women and children. Thus, it was at Kennedi's scout meeting that the project "Swap and Share" was born
Since Swap and Share’s inception in 2013 more than 900 community members have been served, 287 volunteers have served the community, thousands of donated items have been collected, more than 18,000 pounds of clothing, shoes and textiles have been recycled and re-used, 6 shelters have been serviced, and 1,865 volunteers hours have been logged. Kennedi has also received three grants to support her project.
Kennedi's service has demonstrated that you are never too young to make a difference in your community. At a young age, Kennedi learned the very important lesson of the necessity of having wise and resourceful mentors in her life. She cherishes the mentors that she has and pays it forward by mentoring younger students at her school, church and within other organizations. A challenge that Kennedi has experienced is dealing with the negative stigma that many people attach to second-hand items. To overcome this challenge, Kennedi had to educate and raise awareness of what it means to be environmentally responsible as consumers. She worked with the We Organization, participated in WeDay, and partnered with Savers to learn more about sustainability and educate other volunteers and community members.
When not conserving nature, Terry dedicates time to youth outreach in his community as a 4H robotics team leader- their most recent accomplishment was the building of a “farmbot”, currently on display at Mattoon’s Cross Country Mall. Rounding out his compassion for others, Terry is an active volunteer in Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center’s “Plant a Row for the Hungry” garden program.
“Where there is a wheelbarrow, there is a way”, and Terry’s community-minded spirit, love of people, and “handy man skills” makes him an excellent organizer and leader in volunteer efforts.
before to change someone’s day for the better. Grace’s focus was always to make someone feel better and to help others in need no matter the circumstances. It is for these reasons that Serve Illinois would like to honor Grace’s memory as our volunteer of the week.
Grace used her track and cross country platform to touch the lives of athletes all over the tristate area. She would take her message to meets and make contact with other athletes in order to instill in them to #BeLikeGrace. Grace used all forms of social media to create kindness in real time. She would post and encourage those as well as reach out to those in need or troubled. She made sure to take time to pack extra snacks, work with those with disabilities, and focus on the needs of others even if that meant her needs came 2nd or even 3rd.
Graces impact has now gone across the world. The message #belikegrace has been in 4 separate countries supported by Olympic runner Genevieve Lacruze and Grace has received state recognition by Senator Jill Tracy and Senator Dick Durbin. Grace has taught others that the quality you put out into the world truly means something and your life can impact others if you are just willing to try. Additionally, Grace’s life is memorialized through the #BeLikeGrace Scholarship which is awarded yearly to a high school senior who exemplifies the following pillars: faith, kindness, generosity, compassion, positivity, and striving to be the best version of yourself.
Upon her joining House of Neighborly Service, Toni began coordinating the emergency food pantry. She inventoried and coordinated with local food drives at schools, scouts and churches. She shortly afterward began bi-weekly trips to a local Pizza Hut and gathered, packaged and froze pizza weekly to provide for those in need and give them an extra treat. She then developed a relationship with a St. Louis Panera Bread Company and gathered their day old bread and pastry items on a weekly basis. She also packaged and froze those items as well. All of this was then distributed weekly to families in need, a weekly delivery to the seniors in the low income apartments in two towns in our county, and she developed relationships with local butcher shops to gather their meat contributions and she was sure to shop with them as well.
During the pandemic, Toni packaged numerous "COVID bags" of food and hygiene items as families were struggling greatly. The organization offered a cooking class prior to the pandemic and she made sure food items were available to those attending along with groceries to take home. The cooking class focused on serving those families who depended upon food pantries and needed way to provide nutritious, delicious and budget stretching menus. For the second summer, she has worked on feeding our families through our summer lunch program which has not been easy as the pandemic affected the ability to get plentiful food items and budget friendly items. This summer she is in full control of this program and is feeding 125 plus families each week with meat, vegetables, produce, dairy and other items needed. She is coordinating all of this simultaneously, without losing energy, with no complaints.
Ryan also volunteered with The Whiteside Garden in Charleston, a five-acre garden with many rare plants. Ryan helped weed the bog garden for several hours over the summer. His work helped make sure the delicate plants in the bog garden were able to grow and thrive. Ryan also volunteers with the Charleston Community Band to put on outdoor concerts as a band member. These concerts are well-attended and much appreciated by the Charleston Community (and a much-needed community boost).
During the pandemic, like other areas in the state of Illinois, the east-central Illinois area desperately needed personal protective equipment. Ryan used his own 3D printer and the skills he learned from the UIUC 3D maker lab to make 3D-printed face shields and donated them to both the local community and to Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign County. These face shields were able to provide an additional layer of protection against COVID. Over the course of many months, Ryan donated 100+ face shields to Carle Hospital, 20+ face shields to Sarah Bush Health Center in Coles County, and many more to Eastern Illinois University, friends and neighbors, and his own high school. His donations have been crucial in protecting the community.
Nate demonstrated best practices by insuring the students' safety and keeping them engaged in the classroom. A great majority of GECRC's students come from minority backgrounds, and Nate's cultural sensitivity helped create a comfortable environment for the kids.
Nate makes sure to entertain and join the students in activities they are passionate about, such as activities including sports and gymnastics. Nate also helped the students prepare presentations about community heroes. He is very much set on providing his best efforts for the sake of the students and the organization. Nate is always willing to step up to challenges and help deescalate difficult situations.
Nate's name is often mentioned in high praises among GECRC's staff. He displays a positive, kind, and fun attitude and makes sure that energy is present wherever he goes. He has a way of getting the students excited about the work they are doing and makes sure they are happy to be there.
help them with their financial needs, such as paying bills. He was also a receptionist for Catholic Charities, assisting clients and directing them to the help that they needed.
For sixteen years, George used his time and talents and volunteered in various ways to support seniors; whether it was to help raise funds, assist seniors with their financial matters, or to deliver a meal to a homebound resident. His leadership and creativity are evident in leading current events group, which filled to capacity, on a weekly basis for fourteen years. Many of Catholic Charities clients come from different backgrounds.
George has had a great impact on the senior community. He also served on the Arlington Heights Senior Center Inc. board, which is the fund-raising body for the Arlington Heights Senior Center. Through his volunteer efforts, the Arlington Heights Senior Center Inc. board has raised thousands of dollars to donate to the Senior Center for senior residents to benefit and enjoy. The Arlington Heights Senior Center houses eight separate agencies. One of these agencies is the Nurses Club Lending Closet. The Lending Closet loans out durable medical equipment to residents in our community. The Arlington Heights Senior Center Inc. board, through their fundraising efforts, is able to purchase medical equipment for our Lending Closet upon request.
George has received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteering over 4,000 hours to one organization, and has served a total of 6500 hours. George exemplifies what it means to give back to your community, and his compassion has certainly made an impact on the lives of others in his community.
She has supported 75 volunteers in their efforts to collect data on plants and animals around Winnebago County through training in the classroom and in the field, support in data entry, data analysis, and answering any questions along the way.
Jillian’s leadership in this program has significantly improved volunteer engagement and retention and the quality and quantity of data collected. This data helps inform natural resource management across the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County and education programming at Severson Dells Nature Center.
In June and July, Jillian went above and beyond in the wake of the Chemtool Fire in Rockton, IL. She attended a public information session the week after the fire and saw firsthand just how uniformed the public was and how much misinformation was out there. The following day she asked if she could take on the huge project of translating the large quantities of environmental data being released by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. In the weeks that followed she translated hundreds of pages of data into two blogs.
This work was noticed by the Illinois Association of News Broadcasters who invited her to speak at their annual conference in Rockford. After that experience she created a document to help reporters navigate the wide range of local, state, federal and nonprofit agencies and the data and information they have.
During the pandemic, SaLT was unable to provide service-learning trips to students. In May of 2020, SaLT was inspired to pivot their efforts to serve the local community, and Shop N’ Drop was created in the areas of Highwood and Highland Park, IL. Shop N’ Drop is designed to engage community members to support local families facing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jagger soon became the strongest youth force making this project a reality.
Jagger’s role as a dual language speaker has been to contact all 100+ families that they serve each week! With adult support, Jagger check-ins with every family to makes sure they needs are being met and to see if there is anything special they might need that week (i.e diapers, cleaning supplies, certain foods, etc.) She even translates important information regularly regarding vaccines, job searches, or rent concerns. As a student leader for SaLT, Jagger has given hundreds of hours to Shop N’ Drop, but after understanding some of the greater needs of our families’ children, she also took on two other special projects - Love2Learn and DreamBIG.
Love2Learn provides free, weekly, one-hour, one-on-one, in-person math/reading tutoring by high school students for K-5 children. DreamBIG provides free, weekly, one hour, one-on-one/small group, in-person coaching sessions by high school students for K-6 children. Jagger provides each family with a trusted and compassionate translator and friend. Her commitment has been amazing as she did not miss a beat each week calling and connecting with 100+ families since May 2020. Throughout some of our families’ darkest days, she has been a source of light and hope.
Jagger has she also has taken every opportunity to join other service events. Jagger was an amazingly strong participant in the service-learning trips to Orlando. She provided care and comfort to terminally ill children at Give Kids the World. Jagger also went to New Orleans to work with local nonprofits to help restore and learn about this city’s unique communities and culture. Jagger is motivated daily to make a difference for others. She sincerely identifies her work in service as her life’s purpose. She is truly a LIGHT for those she works wit and so many others in her community.
Jeanne is always pitching in to help by assisting with lunch, sanitizing the stations, and keeping the facility clean.
Jeanne Vance has been a volunteer for AmeriCorps Seniors for four years. Jeanne has been a valuable volunteer and works at a school developed by her daughter, Wanikka Vance, called the Foundation 4 Advancement. Foundation 4 Advancement is a private school that strives to develop a child to his/her full potential! Jeanne provides the children a nurturing environment and engages the children to work hard to believe in themselves. Jeanne works daily as a volunteer not only helping with the curriculum, but also with work assignments for the children. She also assists the children one on one with tablet training. Jeanne is always pitching in to help by assisting with lunch, sanitizing the stations, and keeping the facility clean.
whom were now close friends. It was only a matter of getting creative. "I was missing all my friends and visits since in a normal month I would have visited, at that time, in nine units—some every week—and others twice a month,” she said. “The one I was missing most was the ‘Coffee and Chat’ group every Thursday morning.” Marilyn knew there was more than one way to connect. To keep the residents engaged, she re-designed her “Chat with Marilyn” program from in-person to weekly emails, which she sent to the activities director who, in turn distributed them to the Coffee and Chat participants now confined to their rooms.
Her audience has expanded to several residents she has yet to meet. Now they can’t wait to connect with her face to face. Those whom she knows from the “in-person” days have said they can hear her voice when they read her newsletters. Now, Marilyn’s weekly chat pages have extended beyond the walls of the Lutheran Home. She shared them with relatives and friends, who, in turn sent them to their friends. As it turns out, she has made new friends living in other senior facilities out of state.
Marilyn hopes that by Christmas 2021, everyone’s life will have returned to normal, so she can resume her favorite volunteer project which was sadly missed last year—becoming Mrs. Santa Claus for all the unit parties.
build empathy by sharing their perspectives and lived experiences.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Stefan even innovated with Chicago Cares to provide the program virtually! In doing this, he helped volunteers maintain a space where they could safely connect while physically social distancing. Stefan is an exemplary volunteer with Chicago Cares, and they are so grateful for his continued service!
peer-led nonprofit called Beyond Charity that provides mental health presentations and drives discussions on healthy coping strategies. As a result of her efforts to destigmatize mental health, she has given 22 presentations domestically and internationally to over 6,000 students. Additionally, she also worked with Representative Mussman and Yang-Rohr to create HB1778 which mandates schools to include mental health resources on the backs of student identification cards. After testifying before multiple committees, her bill, the Beyond Charity Law, recently passed both the Illinois House and Senate.
Aparna has changed the face of mental health through her efforts and created a community where students are empowered. Her volunteerism, persistence, and kindness make her a perfect candidate for volunteer of the week. She plans to continue her nonprofit and legislative efforts throughout her life, hoping that nobody will have to endure the same challenges she did.
students. Grandpa Ron had been assigned one student to work closely with that year. As the year began, the student had difficulties reading and had made so much progress until the dismissal of school. With the student’s parental permission, Grandpa Ron made a home visit to see his student and encourage him to keep up the good work. He was even able to give his big sisters tips on how to help their brother continue to succeed in his studies.
Grandpa Ron cannot make it through Walmart without having one of his past students stop him to say hello. Grandpa Ron is loved by the entire staff at Franklin and goes above and beyond to spread sunshine with his co-volunteers and volunteer site.
Stan enrolled as an AmeriCorps Seniors member (previously volunteering with AmeriCorps RSVP) and has taken on a variety of assignments. Stan has worked with Catholic Charities as a Meals on Wheels delivery volunteer, drives seniors to necessary medical appointments, and when asked, also picked up food and other essential items during the COVID-19 shelter in place order. Stan also finds time during the holidays to deliver meals and gifts to local seniors. To date, Stan has recorded almost 700 hours as an AmeriCorps member.
The article indicated that the school welcomed volunteers from the community. As an individual who likes to contribute to her community, Mrs. Patel met with the principal to determine how she might be able to help.
Since then, Mrs. Patel has been spending 2-3 hours in the morning, 3 days per week, working with students in small groups. She plays games, supports children with assignments, reads books aloud, and listens to students from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade read aloud to her. Children appreciate her gentle and nurturing manner and for many, she has become a surrogate grandmother!
They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and Westview School is so appreciative to have Mrs. Patel as a positive, contributing member of their school community!
Last year he asked to work with the students. He listens attentively and interacts with students in a sincere way. The students absolutely love reading with him. Not only does he listen to students read, but he also has lunch once a week with a small group of 3rd graders. They assist him with getting his tray, walk to a quiet room, and they engage in meaningful conversations. He lets them share parts of their lives and tries to guide them with practical ways to deal with peer pressure and social situations. He genuinely cares about their well-being and goes out of his way to connect with all students. He also spends one afternoon a week in the classroom assisting with writing and math. He moves about and helps in whatever way he can.
Since the schools shut down during the pandemic, Chris graciously provided his email so that students could still check in with him. Some of the students are sending audio recordings of them reading to him. When he was sent one of these recordings, he responded with, “I could only listen for a few seconds and had to stop the recording because tears were flowing.” He eventually was able to listen to the whole recording.
The Le Roy Elementary building is a pre k-6 elementary school in central Illinois. They have several students with autism, mental and physical challenges, and health compromised students. They are an inclusive school and their students are compassionate and interact with all students. Seeing their students assist Mr. Brown is the essence of the human spirit and goodness that they hope would be the standard everywhere in the world.
running smoothly. Annette is also responsible for organizing assessment kits so therapists can evaluate a child’s development and establish an individualized treatment plan. By ensuring these kits are complete and organized, therapists have the tools to assess a child’s skills and set therapeutic goals for their future. Her volunteerism helps make it possible for Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley to serve 1,000 children each week across 64 communities.
As the mother of a child with cerebral palsy and a former Board member, Annette is an incredible ambassador for Easterseals. By sharing her personal experience and commitment, she inspires contributions that make a transformative impact on the organization. Annette also connects parent-to-parent and helps maintain a library of resources for families who are new to Easterseals. She helps parents, siblings and caregivers of children with disabilities find a community of support. She is thorough, dependable and uncompromising when it comes to the quality of her work and her dedication. Annette has logged more hours than any other volunteer within the organization, and is an integral part of the support system that helps build healthy families and empowers children to reach their goals.
On top of all her other duties, Lisa has also been a huge help in redoing the park benches at another one of their properties, the Friendship Garden. The Friendship Garden is a small plot of land inspired by the English Tea Gardens that the Founder, Hellen Douglas-Hart, loved in her travels. Families can come to go on picnics, do photography, have weddings, go on walks, or attend some of the events hosted at the property. Thanks to Lisa’s help and attention to quality and detail, families will have a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the gorgeous plants, trees, and atmosphere that the Friendship Garden has to offer for many years to come. The Douglas-Hart Foundation is so grateful for everything that Lisa has done. She has helped staff so much and impacted families in the community greatly.
In January 2021, a team was formed to assist with heavy lifting and moving needs for the organization, and Ed has been there every step of the way since its creation. For such a new team, it is incredible to have his enthusiastic support and willingness to help whenever he is called upon. Ed’s work with Housing Forward varies depending upon their needs. For example, he often helps with moving heavy furniture from the basement to the attic and helps move boxes from one office to another. Whatever the job, he is always quick to respond and more than willing to help. Ed is a main part of the reason why this team has been so successful and Housing Forward can’t thank him enough for the service and dedication he has provided to both the organization and their community.
For more than three decades, Jo has selflessly sought to make a difference in the lives of Aurora area residents, especially immigrants and children, through the Adult Literacy program at Waubonsee Community College. She first started as a volunteer and then later became a program manager. Through her leadership, 1,000 adults and children learn the English language each year. Jo also chaired the Aurora Township Youth Commission for 20 years and was named Chairman Emeritus by the Aurora Township Board of Trustees in January 2017.
She has been equally committed to the research and preservation of local history. She served 16 years as Chairman of the City of Aurora’s Grand Army of the Republic Commission, volunteered at the Aurora Historical Society, and has published texts on the unique history of communities such as Aurora, Naperville, DeKalb, Geneva and Montgomery.
identifying accurate information, and drafting thorough responses. As a retired attorney, Michael has been assigned letters with more complex legal and non-legal questions as well as those that require a sophisticated understanding of statutes.
Prior to his volunteering with JHA, Michael regularly interviewed prisoners as part of lawsuits brought by the Uptown People’s Law Center. Building on that, he began volunteering with JHA three years ago, and since that time has continued to demonstrate a significant commitment to the people incarcerated across Illinois. His unique, holistic approach to writing letters and responses to prisoners involves going to great lengths to understand not only what the letter-writer is asking for, but also to pinpoint information that could make the difference for each individual.
In reading the letters, and visiting the facilities Michael has become passionate about prisoner access to legal information. Prior to the pandemic, Michael regularly participated in monitoring visits to state prisons, and during a visit would independently investigate the quality of each prison law library, interview staff and prisoners to identify the available resources and ways in which unmet needs impact people reliant on the library to further their cases.
Michael is a lifelong Chicagoan and a graduate of Loyola University and the University of Chicago Law School. His 40-year legal career included litigating cases in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States as well as serving as a senior officer in a major insurance company. Michael has also been an active volunteer with Interfaith Action Evanston soup kitchens and overnight shelters. Michael and his wife, Lisa, are also active members of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston, most recently organizing the synagogue’s participation in the “Walk for Warmth” fundraiser for Evanston’s Emergency Overnight Shelter. Michael is a student at Northwestern University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute where he’s leads classes on World War II and the American Civil War.
seniors that reside in the St. Clair county area. Saretha stated that, “We must take care of our seniors and we have to show them that we are there for them even if the doors are shut.”
Saretha is the first to show up and the last to leave, bringing her radio with her every day to make sure that she and others are dancing and boosting energy while serving. Many employees at the Café have stated that Saretha is a joy to have in the kitchen and that her happy spirit makes the days go by quicker. Saretha loves serving for AmeriCorps because she loves to serve and doing so makes her happy.
greatly improves their chances of being adopted. Since attending the different trainings listed above, Hillary is now eligible to work in their Cat Rehabilitation Ward, where she puts her skills and boundless love for homeless cats to top use in a sensitive and difficult program.
Despite the often difficult situations volunteers find themselves in when devoting help in these tense areas, Hillary always maintains a bright, friendly and funny personality and this helps attendant staff just as well. Hillary is also a Foster Program volunteer and joined the COVID-19 Emergency Response Volunteer team. It is no surprise she is doing just as well as in these brave endeavors as well.
Currently, Stuffed Love’s biggest project is working with Conquering CHD, a national organization dedicated to support and advocacy for individuals and families affected by congenital heart defects. The hand-stitched heart pillows are distributed to 14 states in their Conquering CHD Kits and are used to prop up IVs, provide comfort after heart surgery, and as a treasured memento for the difficult times the family has survived. In addition to Stuffed Love, Sarah continues to volunteer in her community through organizations like the White Sox Volunteer Corps and Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program (HOBY). Her most important mission is to continue sharing that little bit of hope as a volunteer, community member, and aspiring physician. Sarah was also recently the winner of the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues Unsung Heroine Award.
hours weekly. Now Kurt is serving as an AmeriCorps member, tutoring the youth at IYC-Warrenville 10 hours a week.
Kurt usually helps the youth with Math and Science. He says, “Math was always particularly difficult for me in school, and I went to college ill prepared for the math requirements of my chemistry major.” He took remedial math in college and goes on to say that “because it was so difficult, I can often understand where our students have problems… the same places I did.” The 1 to 1 interaction with students is what Kurt finds most rewarding especially when “they suddenly understand something they didn’t before.” Every day after working with the kids, Kurt says, “I feel a little younger than when I walked in!”
Kurt’s humility and humor define him. He is patient and passionate about tutoring the youth and guiding them toward a better future. Kurt is also a CASA volunteer and serves as an ELL tutor mentoring a young man from Venezuela who recently immigrated to the U.S. Kurt’s gifts are our treasures. LVI is grateful for all his hard work, and we are fortunate to have Kurt on our team!
She has juggled hours to her own work schedule as a hair stylist and part-time nanny to be able to pick up food every week and be at the twice weekly distributions. Her organizational strengths have proved invaluable in keeping the pantry operations running smoothly, even in the face of ever-changing pandemic challenges.
Jessie has always had a passion for helping those in need. At the Share Food Share Love Food Pantry, she puts the safety of both volunteers and clients at the forefront of everything she does. She is looking forward to the day when clients again can be invited back inside to choose their own food. Until then, she will continue to pack the bags with the food that she hopes everyone will use to keep themselves well fed and healthy.
Herman’s presence has had a positive impact on the children at his site, especially with the boys he tutors and mentors, acting as a strong black role model for them. He helps the children set educational goals, work through conflict resolution, and also coaches the boys and girls basketball teams at the school and the students who participate in the Special Olympics. Herman sacrifices his time on the weekend to attend games and other recreational activities with the students and staff as well. Herman also makes time to talk to students about important life choices and shares his own experiences on growing up in Chicago’s south side. Not only is he loved and respected by the students, but the teachers and community also love and appreciate his energy and dedication to the school.
to beat period poverty in the city and surrounding suburbs of Chicago.
Period poverty refers to an individual’s inability to afford or access feminine hygiene products, and it is a prominent, yet highly under recognized problem around the world. Research has shown that 1 in every 5 menstruators in the United States suffers from this problem, even though it arises from a natural biological process. Those suffering from period poverty can miss critical periods of school, acquire permanent health issues, and even die from their inability to acquire feminine hygiene products. Shriya recognized that this problem was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic with higher populations of homeless individuals in Chicago and decided to take action by founding PERIOD @ Hinsdale.
In merely 6 months, Shriya raised over $1,550 and donated over 3,500 feminine hygiene products to those in need. She has communicated with and donated to several shelters to help homeless women and victims of domestic abuse in their monthly struggles with period poverty. Recently, she even organized a no-contact toiletry drive to collect over 600 toiletry items to donate to shelters during the holiday season. Overall, Shriya has shown a deep sense of commitment and passion to help those in need, even during this time of crisis with COVID-19. Shriya always puts others before herself and deserves to be recognized for her passion, irreplaceable leadership qualities, and dedication to give back to her own community.
contributing members of society. 100% of the girls in the S.I.M.P., Inc. program have graduated high school.
Dr. Sherrod is also the youth leadership program facilitator for a local organization with over 100 high school members. This program is designed to develop young leaders throughout the county to provide leadership opportunities of service to their communities. The program is 100% student-led in all aspects and is so popular that there is a waitlist to get in. In her spare time, Dr. Sherrod works with high school students interested in joining the military to prepare for and pass the ASVAB test. Dr. Sherrod gives much of her time to helping others become a better version of themselves and to have opportunities to better their lives. Even with caring for two children of her own and working a full-time job in education, Dr. Sherrod gives her personal time to be a part of the lives of the youth in her community on a daily basis.
variety of services to enhance the senior program.
The Café serves as a center for senior citizens to join in fellowship, build friendships, and enjoy recreational activities and hot meals. At the Café, Roblyn helps to assist with implementing activities that are engaging to senior citizens, serves meals, greets the senior citizens and their guests, and also helps keeps the Café clean and free of debris. The senior citizens at the Café all described Roblyn as kind, friendly, and lively. A few of the citizens have went on to say that Roblyn is the perfect host for Bingo because makes the game more fun and friendly.
During her previous years of service, Roblyn has provided outstanding assistance to the East Saint Louis School District’s After School 21st Century Program, LBDNH Day Care Center, and the agency’s Providing a Sure Start Program (PASS). Roblyn has also been an active participant in LBDNH’s yearly Back to School Program. Roblyn can be seen sitting and talking with the senior citizens and often engages in games and recreational activities.
Roblyn serves faithfully in her church and is an integral part of The Purpose Church in Madison, Illinois. Roblyn states that she loves being at the Seasoned Circle Café and volunteering at the Café has had a huge impact on her commitment to serving others. She plans to channel her love for service by achieving her lifetime goal of becoming a nurse.
spend time outdoors. The foundation also owns a tea garden and botanical garden in the local area.
Lou Stanke has dedicated well over 1400 hours to volunteering at the Douglas-Hart Foundation. He holds the standing for the most volunteer hours given out of any current volunteer at the Nature Center. Those hours have consisted of conservation work, special projects that have created helpful additions to the Nature Center (including a beautiful trellises for their butterfly garden, re-staining all of the Nature Center signs, and creating new signs for two of the foundation’s properties), countless festivals, special events (such as large volunteering fieldtrips for middle schoolers), and weekend hosting at least twice a month.
Weekend hosting is a crucial role that only certain volunteers can do. The Nature Center is open every day (aside from Sundays in the winter), but staff is normally only there Monday through Friday. Weekend hosts are key volunteers that give up part of their weekend so the Nature Center can be open to the community and looked after. Lou has allowed countless families to have access to the Nature Center, and the facilities and exhibits inside.
Lou is always known to be counted on when the foundation need a hand, even if it is on short notice due to unforeseen circumstances. He has been such a help to staff and the community, and the Nature Center could never thank him enough for all the help that he has given to them over the years.
In 2001 while working as an Orthopedic Surgery Resident in Delhi, India, one of the most devastating earthquakes hit western India. In addition to killing more than 20,000 people and injuring over 150,000, the quake left hundreds of thousands homeless. Dr. Sapra quickly organized a rescue medical team. He set up a mobile clinic and operation theater to treat patients who had suffered multiple musculoskeletal injuries and provided them constant care for weeks.
In 1995, following the Global Polio Eradication Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), India launched Pulse Polio immunization. Dr. Sapra was an active volunteer of the program, carrying out additional rounds of immunization for rapidly enhancing herd immunity against the deadly virus. He faced innumerable instances where he had to walk miles into India's remote villages without transportation. He worked with the program from 1997-2010 before he moved to the U.S. Due to the heroic efforts of healthcare workers like him, India was declared Polio free in 2011.
As a health care worker, Dr. Sapra recognizes that his primary obligation is to provide urgent medical care during disasters. Today amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Sapra has tested hundreds of people with suspected symptoms of COVID-19 and continues to provide care for hospitalized patients at Memorial Medical Center and at SIU’s outpatient clinic. Dr. Sapra also plays a vital role in supporting current state efforts to stop the spread of the virus. He actively engages with and empowers everyday Illinoisans across the state to assist in COVID-19 outreach and prevention efforts. Naturally, he has been designated as the Illinois COVID-19 Prevention Ambassador by the Illinois government.
The process begins with the collecting of the books, which is facilitated through book drives at local schools and libraries. The books are then sorted and allocated for donation based on age, reading level, theme, and condition. Finally, Rohan works with Elijah and Namish to coordinate donations to those in need across Illinois. My Book Wish has thus far donated nearly 4,000 books to schools, orphanages, and other nonprofit organizations for further distribution. Rohan has even coordinated a donation with Action in Africa to send books to Uganda! Regardless of where the donations go, the objective remains the same: spreading the joy of reading.
pattern she used over Facebook in order to inspire others to make masks if they had the means to and help in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Pat always volunteers her time in numerous capacities – such as her role in local rotary organization support and by acting as a mentor to others. Her contributions have made a powerful and lasting impression on all. She is a quintessential ambassador for her community and a positive role model for all. Her personal commitment to the morale of others is insurmountable and proven by her volunteering countless hours over the past five years. She also regularly provides support to the underprivileged. She has proven time and time again that she will donate her free time in order to help others. Her unconditional and continuous community service and volunteerism reflects her unselfish devotion to others and is in keeping with the highest traditions of service.