Organization: Working in the Schools, American Hearing Research Foundation, Rebuilding Together Metropolitan Chicago and Ronald McDonald House
Volunteer Service: Since 2013
In what ways do you volunteer with these organizations?
Working in the Schools (WITS) is a weekly tutoring program, where volunteers from Chicago-area businesses visit with underprivileged students. I have participated for the last five years with second and third graders at an elementary school on Chicago’s west side. The students select books to read to me, with some assistance, and then we talk about the book, its theme and other interests.
I serve on the board of directors and as the treasurer for the American Hearing Research Foundation, and on the finance committee for Rebuilding Together Metropolitan Chicago.
With Ronald McDonald House, I volunteer with my family and members of the Notre Dame Club of Chicago once a month to prepare and serve meals to families staying at the facility.
What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?
I have found that you get more out of volunteering than you put in. There’s a feeling of satisfaction and gratification that comes from knowing you are helping someone else.
Can you share a memorable experience as part of your volunteerism?
I would say any time I’ve volunteered with WITS, the way the students look up to you is memorable. They really get a kick out of the fact that there are people from big downtown Chicago offices, dressed up and coming to spend time with them. They really crave the one-on-one attention we provide and it’s gratifying to help them become better readers.
Why is it important to give back to the communities we serve?
The community is better off when we give back to those who are less fortunate. I believe we all have something to offer to others—whether you’re talented in math, cooking, reading, etc.—and, when we do, it benefits and strengthens the community as a whole.
Associated Bank benefits from our involvement as well. Many people do not trust banks, so when they see us out in the community it demonstrates that we are not only a business, but a true partner. We strive to improve and meet the needs and interests of our communities.
How has virtual volunteering changed the way you give back?
Our current environment has certainly made it more challenging. There are some face-to-face activities I would normally be doing right now that are on hold as the organization determines an online solution. I have been able to attend my board and committee meetings virtually, which has helped me stay engaged in some capacity. I am anxious to get back to the schools again because I know the need is still there and, in fact, has probably amplified.
What message do you have for others looking to volunteer?
If you are thinking about volunteering, take the plunge and give back where you can. You will likely get more out of it than you give. I’m grateful that Associated Bank supports volunteerism because there are a lot of benefits to the organization as well as our colleagues to get engaged. It’s really a win/win for all parties involved.