Courtesy Nancy Ford
Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 21-27 this year, and West Suburban PADS has some impressive human interest stories to tell in celebration of our 1,000-strong volunteer network.
PADS' volunteers are instrumental in the delivery of every aspect of our mission, from working a shift or providing meals at the emergency shelter, to serving on a benefit or planning committee, helping job seekers complete applications, compose a resume or navigate the bureaucracy of government services and benefits.
Though they satisfy a wide variety of client service and administrative needs, all our volunteers share the singular focus of transitioning individuals and families back to stable housing.
Volunteers are recruited from a base of 55 support congregations, local businesses, colleges and universities, high schools, senior groups, scout troops, and other community organizations. For example, Tom and Anita Dwyer of St. Edmund's Catholic Church manage a team of 160 volunteers - all ages, singles and families, retired, employed, students - who help staff PADS' emergency shelter on Tuesday nights at Oak Park Temple. Some of those volunteers have been with us since PADS was founded in 1992 - when we had only one set of sleeping pads that they drove from shelter to shelter - and others have joined us just this year.