Oak Park resident honored by Exelon for Outstanding Volunteer Service

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By Shawn Gilley

Contributor

Provided by Tony Marusic from Jayne Thompson & Associates

Exelon Corporation has recognized employee Rigoberto Espinoza of Oak Park, Ill., with a merit award for his volunteer work with the Noble Network of Charter Schools. The volunteer recognition is part of the company's annual Energy for the Community Volunteer Awards and comes with a $5,000 cash grant to the organization in Espinoza's honor.

Espinoza, a senior engineering design tech for Exelon subsidiary ComEd, has been a board member of the Noble Network of Charter Schools since 2009. The Noble Network operates 10 Noble Street charter campuses serving more than 5,000 students across Chicago.

"Rigoberto embodies the mission of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which is to prepare at-risk Chicago high school students for college and life success." said Michael Milkie, CEO of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. "As a first-generation college graduate, students see Rigoberto as an example of who they can become.

Espinoza works closely with Noble's Right Angle Program, which has as its goal to send these typically low-income high school students to pre-collegiate programs at prestigious universities across the country. A graduate of the program himself, he works directly with local students as a mentor and encourages them to apply. To date, 97 percent of all students who participated in the program have successfully started college careers.

Prior to serving on the board, Espinoza provided volunteer support to Noble Network programs by tutoring local students, performing administrative duties and assisting fundraising efforts.

"I volunteer to help students become better citizens and provide them with the encouragement and life skills they need to advance," Espinoza said. "I know first-hand the influence mentors and role models have on young people."

Ruth Ann Gillis, executive vice president and chief administrative and diversity officer, Exelon and president, Exelon BSC, presented Espinoza the award at a luncheon held in Chicago on Friday, April 29.

Exelon introduced the Energy for the Community Volunteer Awards in 2007 to honor employees who demonstrate exceptional commitment to community service and to encourage increased volunteerism among all employees. Espinoza is one of 12 employees who received volunteer awards and grant donations for the nonprofit organizations they serve. Exelon donated a total of $100,000 in cash grants to the nonprofits this year.

Exelon's Energy for the Community Volunteer Awards were open to all eligible employees from the Exelon family of companies who volunteered at least 50 hours of community service in 2010. Last year, more than 2,000 Exelon employee volunteers gave almost 66,000 hours of their time to community nonprofit organizations. This is equivalent to 1,650 workweeks or nearly 32 years of fulltime service.

The awards are part of Exelon's Energy for the Community corporate citizenship program, which encourages and supports the development of environmental causes, education, arts and culture, neighborhood development and diversity in the communities it serves.

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