I nominate Susan Abbott, the Youth Program Director for the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association as “Villager of the Year.” Susan has done outstanding work leading a team of volunteers who provide critical support to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) youth.

Susan has worked to educate a wide spectrum of young people on the risks of HIV/AIDS while also nurturing the soul of young people who sometimes need the most support. She has expanded programming, attended conferences, created educational programs for local high schools and more.

It’s important to acknowledge that with Susan’s skill-set, she could probably earn more in the private sector but she chooses to stay involved locally and works to inspire young people to do things greater than they believe they can. Young people involved in programs she has created have gone on to be leaders throughout the Chicago area.

I encourage you to interview her and learn more about the positive impact she has had in our community.

Ray Johnson
Oak Park village trustee

Editor’s note: If you have someone you think should have been “Villager of the Year” in Oak Park or River Forest, please let us know.

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