Lately, I’ve been thinking a little bit more about what Oak Park means to me, for as of the end of November, I have been living here for a quarter-century. It’s especially timely to mark this anniversary as we look ahead over the next year, leading up to the Bicentennial of Illinois.
One prominent quality of Oak Park is the strong sense of community here. I’m able to connect well with neighbors and others who live here. Oak Park also has a great location, with most spots in the village being easily accessible by walking, biking, or driving, not to mention easy access to the amenities in Chicago and nearby suburbs.
I am blessed to have grown up here and been impacted by Oak Park and its institutions and to make an impact on them. One significant example is the Oak Park Public Library, where I had the excellent opportunity to volunteer while in my youth, and then to work there for almost 2½ years while developing myself professionally.
There’s also an awesome community at Ascension Parish, with people committed to engaging with faith through worship and service. I also think about Julian Middle School and the impact it had on me, as well as how I helped pioneer the middle school experience for sixth-graders there back in 2002-2003 when the building was brand new.
Indeed, I am so grateful for to have spent these 25 years calling Oak Park my home.